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I admit it: I'm a productivity junkie. I am ever on the search for that elusive application that brings me just one step closer to organizational nirvana. Currently, I'm loving Producteev — but you're never to tied down too look… right? As debatable as that may be to some, when a business acquaintance introduced me to Glasscubes, I was wowed enough to dig in and give it a try. Glasscubes is pretty, smart and extremely well rounded! If you are looking for a really slick and functional service that allows you to collaborate on documents, share files, manage tasks, projects, and calendars — and even use as a CRM and teleconferencing tool — then you'll want to check out Glasscubes.
What's Good/How it Compares
So you might be thinking that you know a dozen or so services that promise the same as what was mentioned above, but Glasscubes probably does it just a little bit better, and might do just a little bit more. It's pretty much a one-stop-shop, offering a range of features that are usually spread out over two or three applications.
It's not just the offerings that set Glasscubes apart, however, it is the incredible amount of work that has gone into designing the user interface and integrated functionality of the program. Glasscubes' designers have done a great job of remembering that the people who will be using their SaaS (software as a service) are, well… people. Whether you are a high-powered CEO of a multi-national company, a small to medium business (SMB) owner, or a lowly struggling freelancer like myself, you will find Glasscubes extraordinarily well laid out and easy to use. This all goes a long way to lowering the inherent stresses of project (and customer) management.
Glasscubes offers enough functionality that to list it all here would likely require you to seek the quiet shelter of mind-numbed sleep — so I won't do that to you. Instead here's a shortlist of some standout features that might make Glasscubes a great choice for you:
- Multiple workspaces that can be configured with as much or as little of Glasscube's functionality as you need — everything from just a chat area to a full blown management and collaboration space.
- All you could ask of a task and project management functionality, including a dashboard view, progress bars, time tracking, add comments and attachments, discussion boards (with polls!), a calendar that syncs with outside services, internal announcements, whiteboard feature, RSS activity feeds, permissions layers for nearly everything, and more and more and more…
- In-app document previewing and collaborative editing via a complete integration of the Zoho office suite.
- Intelligent search that makes it very easy to find what you need — even if its inside a document.
- Configure your Glasscubes account for document and task/project management, or as just a CRM — or unlock it all.
- The mobile version is device agnostic — which is to say that Glasscubes will work on pretty much anything. Even an iPad or iPhone. No flash here, folks. The mobile version is currently in beta, but the full site is accessible as well (just a bit heavy).
- A social aspect to user profiles (add bios and social networks).
- Brand Glasscubes as your own company in everything but the free version.
- Built in Teleconferencing that works Skype out (web conferencing is in the pipe).
- An easy to use and very functional Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). Great for people like me who want to hide whimpering in a corner when presented with most CRMs.
- A very flexible sales team that is willing to work on pricing outside of the packaging — even for us lowly freelancers, who often get the short end of the stick here…
What's Integrated and What's Coming
Lots of great integrations are planned for the future of Glasscubes, but the team is very particular about where they take their service, as they have a very happy client list and, understandably, don't wish to jeopardize it.
Currently Glasscubes is integrated with the Zoho office suite (as mentioned) and syncs (by click) with Google Calendar, iCal, and Outlook. Google Docs integration is coming soon, as are Google Contacts; they are also in talks with some third party providers of mind mapping software. Sadly, there are no plans for Evernote integration — though I did try to sell them on it! Don't worry, though. They have a strong built in notes system.
There are several updates in the Glasscubes pipeline that aim to increase the overall functionality. For example, they are planning to add Dropbox-style features to their Folders (a mapped drive for Glasscubes on your computer), add reporting and email integration (should be live now) to the CRM, quick ways to add tasks, and an API for third party developers to adopt their technology into more new and wonderful integrations.
What's Not to Like?
Glasscubes could still take another step toward the modern bent of companies by integrating more into current popular workflow tools, such as integrating instant messaging and some social tools that we already use, and email-to-task functionality. Real time docs editing and other real time features may also be a benefit, though that sort of thing is often overrated and could potentially ruin the user-friendliness of the service.
I have read some reviews that complain that it is not "corporate looking" enough — but that's a selling feature in my books. This is enterprise level technology that is focused on the small to medium enterprise — and the look, feel and pricing reflect it. Did I not mention the pricing yet? Check it out below in US dollars. You can also view it in Pounds and Euros.
Because it is so configurable, without being overwhelming, and constantly improving, Glasscubes is definitely worth a look by anyone who needs any or all of the offered services. I might wish for a more robust free plan (with something like Producteev's unlimited workspaces) for personal use, but Glasscubes is meant for business and is marketed accordingly. And I'm cheap.
Glasscubes is available inEnglish, German and Polish, with French, Spanish, Russian, and Czech coming in the near future.
Check out Glasscubes here. Let us know what you think in the comments!