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2/22/2012
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Wrike Adds Workload View To Project Management Software

Managers can view assignment distribution to make better use of employee resources, resolve scheduling conflicts.

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Project management software developer Wrike Wednesday added a workload view to its eponymous software, allowing managers to clearly view how assignments are distributed in order to allocate resources, detect and resolve schedule conflicts, and reorganize assignments to optimize performance.

The workload view is shown as an interactive timeline that pictures tasks grouped by team members. Overlapping assignments on an employee's schedule are highlighted so managers can quickly see and resolve the conflict by rescheduling tasks, changing their duration, or reassigning by dragging and dropping them on the workload view chart. Managers can also dispense unassigned tasks from the timeline; the software immediately notifies employees via email and the Wrike Activity Stream.

"It's very important that the workload is level," Andrew Filev, CEO of Wrike, told The BrainYard. "This feature, for the companies that need it, can generate a lot of savings or even additional profits."

The workload view allows companies to ensure all employees are working at full capacity, he said, while making sure none are being overly burdened. This can be especially important at firms that bill by the hour in industries such as professional services, design, and consulting, Filev added.

[ Learn more about Wrike: Simple Social Project Management. ]

Wrike continuously upgrades its software as a service (SaaS) product, preferring to add features at a steady pace instead of offering one major release every year or two, he said. But the company, which caters primarily to small and midsize businesses (SMBs), recognizes that not all customers want every project management capability. Wrike makes it easy for clients, which do include some enterprises such as UNICEF and eBay, to pick and choose, said Filev.

"We wanted to make a solution that makes it easier to manage the chaos," he said. "One of the key differentiators is trying to bring enterprise-quality features in a very digestible, easy to use way. We mostly sell our products online. [Users] mostly start the tool, and they get it. That's a very big difference when it comes to collaboration. It's much easier to use. You don't have that expensive learning curve. We have all sorts of nice features they can choose to use."

For example, teams can merge emails into their planning processes, and Wrike's Dynamic Timeline allows managers to see a real-time picture of multiple projects. The software's Flexible Structures feature lets management coordinate every detail of each project, while the application's automatic, daily emails and task reminders boost productivity, according to the developer.

Studio e Design Group, a Farmingdale, N.Y.-based design firm that specializes in designing and building corporate cafeterias, eateries, and high-end restaurants, had used ugly, unmanageable spreadsheets to try and keep tabs on the multiple, complex projects it had in place across the country, said Ivan Weiss, executive VP, in an interview.

"Because of the design nature of our business, we do a lot of multi-tasking. We have different teams within our company working on a different project. We may have three or four people working on a design project and they pass information back and forth," he said. "From a management perspective, we were struggling with knowing what was going on, who was doing what, and really keeping a handle on it. Before Wrike, we had a basic spreadsheet and weekly meetings."

Attendees spent meetings updating the spreadsheets instead of discussing more pressing--and revenue-generating--topics, Weiss said.

"Instead of being a week ahead, we were always a week behind," he recalled.

Studio eDesign, which works with a solution provider and has one, part-time IT person in-house, took advantage of Wrike's free trial period, and then purchased the software. Unlike a customer relationship management program the company had tried two years ago, Wrike was easy to use and didn't require much upfront work because of its tight integration with email and Google Apps, said Weiss.

"It kind of lets you use it as much as you want. It didn't take any time away from working," he said. "I telecommute a lot and people on my team travel a lot; because it's Web-based, we can connect anywhere."

Sign up for the Reinventing Business With Next-Generation Social Collaboration In The Cloud Webinar to see how companies are approaching social business and embracing the spirit of collaboration and community to deliver unprecedented return for the time invested. It happens March 1.

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