Who needs an office address

Written by Akash Joshi | Updated: Sep 2 2007, 05:19am hrs
Keeping in touch with critical activities and that too in an easy manner is clearly one of the challenges posed by the fast-paced growth surrounding every successful professional. Managing communication, thousands of emails and teams eats into most of my time. Even when I am with the family on holiday, I have to take time off to keep in touch, says Nilesh Kulkarni, a Mumbai-based logistics executive. Managing tonnes of mail and getting on several conference calls can eat into your personal productivity.

But then technology seems to have the answer. Services like DeskAway.com developed by Mumbai based Synage Software might seem to be the right solution for executives and businessmen who hit the road frequently. Developed on the Internet platform, DeskAway is a simple on-demand project management software that helps people organise, manage and track their projects and tasks from one central location, says Sahil Parikh the founding director of Synage Solutions.

Now, the term project management rings across a very techy tone. It seems like it is a solution meant for the technically evolved. Not at all, in fact you could call DeskAway your virtual office. Its just that the approach is project management oriented, where there are several tasks to be completed, varied set of people to be communicated with for several objectives and there are deadlines, says Parikh.

Importantly, the software is not just meant for techy people. Marketing, human resources and any functional aspect of a business enterprise that requires to manage teams and clients can use this solution. All you have to do is register with DeskAway where there are several service options available and choose the one that suits you best. The website is equipped with FAQs and tutorials that will enable you to understand your own requirements. Alternatively, you could call up the office and seek personal assistance.

In India, we are quite unique in our service offering, says Parikh, who is a mathematical and computer science graduate from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US. He returned back to India eight years ago to build the company with a vision to build a product that would provide value to thousands of businesses around the world, and most importantly, one that is conceptualised and developed in India.

By being on the Internet, DeskAway gets a lot many advantages. You dont need to tag your laptop around each time you travel. You simply need an Internet connection and you are on. This builds an advantage over products like Microsoft Project, which is priced around $300 (single user) and has to be loaded on your machine.

And when you have logged on, you could start to manage multiple activities, like say, a promotional event and a recruitment drive at the same time. When you create deadlines and deliverables and schedules, you could send the links to critical team members who will be able to view these on their own. In fact, you could also set in reminders and send off mails. Importantly, you could also manage confidentiality by notifying the system as to what information is to be made public and to what set of people.

Well , is that really so unique Not exactly. There are solutions available in the market place that could offer you similar results, says Parikh.

The first option is Microsoft Project, the extremely popular software that can do much more than DeskAway has to offer. But then it is a machine-based software, and when ported onto the net, it can become an expensive proposition to develop a common solution for the team, says Unnikrishnan Menon, a CTO with a leading multinational.

There are other solutions like Eprojects and BaseCamp that offer similar service. In this, BaseCamp even has several free models to choose from. However, as is with the free world on the net, most of the goodies are fee based. EProjects has a solution that can be robust and flexible as well and priced at around $150 onwards is close competition for DeskAway.

But the real advantage for the Indian user emanates from the fact that DeskAway is an Indian company that can understand the requirements of an Indian and service them at a low cost. Subscriptions start from Rs 1,000 a month to Rs 8,000 a month depending on your business requirement.

Aditi Sheth-Kejriwal, CTO of Parksons Games & Sports who are DeskAway users says, Our company needed to reduce repetitive knowledge transfer, and to expand. We were using emails to communicate and collaborate, which was rather cumbersome and didnt have a consolidated view of how key activities were managed. DeskAway helps us in this regard.

It was in July this year that this service was launched, and in a short span of a month, there are more than 150 users from companies like Parksons Games and Sports, CNBC TV-18 and Essel Group, who are availing of these services. The response has been very positive and we are updating new features as per the companys requirements including their logo on the user interface, says Parikh.

So now, you could manage complex communications right through a net connection, that too at any location. Is that good news or what Ask the spouse, says Kulkarni.