Tackling product management in any medium is accompanied by certain challenges, and in the cloud, difficulties often revolve around effective organization and fluid interaction between participants. One SaaS team, OneDesk, has created a service that addresses these issues in product management while also incorporating a host of other functions, from support management to human resources functions and beyond. An ambitious service with an obvious emphasis on ease of use and quality design, OneDesk has a lot to offer companies with existing employee and customer communities, though it may be overkill for smaller operations or those still in the early stages of company development. Potentially overwhelming but promising for the right set of users, OneDesk should be considered when centralizing and simplifying product development and management are top priorities.
Getting Acquainted with OneDesk
The sheer volume of OneDesk’s features may be intimidating for new users and for those considering widespread implementation. From the developers’ main site, prospective users can request a demo, or can take advantage of a feature tour in one of a few formats. While the demo is likely the best option for big businesses interested in OneDesk, a quick overview of the service with a video or screenshot tour will convey the complexity and immensity of the software. Without a well-made, attractive interface, such a large suite would be a serious pain to use, but thankfully, OneDesk has put plenty of work into making its various screens and special modules appealing and easy to navigate.
Highly graphical without being devoid of useful information, OneDesk makes switching between different tasks and features simple, even with the multitude of functions available. Menus are clear, data visualizations are basic, and individual workspaces neatly tie modules together to keep large amounts of information well-organized and easily accessible. Perhaps unavoidably, OneDesk isn’t the easiest cloud service to dive into; there are many screens to explore, plenty of features to try, and a lot of socially-activated options that are involved in regular usage. Still, spending the time to get oriented may be a worthwhile affair for companies able to take full advantage of OneDesk.
What Does OneDesk Do?
At its heart, OneDesk covers the basic needs of product management, including defining and altering product requirements, managing releases, and coordinating input from multiple teams. These essential functions find a range of specific manifestations in OneDesk. A product’s various attributes and specifications can be entered and modified according to a number of criteria, including other OneDesk components such as user feedback or discussions among development teams and marketers. Tracking releases and monitoring issues relevant to a product are easy tasks with OneDesk’s social media capabilities. Users can scour social websites such as Twitter to find mentions of their product or company, and making direct responses is also possible, incorporating effective customer management and relations. OneDesk can also be used to examine how different product or industry parameters are performing in terms of word-of-mouth.
Conferencing and collaboration are standard features as well, with the ability to consult with product teams, individual employees, customers, focus groups, and others. Users can define communities and send them surveys to collect valuable development or refinement information, and polls can also be created to gather quick and useful data. Along with facilitating social interaction between a wide variety of parties, OneDesk also incorporates a basic social networking function by allowing users of any type to create a personal page, including a blog, basic biographical information, and streams relevant to particular projects or tasks. Capable of handling many of the most important aspects of classic product development while also making use of modern technologies, OneDesk’s central set of features create an impressive and inclusive approach.
Still More Services
Accompanying OneDesk’s basic functionality is a collection of less critical but possibly very useful features. The largest of these is built-in support management. While some companies may visualize using a separate application for handling support requests and managing reputation, OneDesk incorporates these functions into its service so that their relationship with product development and community input data is as smooth as possible. Successful support tickets and recorded conversations can be easily added to a knowledge base, making the creation of support materials highly efficient. Advanced ticketing systems also enhance client relation management.
Further incentives such as employee timesheets cover additional aspects of a company’s operation without requiring the use of other programs, and managing teamwork is also easy with the ability to set tasks and allow teams and employees to develop sub-tasks and submit turnaround estimates. Reporting features such as visual roadmaps to product completion or performance can be created as well, potentially simplifying presentations to staff or to stakeholders. Budget management for projects and specific products is also available.
Finding Flaws and a Final Word
Amidst so many features, it may be difficult to identify where OneDesk could create greater value for its customers. Beyond the initial difficulty in becoming oriented with OneDesk, companies may find that there are few, if any, problems with the software. One issue unrelated to the performance of the service may be pricing, however. OneDesk offers two account options: a free but restricted entry-level account that caps users at three and customers at thirty, and a somewhat pricey paid account that opens up the full feature set but requires a payment per user per month. As very large organizations are probably able to derive the most benefit from OneDesk, the most suitable customers may find themselves paying very high costs. A bulk discount is available, but may not be enough to make OneDesk affordable; however comparing this cost against enterprise level packages from mainstream vendors could provide huge savings in very specific cases.
While there’s certainly an argument to be made for eliminating the need for other pieces of software and thereby saving funds, not every company will be able to fit OneDesk into their budgets. A remarkably feature-rich cloud service with plenty of clever ideas for improving product management and customer relations, OneDesk is worthy of a a basic tour even if it may end up being accessible only by those with a lot to spend on their cloud solutions or for those looking to replace multiple traditional solutions.
About the Author
View Author Profile