ActiveCollab, as the name suggests, is a tool that spotlights on active collaboration. Serving over 50,000 teams since its founding in 2007, ActiveCollab offers an easy-to-use and simple interface that facilitates team transparency and impressively, client collaboration.
Collaborate with clients
ActiveCollab has the ability to build on client involvement and visibility without sacrificing security or confidentiality. By simply setting up correct permissions and inviting a client into a project, the client will be able to view the project details and leave comments, create discussions and notes, and easily add files for team members to access. The Client+ add on, essentially an additional setting, further builds client collaboration by allowing the client to even create, assign and be assigned tasks within the project. This kind of interactive and transparent feature is uncommon amongst many of the project management tools in the market, and as such is a major selling point if this is something your business is striving for.
Basic CRM functionality
Whilst ActiveCollab promotes significant client interaction, its CRM capabilities lack depth and detail. The CRM is very limited as only basic information can be stored for each company. ActiveCollab highlights its ability to assign custom rates for each client, however this is a feature many other tools have on offer.
Similarly, estimating/quoting is easy and simple in ActiveCollab. The interface is logically laid out, and you can send out an estimate within a few clicks of your mouse. However, the absence of any significant flexibility or structure and formatting is a major shortfall. Templates with crucial information and aesthetics cannot be created and all line items are free form text – you are unable to choose from a consistent and specified list of products and services.
Once an estimate has been accepted, it can be quickly converted into a project. Projects can only be assigned one category and a few labels, hence limiting project filtering and reporting. However, where ActiveCollab lacks in project categorization, it makes up for this with effective detailed task lists, tasks and subtasks. ActiveCollab excels in keeping everyone in the loop, hosting a dedicated Activity tab for each project where all members can see the happenings for the project – when tasks are created, completed and more. Comments and files can easily be added to provide feedback and ask questions.
Tasks can be assigned to people, and subscribers can even be added on to either supervise or be kept up to date with the task progress. The focus on collaboration is aided by task dependencies that help create a gant chart that illustrates the project schedule. Although providing a representation of upcoming tasks, ActiveCollab does not provide an avenue for project managers to use this information and easily and effectively resource plan.
For the end users, your team members, time sheeting is an easy task. Time can be logged via the user specific task page, the project or within the task itself. The process is easy to follow, with a simple click and select of the project, task, time and description. ActiveCollab offers a clean interface that is not confusing for your team members.
Basic invoicing & reporting
ActiveCollab’s invoicing module gets the job done, however if you are looking for well designed, formatted and customized templates, you should look somewhere else. The invoice functionality is limited with only basic grouping and detailing available within the invoice. Also, in-depth reporting and customizable dashboards are another aspect where ActiveCollab needs major improvement.
Overall, ActiveCollab is a great PM tool for businesses with non-complex projects that require little to no customisation in regards to estimating, invoicing and CRM. The interface is simple and intuitive and offers a great experience for the end users. Team members and clients are kept up to date with all the latest information reducing the number of ‘catch-up’ meetings required. Where customisation, increased functionality and powerful reporting is required, look to other tools to use for your business. At its very competitive price point of $8 a user per month, ActiveCollab maintains basic processes and functions, and this flows through to basic CRM capabilities, estimating and invoicing.
We’d be happy to answer them or take you through features of ActiveCollab in more detail. Or, if you’re wondering if another solution might be better for you, we’ve also done the hard yards for you and taken a look at other project management platforms, including: Xero Projects, Harvest & Forecast, Streamtime, Zoho Projects, WorkflowMax, Scoro and Accelo.