Cloud project management tools are one of the SaaS products I use the most, so I was really keen to have a look at TriggerApp. It’s a cloud project suite which handles customer data, project data and project tasks. It also ties timesheets to financial data for easy reporting, and provides an excellent graphical overview for project managers.
TriggerApp covers the same ground as its bigger, more established competitors, although it approaches project work from a slightly different perspective.
TriggerApp has a beautiful user interface, and it’s obvious no expense has been spared in the development. There are no tabs to be seen here: just buttons, collapsing lists, clever HTML5 and clean, crisp icons.
This is the opening screen: adding a new project. If you saw this screenshot out of context, you probably wouldn’t guess it was a SaaS product.
Navigating is quick and enjoyable thanks to the traditional menu and sidebar layout. Adding a task is particularly nice, but there are lots of nifty UI tweaks that make TriggerApp look very neat and compact. It’s nice to see a cloud app which exhibits so much attention to detail.
Help is easy to access too: there’s a Getting Started guide in one corner and a Support icon in the top right which links through to a forum and knowledgebase.
The Activity Dashboard gives an overview of employee and client interaction across the entire application or at a lower level (by company, for example). I love the way TriggerApp handles this crucial feature. It’s very clear compared to other applications I’ve used.
Other features such as timesheets, user avatars, building invoices from timesheets, defining privacy settings and auto-emailing users on completion of tasks are nothing new. Write a username with an @ in front and the user receives a notification; OK, not innovative, but it’s a nice touch and a timesaver.
The one difficulty I have with project management tools is the dilemma around time tracking and converting that time into invoice data. Normally this can be done in the project management tool (to some extent) or the accounting tool; it’s not particularly easy to find two products which are compatible and which can share data between them. FreeAgent make some attempt to do this with Basecamp, but it’s definitely not a foolproof solution.
Project managers can use TriggerApp to break down the cost of the work at a company, project or task level and track financial data within TriggerApp itself. This financial element to the tracking data makes TriggerApp an ideal candidate for integration with Xero, and given the pretty interface, the integration makes perfect sense.
The one problem I have is that Xero is pushed at almost every turn. Sure, it’s possible to use TriggerApp without Xero, but having trialled the application, it’s clear that this software is geared towards Xero customers. See the highlighted section below (highlighting is my addition): you wouldn’t actually be able to use TriggerApp without bumping into a promotion for Xero within a few minutes.
TriggerApp is exceptionally pleasant to work with. It may not have the complex features of something like Teamwork, but it’s very user-friendly. This is half the battle with project management tools: you need to encourage engagement from people who may not be technical or willing to invest time learning how to use a PM tool. In that respect, TriggerApp wins.
The video on the homepage boasts a “beautiful interface”, and it’s certainly really appealing. But almost in the same breath, they mention their integration into Xero. The first task I’m invited to do when I log in? Integate with Xero. Despite its good looks, I struggled to find a killer feature that made TriggerApp unique, and I think the TriggerApp team would admit that the ‘Tour’ on their homepage doesn’t help. It’s literally just a list of features: no screenshots, nothing to draw the eye. Nothing to get me excited about using it – beyond the visual tweaks.
Does TriggerApp hold its own without Xero? Yes – just. If it had a killer feature, more people (like me) would abandon the tool they’re using and make the switch. It would need to be worth doing, though. If TriggerApp concentrate more on Xero than they do on carving their own niche, they will really limit the amount of people willing to give it a try.
If you’re already using another cloud accounting tool that handles tasks, timesheets and invoicing, there’s no reason to change at the moment. If you’re not, Xero and Triggerapp are a nice combination, but TriggerApp currently feels like an extension to Xero than a great application in itself. There are fees associated with both products, so that also needs to be taken into account. I want to love TriggerApp, but I can’t – not yet. However, I can see a whole load of potential.
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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