Product Promotion Network

OnePlace

You can call OnePlace from OnePlace LLC a business plan[1] creation tool, but it’s really focused on being something else. This software offers a team-based approach to managing a business end-to-end. That includes discussion and ideation, collaboration and task delegation, and also organization and project management.

The fact that it can generate a serviceable business plan is almost a side effect of these other capabilities. That becomes glaringly obvious in its lack of any kind of business plan templates such as you’d find in the best of the competition, notably Editors’ Choice winners Tarkenton GoSmallBiz[2] and Palo Alto Software LivePlan[3]. OnePlace is free for two users, one workplace, 10 projects, and 500 MB of file storage.

OnePlace is also available for £24.00 per month (for five users, five workplaces, unlimited projects, and 5 GB of file storage). For £49 per month, it supports 10 users, 10 workplaces, unlimited projects, and 10 GB of file storage. For £99 per month, it supports 25 users, 25 workplaces, unlimited projects, and 25 GB of file storage.

Finally, for the Enterprise version customers get unlimited users, workplaces and projects, and offers 75 GB of file storage at a price of £5 per user per month. OnePlace is organized around projects and tasks; people who are geographically dispersed can work together on projects and tasks. Clients of businesses such as accounting or marketing firms can email requests to OnePlace, and they will be assigned as tasks to members of the firm.

Each workplace can be dedicated to a client, and inside the workplace you can have different members, including the client and various employees. Video tutorials help guide you through the process of setting up your business plan.

Internal Document Repository

OnePlace allows businesses to store plans and other documents that can be accessed by members of the team. You can assign an estimated time for a task and keep track of the actual effort spent on the task.

It will report on actual versus estimated time so you can compare how well you are meeting your projections. You can also see how loaded down an employee is with tasks so work can be better distributed and the staff member is able to get her work accomplished. You can set up detailed project hierarchies and keep track on how projects are proceeding through statistics on their progress.

The program competes with project management[4] or collaboration tools more than with the programs that help you write business plans, such as Tarkenton GoSmallBiz and NetEkspert iPlanner.NET[5]. This is most glaringly apparent in the business plan template department, mainly because OnePlace doesn’t have any. Instead, it takes more of a project management, task-oriented approach to operational aspects of business planning leaving the plan writing to you in whatever word processor and spreadsheet app you prefer.

Getting Started with OnePlace

You begin with a QuickStart menu that guides you through various tasks of setting up your workplace.

As you set up your account, you have the ability to add team members. To add someone, just enter their email address, first name, and last name. Each team member will receive an email informing them they’ve been added.

Within each workplace, you can create a project for your team, save files, discuss the projects, and create tasks. Each workplace has its own portal, or view, which is assigned a unique URL and sign-in page. You’re able to customize your desktop and drag and drop elements on the homepage, including a company logo.

A Quick Add link lets you add items. There’s also a Search button that lets you locate various elements. OnePlace has a menu across the top showing icons for Home, Workplaces, Favorites & Recents, People, Inbasket, Discussions, All Tasks, Calendar, People, Search, and Quick Start.

When you sign in, it shows the tasks you have to do.

OnePlace - Home Page View

Smart Reporting

The reports include a weekly schedule, a billing report, capacity planning report, project report, tasks report, weekly timesheet report, and a workplace report. The workplace report shows statistics on the tasks and projects in the workplace, including how tasks have been assigned, and what work is complete and incomplete. The capacity planning report is useful for determining if your team has enough capacity and time to do the work you’ve detailed in the plan.

To fill out the capacity planning report, you select the time period, whether it’s this week, next week, or another specified time period. The report can show both the free hours and busy hours on your schedule just by selecting the fields. You can export the reports in CSV format so they can be opened by applications such as Microsoft Excel[6], Apache’s OpenOffice spreadsheet, or even into certain accounting software.

You’re also able to keep track of billable time, keeping tabs on both your quoted and invoiced amounts at the task level.

OnePlace - Project Statistics

Demonstrating its collaborative capabilities, OnePlace allows you to add or view discussions with other team members of your team from within the application. You and your team members can hold discussions about products, projects, events and other tasks, and that information is recorded for future use. The program lets you upload files and collaborate on them with other members of your team as well.

In addition to internal team members, you’re able to collaborate with external people, too, such as customers, business partners, or even investors–all without leaving the system. They can access whatever information you specify through the workplace portals, which adds some level of content control. Finally, a mobile app is available, which again points at the OnePlace’s orientation towards collaboration and project management rather than simple business plan writing.

OnePlace Mobile gives you access to your team and tasks from Android, BlackBerry, or iOS smartphones. Overall, OnePlace offers an interesting team-based way to plan your business, focusing on the tasks that need to be completed and the people who are assigned to make sure they’re accomplished. However, as a tool for building a business plan–especially for those in start-up mode–there are more focused tools available.

OnePlace - Search ReportsOnePlace Logo

Bottom Line: OnePlace wants to be considered as a business plan creation tool and the foundation is certainly there.

But once you dig into it a bit, you’ll find it’s far more capable as an online collaboration and project management tool than simple document creation.

References

  1. ^ business plan (www.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ Tarkenton GoSmallBiz (www.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ Palo Alto Software LivePlan (www.pcmag.com)
  4. ^ project management (www.pcmag.com)
  5. ^ NetEkspert iPlanner.NET (www.pcmag.com)
  6. ^ Microsoft Excel (www.pcmag.com)

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