SaaS project management software Celoxis helped building Camaro and other world-class brands
by Jennifer Xue
For 15 years, Celoxis has been delivering enterprise-class online project management tool to world-class companies like KPMG, LG, Rolex, Del Monte, JetBlue, VirginCare, Whirlpool, Tyco, Fuji Xerox, Lufthansa, The Cheesecake Factory, HBO, and Deloitte. These clients use Celoxis to manage projects, resources, collaboration, costs, client billing, project and portfolio risks, and business workflows.
Among 3.56 million projects of 2.6K clients and 238K users, Celoxis has handled event planning of the world series hockey, the study of ocean currents, Hollywood movie productions, aviation, zinc mining, large construction projects, and others. Celoxis also helped to build the fastest Chevrolet Camaro.
Its reputation and continuous stellar excellence in customer service and innovation have made Celoxis one of the 30 fastest growing companies in Asia, according to Silicon Review. Another interesting fact about Celoxis is it’s self-funded and has been profitable since its first year.
SiliconValleyGlobe.com is fortunate to sit down with the founders and their team to talk about Celoxis, how it was founded and gained leadership, how it continues to deliver high value to world-class clients, and its marvelous “always in startup mode” culture.
A Disruption was Born
In the past, a project management tool like Microsoft Project was designed merely for project managers. Celoxis recognized early on that a project required constant contact between the project manager and team members. Microsoft Project failed to deliver an integrated system where team members could continuously provide value to a fast-paced and continually changing project.
Founders Ravindra Wankar (graduate of Computer Science Engineering at University of Mumbai) and Nikhil Daddikar (graduate of IIT Bombay) first knew each other when they worked at a startup in Silicon Valley. There, they learned the ins and outs of running a startup in the land where “inspiration is everywhere.”
Worked hard on a two-year project, which was later rejected by their client was an eye opener. After knowing each other for five years, they moved ahead to start Celoxis in Pune, India. It took them two years to build the product and have it delivered to the public.
They learned the hard way that in most projects, the project manager, the management, and other stakeholders had no clear clue of the “snapshot” state of the project. The big picture was so abstract that the final delivery may not even reflect the expected result. Data were scattered in various documents, and data entry was cumbersome. Meetings were lengthy and unproductive, effects of delays were unknown, and whether every team member worked on their tasks.
Strengths of Celoxis vs. Competitors
Understanding the need of a consolidated project management tool, the self-contained Celoxis system allows changes to be immediately recorded with the latest data. Celoxis was designed to be comprehensive with an intuitive, user-friendly interface. In a software project, for instance, consolidated data provides an overview of all the project tasks along with any bugs that are reported during QA Testing.
Celoxis identified Microsoft Project, Clarizen, Genius Project, WorkFront, EPM Live, LiquidPlanner, and Project Insight as their competitors.
Seven Celoxis’ strengths that SiliconValleyGlobe.com identified are:
1. Real-time scheduling of projects
Scheduling is one of the most challenging project management activities, as it involves juggling several parameters, such as effort, duration, resources, cross-project linkages, constraints, and others. When a team is distributed across the world in various time zones, for instance, a project manager will find it challenging to manage schedules in the most effective and efficient manner. After all, scheduling requires constant planning and replanning, after certain parameters have changed. Celoxis handles of this ‘automagically’ in real-time so that managers always get an up to-date and reliable schedule.
2. Strong resource management tools
Ensuring everybody in the team is doing their tasks properly is an important success element. With color-coded resource workload chart, it’s easy to monitor which team members are over or under worked. This way, managers can track planned and actual resource utilization through the real-time activity monitoring to streamline the project even further. Unlike in competitors that measure resource allocation in percentage, Celoxis measures them in man hours or effort thus saving managers of the arithmetic.
3. Customizable business workflows
It’s an important feature that helps businesses with pre-built bug and issue tracker, risk register, project approval, and change request. Customizable to suit different businesses, companies can create and map their workflows, which are integrated with the core project. This way, the project’s health can be closely monitored with adoption, productivity, and reporting activities in the same tool. With everything in one place, organizations can save money from using only one license instead of using multiple licenses for multiple tools and eliminate the challenges of integrating various tools from more than one vendors.
4. Integrated project finances
Integrated project and task budgets, expenses, and billing rates makes handling project finances more convenient. Clients can monitor their finances in real-time. The integration with QuickBooks makes this feature even more convenient.
5. Project analytics and insights
With real-time reporting, every project data becomes actionable insights. Executives would be able to measure team performance and how it affects the business. Reports are available in various visuals, including tables and charts. Celoxis comes with 30 pre-configured reports that businesses can directly derive insights from. In addition, they can also create their own customized reports, even using custom fields.
6. SaaS and On-Premise choices
Among competitors, Celoxis offers the most comprehensive choice. Clients can choose SaaS or On-Premise deployment. SaaS is ideal for those who can’t host their data, while On-Premise is ideal for those who prefer self-hosted data. The latter enables clients to take advantage of power, flexibility, and intelligence within their boundaries.
7. Product customizations
Celoxis prides itself on providing the most customizable project management software in the market. Almost everything can be customized in Celoxis, starting from the dashboard and reports. You can also customize project policies and override rates for specific projects.
“Startup Mode” Culture and the Future
SiliconValleyGlobe.com particularly found the “always in startup mode” of Celoxis culture amazing. After 15 years leading the project management software market, the so-called “startup mentality” is still alive and kicking.
Co-founders Ravindra and Nikhil said, “We are a closely knit, democratic group of intelligent heads, who often wear multiple hats in diverse scenarios. We, the co-founders, are not faceless people. Every employee rubs shoulders with us every day, to build something extraordinary, often ground up from scratch.”
They added, “According to Paul Graham, the co-founder of Viaweb and Y Combinator, the key attribute of being a startup is its ability to grow and scale very quickly. We would like to add to Paul’s statement that apart from growing, you should also constantly feel that what you are doing has a positive impact.” And I couldn’t agree more.
When SiliconValleyGlobe.com asked them how Celoxis would grow in the next five years, they answered that the most important thing is making customers to love them. They are self-funded and will continue to grow organically.
Project management software is still in infancy, as many people still rely on manual method. Their goal is making project management automation a reality in the next few years, which explains their urgency to make the software even more intuitive by having it adapting to the business environment. A positive user experience is the most important.
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