by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 19 April 2011
Managing your workforce can be arduous task, especially if you are small organization. Consider the number of investments required: dedicated personnel, proprietary software, and expensive customization and scaling costs (as your organization increases in size). As always, we look to cloud technology to provide the answer.
This week, I will review Workforcetrack.com: a website that offers a suite of applications that are specifically designed for small and mid-size organizations and are delivered as SaaS. We will look at its interface, functionalities, and how it can be of use to you.
WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT AND YOU
The essence of WorkforceTrack.com is that it eliminates the need for expensive software and hardware. In effect, this means that you are up and running in minimal time. The software has multiple features that correspond to a typical enterprise resource and productivity application. For example, it includes features from human resources, project management, and productivity suites. You can also configure details related to specific work streams for project management.
Don Maughan, support engineer at WorkforceTrack.com touts integration as the key differentiator for the website. "We offer extensive third-party integration so that our customers do not need to leave their existing solutions," he says. "Instead, we offer an all-in-one solution."
THE BASICS: WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
The software follows a simple two-panel interface. Options are clustered together under main headings. Although there are multiple options, the main ones are grouped together under the main panel. Each of the main option corresponds to a specific module. For example, accounting is a module which is present in the main panel and is also a module (with specific sub-modules). It is easy to get confused what with so many modules, options and functionalities. Interestingly, the application includes a workspace to keep track of your modules, changes to them, and list of items that require action.
While the interface is simple enough, there is scope for improvement. For example, the contacts module interface is fairly cluttered. It might be simpler to divide the information across multiple modules. However, that is a minor quibble in an otherwise simple interface.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The software flow is pretty simple and follows standard operational process methodology. Because it covers a gamut of functionalities and processes, the software is segregated into modules. This, by itself, is not bad. However, I was curious to know how the software was conceptualized because the modules are as distinct from each other as chalk and cheese. Maughan told me that they were a web application company initially and needed a time sheet for project management. "We built it ourselves and thought this might be useful for other small to medium-sized companies like us," he says. "Based on client feedback and suggestions, we built other applications and, in time, found our solution growing bigger and bigger."
According to Maughan, the biggest unique selling point for their product is cost. "Customers will not usually find out level of integration with third-party products and features in other comparable software," he says. Maughn is referring to integration with Google applications and other third-party applications. Apart from making transition to their systems easier, the integration also has cost implications because this means that you do not have to invest in additional software or time to be up and running with Workforcetrack.com.
As with most of my quibbles, here is another one. They could have included sub-assemblies in purchase orders and inventory management. Essentially, sub-assemblies represent the aggregation of products i.e., you assemble a product through multiple sub-products. This is akin to stock keeping units or SKUs, which are pretty popular in conventional enterprise resource planning systems. However, Maughan assured me they are considering improvements and revisions to the product based on customer feedback.
Maughan says deployment is a function of customer readiness. "In some cases, we do it for free," he says. In other cases, however, they have an extra level support team that helps customers get their data ready and also conducts onsite trainings for their software. Typically, this means that customers might have to invest approximately two weeks in moving to the new solution.
Workforcetrack.com is fairly inexpensive: their cheapest pricing option should set you back by just $6.99 per month for each user. However, this pricing is valid only for bronze level users. For larger organizations with 26-100 users, the website refers you to quotes.
SUPPORTING YOUR SYSTEMS
Because it is website-based, WorkforceTrack.com offers extensive support, including tutorial videos, blogs, and help documentation. They have also included a wonderfully new concept to me: quick reference cards! The cards are similar to the flash cards we made during exams and speech preparations.
As with everything else, there is always scope for improvement. They should try improving the quality of their videos. For example, some of their videos end pretty abruptly. In addition, the sound is pretty low. Similarly, their product tour could have been more extensive since it is the product's first look.
Maughan told me the company has different support plans based on plans. This includes support through IM, Skype or in-person.
Is it for you?
Sure, it is. The website-based solution simplifies your business processing and, also, provides meaningful cost options to scale up or down as desired. I can already see several uses for the application in companies: from tracking employee productivity to using their suite of human resource applications. Maughan says customers do not need to change their processes to align the solution with their needs. I did not have time to test this out; however, if this is true, then that should be an added bonus in terms of cost-saving and productivity.