TrackerSuite.Net now with widgets
You would think that with all the technology available to these companies, they would have found a way to show me the software without me having to call the USA for 46 minutes. I wouldn’t mind if I could have gotten a good overview in half the time. The rest of the conversation sounded like PR puff and an attempt drag out the demo for as much time as possible.
TrackerSuite.Net, the web-enabled version Automation Centre’s TrackerSuite For Lotus Notes, is TrackerSuite.Net. It can manage project tasks and track time and expenses. TrackerSuite.Net seems to be the best software for customizing and user-defined views. Version 3.0 of TrackerSuite.Net is role-based and open source. It also has a variety of widgets that can be customized for the desktop. The widgets work in predictable manner. They have security built in to prevent people from seeing things you don’t want. One role is that of guru, which is a cooler version of system administrator.
New search features have been added to the new release. Unfortunately, you can only search for a specific element (e.g. resources) and not all elements. This is a shame. The resource management element works in the same way as other programs. Simply add your resource information to the program and you can then plan for resource availability and assign the person to tasks. These new features include dollar goals and billable hours. They can also be set per person. If you find it tedious to type it all, you can sync it with Active Directory. However, you will need to manually enter their billable hours unless your AD has a lot of irrelevant data. It will email you when you assign a task or task to a resource. You can also add it to their Outlook calendar or Lotus Notes.
Automation Centre believes that their software is a professional tool and has not made it available to non-project managers. Kim, who showed me the software also felt that the workflow engine that manages approvals was a distinguisher. Although it might be true, I couldn’t help but think that this tool is far more professional than LiquidPlanner or Microsoft Project. It’s not complex, but it does have the benefits of a more complicated tool. It was difficult for me to understand the different modules. They are a legacy from the non-web version, and I’m certain it works well in Lotus Notes. I was a Lotus Notes fan ten years ago. I no longer use it, but I have colleagues who do and love it. A web version doesn’t require ten modules and a data warehouse. What do they all do? Can’t I just get them all standard?
Kim stated that Kim’s product is unmatched in terms of reporting. There are many great reporting features. I liked the project dashboards (below) and the ability to export status report to PowerPoint. Data warehouse allows you to create reports and export them into Excel. Crystal Reports allows you to export reports as.pdf or Word. The bottom of the reporting module has a ticker. Click the message to be taken to the report. This is a great feature that executives will love. You can set the ticker so that it shows the most recent reports, things that are running over, and anything else that you think they should see. It is another way to draw attention to important issues.
Kim answered my question about TrackerSuite’s compliance with the usability guidelines. I asked her how TrackerSuite complied with usability guidelines. She said that it was designed to make it easy to use. This is not what I meant. Websites should be accessible. This means that they should follow the W3C guidelines. Web pages should work with screenreaders, keyboard shortcuts, and other screen readers. I am seeing a lot of cloud-based online software.