Podio is a cloud-based collaboration platform which was founded in 2009, and subsequently taken over by Citrix in 2012.
Businesses can use it to create customized applications with little-to-no technical knowledge. The Podio App Market offers hundreds of free applications such as product, sales and project management. There are apps for customer relationship management and applicant tracking.
Users can create and build their own apps, plus Podio has its own apps for both Android and iOS.
Podio has four different pricing tiers. The ‘Free’ tier allows for five employees, task management, apps and workspaces.
The ‘Basic’ plan is $9 (£7) per user per month and includes task management, apps, and workspaces as above, plus user management and unlimited external users.
The ‘Plus’ package cost $14 (£11) per user per month. This includes all the ‘Free’ and ‘Basic’ plans have to offer along with automated workflows, and the facility to create a light user role (as opposed to a regular user, or admin).
The ‘Premium’ tier is $24 (£18.80) per user per month and includes all the features the other tiers have plus visual reports, contact sync, interactive sales dashboards and advanced workflow orchestration by GlobiFlow.
You receive a discount if you sign up to an annual plan, and larger teams can contact the sales department to request a customized plan. Sadly, there’s no free trial available.
Podio makes setup very simple. It only takes a matter of minutes – you just enter your name and email address to sign up for a free account. You can upgrade to a paid tier at a later stage. You will receive a confirmation email which includes an instruction video on the basics of using Podio.
At the main dashboard, your profile settings are displayed at the top right of the page. You can complete your profile from here – users can add an avatar, information about themselves and their skills, along with a phone number, website, Skype, LinkedIn, Twitter, and postal address. Any of your recent activity is also displayed in the Complete your Profile section.
You can access information such as services, emails, notifications, external app permissions, API keys and market profile in Account Settings.
The drop-down menu also includes options relating to pricing, billing, batch jobs, and shared apps.
The interface is simple in terms of design and is easy to navigate. The main dashboard displays your activity stream, recent items, connections, favorite apps, tasks and calendar by default. You can add or remove slides to suit your needs.
Connections, calendar, tasks, search, your account, notifications and chat icons are displayed along the top of the screen. You can also access support from here. Help comes in the form of various articles, webinars and videos. If none of these have the information you need, you can contact support directly by filling out a ticket. Podio also offers a ‘What’s new in Podio’ section where you can get up to date information on recently introduced features.
Podio is available in 12 languages: English, German, Danish, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Dutch, Japanese and Swedish.
Podio boasts integrated chat, a nifty little feature which is not widely available on many other project management platforms such as Liquid Planner or Wrike.
The chat feature can be opened from the top right-hand corner of the dashboard or via a keyboard shortcut. This pane can be easily closed for more screen space when you are not active in a chat. You can view your contacts and inbox from the left-hand side of the chat pane, plus people you have recently interacted with will also be displayed here. Online users are shown with a green icon beside their name.
You can click on your colleague’s name and all your chat activity is displayed, such as when the conversation was started, and the files which have been shared between you both. Files can be shared via Dropbox, Ubuntu One, Box and Google Drive.
Users can add additional people to an individual chat via the Add People icon at top of the message. These users can’t view any messages before they were added.
Finally, note that you can learn how to use Podio Chat in a handy video tutorial.
Workspaces can be created via the ‘Choose a workspace or app’ button at the top-left of the dashboard. You can name your new workspace and make it either private or open for all users to view without an invite.
A pop-up message to invite other employees is displayed upon initial start-up. The main dashboard of your new project displays your activity stream, connections, recent items and calendar. This is similar to your main dashboard, and can also be customized to suit your needs.
You can share files, links and information through your activity stream message board. Users can follow and like individual messages.
Team leaders or managers can assign tasks and create deadlines for employees. Each workspace is highly customizable and you can add or remove widgets based on your firm’s needs.
Podio’s App Market is the main reason that the platform is hugely customizable. There is a huge selection of applications to be found in the store. Plus you can build your own app with Podio tools if you can’t find an app to suit your specific requirements. There are a variety of different templates which can be used to create an application via drag-and-drop functionality.
Podio API takes this one step further by allowing users to set up custom integrations. You can integrate with other services, build tools and applications on top of Podio.
Naturally, Podio has its own mobile apps for both Android and iOS. These have the same features as the desktop version, and you can receive push notifications for the integrated chat feature.
Podio is more of a collaboration tool rather than a fully-fledged project management platform. As a result, it does not offer native reporting or time-tracking features. However, that is not to say that it isn’t a good choice when it comes to working on projects.
The integrated chat feature makes it easy for teams to stay in touch and on top of projects. Each workspace is highly customizable via the App Market. There is little to no learning curve with Podio and setup is basically instantaneous.
The free tier could be considered a bit lightweight for some users. However, smaller teams with simpler needs might find it the ideal choice for a cost-efficient way of collaborating on tasks.
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