Central Desktop Review
|High level of customizability||Some functions are too basic|
|Easy to learn|
Central Desktop is a fully functional project management software that has particularly good support for collaboration between project managers, users and stakeholders.
(Above) Central Desktop main screen
As you can see from the screenshot, the main screen provides an overview of what is happening with the project by detailing upcoming tasks and milestones, recent activity within the project (which can be adding files, tasks, workspaces, and more), people that belong to this particular project, recent discussions, and some general help on how to use the system.
Central Desktop allows a project manager to add new users into the system whether they are external or internal. Additionally, when creating a user, the project manager or administrator can assign the new user to workspaces, and set their permissions. Permissions include the following:
- Allow User to Create New Workspaces
- Allow User to Host Web Meetings
- Billing Admin
- Company Admin
The ability to set all these permissions allows project managers and administrators greater control over each person and their access, which in turn allows for more effective management as each person or group of people can be delegated and assigned to the appropriate responsibilities.
(Above) Adding a new user
The layout of Central Desktop is very concise and does not contain unnecessary information or cluttering. The use of windows and colors make it extremely easy to read and to find the appropriate sections. The menus and functions are intuitive and are fairly obvious as to what they do.
Central Desktop supports the ability to create discussions and upload files via email. Each folder within a project has a different email address and this allows users to specify exactly where they wish the file to go, saving time as the files do not have to be sorted after sending. Simply keep a record of the email addresses of the folders that you require sending files to, and when a user wishes to send a file, they can do so by simply sending a normal email and adding an attachment.
(Above) Viewing folder email addresses
Additionally, if a user sends a file to the project, and the project already contains a file of the same name, Central Desktop supports Auto Versioning and will automatically update the file and flag it as a new revision. Not only this, but it will even email you stating that it has done this.
(Above) Automatically generated email upon auto versioning
Central Desktop supports desktop sharing and can be used for performing presentations and also general collaboration between users, particularly if progress on a project is to be shown. For example, a developer could host a web meeting that displays the latest rendition of a 3D model, or a program that is being developed. Attendees could log into the web meeting and view all of this information to gain a higher degree of understanding of the task in general, and of its current state.
(Above) Central Desktop web meetings
Furthermore, the creator of the web meeting can specify the following:
- A date which will be added to people’s calendars
- The length of the presentation
- Whether or not there will be repeats of the presentation, such as:
- Monthly (by day)
- Whether or not users should be notified via SMS that the web meeting is about to start.
As you can see, this offers considerable collaboration power due to the fact that project managers and users can gain updates and insights about the project and gain a further understanding of the project, which in turn will increase productivity as there will be less unanswered questions and more knowledge.
In general, the system is quite quick and page load times are minimal. The system even displays the time taken to load the page which is a feature that many systems do not support. A sample output is shown below.
Server Execution Time: 0.2354 sec
Client Execution Time: 0.905 sec
As you can see, the page load time is approximately 1 second, which is extremely fast and will save time when you take into consideration that every user will be loading pages hundreds of times, and slow load times can really add on to the overall time spent waiting company wide. Central Desktop’s speedy system certainly improves productivity and could also be considered to increase worker’s satisfaction as they can spend more time actually working on the project rather than waiting for the system to load.
Ease of Use
Put it this way, we did not have to use the help section even once (other than to take a look to see if it was any use). The entire system is built in such a way that it is extremely user friendly and intuitive to use and we found that we became experts at the system quite fast, proving that the learning curve is not steep at all. For where help is needed, users do not even have to venture into the help section as there are small help buttons on almost every section and page which explain what a page does and the basic functionality of each section.
Central Desktop is definitely one of the better online project management and collaboration tools that we have looked at due to the fact that it is so simple to use but at the same time, offers significantly useful tools and functions for project managers to be able to manage effectively. Additionally, it is friendly on users as well, allowing them to collaborate with ease, view the tasks that are assigned to them and add time entries for time worked on those particular tasks. The calendar could do with an update, as many alternatives provide a highly functional and interactive calendar, which Central Desktop seems to be lacking in. However, this does not detract from the overall positive experience.