Zoho Projects is an online task and project management tool designed for small businesses scalable enough for enterprise use.
Projects enables users to organize project activities, assign tasks, and manage resources to reach goals on-time and under budget. It also allows collaboration among team members, clients, and outsourced providers, granting access to information on an as-needed basis. The platform can be simple to use or as comprehensive as business needs require.
“Our company’s aim is to minimize the amount of work needed to use Projects and increase collaboration among businesspeople by making an accessible and affordable productivity solution,” said Aravind Rajkumar, Product Marketing Manager for Zoho Projects, in an interview. “We think a project management tool shouldn’t be too complicated for people to use or too expensive. You have to strike a balance. That’s what we’re trying to do with Projects.”
Zoho Projects is replete with features that make it one of the most all-inclusive project management tools on the market.
The product is:
Comprehensive – Projects has nearly everything needed for effective project management and collaboration, including task management, in-depth reporting, chat, and a social media style feed.
Highly Customizable – Users can customize nearly every aspect of the platform, from user interface (UI) colors to views to reports and more.
Scalable – Zoho Projects can grow with the customer’s business operations. “They can use it as a simple task management application or choose to use it as a full-blown project management application to manage their entire portfolio,” Rajkumar said.
(It’s worth noting that Zoho tracks all of its operations in Projects, including product development of the company’s vast ecosystem — more than 50 applications.)
Projects started its life in 2006 as a stand-alone task management tool used internally by Zoho employees. (Self-reliance is a core part of Zoho’s ethos, so it develops the tools it needs in-house rather than using third-party applications.)
Since then, Projects has gone through six different UI revamps and is on the verge of going public with the seventh iteration, set for release in January 2021.
“Projects was first called Challenger, and then Tasks,” Rajkumar said. “We then brought in advanced features and rebranded it to be much bigger than just a task management tool.”
Because Zoho provides software to millions of users worldwide — 50 million at last count — it places special emphasis on securing user data and privacy. That includes locking down everything from the organization (e.g., conducting employee background checks) to the physical plant, from its network and data to operations, and each of its more than 50 applications.
All of Zoho’s products, including Projects, is GDPR and CCPA compliant. HIPAA compliance is currently in the works to enable use by healthcare professionals.
A dedicated security team closely monitors all aspects of development, workflows, and user data. User’s emails, even those on the free plans, are not used for advertising.
On the product side, Zoho ties security and privacy to Projects in various ways.
Customized roles and profiles (including client profiles) allow complete control over what information users can see or activities they can perform.
Workflow security via Blueprint (a workflow automation component) enables people to work on various facets of a given task, specifically the part where they are involved.
Fields marked as PII (Personally Identifiable Information) ensure data is encrypted, and administrators can create a log file to check access details.
(Learn more about how seriously Zoho takes security by visiting this page.)
Affordability is another key feature. The platform is free for up to three users and two projects. Premium pricing starts at $3 per user per month for the Standard plan and goes to $6.00 per user per month for the fully-loaded Enterprise edition.
Other key platform features include:
Social Project Management
Zoho has added social elements to Projects, such as feeds, forums, a knowledge base, and chat rooms.
Projects has several tools to help users stay on schedule and account for work hours. These include timesheets, invoicing, and a planning calendar.
A new drag-and-drop interface makes automating tasks easier to visualize and deploy.
Third-party App Integration
Zoho may not rely on third-party apps to run its operation but does allow Projects to integrate with apps like Slack, Google, Dropbox, Microsoft Office, and many more.
New Version Set for January Release
Zoho has set the release of the newest version of Projects (the seventh) for January 2021. Currently, in beta, it features a complete UI makeover. It provides a seamless, consistent user experience across all devices: web and mobile. It also incorporates artificial intelligence (Zoho has its own AI platform called “ZIA”) for forecasting and reporting. Current Projects users can request early access by filling out the form on this page.
Visit Zoho.com to learn more about the company and its product portfolio.
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