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Clarizen-Bringing Social Collaboration to Project Management

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: September 26 2013

Some folks will say that the way people work nowadays is broken—i.e., that collaboration actually takes place on Mars while the actual work happens on Venus. Traditional project management software has failed to cater to companies that are staffed with people with different skills who are scattered throughout the world. What is missing is a tool that truly manages work in today’s borderless business environment. Such a tool must unify social collaboration and work for knowledge workers—to achieve enterprise efficiency of and visibility into customer implementations, information technology (IT) projects, marketing events and initiatives, and product definition and development. 

To achieve these goals, Avinoam Nowogrodski, Clarizen’s current chief executive officer (CEO), founded the company in September 2005. In December 2006, the company received its first round of financing from Benchmark Capital and Carmel Ventures in the amount of $7 million (USD). To date, Clarizen has raised $48 million (USD) in investment capital to revolutionize its aggressive product, enhance the end user experience, support global expansion and strategic partnerships, and build upon its position as one of the fastest-growing providers in the collaborative project management software space (adding, on average, 100 customers each month).

The name Clarizen comes from the combination of two words: clarity and zen—two central concepts behind the vendor’s product design. Clarizen’s goal is to bring transparency—clarity—to the people, work, and processes driving the success of an organization. And when teams are empowered to manage their work with real-time visibility and to collaborate across the enterprise, they can achieve a state of zen—focus and peace of mind.

Enter Clarizen v6

In August 2013, Clarizen launched “V6”—the biggest product update/reinvention in the company’s history, which combines true social engagement with project management to align teams in order to drive increased productivity and profitability. The newest version of Clarizen’s cloud-based platform, v6, attempts to redefine collaboration for the enterprise by connecting unstructured conversations with structured work. With a brand new user interface (UI), combined with more than 500 new and enhanced features, Clarizen v6 empowers team performance and supports the requirements of today’s changing modern workplace by improving visibility into projects and enabling social collaboration—in order to drive better business results.

Listed below are some key features of Clarizen v6 (see here for more details):

  • Internal and External Social Collaboration: With Clarizen’s social UI, internal team members, customers, and contractors can now link their conversations to every project element (task, milestone, deadline, etc.), so that they can take action directly from real-time discussions. Users can also create discussion groups on the fly and communicate through common social techniques—for example, using a hashtag (#) to link objects to a discussion, or tagging individuals or groups with the at (@) sign to engage them in a conversation. By starting workflows from posts and discussions, Clarizen v6 streamlines work execution while encouraging transparency and participation across project teams.

  • Drag & Drop Resource Allocation: Clarizen v6 enables managers to assign (and reassign accordingly) resource workload with a simple drag-and-drop function. Managers can see the projects that each team member is working on at a glance, and shift work around based on each member’s skillset and availability.

  • Extensive Configurability: Clarizen’s new UI makes it even easier to personalize views, reports, and dashboards—both at the individual and organizational level.

  • Object Preview: From a single screen, team members can get all the linked items (the entire working context) around literally any entity in the system—i.e., the projects, tasks, documents, conversations, and more. With a click of a mouse, they can then drill down into each item for even more details.

  • High-performance Search Engine: Type-ahead search allows instant searching throughout the system, making it easy to find information quickly and efficiently.

  • Easy Document Collaboration: Organizations can manage all their documents in a central location by project, work item, or task. Team members and customers can manage and annotate documents—all within a single tool. Clarizen also integrates with tools such as Box and Google Drive to support an organization's document management strategies.


Clarizen Users

Most recently, by delivering a more powerful cloud-based work and project management software solution, the company has completed its strongest quarter ever. In Q2 2013, Clarizen reportedly added more than 250 clients to its customer base, bringing its total customer count to more than 2,200, with more than 50,000 users across more than 75 countries worldwide.

Ranging from The Global 1000 companies to small businesses across all industries and sectors, customers use Clarizen’s solutions for general project management, research and development (R&D), marketing, professional services, and information technology (IT) operations. The company has offices in the United States, Israel, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, South Africa, and Russia. Clarizen V6 is supported in 10 different languages worldwide, including Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), English, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Clarizen’s motto resonates across all industries, regions, and company size: “We're not all project managers, but we all work on projects.” Therefore, Clarizen does not limit itself by targeting a specific customer profile. In fact, it does not matter if one is a certified project manager, or just trying to make sure his/her next initiative is a success; that person still needs a solution that's going to make life a lot easier—and more productive—for his/herself and team.

With its Apps Marketplace, Clarizen offers integrations to popular business applications, including Box, salesforce.com, Intuit QuickBooks, and Jira, among others—extending the reach, functionality, and value of Clarizen. For more information about Clarizen’s App Marketplace, including its transparent pricing, see here. Clarizen also partners with renowned regional consultants and resellers around the world so that its customers can get the assistance they need wherever they are located. For more information about Clarizen’s partner network, see here.

Clarizen provides out-of-the-box mobile applications for Apple iOS and Google Android, and the vendor is currently working on providing new updates next year with new features. As for its business intelligence (BI) strategy, Clarizen provides analytics support via the system (an internal reports module) as well as by integration with existing tools. An example of the latter is a Microsoft Excel add-on that enables customers to run any report on Excel and integrate it with internal tools as well as BI systems such as QlikView.

Clarizen CEO Sheds More Light

We recently spoke to Clarizen founder and CEO Avinoam Nowogrodski. Nowogrodski brings more than 20 years of experience in sales, engineering, and business management to Clarizen's vision of bringing collaborative project management to every business. Prior to establishing Clarizen, Avinoam co-founded SmarTeam Corporation, a once-leading provider of collaborative product life cycle management (PLM) solutions. As CEO from 1995–2005, Avinoam's leadership molded SmarTeam into a leading enterprise PLM solution, which was sold and supported by IBM. In 1999, Dassault Systèmes acquired SmarTeam and Avinoam served on the Dassault Systèmes General Executive Management team for 6 years. At his departure from the company, SmarTeam had 3,500 customers across diverse industries and more than 100,000 users worldwide. Avinoam holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

clarizen-avinoam-v3.png



TEC: Why do you think the market is in need of yet another social software provider like Clarizen?
AN: With v6, Clarizen is the first and only solution that combines true social engagement and collaborative features with powerful, extensive, and robust project management capabilities—so it truly puts “social to work.” No other vendor in the marketplace can boast the same.

For example, other project management vendors have very poor social elements, with simple “update” streams rather than the true social functionality like that of Yammer, Jive Software, or Clarizen v6. Their proclaimed social capabilities provide text-only basic updates and are single-dimensional. They can neither incorporate mentioning objects with # or @ symbols, nor embed an image, video, or Web site preview in a post, nor create new action items/projects from the discussion, nor even follow or like an object.

On the other hand, although the more established social collaboration vendors do contain the aforementioned robust social capabilities, they all lack the full breadth of portfolio management: resource management, planning and scheduling, budgeting, time and expense (T&E) tracking, and issue management, etc., all of which Clarizen v6 provides.

Clarizen v6 was also designed around the tenets of participation, alignment, and awareness to empower individuals in ways that have never been done before. By connecting social context with processes, Clarizen v6 can give a voice to each team member. It is that voice and that transparency that will ultimately lead an organization to success. Also, as companies are staffed with people with different skills who are located around the world, connecting these workers via social context, tasks, and projects is the only way to enable true collaboration. Put simply, everyday Clarizen v6 arms its customers with an arsenal of tools to reinvent the way they conduct business—not just change the way they work.

TEC: What are the evident remaining white spaces (functional gaps) in your broad suite and how do you plan to fill them?
AN: We plan to include more advanced reporting and multiple dashboards (on top of the existing reports and dashboards), gamification elements, and even further deepening of the configuration capabilities (custom entities), document versioning, etc.

TEC: Who are your major competitors and how do you fare against them?
AN: Clarizen’s main competitors include project management software products. Clarizen v6 is unique, however, because unlike traditional project management, it provides organizations a robust, yet simple-to-use solution that connects unstructured conversations with structured work. With an all-new UI combined with hundreds of new and enhanced features, Clarizen v6 empowers high-performance teams by improving visibility into projects and empowering social collaboration that drives business results.

TEC: What were the major highlights in 2013 (customer, partner, and functionality-wise), and what do you expect for 2014 and beyond, regarding demand for your solutions across different territories and product modules?
AN: Clarizen has added more than 600 new customers in 2013 so far, and has formed integrations with Box, Intuit QuickBooks, as well a partnership with MuleSoft. Clarizen also had a major product reinvention with v6, which included a new UI, more than 500 aforementioned new feature enhancements, social collaboration tools that link to projects and tasks, and much more. Clarizen also signed notable customers such as Mazda, PG&E, AIAG, Volkswagen, etc. Clarizen also won the 2013 CODiE award for Best Project Management Software.

As the year continues, Clarizen is focused on continuing to innovate and revolutionize its innovative product, enhance the end user experience, support global expansion and strategic partnerships, and to build upon its position as one of the fastest-growing providers in the space.

Related Reading
Mavenlink Rounding Out Its Wares for Businesses of All Sizes. March 4, 2013.
Deltek Goes Social with Kona Business. August 29, 2013.
 
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