Jul 13 2011
One thing about building websites is they’re never quite done. Eventually the manager declares it done when certain tenants are met but really, you can always add something new. You can always rework your code so it processes quicker, better, and faster. The design that’s good today may not be the design that’s good tomorrow. (We hope the people at Craigslist are reading this!)
Sometimes redesigns and rebuilds come in the form of a competitor. Perhaps one site does something well and enjoys a season of success, but then another comes along and improves upon it. One web application that has fared particularly well is Basecamp. They’re the grand hedgehog in the burrow of online Project Management software. The same people behind Basecamp also brought us Highrise, a tool to manage your contacts. Combined they have served the business world well in their ability to help keep our projects and contacts organized. But great success has also made their shortcomings apparent. And so a variety of competitors have entered, ready to offer the market something new, something better. They seek to build a project management tool that observes what has been done well in the past and keep what was good, add what was missing, and remove what we never really needed. That tool comes to us as Apollo, a new online project management and CRM tool to manage your projects and clients.
Apollo, (found at apollohq.com), does the impossible. They successfully and elegantly integrate client management with project management. Many companies operate these two systems separately. The sales team brings in deals, and then slogs all the information over to the project management team. For a great many companies this slogging takes the form of manually porting the info from one location to the next. It creates duplicate work and is prone to error and bottlenecks. Apollo’s solution combines the two systems
On the CRM side you can add contacts, cases, deals, and tasks, all of which help you track communications and activities with the client. This starts with the deals which may be lost or won. When a new deal is gained then the same contacts utilized for the sale can be utilized for the project. All the information starts and stays in the same information ecosystem.
On the project side you can invite users from your company and give them a certain level of access. You can also add users from the external company giving them a client’s view of the information. This synergistic flow of data just saved the busied world centuries of man hours. Apollo is built to match the process that we’ve been following all along. Only this time we don’t need to ferry data from one group to the next.
The projects themselves come with a full set of tools. These include an activity view, messages, task list, milestones, files, a time tracking tool, people, and a very granular settings option. Activity is an overview of all the things that have been going on with the project. Messages are like a Facebook wall for the project. People can post notes and attach files for all to see. Tasks can be given due dates, assigned to someone, and associated with the person or project it’s for. Milestones are the landmarks that denote the progress of the project. They’re the culmination of the tasks that comprise the day to day duties. The time feature is a way to track how much time each person spent. It can readily be utilized for invoicing. The people section allows you to add users to your company, and then as many external companies as you would like. Rounding out the project management suite of tools is a calendar which displays events and milestones.
Besides having a better high level design Apollo also does the little things well. The first is that the site is exceptionally good looking. When you work in a professional environment it affects your productivity. Apollo’s environment almost compels you to get things done. Secondly is their onscreen timer. This allows you to track how long tasks take. This another application where historically people used a separate system and then manually transferred the information over.
The world of software applications is one where one project lays a foundation and another is built upon it. Apollo is today’s best of brand online project management CRM solution. They withheld no expense to build a state of the art solution. We welcome them to the pole position in the ever improving world of project management, collaboration, and customer management tools.