Falling in and out of love with Podio in a week
Updated February 28, 2015
Falling in and out of love with Podio in a week
Score 3 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Podio
Podio is still under evaluation at Apartments247.com, but we are using it to track Leads, Deals, Sales and Cancellations for the Sales & Marketing Department. The initial hope was that it could also work for Development and Production, bringing 3 departments under a single, streamlined system. That remains to be proved one way or the other, however.
- Podio's apps are the most customizable tools I have seen anywhere, and I have tested and evaluated a large number of work management solutions. The abstract nature of their apps makes them ideal for very specific, niche cases as well as common, general purpose uses. The solution is elegant: an app is simply a collection of app items, with characteristics and perhaps links to other apps & their app items, all of which can be defined by your needs. Anyone who enjoys making "lists" of "things" should love this.
- Custom reporting is a dream in Podio. I can take any characteristics or fields in any of my app items, compare or filter them with other apps' items, run calculations on them and figure totals by month, team member or almost anything else you can imagine. The possibilities really seem limited only by your imagination.
- Podio has a lot of features, but another strength to factor in is third-party support. There are a lot of outside companies that offer additional features like detailed workflows, synchronizations between other cloud-based apps, and possibly even graphs in the near future.
- Task management is an afterthought, unfortunately. For complex production operations that need detailed tasks, recurring tasks, prerequisite tasks and staggered due dates for a large number of projects, Podio simply does not cut the mustard. In this area, Asana reigns supreme. It's unfortunate that simple things like due dates are missing from the app item task list view. You have to click on the task to see its due date; there is no project view of due dates. You can see due dates on the global task view, but then you can't see the app item or project that task is part of. In a production dept. with a lot of duplicate named tasks, the global task view is all but useless. Unfortunately, there is no project-based, big picture view of tasks, assignees and due dates in a single view. If you have a large team doing a lot of Production work, go with Asana or AskCow. We use Asana.
- Don't even bother telling Podio about their shortcomings. The absurdly negative answers I got from my assigned client services representative were (and I quote) "Tasks are a simple function. They cannot be customized" and when I asked if I could make tasks more prominent, "tasks will always be on the bottom of the item." When I suggested app items could benefit from color coding (common in all major text editors, spreadsheets and traffic intersections), I was hit with the insulting, "A color-coded rainbow of an item list won't happen" and most frustratingly, "You are one customer among very, very many." Thanks for nothing, Podio support. They simply do not care about you or your company's needs, and clearly only want to do business in aggregate. Terrible, deplorable customer service. Bad enough on its own to not want to do business with them on principle alone.
- Automated Workflows, while exciting initially, turned out to be rudimentary at best. You have two triggers and two effects, giving you a total multiplier of four whole options. Nothing to write home about there.
- While the text-based reporting is great, a total lack of charts or graphs means I still need to resort to using spreadsheets to visualize sales performance. (or another software solution)
- Podio may have helped us sharpen our own customer service by demonstrating how NOT to treat customers.
- Since we are still in the evaluation stage and are actively seeking other options, I can't say that this experience has harmed us. I am glad I found out sooner rather than later about their attitude towards their customers before we had invested too much time & money in it. I may be just "one customer among very, very many" but I intend to share my experience with other prospective customers, and I expect this mistake will impact them more than just the value of our company's business.
I have not yet found a permanent solution that meets all of our needs. We continue to use different tools across our different departments, and none of our tools really communicate with one another to our satisfaction. We remain optimistic, however, that a company will emerge that embraces an abstract, highly customizable interface and also provides exceptional customer service with an open-minded development team that does not simply say no to everything by default.
Podio is great for niche businesses needing highly customizable apps. It is also suitable for smaller businesses where one person may wear many hats and operate in multiple departments simultaneously. Do you have a high-volume production dept. with a massive number of projects per month and a dozen or more tasks per project? If so, Podio is probably not a good fit for you. Good reporting alone does not make up for inefficiency and missed deadlines. If you demand high-quality customer support for your team, don't even think about Podio. Your people don't need to be insulted by the person whose job is supposed to be helping them.
Podio Feature Ratings
I have a sales rep who is putting me in touch with a new support team member and we're supposed to have a meeting next week. It does not look particularly likely that we will end up choosing Podio based on my initial customer service experience, but I am not closing the door entirely. It's going to be an uphill battle for sure, but it is not entirely out of the question, particularly if they have improved task management on the horizon and can demonstrate a greatly improved attitude.
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
Do not like to use
- Linking related "apps" to one another and running calculations and reports on fields was extremely simple and straight-forward.
- Shared workspaces and personal chats all but eliminate the need for a separate communication system like HipChat or the now-defunct Campfire.
- Choosing multiple views for each app is handy, because not everyone visualizes things the same way. Or maybe the data lends itself to a table in one circumstance, and cards in another, depending on what you're trying to accomplish.
- Task Management is deplorable. Really an embarrassment compared to a system like Asana. To make matters worse, Podio has a sort of fundamentalist objection to genuinely improving their task system: https://help.podio.com/hc/communities/public/questions/200519198-Sub-task
- Tasks in Podio are simply too rudimentary to achieve anything but the most basic of task lists. If you're looking for a task management tool primarily, keep moving. Nothing to see here...
- Initial set-up and data entry is a chore. The best way to make Podio work for you is to build custom apps. This is really interesting at first, but gets old pretty quick once you realize how many separate apps you need to build in order to accomplish what should be fairly simple functions. Podio's layering on built-in functionality for tasks and contacts actually makes matters worse rather than better because the native implementations cannot be removed if you prefer a custom app you build yourself. Contacts in two places, tasks in two places... it becomes a mess pretty quick.
- Development is S L O W . Looking at the Task Management issue, you can see that Podio has known this is a weakness of theirs for YEARS. Nothing has been done. Workflows were purported to be great when they were first announced, but the simple workflows are all but useless and the Advanced workflows cost $14 per user per month! It takes too long to get anything done...