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Software Review: Celoxis [2015]

celoxis-logoGeneral information

Name: Celoxis v9.1

Vendor: Celoxis Technologies Pvt. Ltd

Hosting options: Web ($25 per user per month) or on premise ($450 per user)

Languages: English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, French, Simplified Chinese

Currency: Any, add your own symbol

Basic features: getting your project started

Well, there isn’t much basic about Celoxis. I last reviewed it in 2012.

It’s a fully-featured system meaning it would be capable of managing the largest of enterprise projects. The sophistication means it will take you a while to set up, adding in all the parameters and criteria for your company, team and project.

It’s simple to get your projects set up but you still have to add a deadline as a mandatory field, even though you haven’t actually planned your project at that point so you won’t know the scheduled finished date.

Celoxis software review_Risk register

The risk register view in Celoxis

Adding tasks is easy, but when I wanted to make one task the dependency of another it didn’t automatically shift the dates. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – dependencies don’t always mean that the tasks happen in chronological order. But then I set it how I wanted, moved the date of the first task and the dependent task didn’t shift forward.

I didn’t have the settings right, and I know there is a setting to change it to auto-schedule. But I spent 10 minutes looking for it, plus searched in the help (“From grid, select the manually scheduled column – I couldn’t find the grid view, let alone the right column) and I still couldn’t find it again. Where is the Options tab?

You’d figure this out if you used it regularly. It’s not a complaint, just a comment on the level of training users would require. It’s not intuitive, but you do get a free administrator course when you sign up, so someone in the department would have all the skills necessary to answer those questions. Towards the end of my trial I started to use the ‘Recent’ menu which lets you quickly navigate to the areas of the tool that you’ve used recently.

The risk register is nice. It calculates the risk score and allows you to drill down into the risk detail. It presents a clean summary and I like that it’s an integral part of the system.

What I thought could be slicker was creating risks. From the project’s main menu you add a new risk. Once you’ve entered the details in the pop-up the risk appears on the screen – great. But there is no way from this page to add another risk. You have to navigate back to the main project homepage and then go through the process again. It’s a tiny thing, and I expect it wouldn’t bother me after a while but the user flow through highly-trafficked areas of a system are something that are always worth looking at.

I love that it has a calendar view. You can add events directly to the calendar and decide who can see them – great for team meetings, upcoming presentations, launch day and so on. You can also switch on displaying tasks and projects so you can see all forthcoming work on the calendar too. This would be very handy for people less confident with Gantt charts or for discussing the work for the month with your team.

And you can export in iCal format so you can sync the Celoxis calendar with Outlook or other apps.

Usability

It looks nice. The new user interface is clean and professional. Aside from the learning curve it’s easy to use.

Celoxis project management software review_dashboard

The dashboard view, showing upcoming tasks for the team

There are still no apps for smartphones or tablets but you can access it via a browser. If you wanted to stay on top of things while you were away from the office that, and email integration, should keep you going.

Teamworking

Discussions can be attached to your current project or another project. You can choose to share them with the client or keep them internal and you can add documents.

You can set up workspaces so that individual teams are able to segregate who can see what. There are granular security permissions which let you share information with other groups including clients, making sure they only have access to the data you want them to see.

It integrates with email and sends out alerts for upcoming tasks. In fact, it integrates with a lot of things including Salesforce, Google Drive and LDAP out of the box, plus it has an API for integration with products like SharePoint.

There is also an activity stream, which shows you everything that has happened on the project and lets you click to go there – very handy.

Other features: dashboards and reports

The first screen you see is your dashboard. It gives you an overview of the tasks your team members are currently working on, plus graphs to show task status and whether your projects are on track (or not). Click the graph to drill down into the detail.

Celoxis software review_Risk register

The task status graph from the Celoxis dashboard

I was impressed with the broad range of reports when I last looked at the tool and I still am. The cross-project Gantt lets you see summary information for every project in the portfolio. You can choose if you want to add a particular report to the dashboard and where it appears (not all the reports allow this, but many do).

In summary…

Celoxis is a mature product that would suit a PMO looking for stable, enterprise-class project management software. It’s not the cheapest, but that’s because it has a ton of professional features making it suitable for large teams and significant projects and it is still competitively priced. You get what you pay for – a comprehensive system that would integrate with your other enterprise tools and help you manage, track and report on projects, programmes and portfolios.

It’s for ‘proper’ project management – and by that I mean it wouldn’t suit teams who are looking for a basic product to track tasks. If you want to up your game from that and use specialised project management software, then this would fit the bill.

What I liked most is that it’s a tool that lets you keep everything in one place, but without feeling like it’s preventing you from using anything else. I think many all-in-one tools try to host all the features that you could ever need, and they do it badly because they aren’t expert in everything. I haven’t used Celoxis enough to say it’s expert in everything, but it certainly offers you a lot in a logical way that doesn’t feel as if the extras are bolted on. It’s not trying to replace email or any of the other tools you might use day-to-day, but it does give you the choice to manage your projects in a joined up, transparent way.

Vendor Response

The team at Celoxis got in touch to highlight some additional features for this review. Here’s what they had to say.

“I thought I’d give you some updates on our upcoming release and road map ahead.

Upcoming Release

Our next release is planned around mid-to-end September and will include the following:

  • New Charts – Look and feel, animations, effects, interactive, toggling legends on bubble and grouped bar charts, improved rendering on mobile, etc…
  • New Bolder menu and ability to brand accounts with own logo.
  • Improved task and app collaboration – easily collaborate on work items such as tasks, bugs, issues, etc… through emails even without logging into the system Ability to download reports as PDF

Immediate Road map

Apart this we have a host of capabilities that are in the works on our immediate road map:

  • Split tasks
  • Scheduled report delivery
  • Multiple dashboards

Looking back (Last year)

3 major releases (7.0, 8.0, 9.0) in 2014

Focus of each release:

v7.0: Focus on usability, productivity and enhanced browser support

  • Productivity 30% faster by HTML and JavaScript improvements and using icon fonts
  • Browser support: latest browser support (IE 10 & 11)
  • Usability and UI improvements: Trendy flat UI, see more of your data and less of our application and consistence and intuitive user experience

v8.0: Focus was on Custom Apps, Manual Scheduling, and Google drive integration. Other features were Automatic time sheet reminders, Pre-fill weekly time with working items, fill time on bugs, issues, etc…

  • The custom apps is aligned with the shift that we are noticing in SMBs and enterprises moving away from best-in-class to a more ‘all-in-one’ and integrated software.
  • Pre-built apps for most common workflows: Bugs, Issues, To Dos, Change Request, Risk Management, Project Approvals
  • Date specific analysis to help in forecasting, trends and analytics
  • Additional database support for On-Premise installation (MSSQL SERVER 2012, 2014, Oracle 11g & 12c)

v9.0: Focus on Resource Capacity Planning including real-time workloads and resource efficiency. Focus on Salesforce integration.

  • Improved resource management capabilities have been an innovation, co-created with our customers feedback and inputs. Instead of showing a static load, the real-time view dynamically updates to show remaining effort based on current status.
  • v9.1: Integration with QuickBooks Online and other performance/API improvements

Support and Professional Services

  • 24×5 email based support
  • Chat-based support for trial users.
  • Enhanced help center to include more self-serve options such as 2-minute videos and FAQs, getting started guides, etc…
  • Onboarding programs and training sessions conducted by PMP certified professionals.
  • 1 hr complimentary Q&A with our project experts for new customers.”

Full disclosure: Celoxis have been one of my past blog sponsors this year, although this review was not paid for and represents my own views.

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.

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