Marketing company moves to Web project management

Sydney-based marketing automation software company Emagine International has ditched its fat-client project management applications in favour of a hosted Web-based alternative.

Emagine CEO David Peters said the company was using Microsoft Project and Excel to run projects, but needed a tool to manage implementations in multiple locations, both nationally and internationally, with central management and distribution.

"We have a project manager in Melbourne, people in Sydney, and I [am often] travelling so I was looking for an application that could improve on Microsoft Project and Excel," Peters said. "The alternatives are so big you have to put whole business into them to get any value [and the] cost in terms of time didn't give us a return. With Teamframe we could start of with timesheeting and add on without re-engineering the whole business."

Emagine imported its Microsoft Project plans into the Web application which allocates tasks to teams at a task level so if someone is away the manager can reallocate the task to someone else.

"The timesheet system is intuitive and relates back to the tasks and will measure actual versus budget and links timesheets back to projects," Peters said. "With the management reporting I can drill down to individual projects and can look at what's going on. We don't need much more than that."

Peters likes Teamframe's simplicity as it "didn't try to solve all the organization's problems" including invoicing and document management.

"We saw other tools that map business processes, but that didn't seem practical," he said, adding project information can also be exported from Teamframe to Microsoft Project.

According to Teamframe's CEO Maarten Tentij, the impetus for developing the application was "the tools just weren't available" to handle the next step in the implementation process which the likes of Salesforce.com generates.

This is the case at Emagine where it is using Teamframe for project management, timesheeting and is also using the sugarcrm-hosted CRM application for sales force automation.

"We previously used Act which was a nightmare trying to synchronize all the time," he said. "We had phantom users all the time and double-ups when my PA would enter some [data]."

Peters said the modular Teamframe will be more expensive than Microsoft Project, but it "benefits the business".

"Teamframe is subscription-based and pay-as-you-go, [but] you'd need more than five employees," he said. "If you are selling to tier-1 clients it's a good way of showing you are serious about what you do."

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