6/14/07

Marketing Management Made Simple(r)



If too many projects, low budgets, and fierce deadlines have you fighting alligators instead of draining the swamp, take a look at Robohead 4.0, project management software from Aquent. Robohead aims to help organizations manage projects and schedules more effectively. Designed specially for marketing project management, RoboHead’s set of integrated Web-based tools are designed to get typical users up and running within minutes. The new version includes 25 enhancements dedicated to saving time and increasing productivity. Robohead focuses on three key areas of marketing operations: project management tools allow users to build schedules, assign tasks to team members and track their progress. Communication and collaboration modules enable team members to share creative work, and assembles all notes and aggregated feedback. On online digital library securely houses all the digital assets associated with a project and makes them available to team members.

10 comments:

  1. As a former Robohead user for more than a year, I can say: "STAY AWAY!"

    The company claims that users are "up and running in minutes"....Well, not really.

    UNINTUITIVE
    Before you can reasonably use the product, you have to sit through about 2-3 hours of phone training. One session for your administrator, and separate session(s) for your users.

    The phone training is a must, because there's no way you could just dig in, start clicking away and using the product.

    I know this because while we were using Robohead, we hired several new staff people and spent half of their first day just trying to show them how to find their tasks, log their time, post pdfs versions of a project etc. Then for weeks after that, we had to revisit basic concepts of how to use the tool. Not because our people are stupid, it’s because the tool is hard to use.

    FEATURE BLOAT
    Yes, it has all the features they say it has, but they are difficult to use and the interface is pretty hard to navigate.

    Also, there's no search function. So, if you get hundreds of tasks, comments, threads, etc, in your system, there's no quick way to find something.

    Instead, you have to know that what you’re looking for is there, and then go find it. That’s to me is the opposite “search.”

    TIME TRACKING IS HARD TO USE
    Regarding shared tasks....yes they are "shared" but we could never find a way to make a task show up on more than one person's dashboard. Which means, even if you’re on a shared task, it may not be visible to you and you’ll have a hard time finding it when you go to log time.

    The end result of that is a lot of duplicated tasks assigned to multiple people with time entries all over the place.

    My company, which is comprised of graphic designers, programmers, writers, project managers and marketing people used it for over a year before abandoning it for Basecamp from 37 signals.

    One primary reason we abandoned Robohead was because it seemed like we were constantly looking for the right task to log time to (and not finding it.)

    To track time, Robohead forces you to log all time to a specific task, on a specific project.
    This may not sound like a big deal until you think about the following example:

    Say you have a meeting with Client A. You are currently working on 4 projects for Client A, each with their own tasks and deadlines. Multiple staff members attend a 3 hour meeting with Client A . In that meeting you discuss all four open projects, plus a future project. Where do you log your time?

    You are now forced to either put a 3 hr meeting on one "task" called "meeting" in one of your four projects. Or, you could divide your meeting time by the number of projects discussed and then make separate entries on four separate tasks, all called "meeting" and then close those tasks.

    Also, since each task can only show up on one users dashboard, your co-workers who are “sharing” this task may have a hard time finding the right place to log their meeting time.

    HIGH PRICE, LONG CONTRACTS
    Another drawback is the fact that they require a 1-year contract, minimum 10 users, at $400 per month.

    So what happens if you find that the product doesn’t suit your needs half way through your contract? Too bad. Just try to negotiate a reasonable settlement for your unused months and see how far you get.

    You’ll get threats of a collection agency and bad credit scores.

    NO DEMO SITE OR 30 DAY FREE TRIAL
    These days, most other online software providers recognize the need for a temporary trial period.

    If you’re interested in Robohead, you can’t “touch” the real product until after you sign a one year contract.

    The only way to “see it in action” is through a teleconference / webinar where a salesperson walks you through a demo company. You watch while he clicks and talks. That means you don’t give first hand experience until you sign and buy FOR ONE YEAR.

    If you are seriously considering this tool, do yourself a favor and look at :
    Basecamp, Function Fox, AceProject, or the many, many other alternatives that don't require lengthy contracts and cost one tenth.

    YOUR TEAM WILL HATE IT
    Yes, Robohead has more robust features than some of the cheaper, low commitment tools out there.

    And as a project manager or business owner you may be lured into the romance of all those features. Don’t be.

    The minute you introduce Robohead to your team, you’ll realize that all those features you loved during the sales presentation are just going to be annoying to the people you’re paying got get their work done.

    For more than a year, I listened to complaints from my entire team about usability. And in the end, if your team is not putting the right data in, all those features you love as a manager don’t really work without good data.

    LIMITED NUMBER OF USERS
    One of the big sales features of Robohead is the ability to post your creative work online so your clients can collaborate and post their comments and changes.

    This all sounds great until you realize that every client you give access to counts against the number of users in your account. At $40 per user per month, you’re forced to make decisions about which clients are worth it.

    The user count leaves you wondering about the clients that are just around for one or two projects or one or two months. What should you do about them? Should you give them a username & password then recycle that same user seat for the next client? If you do that, you then create a confusing trail of which user posted what comment.

    Counting clients against your total user count introduces more problems than it solves.

    If you really want a place to post versions, receive feedback and have it all online, check out www.proofhq.com. This company makes a distinction between internal users (you & your team) and your clients. Clients and reviewers are unlimited, as they should be. “Users” are the people in your organization posting proofs.

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  3. RUN AWAY..

    Worst experience I have had with a software platform not only the platform itself but the people who work there. They will promise the world but when they don't deliver, they call you with a $9000 invoice from their lawyer, 6 months into having signed the contract.

    - Joao

    ReplyDelete
  4. RUN AWAY..

    Worst experience I have had with a software platform not only the platform itself but the people who work there. They will promise the world but when they don't deliver, they call you with a $9000 invoice from their lawyer, 6 months into having signed the contract.

    - Joao

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been doing marketing automation for doctors for years now and I agree completely with the first comment - Robohead is horrid. "RUN AWAY" is right!

    ReplyDelete
  6. There are much better PM systems on the market and Proofhq remains the gold standard for online review of proofs. The biggest issue with them is their contract. Make no mistake- this is a contract and not a subscription service. As per their terms there is NO TERMINATION CLAUSE. AND WITHOUT A 60 DAY RENEWAL NOTICE AT MONTH 10- IT AUTO RENEWS FOR A FULL 12 MONTHS. I also really love the great customer service policy of - "It is not our fault you didn't read the contract, and it is not our responsibility to reach out in a proactive manner to bring this on your radar."

    AGAIN, THERE ARE EQUAL TO OR BETTER THAN SYSTEMS WITHOUT THE DECEPTION.

    ReplyDelete
  7. There are much better PM systems on the market and Proofhq remains the gold standard for online review of proofs. The biggest issue with them is their contract. Make no mistake- this is a contract and not a subscription service. As per their terms there is NO TERMINATION CLAUSE. AND WITHOUT A 60 DAY RENEWAL NOTICE AT MONTH 10- IT AUTO RENEWS FOR A FULL 12 MONTHS. I also really love the great customer service policy of - "It is not our fault you didn't read the contract, and it is not our responsibility to reach out in a proactive manner to bring this on your radar."

    AGAIN, THERE ARE EQUAL TO OR BETTER THAN SYSTEMS WITHOUT THE DECEPTION.

    ReplyDelete

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