Categories
Business Software

Best Free Workflow Software

Any type of business has daily routine processes where tasks, information or files are passed from one team member to another for further actions. Coordinating tasks between people is among the toughest but crucial activities in every company.

This is where workflow management tool comes. It is a type of computer program that helps businesses automate and manage much better their routine business processes.

On this page, we collected some of the best free workflow software for those who lack the budget or just want to try the system for more than a month before deciding to purchase.

Additionally, the majority of workflow management tools are online solutions that offer tracking, diagram setting, project management, integration with other cloud-based apps such as email, databases, and much more.

10 Best Free Workflow Software Tools

Wrike

Wrike is one of the best project management and real-time work software out there. Some of its key benefits are: quick setup, included time-tracking, customizable dashboards and reports, many ways to integrate with other apps and services and more.

With Wrike you can create your own custom workflows to match your team needs. They’re easy and simple to use. The program enables you to effortlessly have all your project information in one place and automate cross-platform workflow.

Wrike comes with a free plan and other 4 premium plans.

Free plan features and benefits:

  • A simple shared task list for small business and small teams.
  • Task Management
  • Basic integrations (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, MSFT Office 365, OneDrive and iCal).
  • File sharing
  • 2 Gb of storage space
  • Spreadsheet view
  • Real-time Activity Stream
  • iPhone and Android apps
  • Cloud storage integrations (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive)

WEBSITE: https://www.wrike.com/

Process Street

Process Street is an operating procedure & checklist SaaS platform that lets non-technical users create powerful and API-driven workflows. The system enables your business to create and automate workflows, forms, standard operating procedures and checklists. You can easily automate workflows and collaborate with your team.

Their Zapier integration allows you to connect with over 500+ apps, so you can automatically schedule workflows and update other apps. Also Process Street is one of the best free workflow software solution.

It comes with 3 plans: Free, Business and Enterprise

Their FREE Plan includes all these features:

  • 5 Active Templates
  • 5 Active Checklists
  • Unlimited Members
  • Unlimited Guests
  • Zapier Integration
  • Yammer Integration
  • User Groups
  • Granular Permissions Control
  • Unlimited Scheduled Checklists
  • Google Work Integration
  • Limited Email Support
  • Limited Phone Support
  • Limited API Support
  • Full Historical Audit Trail
  • Template Versioning
  • API Access

WEBSITE: https://www.process.st/

Flokzu

Flokzu is one of the best cloud-based workflow automation and management software that helps you optimizes your business workflows. No programming needed. You can create your own processes according to your organization’s needs, draw the workflow, define the fields that need to be completed, invite your team members and assign tasks.

In addition, you can import one of their Process Templates, manage your daily tasks from any device (PC, Smartphone, Tablet), complete each task in just one place, analyze your business and more.

When it comes to the best free workflow software, Flokzu has a lot to offer. They offer a Free plan without limiting the number of users or processes.

The Free plan includes:

  • Unlimited processes & forms
  • Up to 10 new process instances per month
  • Up to 100 MB of storage
  • Support via email
  • 1 Public Form
  • Full text search
  • Business Intelligence tools & reports (limited)
  • 1 Database with up to 100 records
  • Free process templates
  • Attachments of any kind
  • Email notifications during the process
  • Dashboard (your processes’ metrics)

WEBSITE: https://www.flokzu.com/

WorkflowGen

WorkflowGen is a popular web-based business process management software that helps companies to streamline their workflows. It is a cloud-based and on-premise solution for businesses of all sizes and most industries.

Very easy to use. You can create a workflow effortlessly and quickly with low-code or no-code workflow automation.

The system also: allows process designers to visually create web forms and business rules; automate any type of human and system-based enterprise process; enables you to customize and integrate your workflow apps to fit your environment and more.

Free Plan features and benefits:

  • 1 version of 1 live process
  • 1 instance
  • All features included
  • Unlimited processes and associated versions in test mode.
  • Unlimited End-Users and Process Admins
  • Support available with Assistance Packs
  • On-premise or hosted in your own private cloud.
  • No credit card. No commitment. No questions asked.
  • Forever FREE

WEBSITE: https://www.workflowgen.com

ezFlow

ezFlow is intuitive, easy to use tool for managing workflows. There are so many features to help automate your workflows in just a few minutes. No tech skills needed.

This software allows you to completely control your processes. All your workflow’s steps are set and clearly defined and no actions are left behind. You have also, a process based collaborative environment where you can set who’s responsible for each step or actions.

In addition, the software comes with a range of Workflow templates, like Innovation Management, Humena Resources, Task Management, Project Management, Sales/Marketing and many others that help you automate your workflows in no time.

Free Plan includes:

  • Up to 2 Users
  • 1 GB
  • 3 Workflows
  • 50 Cards/month

WEBSITE: http://www.ezflow.it/

Pipefy

Pipefy is a cloud-based workflow management app that helps you organize and run business processes smoothly in an intuitive and powerful platform.

It’s very intuitive, easy to use and allows businesses of all sizes to centralize their processes. With this software, you can: control your process’s SLAs, integrate your processes and make sure your team work sync, centralize and store all your information, use automated emails.

In addition, you can integrate with more than 500 applications, identify cards according to your criteria, create public forms and more.

The free plan is for small teams and has all the fundamentals you need to begin workflow controls.

The free plan includes:

  • Up to 5 pipes
  • Up to 10 users
  • Pipe Templates
  • Email Templates
  • Public Forms
  • Mobile app
  • Database records: 500
  • Storage: 2 GB
  • Cards created: 100 per month
  • Pipe conections: 1
  • 1 automation rule
  • Automation jobs: 100 per job.

WEBSITE: https://www.pipefy.com/

OrangeScrum

OrangeScrum is one of the best open source – absolutely FREE. The system allows you to communicate with different members – your in-house and freelance team members and easily manage workflows. OrangeScrum combines project management, task management, and collaboration.

This software is a great free workflow software solution for centralizing all your projects and tasks, managing resources, task planning, monitoring and control. The features like the Scrum board and an Activity stream, allows you to focus on what is important while having visibility and real-time information from all members.

Features and benefits:

  • No Tech Skill Required
  • 24/7 Online Help
  • Mobile App (ios & android)
  • Gantt Chart & Kanban Boards
  • Time log & Invoice
  • Resource Utilization
  • Recurring Tasks & Burndown charts
  • Slack Integration

WEBSITE: https://www.orangescrum.org/

Avaza

Avaza is among the most powerful project and task management tools on the web. Avaza is a full featured cloud solution for professional services companies that you can start using today for free. It provides features for project management & collaboration, workflow management, expense management, time tracking, quoting & invoicing.

In addition, you can create integrated workflows, invite customers to contribute to your workflow, create tasks, expenses and invoices to automate your workflow and more.

The company offer simple Pricing for freelancers, small businesses and enterprises.

Free plan features and benefits:

  • Unlimited project collaborators
  • 1 User with Timesheet/ expense access
  • 1 User with admin/invoice access
  • 5 active projects
  • 10 Customers
  • 5 Invoices per Month
  • 100 MB Storage
  • Email & Chat Support

WEBSITE: https://www.avaza.com

Kanban Tool

Kanban Tool is a smart online visual collaboration software that allows teams to visualize workflow, analyze and improve business processes in line with Kanban method. In addition, Kanban Tool provides information analysis tools that allow you to make intelligent business decisions and allows you to manage multiple projects.

Kanban Tool is known for its affordable prices. Plans vary from free to enterprise level.

Free plan features and benefits:

  • 2 boards
  • 2 users for free
  • No file attachments
  • Live board updates
  • Advanced Kanban board analytics and more.

WEBSITE: http://kanbantool.com/

Rethink Workflow

Rethink Workflow is a free workflow software that helps you to cut the cost, time, and frustration of manual paper-based processes. It is a well-featured cloud-based system that allows you to create forms, define processes quickly, easily and is accessible anytime.

The system comes with a good list of features and benefits covering every step of your business process automation. You can build forms, design workflows, set permissions, automate processes and track the progress and more.

Rethink Workflow provides two monthly subscription plans: Free and Premium. New business registration comes with 90 days free Premium trial. No credit card required. After 90 days, you can decide to continue the Premium subscription or go back to the Free plan.

Free plan features:

  • Drag & drop form builder
  • Commonly-used controls
  • Effective data validation
  • Graphical process designer
  • Internal vs. public workflows
  • Multiple variants
  • Powerful triggers
  • Automatic reminders
  • Dynamic users from Dropdown or Email
  • Field and action permissions
  • Flexible roles definitions
  • Identify bottlenecks
  • Fast document search
  • Online support
  • See your workflow data in Table Format
  • Export data to CSV and JSON format

WEBSITE: https://www.rethinkworkflow.com

Proces.io

Proces.io is one of the most intuitive workflow builders for process automation on the market.

This is a tool that allows you easily build workflows and coordinate social collaboration activities. It provides an easy graphical user interface that helps you to create workflows with no need for technical expertise.

The tool combines a good range of features that allows you to build processes without programming skills, choose from a range of pre-built templates, assign users or user groups to a specific task, and more.

It comes with 4 pricing plans.

The free plan includes:

  • Up to 5 users
  • Workflows
  • Free process templates
  • Limit process per application: 50
  • External Web Forms

WEBSITE: http://proces.io/

Conclusion

Worflow software is a simple but powerful automation tool for directing tasks to the team members and users in a business process for further actions. It gives you support and information for each step of the particular process and business cycle.

Workflow documentation is an important tool for successful business process management. If you lack the budget, the good news are that there is a good number of powerful free workflow software solutions.

Of course, before choosing the best system, you must carefully estimate your needs and requirements.

If you are searching for free business systems, then our previous posts: 6 best cheap payroll software and 7 best free document management software can be helpful.

What are your thoughts? Which system do you consider as a good free workflow software tool?

Categories
Business Software

Comidor: The All-in-one Tool For Your Business

At the ERA of digital disruption a common topic for discussion is whether or not businesses can benefit from the use of the software.

While the majority stays positive to new technologies, there are those not convinced yet about software’s impact in daily operations and overall performance.

Back in 2004, when Comidor started its journey and entered in this field, a huge gap was there to convince how technology can’t handle everything in a business.

This huge gap spotted and the idea of Comidor started flourishing. The main idea about Comidor was to be an agile software, which can adapt in any situation depending business needs, is easy to the use and must manage to increase business productivity, through collaboration and automation.

We’ve also found that needs grow very fast, following the technology evolution (ie social media). From 2004 to date, Comidor team’s goal is to provide to its costumer’s today, features that will be needed in the future.

Today, Comidor can be described as a low-code platform which can help businesses with their collaboration and automation.

What are Comidors solutions?

Either you start your business right now, you belong in a small-medium or in a large enterprise, Comidor suits perfect since there is a need to collaborate. There is also a government-educational package for schools, and of course, for the public sector too.

Collaboration will be the key to success

Comidor-chat

Whichever your team’s size is you need to use collaborations features. Do you want to communicate fast with your co-workers? Especially, to send quickly emails to them one by one or to each group?

Comidor gives you the ability to do this quickly and without losing valuable time. But this is just the beginning, there is also chat rooms in which you can chat with one or more people at the same time or make video calls.

A notification system which keeps you informed about your tasks, processes etc (which will be analysed forward), an interactive calendar with drag and drop functionality from where you can add, edit and monitor yours, your groups or supervised tasks and events which take place.

Moreover, in your calendar, you can add new tasks or change tasks stage and choose between different viewing options (daily, weekly, monthly and grid). Collaboration is not only about communication but also about sharing.

So in Comidor, you will find a full Document Management System (DMS) with which you can manage your personal, shared and public documents and a Content Management System (CMS) to share with your employees’ worthy knowledge.

The DMS allow you to customise access rights in all files and folders and integrate with a Google Drive account, Dropbox and Box.

File versioning is also available along with the functionality of sharing content with embedded links and videos.

Comidor-workbench

Continuing, an important functionality which Comidor has is the full approach on accounts, contacts and leads.

Create linkings with tasks, processes and emails, monitor customers life cycle and have full access to his history. Like in all units, there are access rights, tags, searchability, a variety of filters to add and the ability to create new ones.

There is also Workbench, which is a tool to monitor your activity. Quick processes approach along with email monitoring and finally, your tasks.

You can use filters, search tool, create smart linkings between emails, processes and tasks and monitor everything. Another functionality which is really useful is the organisational chart. Put users inside groups and assign team leaders.

Process automation have taken over business world

Comidor-workflow-pmn2

Automation is a key prerequisite in today’s business, considered necessary for business survival. This may stem from the fact that competitiveness had increased and so does the cost of a working hour.

Automation can help you achieve the best outcome in the minimum needed time. Comidor Business process automation (BPA) give to their users full workflow automation with Workflow Designer BPMN 2.0, along with different types of business processes like cases, issues, tickets, projects, opportunities and more.

Save time with Individual, Group and Public Templates to re-use for any type of Process, easy-to-trigger reminders upon specific scenarios and Process Scheduling with repetition options.

Comidor-process-dashboard

Either you are a small or a big company, you will need a control panel which you can manage everything. In Comidor, there is a process dashboard from which you can find the exact process you may need, monitor processes stage and generally, have a 360 view of each process with charts and metrics.

If you want to be more precise with your goals live, you will enjoy two more functionalities, process Accounting and KPIs, which provide complete financial management of processes including Income, Expenses, Cash flow and

Budgeting, and the capability to set up objectives, define goals and reward teams and people, accordingly.

Maybe all these functionalities seem too much so let’s see an example. A customer sends you an email for a new order, which triggers a new ticket.

Thereupon your communication, you set up the new order and start quickly a process from process templates which includes a workflow.

After orders delivery, you will add your incomes by using the accounting features inside the process and include this payment in your KPIs sales goal.

Comidor-procedure-example

The whole system works united, helps you service your customer quickly and keep your goals in track.

The “P” in PM is as much about ‘People Management’ as it is about ‘Project Management’, Cornelius Fichtner

In the business world, planning is crucial for business success, but planning with a software can bring surprising good results. This is why 56% of project managers use a PM software every day.

Think how frustrating managing a project could be and how a software can help a project manager handle all these. Comidor Project Management help the user prioritise his work under any PM methodology with its work packages.

Use the portfolio management to manage current or upcoming projects with a wide range of applications like process prioritisation, RAG status and importance.

Comidor-Gantt-chart-inside-a-project

Create a Gantt Chart inside the project to follow the critical paths, add milestones, and avoid project bottlenecks! Furthermore, in the work packages, you can use the Kan Ban board to view the upcoming tasks, the one which runs at the moment, and finally all the completed ones!

All project managers know that each project has its deliverables and requirements. Comidor has this functionality too, along with much more like project accounting, work and progress reports, assets and resource management and finally, resources cost.

Comidor-search-by-skills-inside-a-project

Book your resources and use people management functionalities like search by skills ability and pending task approvals inside the project.

Each user will have access to different units as one main functionality of People management is to assign roles and link them with different rights.

For example, the financial manager will have access to the accounting information inside the project, whatever it includes, like incomes, expenses, budgeting, forecasting and an analytical WIP (work in progress) worksheet.

Lastly, more and more managers request a way to observe their employees utilisation. This need is satisfied with time sheet and time cards.

Time cards display the actual and the estimated workload and time sheet the tasks depending on their work packages.

Sales success runs the day

Researchers had shown that adopters of sales force automation (SFA) software increased their deals by almost 27%. Automate time-consuming tasks and save time with Comidor SFA.

Starting with opportunities management, which begin from the moment users first approach and ends with a successful sale or a closed deal. Furthermore, check all the statistics results of your opportunities with won/ lost charts and reports.

In the sales world, the greatest advantage is to know the market, and with competition management, you have the ability to do this. Measure sales success versus your competitors. Moreover, create and manage your marketing campaigns, your products/services and your contacts.

If you are searching for a tool from which you can view your site analytics, incomes, expenses and your budgeting, you found it.

With Comidor you can track your website traffic, get valuable information from your visitor path and extract analytics.

In the top of that, there is debit/credit reporting, financial dashboard, budgeting and other CRM tools like charts, graphs and cash flow analysis.

The world of Business Intelligence

Comidor-quick-add-creation

Despite the strong competition, Comidor manage firmly to stay on track and add every day new tools which will provide users with a competitive advantage and help them stand out from the crowd.

With lists, data management ability, pre-defined Reports and a Query Builder to create customised, an HTML editor, graphs, geolocation Maps, website Analytics and Widgets users have unlimited options.

Moreover, the is the quick add which let you create quickly a new process, task, leave application with the option to link it with the background screen entity, upload a file, create a memo, send an email and optionally link it with the background screen entity.

Last but not least from quick adds user can add a new contact or account with background email information and optionally link it with the background screen entity.

Programming with Comidor

Comidor runs on the Cirano platform which is a cloud integrated development environment that supports model-driven development.

It’s multilayer programming help users write apps with a simple code and provides them with the ability to manage data and communicate easily.

Starting with its main characteristics, which are independence with JAVA which offers the maximum level of autonomy, designing freedom which stems from the fact that provides solutions for both mobile and web applications and finally the Open Source Prototypes, which result from the absence of binary executable files renders the application readable on demand.

In addition, Cirano has a Modular and Object Oriented Programming, and the ability to comply with both Spiral and XP programming methodologies.

Furthermore, the Multi-Layer programming based on Cascading XML design offers an organisational pattern which can be clearly hierarchical, distributed and extendable.

Before the end, each unit is clearly divided in an internal structure, consisting of all the necessary data and business logic, and its external structure, consisting of the presentation of the data to the end user.

Lastly, with hierarchical access and change rights in terms of database records, secure authentication with encryption of passwords for users, the digital signature for objects and application modules and user/group/role based rights its security is game-changing.

Conclusion

To sum up, Comidor manages to include all business needs in one suite. The Business Process Management, Project Management, Collaboration, Sales Force Automation and the People Management environment give the user the opportunity to handle with one tool everything in its business; but of course, gives the user the ability to integrate other tools too.

Give your company the flexibility boost needed, increase performance, productivity, mobility and cut costs (and mistakes) through automation. With Comidor not only you can manage to expand customer satisfaction, but also to take real-time control of your projects, increase operational efficiency and lastly, transforming into a smart digitally collaborating company.

If you want to know more visit www.comidor.com

COMIDOR

Categories
Business Software

6 Best Cheap Payroll Software: Online Solutions

Any type of business with employees should have a payroll. If you are a small business owner or a startup and lack the budget, you might want to start with a cheap payroll software system.

On the other side, there are many types of payroll management software and vendors on the market, and you are wondering which one to choose.

Low-cost doesn’t mean bad. Thanks to the big choice nowadays, there are plenty of good affordable but reliable payroll processing solutions that are easy to use and allow you to simply organize the tasks of employee payment.

On this page, we collect some of the best online cheap payroll systems with a good range of features and simple to use interface.

How Pricing of Payroll Management Systems Works?

Commonly, payroll solutions come with pricing models placed on a particular page on their website.

They offer:

  • a base price – a flat monthly rate plus:
  • a per-employee charge. Actually, this is the extra cost of each of your additional employees.

So, the most common formula for pricing: base price + a fee per employee.

This formula works mostly for online payroll software solutions.

Example: you might buy a payroll service for $40 a month, plus $5 fee per employee per month.

Of course, different services have different plans or levels, so carefully look out for the details.

When we talk about cheap payroll software services we mean plans that offer something around $20 a month, plus $3 fee per employee per month.

There also are payroll services that have free quotes or freemium plans that may fit your needs if you are a very small business.

Before choosing the right system that fits your needs, it is important to understand what your business’s payroll requirements are.

What features do you need from a payroll service?

If you’ve a startup or a very small business and with one or two employees, you may need to only pay for the basic features: paying your payroll taxes, paying your employees salary, and managing your tax forms.

If you’re deal with more, then some additional HR features could be worth your money.

6 Best Cheap Payroll Software Systems: Online Systems

Spending a small amount of money can give you an access to a high-quality payroll system.

  • Patriot

Patriot-Payroll-Software-Screenshot

When we talk about the best cheap payroll software we should start with Patriot.Patriot Software is a popular, affordable, reliable, and high-quality online accounting and payroll solution. It is designed to be user-friendly

It is designed to be user-friendly. So easy and simple software that you do not need training.

This is an online payroll processing program that allows you to manage the different activities related to payroll payment and tax submissions and to save your time and money.

And we have to mention that the software using servers in a safe and secure data centre.

Its basic payroll plan is a really inexpensive solution: $10 + $2/employee per month.

It includes:

  • Print Checks or Use Free Direct Deposit
  • Free Setup & Support
  • No Tax Tables to Download
  • Employee Portal
  • Printable W-2s
  • 100% Online
  • Unlimited payrolls (online, anytime)
  • Free 30-Day Trial

Website: https://www.patriotsoftware.com/

  • Intuit

Intuit-Online-Payroll-Software

If you aim to find an affordable online payroll service with a great design and an easy-to-use and flexible interface, it worth to consider Intuit.

Its cloud-based payroll solution is capable and reliable and provides a good selection of payroll processing features. Intuit is among the best online payroll systems for small businesses.

Used by over a million small business owners worldwide, Intuit is a cheap way for you to create accurate paychecks and manage effectively your employee payments.

Price for the Basic Online Payroll: $20 + $2/employee per month.

Features included:

  • Automatic guaranteed tax calculations.
  • Instant paychecks for W-2 employees.
  • No tax forms included.
  • Free live support from experts.
  • Free direct deposit.
  • Run payroll from your iPad, iPhone or Android.

Website: https://payroll.intuit.com/

  • Wagepoint

Wagepoint-Payroll-Software

Wagepoint is simple, fast, and affordable online payroll software for small businesses and startups in North America. Wagepoint handles a lot of payroll features and also offers great multi-currency support.

Everything a small business needs for payroll processing and management is included in their simple plan – direct deposits, year-end reporting, tax filings, pay stubs and more. You get the work done quickly and easily.

The system is compatible with PCs and Macs.

It is a perfect app for businesses in a huge range of industries such as retail, distribution, healthcare, banking and much more.

Costs: $15 base fee + $2/employee/pay. No setup fees, no year-end fees and definitely no contracts.

Features:

  • Direct deposit
  • Payroll calculations
  • Federal, state & local taxes
  • 1099s, W2s & W3s
  • Wage detail reports
  • New hire reporting
  • Additional deductions
  • Contractor payments
  • Additional Incomes
  • Online Pay Stubs

Website: https://wagepoint.com

  • Square Payroll

Square-Payroll-System-Screenshot

Square Payroll is one of the easiest payroll management software out there and one of the cheapest solutions. The system comes with everything small businesses owners need to quickly and effortlessly pay employees.

Its automated features like integrated time cards and tax can truly save your time and efforts.

Despite the fact that Square Payroll is designed for small businesses, it also is suitable for bigger companies thanks to its additional features like payroll for salaried employees, employee dashboards to access pay stubs and more.

The vendor offers a clear pricing: just $25 per month plus $5 per employee or contractor paid for all tax filings, withholdings, and payments.

Features and benefits:

  • Free direct deposit
  • Sick leave and PTO tracking
  • No activation fees
  • No additional cost per pay period
  • Automated, free new-hire reporting for employees
  • Online portal for employees and contractors
  • Tax filings and payments included
  • Integrated employee timecards
  • No cost to generate W-2s and 1099s

Website: https://squareup.com/payroll

  • Wave Payroll App

Wave-Payroll-App-Print-Screen

This web-based and cheap payroll software for small business, supported by 100% accuracy guarantee and a decent number of features, gives you the confidence you need to do your payroll management easily.

You can complete the setup in just 10- to 15-minutes. The system also makes it very easy to automatically deposit payroll into your employees’ bank accounts.

With its iOS app and SSL encryption, you can perform payroll process with flexibility and security.

Super fast, absolutely easy, with only one simple, everything-included price plan.

Costs: $14 base fee + $4/employee/month (first 10 employees) and $2/employee/month for 11+ employees.

Features and benefits:

  • Priority customer support
  • Payroll reminders in your inbox
  • Easy to understand tax liabilities
  • Put employees on hold any time at no charge – a great feature for seasonal businesses.
  • Payroll in the cloud: Pay your employees from anywhere.
  • Direct deposit included.
  • Secure collaboration with your bookkeeper, partner or assistants.
  • Mobile app for iPhone.
  • 256-bit SSL encryption.
  • Data is backed up automatically and more.

Website: https://www.waveapps.com

  • TaxSlayer Payroll

TaxSlayer-Payroll-System-Screenshot

TaxSlayer is a good tax preparation and payroll software that guides you through the process of paying your taxes. It is not so easy to use as the above systems but it is a good choice for those that searching for cheap payroll software solutions.

TaxSlayer Payroll is an automated online solution that allows you to take care of your payroll management and to meet the state and federal tax requirements. It has some features that can save you time, such as the ability to import W-2s.

While it’s not the simplest online payroll software, TaxSlayer is an able system that makes an accurate tax return.

Costs: $22 base fee + $2/employee.

Features:

  • Access from the Cloud – work from any location at any time.
  • Vacation & sick time tracking.
  • Payroll tax form filing.
  • Unlimited paychecks.
  • Free trial.

Website: https://www.taxslayerpayroll.com

Conclusion:

Online payroll software makes it easy for you to pay employees via direct deposit, to calculate wages and file taxes.

The above cheap payroll software solutions are the best for the price they offer. They cover a range of crucial payroll features and you can pick the one that best fits your budget and needs.

With everything you have to do to while managing your small business, you don’t have to spend hours on payroll management.

If you lack the budget and looking for quality software to maintain your business needs, then our previous posts 7 Best Free Appointment Scheduling Software and 7 Best Free Document Management Software can help you.

What is your opinion? Which affordable payroll solution you recommend?

Categories
Business Software

7 Task Management Software With Best Outlook Integration

Microsoft Outlook is a leading web-based email client that is used for personal, small business and large corporate needs all over the world.

Not only it is used as an email application, but it also includes a contact manager, calendaring and task management activities.

On the other hand, task management tools are main weapons for keeping teams on track, executing projects effectively and meeting deadlines on time.

They create an online project base where the whole team can see and follow the project steps and collaborate with each other effortlessly.

On this page, you will see a list of the best task management software with Outlook integration that makes it easy to sync the both tools.

At the end, every good task manager should provide a seamless integration with the most important business applications used by millions of people on a daily basis.

  • Wrike

Wrike is one of the best end-to-end solutions that allow multifunctional teams to collaborate and get the work done effectively. This system lets you plan and adjust in real-time from your office or on the go. In addition, it is surprisingly quick to set up and requires little to no training to use.

You can access Wrike online from anywhere you want – from mobile devices, from any browser on the web or from your email inbox.

Wrike provides seamless integration with Outlook, Gmail, and Apple Mail that allows you to create and track tasks right from your inbox.

It is very easy to sync your Wrike tasks and project milestones to your Outlook Calendar, or any other calendar with URL input.

Moreover, Wrike deepens Microsoft Office 365 integration with Outlook actionable messages. You can work with your Wrike tasks and projects even without leaving Office 365, via Outlook Actionable Messages.

Outlook-Actionable-Message-and-Wrike-email-notification-integration

As you might know, these actionable messages allow you to take very quick actions on external applications right from within Outlook.

Wrike email notifications integrate with Outlook actionable messages in a way that allows you to collaborate with the team and update tasks in Wrike, without going away from Outlook.

And integration options don’t stop there. There are more options to work in Wrike while staying in Outlook. Wrike has also launched an Office 365 Connector.

When it comes to best task management software with Outlook integration, Wrike definitely worth to stay on the top.

Website: https://www.wrike.com/

  • Smartsheet

Trusted by over 50% of the Fortune 500, Smartsheet is one of the most popular web-based tools for project management, collaboration, team task management, and more. This extremely powerful software brings together a lot of benefits of spreadsheets and project management tools.

If your business relies on spreadsheets to cover information needs, Smartsheet will fit your company in an effective way.

One of the main pros of this software is its great integration with Outlook that allows you keeping track of all your emails that fly constantly around.

Smartsheet-integration-with-Outlook

Smartsheet for Outlook integration allows you to create and edit tasks and collaborate in real time, staying in your Outlook inbox.

Basic Features:

  • Convert any e-mail into a shared task. It shows as a row in your Smartsheet project for all other collaborators.
  • Assign, schedule a task or add comments right from within Outlook.
  • Add the whole email as a comment.
  • Add email attachments to Smartsheet tasks.

Website: https://www.smartsheet.com

  • Comindware Tracker

Comindware Tracker is a web-based workflow software with a wide variety of apps serving all industries, departments, and workflow scenarios.

Comindware Tracker is both a cloud-based service and an on-premise solution. This is one of the best workflow management software solutions for business process modelling and business process automation that can really boost productivity.

It is widely recognised, reviewed, and awarded by the big names in the industry including Project-Management.com, The Graphies, Gazprom, and more.

In addition, its MS Outlook-like looks and pre-integrations with Outlook make it a great tool for businesses using Microsoft platforms.

Comindware-Tracker-and-Microsoft-Outlook-Integration

You can effortlessly manage your Comindware tasks within Microsoft Outlook. The Outlook integration synchronizes your Comindware Tracker tasks and the ones you create in Microsoft Outlook.

Synchronization is implemented automatically to keep your tasks up to date across both applications. Aslo, you can manage your Comindware Tracker documents, lists and apps directly from your Outlook account.

For those businesses who like to work with Outlook, Comindware Tracker provides a robust solution where teams can manage their workload from their email.

Website: http://kb.comindware.com

  • Workfront

Workfront is one of the easiest to use systems that provides enterprise-level project and task management.

It is one of the simple project management software with very intuitive and user-friendly project dashboards and real-time reporting. Actually, Workfront goes beyond project management and provides a highly customizable task and work management platform.

The most surprising thing is its ability to combine a high adoption rate with so easy to use interface.

In addition, you can seamlessly combine the capacity of Workfront with your Outlook account in order to manage your work and tasks better.

Workfront-and-Outlook-integration

Benefits of the integration with Outlook:

  • Track your work from submission to completion – using Workfront with Outlook Integration.
  • Request management, team collaboration and document sharing are stored in three folders in your Outlook sidebar.
  • Collaboration tools – outlook integration provides all the collaborating features you find in Workfront.

When it comes to best task management software with Outlook integration, Workfront is a worth to consider option.

Website: https://www.workfront.com/

  • Redbooth

Redbooth also is one of the most popular cloud-based project management and team collaboration solutions out there.

It is one of the best choices for smaller businesses who wants a simple software that organize and manage tasks while boosting communication among team members.

Some of the key features of Rethbook are task management, time tracking, team collaboration, document sharing, Gantt charts, Outlook integration, real-time communication.

When it comes to integration, Redbooth can be integrated with a good number of applications such as Outlook, Zendesk, Box Enterprise, MS Project, Evernote and more.

Redbooth-and-Outlook-Integration

The Redbooth for Outlook plugin allows you to have fast and easy collaboration in your inbox.

You can upload email attachments directly to the Redbooth task, select the task list, assignee, and due date within Outlook as easily as you would if you were working in Redbooth.

The Redbooth for Outlook plugin allows you to:

  • Convert emails to tasks in a very simple way.
  • Automatically embed email attachments in tasks.

Redbooth is a project management tool designed around communications and it integrates great with one of the worldwide communication tools – Outlook.

  • Actionspace

We can not talk about best task management software solutions with Outlook integration and skip Actionspace.

Actionspace is a tool for managing business tasks and projects using SharePoint and Office365. It is a very easy to use tool that can really increase team productivity.

It allows you to track and monitor multiple tasks and projects seamlessly all from within one application. Actionspace is specifically designed for corporate usage and environments and covers the whole corporate task lifecycle.

The system provides one of the best Outlook integrations that let you create tasks directly from your inbox, and the system’s birth with SharePoint and Office365 helps you to manage the confidentiality of corporate content.

Actionspace-and-Outlook-Integration

Moreover, the company has developed an Actionspace for Outlook – Tasks-Projects-Workflows App, which converts your e-mail communication into Actionspace tasks, projects and workflows.

Furthermore, Actionspace provides visibility and goal-oriented approach to Microsoft Outlook by turning it into a tool to manage daily routine and reach your business goals faster.

Actionspace effortlessly integrates with Outlook to make it possible for users to:

  • Create tasks and projects directly from Outlook e-mails.
  • Attach emails to any running project, task or workflow within Actionspace.

Actionspace Outlook Add-in is available for online as well as desktop versions of Outlook.

Website: http://actionspace.com

  • Todoist

Todoist is a rare form of project and task management solution for personal, small and midsize business needs. It combines project scheduling, document management and task management capabilities.

Todoist is a simple but very powerful task manager available for both cloud and on-premise deployment.

Its intuitive interface is designed to keep you informed of progress on all things – from simple tasks to major projects.

With a clean and simple design and great support, Todoist is a software of choice for many individuals and businesses all over the world.

In addition, Todoist fully supports both Outlook and Gmail.

Todoist-and-Outlook-Integration

Their Outlook plug-in can help you power your inbox with seamless productivity tools like:

  • Collaborate with other team members from within your email client.
  • Receive comments and notifications, discuss projects in real-time and more.
  • Convert emails into tasks with one click directly from your inbox.
  • Advanced task management features to organize tasks into projects, to set priorities and deadlines, and more.
  • Access tasks everywhere – on your tablet, phone, web browser, and more!

Website: https://en.todoist.com

Conclusion

You know that Outlook is an irreplaceable communication tool. However, it does not serve business needs such as track progressing and team collaboration.

This is where task management software comes in to turn your email client to a powerful weapon that helps to achieve your business goals.

Nowadays, any serious task management software should provide a seamless integration with the key business applications such as Outlook, Box Enterprise, MS Project, Zendesk, Evernote and much more. Because business software is all about making your company’s performance more effective.

Categories
Marketing

Harnessing the Power of Big Data in Marketing

The concept of “big data” is already 20 years old, and until now it was defined mainly by size and computational problems, with less focus on the opportunities it creates.

The amount of data in the world is growing exponentially, and most of this is because every Internet user, both human and non-human (IoT) is a data creator, willingly or unaware.

Most of this will never be used or looked at again, yet the trend is to store it…just in case.

A report by IBM released in late 2016, shows that 90% of existing data at that moment was at most two years old. Most of it comes from YouTube videos, images, Tweets, Google search queries, and e-mails.

Add the metadata attached to the human-created content, throw in the data created by wearables, beacons, and sensors and you have a more complete the picture.

The real question is: “How can a marketer use all these bits and pieces to drive growth for their business?”

How Is Big Data Different?

The best characterization of big data is the 5Vs: volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and value.

The difference between traditional data and big data is not just size, as the structure also plays a significant role in assessing the dissimilarities.

Big data includes a small part of structured data, carefully organized in tables that could be analyzed using conventional techniques, but the largest part is unstructured or semi-structured.

The unstructured part includes images, comments, and reviews while labels, tags, and keywords define the semi-structured portion.

Big data allows marketers to be accurate and address the habits of the consumer – all in real time.

It is a paradigm shift from the traditional approach of marketing, which used historical data to compute general trends.

Enter the era of the long tail marketing, where niche products are becoming more important than generic products.

Applications of Big Data in Marketing

Personalized Consumer Experiences

Consumers are becoming more connected and distracted at the same time. Companies are competing for a bit of their attention and are adapting the traditional sales techniques to the online environment.

Using the name and details of the person is a way to make them feel important and stop for a while, just enough to hear your pitch.

Customization should go far beyond this and provide relevant options, taking into consideration the previous actions of the consumer such as items they searched for, goods added to the basket but not purchased, or even comments on social media.

Real-time response

Users create data which powers real-time marketing by allowing cookies in the browser, checking in at various locations through social media or just having their location tracker activated.

Clients welcome on the spot marketing opportunities, although these are intrusive, if they come as coupons or discounts.

Providing guidance or responses to unsatisfied customers is another way of taking advantage of real-time interaction. Adjust your suggestions based on their search keywords.

Contextual marketing

Simply put, this means to be in the right place, at the right time, ready to make the customer an offer he or she can’t refuse.

Suggest alternative or complementary products to their choice, welcome first-time visitors and greet returning ones while thanking them for their loyalty.

Add a free delivery option when the value of the goods from the basket is approaching a threshold. Make the customer spend as much time as possible on your site due to engagement.

Offer personal support and call center alternatives for clients struggling to find what they need. Take the relationship off-line with a call or an appointment in a brick and mortar store, if possible.

Optimising Price Strategies

The online environment offers the opportunity to compare prices instantly. Keep triggers on the competition’s price strategy, show variation graphs to customers and enable them to set price alert targets.

These alarms give a valuable insight into the amount they are ready to spend on the product – most of all, they help you make a sale before a competitor does.

Consider retargeting an interested customer when the price has dropped to a value close to their alarm.

Identifying Gaps

If a client searches for something that is not on offer – although it would make sense for it to be – use this information to fill in your stocks or create the service.

List your products and think about the niches that could benefit from each of them, and are not currently engaged.

Design campaigns to target these segments and analyze results. Use big data tools to evaluate your competitor’s moves, including AdWords purchasing or keywords considered for ranking.

Reducing Costs & Increasing Revenue

Big data allows you to do more with fewer resources. Use the insights provided by the analysis to identify your 80/20 rule (which small niche is driving your growth) and invest in that.

Companies can save on publicity costs by engaging only with interested prospects. Optimize delivery by being present on the right channels, at the right times for your audience.

Learn from Amazon and think about the lifetime value of a client, not only short-term gains.

Big data helps you build a personal relation to each customer, in a way that is similar to how friendships develop; don’t let that go to waste.

Performing tests

Data and tests are a perfect match, and big data is bringing the game to a whole new level. You can learn about what your customers like, peek into online trends to see what is hot, and measure the shareability of your content.

It is possible to use big data to evaluate the potential of a thing to go viral.

Additionally, perform tests to optimize your landing pages and identify the specific problems of your website by looking at behaviors and bounce rates.

It’s best to make a map of your customer’s interactions with your site and redesign it to guide them to a buy.

Create different versions of an ad and let the automated algorithms pick the best version.

Challenges of Big Data for Marketing

  • Appropriate tools

Their lack of structure makes Excel sheets, and SQL commands powerless in front of big data.

The variety of the unstructured data and the presence of natural language are serious challenges to overcome and usually require dedicated solutions. Big data consulting services use clustering techniques, including fuzzy clusters methods to help marketers understand and define consumer groups.

This approach is closer to reality and further away from the traditional demographic/sociographic segmentations.

  • Relevance

Although data is abundant, time and resources are limited and expensive. Therefore, the main problem of any marketer is selecting the most relevant items.

Business strategy should be the driving force behind the collection process. The marketing department should first define KPIs and attach proper measures to these to harness the power of big data.

Automation can help analyze data, but the machine needs clear instructions from humans. For each KPI, the data scientists will select a few data sets to be recorded.

Tests will reveal that only a handful of indicators should be kept in the dashboard in the long run.

Aggregating data in indicators or compound sets is a way of capturing more information while remaining with a small number of final results.

  • Security

Privacy concerns are growing as big data is considered an invasion of one’s personal life by conservators. Identity theft, intrusiveness, and lack of control over personal data are all concerns of clients.

The personal data is necessary to power artificial intelligence algorithms and make them learn about users to provide dedicated responses. Anonymous and aggregated data do not pose any direct security threat to users.

The real problems and opportunity for crime arise when data can be traced back to a single user, revealing behavioral patterns and preferences that a hacker could use.

Conclusion

Big data does not lead to better marketing automatically, it is just another powerful tool. The real change remains in the hands of marketing strategists.

Their mission is harder in this new context since simple forecasting tools based on demographic and sociographic characteristics no longer work alone. The solution is to pair census results with robust algorithms to create user personas, not consumer groups.

The hardest part is not analyzing, but selecting the most relevant indicators for the job from the ocean of possibilities. It is a problem of quality versus quantity.

Not all organizations are mature enough to harness the power of big data, although almost all can recognize the commercial potential behind it.

Marketers should think backward to get the right steps in implementing big data. Start by defining the desired outcomes, study the clients’ behaviors that lead to such results and determine the triggers.

Finally, deliver the incentive at the most convenient moment by using the customer’s preferred online channel and cash on the results.

Categories
Business Software

The Ultimate List of Talent Management Software Features

Modern HR professionals don’t rely only on their intuition and experience but also on talent management software. This is a contemporary tool which helps companies to successfully hire and retain employees.

The U.S. Labor Bureau recently stated that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. That’s why HR departments use talent management software to reduce mistakes as much as possible.

Even more, software solutions enable companies to choose the most talented, young professionals. With a tool like this, human resource managers improve employee efficiency, engagement, productivity, and the overall quality of work. In this article, we will go through the 9 most important features of a successful talent management software.

SOFTWARE TYPES

There are two types of talent management solutions: off-the-shelf and custom software. The first solution usually offers a wide scope of possibilities, covering the needs of all sorts of businesses in general.

This kind of software is adequate for a variety of industries that don’t require more detailed and complex elements. On the other side, custom talent management software provides companies with functions designed specially to adapt to their specific needs.

This is very important for talent management and planning in companies which have a clear vision of their future development.

Additionally, it is perfect for organizations which are proactive and always come up with new ways of handling human resources. Custom software allows companies to be creative and add new elements to their HR strategies, giving them the comparative advantage over competitors.

SOFTWARE FEATURES

Whether you use a generic model or custom software, there are some most important features that are inherent to all of these tools. Here are the top 9 elements of all talent management software:

  • Recruiting process

Talent management software helps HR teams to elect the most promising individuals. It automates a significant amount of work otherwise done by HR staff, assessing skills and knowledge of applicants through reliable social networks.

It is developed to track potential acquisitions based on a number of criteria. These include previous work experience, academic titles, practical skills, and so on. The recruiting process relies heavily on keywords, meaning that this part of talent management software encourages the so-called recruitment optimization.

With all the relevant information coming from a multi-channel source, TMS helps in decision making when it comes to new staff members. It is perfect to determine and evaluate the applicant’s knowledge and professional skills prior to the actual face-to-face interview.

  • Learning management

Contemporary industries demand constant adaptations and new knowledge, which is why companies dedicate a lot of time and resources to learning management. This feature is essential to keep employees productive and engaged, so talent management tools encourage it through their functions.

According to recent Glassdoor’s analysis, a 10% increase in employee engagement investments grows profits by $2,400 per worker each year. Therefore, software points out the strong sides of employee’s education but also emphasizes the potential for additional education opportunities.

The TMS learning management provides companies with a unique and uniform system for all team members. The learning feature helps organizations to create a generic library of all the necessary study materials, while also analyzing the outcome of learning practices for each of the participants. This element is very important to determine if the course results are compatible with company goals.

  • Performance management

It is not enough to simply hire an employee. As a matter of fact, real challenges begin at that point, as companies have to carefully monitor a worker’s progress. In that regard, the TMS performance management measures each employee’s achievements to determine if these meet the expected results.

Performance management is crucial for long-term control and extensive governance. When applied perfectly, performance features improve the overall quality of work and lead to better cooperation among employees on a vertical scale. Additionally, managers are able to follow the progress of their subordinates and to let them know when results are not satisfactory.

  • SaaS

Talent management also comes in the form of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, which is convenient due to continuous changes in the field and new market releases. It is cost-effective since the cost is determined by the number of team members who use it, and by the functions it provides.

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about software updates or upgrades since you can switch to another platform almost instantly. SaaS is superb in the early stages of a company’s talent management process because it offers testing potential and great mobility. Once you figure out how a specific SaaS works, you are free to move on and explore another, more suitable option.

  • Social media integration

Talent management software gains much of its power from successful social media integration. This feature is essential for both the employers and employees, as according to Job Seeker Nation Study 59% of candidates use social media to research the company culture of organizations they are interested in.

On the other side, organizations use social media to send targeted messages or investigate candidate profiles instead of their official resumes.

As social media networks keep playing important roles in our everyday lives, it is also evident that HR staff must have the right tool to keep an eye on all potential candidates and current employees. And even employees benefit from social media integration because it helps them relax from time to time and then go back to planned duties with more commitment.

  • Compensation management

Compensation management is an extremely sensitive part of the employment process, so it requires special attention. Employees in big organizations can often be unsatisfied with their income, and their managers might not even know it.

That’s why the TMS compensation management feature keeps an eye on such delicate details all the time. It serves to analyze all expenses and pay, suggesting modifications or bonuses according to key indicators. This kind of management makes it easier for HR staff to administer salaries, plan budgets, make bonus recommendations, and evaluate productivity. Even more, compensation management follows how salary modifications affect employees in terms of engagement, productivity, and performance.

  • Glocalization

International organizations face the challenge of establishing a uniform corporate culture and general principles for all branches. Therefore, their biggest problem is how to develop human resource practices which can produce similar results in all environments and conditions.

The same goes for companies situated in one country but with a huge variety of commodities and services. This problem is usually too difficult for traditional HR sectors, whereas talent management software offers practical solutions, compatible with local cultural preferences. At the same time, software respects general company rules, so it creates some sort of glocalization while dealing with talent acquisition.

  • Succession management

Succession management is crucial for stable company functioning over longer periods of time. Big companies are like a living organism, requiring all parts to work together to achieve the planned results.

When HR staff is not well-prepared for sudden changes in executive or managerial positions, it can cause enormous damage to the organization. That’s why succession planning is one of the most important features of talent management software.

It offers an overview of the most suitable talents, both internally and externally, who can step in and take over specific duties. TMS also suggests the right kind of training and preparation for targeted employees, who are supposed to take over available positions.

It’s no wonder that 75% of recruiters use some model of TMS, while 94% of those claim that it improved their recruiting process. Obviously, this kind of approach to succession management leads to smooth changes in employee structure, making sure that the business as a whole doesn’t suffer.

  • Holistic approach

Human resources management demands a lot of precise work and attention since there are so many elements involved in the process.

We mentioned the majority of these features as part of the talent management software. Obviously, HR professionals must take care of talent acquisition, career paths, promotions, succession management, salaries, bonuses, and all sorts of other features.

All this cannot be executed without a holistic approach and strategic thinking. In that regard, it is surprising to know how many talent management tools offer one or only a few of these features. Therefore, the final feature of an efficient TMS is to cover all aspects of human resources. Only such complete tools can provide companies with adequate talent recruitment solutions.

CONCLUSION

HR technology is widely accepted among the big business players and international corporations. This kind of software brings more comfort in workforce planning and allows HR teams to make better decisions. It seems like organizations which use the most recent TMS solutions are spending 22% less per employee on human resources.

The value of talent management software is undisputed but we tried to explain the features that make it so productive. From talent acquisition and compensation management to succession planning and a holistic view of the process – it is all there. Feel free to analyze it step by step and let us know if you have something to add to our observations.

Categories
Business Software

How to Choose an Agile Project Management Tool?

Managing entire projects – from planning to delivery – demands tremendous efforts from their leaders. They often find themselves confused in the mess of multitasking, struggling to establish flexible and interactive workflow within the organization.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the average large IT project runs 45% over budget, 7% over time, and delivers 56% less value than expected.

At the same time, they noted that standardized work practices contribute to almost three-quarters of successful projects.

With duties dispersed all around the organization, it is evident that traditional project management can hardly produce the necessary results, while agile project management tools step in and take over control. They provide efficiency and full supervision over projects.

HOW IT WORKS?

An agile project management tool gives organizations simple and clear methodology of work. It keeps the track records of all team members, sets iterations and determines velocity, responds to changes over the existing plans, and encourages more frequent, but smaller achievements.

This step-by-step methodology has some basic principles that we would like to describe briefly here:

  • Visualization: An agile approach to project management allows users to visualize the progress made throughout the process, which gives them a great overview of both finished and future jobs to be done.
  • Active user participation: Agile PM software forces employees to be actively involved in the project, giving them obvious tasks on a daily basis. There are no unwanted documents, no misunderstandings, no boring reports; only mini-missions to be resolved gradually.
  • Collaboration: Everyone is involved and all members of the team can see what the overall objective is. They have simple instructions, all information is only a glance away, and there are no huge e-mail threads to burden anyone.
  • Fixed timescale: Traditionally, project managers used to stick to the planned tasks and didn’t allow any changes to be made. On the contrary, agile actually encourages adding new requirements because people always come up with new and interesting ideas during work. However, with timescales being fixed, some initial requirements must be neglected in order to stay on the right time-track.
  • Delivery: As you already noticed, gradual but frequent delivery is essential for the agile project management software. This way, projects are usually much shorter, with incremental delivery and a number of smaller goals to be achieved.

With such features, it is no wonder that the Software Advice studies revealed that this kind of methodology increases efficiency through scrum boards and activity streams in 88% of the projects.

So let us check out the most popular agile software solutions!

MOST COMMON AGILE PM TOOLS

  • JIRA

JIRA is the most popular agile solution worldwide, with millions of consumers who use it to plan, track, and achieve projects and missions.

It offers flexible Scrum and Kanban boards, and the real-time reporting. Its sidebar presents every information of the development lifecycle – planning, tracking, releasing, and reporting.

Planning solutions are customizable in order to fit each team, regardless of the shape and size. You can create stories and tasks from almost every screen in JIRA software, and then organize them in epics and sprints by dragging and dropping them into your backlog.

With options for sorting, filtering, and color coding, you can create a backlog that’s easy for your team to prioritize and work through.

Set up the sprint and follow the realization through Agile Board, while the software helps you to conduct retrospective. A1QA Manager, Ekaterina Bazyleva, claims that JIRA may look scary at first and too complicated to deal with, but it will take you only a couple of days to learn its settings and customize it to your needs.

  • Trello

Trello is a card-based PM cloud tool with user-friendly interface. This software’s card board makes it easy to quickly see the status of multiple tasks almost instantly.

Within each card you can create checklists, post comments and assign due dates. Trello has a dashboard where you can organize all of your card boards by project. Once you pick a project, you’ll enter the board interface, which is composed of lists that represent a workflow of silos for ideas or documents.

Each list has cards assigned to it, and each card signifies a task; clicking on a card opens an interface with card functions where you can add checklists, due dates, upload documents, or assign labels.

Although it doesn’t offer quite the same amount of features as JIRA, Trello is much simpler and more suitable for undemanding users.

  • Pivotal Tracker

Pivotal Tracker is a very useful PM software that provides teams with simple visual support, boosting collaboration and making sure that everyone stays nimble in case circumstances have changed.

It manages multiple projects, creates plain plans and charts, allows instant communication among coworkers, and has many other useful features.

It is rather simple to understand once you get to see its standard glossary, as well as numerous integration possibilities. It can be a bit difficult to customize, but all in all Pivotal Tracker is a really helpful PM tool and mostly for web and mobile developers.

  • Wrike

Wrike is an excellent software for group work improvement. It helps project managers to centralize the work process despite the large number of parties involved, all in real time.

That’s why, for instance, Google uses Wrike as its own PM tool. It allows you to get the job done through only one hub because navigation elements are very simple and intuitive.

This agile model consists of a three-frame layout, with the middle frame presenting all project information at once. The right frame gives you an overview of all task details, while the left pane reveals the project structure, which is very convenient if you need to jump from one stage to another every once in a while.

You can use Wrike as a mobile app, meaning that the software will be available any time you need to check the progress of a certain project stage.

  • Asana

Asana is one of the most popular agile PM tools, and it really encourages all members of the team to practice mutual cooperation and communication.

It enables users to launch all sorts of projects, but also to divide them into specific increments that you can monitor from various devices. Asana provides you with a complete communication framework and you don’t need to use other messenger solutions to keep in touch with coworkers.

Additionally, Asana registers all project changes and developments, in order to deliver push notifications to team members instantly.

However, it doesn’t send every little detail to everyone, only the most notable information, which directly leads to new project duties. Furthermore, this software is compatible with the vast majority of global systems, such as WordPress or Dropbox.

  • Freedcamp

Freedcamp is a very simple and user-friendly agile PM solution. With a convenient dashboard, it will take you no time at all to review the current status of your project.

It offers Kanban cards, easy file managing options, as well as the clear scheme of duties specified in a calendar. Milestones are determined for each stage of the project, while users contribute to milestones with their own specific tasks.

All this is designed to be transparent and obvious to each team member, so potential mistakes and misunderstandings are reduced to a minimum.

Freedcamp is not very compatible with most international systems, but it is still very useful and widespread due to its simplicity.

  • Taiga

Taiga is a project management app intended dominantly for somewhat smaller crews of up to 50 developers, designers, and engineers.

Its deployments are compatible with most operating systems, and the software offers task management according to mission priorities, due dates, milestones, etc.

This PM tool is very intuitive and you will barely need any time to get used to it. Your projects will remain public if you want to use a free version of Taiga, while the paid platform enables private projects.

  • FogBugz

Just like its name suggests, FogBugz is one of the best agile solutions when it comes to bug tracking.

It helps teams deal with development issues more effectively in a centralized manner, so everyone is well aware of current problems.

It catches bugs with the BugzScout web browser, which enables you to react promptly and solve the issue.

FogBugz is also widely acknowledged for its search engine power, which makes it easy to find the necessary documents, articles or other desired items. However, it doesn’t really have the best user interface, especially for mobile devices.

CONCLUSION

Agile project management tools can boost productivity and teamwork, and make it easier to track time and goals within projects.

According to the PMI report, agile organizations were able to grow revenue 37% faster and generate 30% higher profits compared to non-agile companies. Using visualization, collaboration, and precise timescales, agile PM software is the foundation of contemporary project management.

While there are many agile tools on the market, we have given you an overview of the most common solutions. If you try out some of these agile tools, don’t hesitate to share your experience with us, or make valuable comments!

Categories
Business Software

Fixed Price Contract: Pros and Cons of Using FP in Software Outsourcing

Although Agile’s popularity has grown over the last few years, the Fixed Price model remains the preferred way to outsource software development.

The percentage of banking and finance organisations that outsource IT-related tasks on a fixed budget, for instance, has recently topped 40%.

Why do customers love FP? Does a Fixed Price contract guarantee that your project will stay within its budget? Is the model suitable for innovative software development projects? Here’s what Pavel Shylenok, CTO at R-Style Lab, thinks.

The advantages and disadvantages of a Fixed Price contract

Fixed Price software outsourcing and how it works

Ok, you have an idea for an app and consider hiring a software development company – either from your own country (onshore) or abroad (offshore) – in order to put it into practice.

You don’t have coding experience and you basically don’t care by what means your goal (a stunning app that will crash the App Store) will be achieved. In this case, FP is just what the doctor ordered.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Study independent developers’ ratings to choose a company with the relevant expertise and positive reviews;
  • Contact the company’s Business Development Manager and outline project requirements (including the app’s feature set, design concept and purpose). Although writing a detailed requirements specification is a must for the majority of Fixed Price projects, in most cases (that do not deal with the rocket science, of course!) vendors make concessions and replace the doc with an approximate technical vision of a project. The technical vision, in its turn, serves as a basis for your estimate. Provided the vendor has worked on similar projects before, it’s going to be fairly accurate;
  • Discuss the details of your possible partnership (including the expected budget and timeframe) and sign a FP contract;
  • The scope of your project gets broken down into several iterations. Obviously, you are free to review the work at the end of each phase. Otherwise, the model presupposes little to no involvement on the client’s side.

Outsourcing software development in accordance with a Fixed Price contract certainly has its pros and cons.

On the one hand, you can plan your expenditures early on as your budget remains intact unless you make changes to the scope. Also, you can focus on marketing your app instead of monitoring your dev team’s performance.

However, you can’t get a FP project started until you (or your vendor) craft a detailed spec. If you want to add extra features to the scope (QR code recognition, integration with popular payment services, etc.), you’ll have to sign a supplementary agreement and renegotiate the budget.

The lack of communication with your dev team may also result in poor product quality and prolonged deadlines. Even though it’s your vendor who takes the risks, missing deadlines can be critical for tech entrepreneurs who work on an innovative solution with a tight market window.

Fixed_Price_Contract_Pros_and_Cons-Stat-1

Fixed Price challenges and ways to overcome them

  • Fixed Price is not suitable for innovative software development projects. By “innovative projects” we mean not only IoT, AI, AR and other cutting-edge technologies but also applications that require the integration with new APIs and services. If your vendor hasn’t worked with certain technologies and tools before, he will only be able to provide an approximate estimate of the project or its components. Customers who insist on signing a FP contract anyway often end up overpaying for the dev services (bloated estimates). Also, any Fixed Price project has a definite scope, budget and timeline. Once your vendor runs out of funds, he will have to postpone further development until you negotiate the cost overrun (and new feature set). In a world where innovative products usually have tight market windows, project delays may cost you a fortune (if not your entire business).

Ways out? Your vendor may break the scope down into several sections and develop some “obvious” parts of an application (like UI and backend server) according to the Fixed Price model. He will also provide an approximate estimate of the innovative components and bill these parts in accordance with a T&M contract.

As a rule, companies that want to create an innovative software solution do realise they’re not after another alarm clock app and don’t make excessive demands on their vendor.

A T&M contract allows a lot more flexibility – both for a customer (changes to the scope, an opportunity to put a project on hold) and dev team – and results in higher product quality (your vendor has more time for research, QA, bug fixing, task prioritisation).

  • With Fixed Price, you pay for PM man-hours (and good PMs do not come cheap).The Fixed Price model requires thorough project management on a vendor’s side. An experienced PM has to monitor change requests to avoid feature creep, communicate with the customer and dev team, negotiate budget, etc. Thus, a PM’s efforts will also end up on your estimate – and that’s $ 100 per man-hour if you’re working with a US/EU-based software development company.

If you take the T&M approach, you won’t need a detailed spec to get the project started. The dev team would provide an approximate estimate for all the components of your software and start building them straight away. What’s more, you are free to conduct weekly and even daily meetings with your team (via Skype or even face-to-face meetings – provided you partner with a vendor from a neighbouring country), prioritise tasks and add new features to the scope, thus reducing a PM’s interference to a minimum.

Fixed_Price_Contract_Pros_and_Cons2

Going Fixed Price from a software vendor’s perspective

In case you run a software development company, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of Fixed Price contracts, too. Let’s start with the pros:

  • Effective resource management.If you deal with a standard mobile app/ PHP software development project (WordPress websites, event apps, simple 2D games, etc.), Fixed Price is the way to go. Since you’ve worked on similar solutions before, you can easily define an app’s feature set, provide an accurate estimate and…manage the available dev resources accordingly. After all, customers are more interested in obtaining the end result; as long as the application performs the intended functions, it hardly matters who’s built it (two middle iOS developers or two senior software engineers).

However, the Fixed Price approach involves hard work during the presales stage. The time your team spends on preparing a single detailed FP estimate equals three T&M project assumptions. Once you embark on a FP project, you also need to constantly monitor its budget/timeline and avoid scope creep.

Here’s how a minor mistake made during the presales phase can impact a Fixed Price project.

FP gone wrong

Our company was addressed by a US tech startup that was working on a custom EKG tracker. The device was supposed to measure the electrical signals of a human body and transfer sensor data to a dedicated iOS app in real-time over Bluetooth.

At first glance, the project seemed to be a piece of cake (basic authentication, data visualisation, three simple interfaces). Our team assumed they could quickly implement the intended functionality using the Core Plot library and agreed to sign a Fixed Price contract.

Our second mistake was the decision to start with UI design and authentication. By the time we got down to real-time data visualisation, we were halfway through with the project.

And that’s where the trouble began.

Core Plot is a flexible data visualisation library that enables software developers to build both static and dynamic charts. It is primarily written in Objective-C (standard iOS tech stack). However, the amount of incoming sensor data turned out to be unexpectedly large (300 data sets per second). Core Plot had to redraw heartbeat graphs with each update, which introduced a 3 second lag between data processing and presentation.

In order to enable the real-time data visualisation feature, we turned to low-level programming and developed several components of the iOS app from scratch. The dev team decided to segment the Objective-C data into raw C data units and partially transfer the load to GPU. Also, we implemented data rendering through the OpenGL ES library. Although the library is very popular among game developers, few app development agencies possess the required expertise and human resources to put low-level programming technologies to work.

By using raw C data structures and OpenGL ES primitives, we were able to render sensor data at the speed of 60 frames per second and even achieved the dotted line effect (OpenGL Fragment Shader) which was available in Core Plot by default.

It sounds like we’ve done a great job, right? From our customer’s point of view, we certainly have. However, the project was only marginally profitable for our own company.

Guess why?

  • As our customer insisted on signing a FP contract (probably due to budget limitations), we did not have time for research and eventually chose the wrong tech stack;
  • We started the dev process with the development of UI/authentication features (and wasted quite a bit of time). If we’d tried to render data with Core Plot first, we’d have discovered its shortcomings early on and renegotiated the budget;
  • As a result, we had to put extra time and resources to solve the issue and deliver the project on time.

We really hope our story will serve as a lesson for both software vendors and their customers who consider building an innovative solution according to the Fixed Price model.

Outsourcing software development is a great opportunity to reduce operating costs and access new talent pools. However, the success of your outsourcing endeavour largely depends on the choice of a pricing model. Keep that in mind, and you’ll do well!

Categories
Marketing

7 Content Marketing Insights for a Successful Business Strategy

Marketing has progressed immensely from mere product placement techniques or theamusing slogans used to sell soda or cars. It is in everything, from gum adverts to missile launchers.

Content marketing especially works as the creative branch of the industry and it is essential for the success of advertising campaigns.

Surpassing repetition and focus, content gives context and meaning to an ad, two key elements of its success. The online environment explosion in the last few years has created a field ripe for picking for marketing specialists.

The content they have created has attracted the attention of more people than ever. Here are 7 content marketing insights to consider in 2017.

Content-Marketing-Insights-SEO-2017-Strategies2

1. Reduce the information

A common mistake in adverts is to include too much information. Being descriptive may be essential in other areas – such as promotion in specialised magazines – but in dealing with the general audience, one should take into account attention span.

Any product has a series of key features that can be easily emphasized without overloading the customer with information.

A good marketing strategy will play on these features in order to achieve its goal and will pass un on unnecessary additions.

This strategy is especially true for content marketing, which exists in an information-rich environment already. Reducing information has become a kind of golden rule among marketers, but it is still well worth mentioning.

For example, if one has to deal with an entire article, he has to spread certain keywords between the lines. Keeping fragments short and sentences informative is a sure way of keeping the customer interested.

When creating content for online publishing, the excess of adjectives can seriously impede on the purpose. Marketing is far from literary creation, both in aim and in method, therefore content marketing should refrain from using complex text structures.

Short and sweet or direct sentences can create a lasting impression on the reader and promote a product successfully.

2. Digitalize

Large, building-sized billboards are no longer the flagbearers of marketing. A busy intersection may be passed through by hundreds of thousands of people daily, but it cannot compete with the heavy traffic the internet ensures. Similarly, online access, with its array of tools such as immediate messaging or the charter one login pass used in banking, has simplified a substantial number of things.

For quite some time now, the prime area of advertising products has been the online environment. Content creation is the “bread and butter” of this environment, and it allows marketing companies to tap into a well of methods and means in order to reach the target audience.

For example, for a marketing company, its own online self-presentation is the first thing to focus on. Digitalization cannot be ignored as an addition to its image, it has to be part of its hard and soul.

However, the same environment is saturated by comparable ads promoting similar products. The style of a company’s content should be able to permeate the web and be heard. Consumers are nowadays used to the traditional ways in which marketing campaigns try to captivate their attention.

A successful business strategy includes a plan for the company to present itself as unique and different to its target audience, most – if not all – of which can be reached through the internet.

3. Create a story

Content marketing is perhaps the most important part of any marketing strategy, giving it shape and strength. Moreover, creating content is creating a brand story – how a product presents itself on the market.

A story is nothing other than the means through which to differentiate among products which saturate the market and suffocate the buyer, especially online.

Stories captivate the attention and imagination. Just like magicians awe their audience with a grave voice while shifting focus from one point to another, so can good content improve the image of a product by playing on its key features. Some brands have a strategy of suggesting uses or settings appropriate for their products.

Companies producing soda, for example, always portray groups of young people enjoying life together with the image of their products.

One of the most widely used technique in terms of story-creation is that of relating products to elements familiar to the potential buyer. For example, cleaning products play their essential role in the life of any housewife.

Conversely, toy companies understood the need parents feel to satisfy their children and the pleasure that children feel when they impress their friends. Accordingly, the content they push is moulded on these understandings of the product that “normal” people have.

4. Adapt

Creating a governing plan such as a content marketing strategy may be helpful in the short run, but the online market is always shifting and morphing.

Thus, the strengths of a well-established plan may turn into its weaknesses, making a campaign entirely redundant. It is, therefore, essential to constantly survey the market and adapt to it.

The created content needs to be part of a world and has to respond to it in order to cause reactions. For example, an airline carrier may vaguely hint at the political context regarding migration and travel. With such a subtle mention, the company can receive extensive rewards from its clients.

Conversely, a company may alienate a segment of the audience with the same daring messages. Such a campaign strategy may thus prove to be highly risky and only provides a good return value for the big name brand.

5. Establish a relationship

As mentioned before, ideas do not exist in a void, they are presented to an audience of extremely diverse individuals. An effective marketing strategy does not limit itself to presenting products and stories to the consumers.

Instead, it observes and documents their patterns, needs and wants. It is also vital to understand the promoted image through their eyes.

The best tool to reach and relate to a greater number of people is social media. However, by 2016 the content fatigue of people reached higher levels that before. Ads have become so numerous and yet similar and common that the target audience hardly ever noticed them. Instead, they pass over it as “just another ad”. This can be prevented with an audience persona already familiar to the public.

Instead, they pass over it as “just another ad”. This can be prevented with an audience persona already familiar to the public.

The most successful companies are those with an established name brand. Words are essential to such brands, as most choose to associate their name with a series of features or values, usually highlighted by their logo or slogan.

This is just another form of content creation and it can either take a company to new heights of profit or destroy and humiliate it, forever connecting its name to something undesirable or ridiculous. As such, content should be one of the key focuses of any company trying to establish itself before its target audience.

6. Frequent audits

Going back over past work to enhance or study the impact of the employed measures is something that most marketing companies do not do.

A satisfied customer is considered to be enough, although it shouldn’t be so. For marketing professionals, the work is not done once the ads are out. Analysis of past activity is an essential part of future success.

Certain kinds of content that are put on the market may fail to entail reactions at a certain time. The exact same content may be praised and cause an immediate rise in sales at another time. This happens because the ad market is volatile. The environment changes constantly.

A successful business strategy involves a marketing plan that is quick on its feet and observant. Being aware of the surroundings can only improve the quality of the produced content, and that is also true for any company striving for success.

7. Share information

The last point pertains to the “internal kitchen” of a company. In terms of content creation, cooperation and awareness are vital to success. Simply put, from creative writers to strategy developers and managers, the end-goal of a marketing campaign needs to be thoroughly understood by all.

Workload distribution is another key feature that needs careful balancing. Each team, as each individual, has its limitations and areas of expertise. By sharing information and encouraging cooperation, a company can only benefit and expand the said domains of knowledge.

The internet, along with a series of information sharing apps, has greatly improved the reach and connectivity of ads. As such, marketing companies and content developers need to be at the forefront of this trend in communication.

Every way in which more potential customers can be reached must be thoroughly known and populated with content. The web is any company’s friend, be it for self-promotional or business opportunities and is the most important takeaway of this point.

These 7 insights each bring a content marketing strategy closer to success. Beyond immediate customer satisfaction, they ensure the long-term viability of techniques and methods.

Flexible and proficient, the content thus created will reach a larger audience with a more impactful message. Sales and profitability will naturally follow.

Categories
Business Software

An Integrated Helpdesk and Task Management Solution – Deskun

Effective customer support and communication is important for customer retainment. Once an enterprise takes off, it is the returning client base that often secures good numbers at the end of the month.

Optimal support and constant back-and-forth with some clients requires an efficient system to deal with client queries. At the same time, general task management assistance is required.

You may want to have a look at dedicated special software or simply rely on the common sense of the coworkers and avoid extra software. The best of both worlds are helpdesks that integrate with the mailbox.

You get the necessary functionality without additional clunky bits of software.

Gmail is particularly good for this, with its Google Drive and extensive communication possibilities. Co-writing documents and making easily shareable spreadsheets is enjoyed by many already.

With integrated helpdesks, one can integrate all work-related content within one mailbox.

We discuss one such system here. Deskun is probably the most accessible solution around due to the ease of installation, lots of free features and a low price for extended functionality. Here is a quick rundown.

What you get for free is a nice set of advanced tools for working with emails. These features feel as if they should be part of out-of-the-box Gmail.

What they allow you to do is to better organise all your email-related work, and may thus prove useful to just about anyone.

Mail Tracking

When did the addressee read your email? Wondering if he has opened it at all? To find out, enable mail tracking while sending the message.

001-Enabled-Mailtracking

Then simply hover over the eye icon next to the title:

002-Tracked-email

This will reveal the very first time and date the message has been opened by the addressee.

The same function can be accessed directly from within an open or edited thread. No need to go back to the main Gmail screen.

Send Later

Sometimes it is necessary to send an email real early in the morning. With the “send later” function it is possible to set up time and date of message dispatch and avoid the unpleasantness of waking up at an ungodly hour.

Message Reminders (Snooze)

If you cannot deal with a particular task mentioned in an email at the moment of opening, try snoozing it. Snoozed email will remind you of itself following a delay.

Choose the time you want to be reminded of it and the letter will appear as unread in the original folder at the set time. This is a neat way to keep track of important correspondence. Especially when facing multiple tasks at once.

004-Snooze

Meanwhile, all the snoozed emails reside in the “Snoozed” folder, where you can access them at any moment. They also allow themselves to be un-snoozed and taken up from here.

005-Deskun-snooze-folder

Message Templates

Templates save you time if you need to send a bulk of similar messages. The Deskun Control Panel allows you to write your own templates including useful tags like {my_name}, {my_email} and others.

These allow to create flexible templates that can be used by any member of the team and in any foreseeable situation.

They can be accessed directly from within the open message:

006-Template-is-Gmail

All of those will certainly find some use and it’s free so there is no reason not to get it. Do you need the subscribing Deskun helpdesk though?

The full helpdesk service lets you run an actual support centre in Gmail. You can:

  • Tie any existing mailbox to Deskun and handle customer requests inside a dedicated Gmail interface
  • Organise people into workgroups, called queues, and organise their collaborative work
  • Set up automated responses and let the customers know their queries are being dealt with
  • Set priority and status for client queries
  • Make notes in the correspondence thread that can only be seen by your coworkers
  • Assign the tasks to particular colleagues

For a very low price, these features are available for any desired number of queues and agents.

How does all of this work?

Deskun uses a ticket-based system, whereby incoming messages can be turned into active tasks. These messages gain additional useful attributes and become tickets. The user then handles these tickets.

For example, a ticket will have a deadline, completion status and one or more support agents assigned to it.

These tickets can then be bounced around the team, prioritised or de-prioritised, resolved or put on hold until the necessary expert is around and free.

This is done to achieve better transparency and clarity of responsibility within the team.

Workgroups

These are needed to coordinate several people at once and direct their efforts toward a particular task. It’s quite handy to message and set tasks to several colleagues working as a group.

Thus you can divide the workflow between several departments.

To set one up, go to “Create New Project” in the Deskun Control Panel:

007-Create-new-project

Fill in as appropriate for a tech support service, for example. Add in some people from the support team. Beware that they will need Gmail accounts.

008-New-project

Creation of a new project has also prompts creation of a new workgroup, or queue, as they are called here. You will need to choose the type of queue. These can be: task management, customer support or a custom one. These will have different settings. Much of these are explained in the selection menu:

These can be: task management, customer support or a custom one. These will have different settings. Much of these are explained in the selection menu:

009-Queue-type

For customer support, choose appropriately.

Tie the group to the dedicated support mailbox. This action will turn all incoming customer queries into tickets that can be accessed by any member of the group.

0010-Shared-mailbox

Here is what the customer support agent will see once the group is set up:

0011-Deskun-folders-in-Gmail

Tickets

Let’s say you actually want these organised workgroups to do something. Create a new task (ticket) the way you would start a new email. You will see four new functions on the bottom of the edit window:

0012-Ticket-view

These are used to 1. Choose the workgroup (queue) 2. Set priority 3. Assign an agent 4.Set the deadline.

Here is how an agent will then see it all:

0013-Ticket-view-agent-perspective

Once a ticket is picked up by one of the agents in the queue, it becomes locked for every other agent. This way Deskun prevents several agents from taking up the same query. It can be unlocked later if needed.

In the ticket thread everyone can see the status, change it when the task is completed or make confidential notes in the very same ticket thread. If the query repeats itself in a month or two, the entire ticket history can be easily recovered.

The ticket can also be bounced to a different member of the team – perhaps one with more expertise in the subject matter.

That will also be reflected in ticket status and history. Thus if there is at any point the need to examine prior ticket history, it can be easily reviewed. Any particular agent’s responsibility and possible failure to meet such becomes obvious.

0014-Ticket-history

As you can see, it is all pretty neat and clear. This comes back to the convenience of full Gmail integration. All the new task properties can be seen in one screen. There is no need for back and forth between different software suites, all necessary information is one click away.

Autoreplies

It is possible to set up automated responses to acknowledge that a client’s query is being dealt with. Saves the agents’ time and your money. An autoreply can be set up using a simple form. Naturally, flexible tags are also supported. Like this:

0015-Autoreply

Who will make the most out of Deskun?

With a system like Deskun it is possible to streamline customer support, as new tickets will be highlighted and picked up by the members of the team.

Deskun is particularly good for new businesses and freelance entrepreneurs. Its free features allow a self-employed person to keep organised and stay within one single mailbox.

The pricing for full functionality is then geometrically progressive. Smaller enterprises pay less, since channels and agents cost under a dollar per month. Again, very little reason not to get it.

How else might Deskun be useful?

  • Organising newsletters: if you work in any organisation and need to send out instructions or keep others in the loop
  • Editorial work. Alternatively, collaborative writing of texts will benefit from the notemaking functionality
  • Freelancers will enjoy the possibility to organise one’s work and appear more professional
  • Obviously, a managerial job is greatly simplified with workgroups and a transparent responsibility system