Ask people what they know about the cloud and they’ll often say they use cloud storage. It’s perhaps the most visible part of the cloud to the average user of IT. Apps such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Box have become practically ubiquitous thanks to big headlines, referral schemes and our increasing reliance on mobile devices.
Cloud storage is often integrated into cloud collaboration tools like TeamworkPM or Basecamp. This integration links our files with project management tools so we can formulate processes that take our work entirely into the cloud.
Hojoki is different. It builds social networking functionality directly on top of existing cloud storage apps including Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, Podio and so on. It also bridges services that don’t natively connect to each other. In my work as a technical content writer, I use several cloud storage applications to keep in touch with clients on different projects, so Hojoki caught my eye straight away.
My colleague Mathew signed up through his Google account so we could test the system out.
Hojoki is initially free to use, but you’re limited to a certain number of collaborators. The Premium (i.e. paid) version lifts this limit and gives a guaranteed check interval for when the app checks for files in your cloud storage app. Hojoki promises a forthcoming Organization plan, too; this appears to be a dedicated system providing a wider range of administration features which would be more suitable for a large business.
How Hojoki Works
When you sign up for Hojoki, you are prompted to complete some account details, create a workspace and connect an app to the workspace. This is a quick way for you to get started and get a basic understanding of how the app works, because Hojoki is built on workspaces.
These workspaces are built around folders in your various cloud storage accounts (or other SaaS applications). That makes Hojoki very useful to anyone already working in the cloud who just needs to join the dots. Using Hojoki, you can link multiple areas from various different apps into one space; for example, you could have some files relating to a project in Google Drive, others in Box and more in Basecamp. A workspace in Hojoki can link all of these together.
Hojoki uses these links to create a social networking feed to monitor how your work is progressing and to create additional tasks for different people.
The Hojoki Workflow
The dashboard shows all of the workspaces you have created. Each workspace tile also gives an overview of the users collaborating in the workspace, any open tasks and any recent activity.
Click on a workspace and it opens up, allowing you to perform additional work. Each workspace comes with a feed, a task list and a list of the files in each linked folder. The feed shows all activity in the workspace. If another user has posted a comment, updated a file, created or completed a task, the time and details of the action are described.
The feed also allows you to preview any file that is displayed. Just click on the file and it will be displayed in a popup window. You can follow the link to quickly open it in the web application where the original is stored.
Creating a new workspace is simple. Give the space a name, a label colour and some users. Then, you can customise your users and link the workspace to different apps using the quick links in the left column of the page.
You can comment on items in the feed, delete them or create tasks for them. If you create a task, you can set deadlines and assign it to other collaborators in the workspace.
All tasks are made available in the tasks list. By default these are filtered to display only the open tasks which are assigned to you. This effectively makes it a simple to-do list. At the same time, the filters can be edited to display all tasks, open or closed, and any tasks assigned to other users.
The files page gives you quick access to all of the files in the folders which you have linked to the workspace. This makes it easy to find what you need to work on; just click a file and the item opens up in the application it is stored in. You don’t have to spend time trying to find the files you are working on.
Hojoki is also designed to work in iOS and Android, which makes it an invaluable tool for a mobile workforce. The iOS smartphone app allows you to access just about everything that is available in the web app.
The interface is laid out in a similar way to the web app. From here, I can still open up files in either a web browser or another app.
Hojoki: Simple and Effective
Hojoki is really easy to use. The interface is neatly designed and very user friendly. Anyone who has used a social network in the past will quickly grasp how the system works and how it could be useful for them. It has practically no learning curve, and because it’s a kind of integration tool, it means you can move everything to the cloud without having to migrate all of your work to a new system. It also allows you to join apps that would otherwise be incompatible.
Mathew and I really like to see clever integrations, and Hojoki is basically the most innovative we’ve seen so far. It doesn’t just integrate – it glues apps together, makes them work more effectively and helps take the pain out of switching between different applications. The range of other applications it can integrate with is already impressive and will only continue to grow.
So, in summary; Hojoki does not include all of the bells and whistles of a top project management cloud application, but it doesn’t have to. It’s a simple and effective solution which will appeal to smaller enterprises that do not necessarily need to build in massive functionality. We loved it, and we highly recommend that you give it a try.
Category: Initial Reviews
About the AuthorClaire Broadley is a technical author and SEO copywriter. She reviews cloud applications and SaaS products for Rated Cloud.
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