Computing in the cloud offers an array of benefits to users, from inexpensive and accessible-anywhere storage to easy collaboration and beyond. But sometimes, users may want to opt for an offline version of a given application feature, and AceProject, one of the cloud’s many ambitious project management suites, opens up the options with both hosted and intranet versions. Featuring a number of useful management tools and add-ons housed in a competent if less than striking design environment, AceProject may be an attractive solution for project managers in search of an all-in-one program.
With the investment of time and, for most membership levels, money involved in working with AceProject, however, it’s unlikely to be a good candidate for anyone in search of an occasionally useful, quick utility capable of putting together a nice report or presenting some forgotten piece of information. Like many all-inclusive suites, AceProject’s success for individual users depends heavily on how that individual use plays out, but there’s certainly some positive potential for the service.
Starting Out and Studying
AceProject is easy enough to dive into and explore, and the free account option allows curious users to take a look around in a matter of minutes without handing over any financial data. Given the large number of utilities within AceProject’s over-arching suite, it’s not surprising that there’s a lot to take in at first, as each module is complemented with various options and configurable functionality. Clicking around should give new users a fair idea of what’s possible, though the interface is somewhat lacking in terms of clarity and easy navigation.
The challenge of meaningfully and attractively organizing such a bulky application suite hasn’t necessarily proved to be too much for AceProject; intermediate users and those with a bit of patience are sure to do fine with the suite after some basic orientation. Those looking to start saving time and find elegant, fast-paced solutions from the get-go, however, may be put off by the complexity combined somewhat paradoxically with a more or less plain look and feel in AceProject’s interface.
A basic layout of tabs and menus provides the structure for the suite, but there’s much more that could have been done to improve font readability, feature location, and overall visual appeal. Users who place greater emphasis on the breadth and depth of actual application functionalities may not have any qualms about the state of AceProject’s visual face, but the service loses out on unbridled praise for its lack of focus on this issue. Far from being at the bottom of the barrel though, AceProject’s design helps the suite get by and supports, without really enhancing, the service’s utility.
At the core of AceProject’s applications are a set of modules that are geared towards helping project managers stay organized and track data. Task management, process control, document handling and versioning, flexible reports, and timesheet and expense management capabilities are all on board to provide users with a set of tools that can make work faster and less prone to inefficiency and risk.
The suite’s main applications have been put together with skill, allowing for a high degree of configuration and data management; in other words, there’s no watering-down going on, though the modules aren’t so advanced they require specialist knowledge. Retrieving files, visualizing the steps of an ongoing project, allocating tasks to various team members, checking in on a worker’s clocked hours, and getting a feel for the running expenses of an open project –or just about any other metric, are all capable of being completed with accuracy in AceProject’s suite.
Picking through the Perks
There’s more to AceProject than its most central applications, and users who depend on the suite regularly to get work done are likely to appreciate the diversity of extras available. The inclusion of a human resources module, which is often absent in similar application collections, lets users more fully take advantage of AceProject’s collaborative options and provides a basis for convenient payroll and accounting processes when used together with the timesheets function.
Data import and export help cut down on the time and hassle involved in setting up forms and files, and AceProject’s branding feature makes it simple to put a personal face on the suite as a whole. Especially welcome is AceProject’s compatibility with a wide range of browsers as well as with smartphones for use on nearly any machine in or out of the office.
The public API gives AceProject considerable potential to work with third-party developers and tech-savvy clients to create additional features or options that can personalize the suite for more effective individual use. Presenting an admirable list of extras, AceProject has made a valiant effort in the quest to provide users with a full menu of possibilities.
The Price of Product Management
While a fully-loaded project management suite may seem to warrant a moderate price, users who want to tap into unlimited project, item, and user allotments may find the monthly fee for AceProject’s “Gold” membership level somewhat daunting. Thankfully, it’s easy to get a feel for just how often a given group is likely to use the suite thanks to the free membership version. Companies that see a lot of potential in AceProject’s design and functionality may wish to opt for the intranet version instead, which can be purchased in tiers that allow increasingly large numbers of users (and various periods of free support).
Love it or Leave it?
Based on the considerable differences in attention to design and thorough capability, AceProject is likely to either be a big hit or a major thumbs down for individual users, depending on their own preferences and working style. Though there’s plenty of room for improvement, AceProject has created a worthwhile and smooth-running suite of applications that respect the modern demands of project management, and the opportunities for future expansion and development make the service an attractive contender both in and out of the SaaS cloud.
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