by Stephanie Watson
Published on 12 November 2012
Every single business, no matter how big or small has paperwork. Pretty much all businesses have purchase orders, expense reports, performance appraisals, and more.
TurbineHQ was created because of Matthew Stibbe's, CEO of Turbine, personal experiences running a company in the 90s with 70 people and way too many forms. He sold the business in 2000, but he always wondered how could he make that type of thing better with software. He wanted to "take the work out of paperwork".
Eventually, he started a successful marketing company and decided he had to solve the problem of too many forms and bureaucracy without reinventing the wheel. So he built an online software application called Turbine.
Today I review Turbine to see if he accomplished his goal.
All businesses have paperwork. This paperwork gets more intensive the more employees the business has. There is paperwork each time an employee wants to buy something, request time off, or get feedback for a job well done. Email can be used, as can PDF documents, but having everything in one place where it can be tracked, organized, and accessed by every member of the team is truly priceless.
As mentioned earlier, Turbine was created so that small businesses can manage online tasks that normally require paperwork, such as purchase orders, time off requests, expense claims, employee evaluations, feedback and more. Any business with employees who need to manage these aspects of their business can benefit from Turbine.
As Stibbe puts it, "I wanted to avoid every company spending days and weeks doing these same things that all companies have to do. I think if companies use Turbine they can save themselves money and time. I can't promise to abolish all this paperwork, but I can make it easier, faster and more sympathetic. I mean, at the end of the day , nobody on their deathbed wishes they spent more time filling out forms".
If you do appraisals, purchase orders, purchase requests, time off requests, yearly evaluations, or need to file expense reports, which you probably do, then Turbine works simply and easily to accomplish these tasks without having to know code, or even be at a certain computer. The software is cloud based, so you can use it from your PC or other devices, such as your mobile phone.
For example, if an employee is out to dinner with a client, and wants to file an expense report, he or she can just snap a photograph of the receipt and send it straight to the system to be filed rather than waiting until they get back to the office. Similarly, they can make a time off request on a Sunday night using their iPad and their manager can approve it on the train to work the following morning on his or her smartphone.
Turbine is customizable for your business. You can upload your own logo, and make it integrate seamlessly with the way your business works. The interface is responsive, designed superbly, and efficient.
When you first sign in, you'll see the dashboard. On the left you'll see the various features offered such as Time off, Purchases, Expenses, Appraisals, Feedback, and Messages. You can be customize the name of your business, your logo and you can turn on and off features so that you can make the software your own.
This is a sample view of purchases, where you can create purchase orders. An employee can be pre-approved for various amounts without approval. It can be set up so that an email is sent automatically to the managers that need to approve a purchase order. All that is configured via the admin settings feature.
Below is a view of creating a purchase order. Remember, you will be able to set this up in many different ways according to your wishes. These images are only examples.
Turbine is simple to use and implement. You don't need to know any code, or have any special computer skills. Turbine leads you through the setup process without any specialized knowledge about any aspect of coding. Simply click on settings to set up each area that you plan to use with your business. You can use as much or as little of Turbine as you want with a simple tick of a box.
I honestly can't think of anything bad about Turbine. The interface is easy to use, intuitive, and simple. It works fast, and it works well. When trying to eliminate too much paperwork it's exactly what a small business needs. However, it still offers the opportunity to download PDFs, and CSV spreadsheet files when needed. You can also provide a link to purchase orders to businesses that you deal with electronically with a simple link in your email. The reason the program is so good is that the creator actually uses it himself in his business. Therefore, it will work well for you too.
The pricing structure (as of this writing) starts at $8 ($5 / €6) per month in total for up to five users and increases in line with the number of users up to $99 (£59 / €69) for up to 250 users. The price is for the whole company, not per user.
Every plan gives you access to all features of Turbine giving every level of service the same full featured functionality. If you have more employees than the largest plan, 250, then they're delighted to talk to you personally about meeting your needs.
Every business with employees has paperwork. Every manager and employee wants to save time and money handling that paperwork. In addition, handling the paperwork needs to be seamless and simple for everyone to understand. Remember, time is money, so any time you can save doing daily tasks will result in a monetary savings. Even if you purchased the most expensive plan, you're going to save money due to the time you save handling these basic paperwork needs that all businesses with employees have. I believe that Turbine has accomplished the goal of "taking the work out of paperwork"!
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 5/5, value 5/5 and ease of deployment 5/5