Mavenlink Rounding Out Its Wares for Businesses of All Sizes

Today, more and more companies are breaking down into a slew of collaborative networks of smaller organizations with ever greater specialization. In this new ad-hoc collaborative world, most companies are small, lean, and nimble, relying on extensive supplier networks. Companies have multiple clients and contracts across a globally diverse workforce available on a supply-and-demand (as needed) basis. These trends are giving rise to a massive and rapidly growing “contingent” workforce that will make up to 40 percent of the entire workforce by 2020 (currently at 30 percent, according to CNNMoney). BusinessWeek reported that 26 percent of employees in 2005 had nonstandard jobs, i.e., temps, part-timers, independent contractors, freelancers, free agents, self-employed, so-called “micropreneurs,” and so on.

Enter Mavenlink

Mavenlink introduced its work management solution in 2010 in response to a rapidly changing global economy and trends in the workforce, where more and more companies must manage a diverse and widely distributed network of employees, partners, and business processes. Mavenlink provides a broad cloud-based business management platform for service providers to conduct business with their clients, especially marketing agencies, IT service providers, architecture, engineering, and construction (A/E/C) firms, and all professional services providers. By offering capabilities in collaboration, such as project management, file sharing, task tracking, time & expenses (T&E), invoicing, and online payments, Mavenlink’s footprint covers both the social enterprise layer and the business process and transaction layer.

Mavenlink’s social workspace capabilities allow employees to collaborate with team members, share files, assign tasks, milestones, and deliverables, add clients and colleagues, configure team permissions, etc. The solution’s capabilities for conducting business with clients can include tracking budgets, managing T&E, tracking change orders, sending invoices, and sending information to accounting systems (e.g., Intuit QuickBooks) easily, with one click. There are more than 500,000 people in 190 countries using Mavenlink today, and there is much room for growth. The vendor has successfully leveraged a “freemium” go-to-market model, whereby a small percentage of downloads end up being paying customers for the average price of $19 [USA] per user per month. Additionally, through the invitation process, Mavenlink customers’ customers often become paying Mavenlink users as well.

Renowned Partnerships

Mavenlink is the #1 installed app in the Google Apps Marketplace today. Last time I checked, it was also the only 5 star-rated app in the Top 10 Apps. In 2012, cloud solutions provider ViWO, the #1 Google Apps small-to-medium business (SMB) reseller, partnered with Mavenlink to combine their assets and expertise in a new venture called “Apps Domain Pros” with the idea to offer Google Apps users a new implementation and adoption experience as well as pricing discounts. PayPal is the payment partner, with a minimal transaction charge for invoices of less than $10,000.

In addition, with about 85 percent of the SMB accounting software market share, Intuit has partnered with Mavenlink as one of its top ecosystem partners. Mavenlink was a beta user of the Intuit Anywhere partner platform back in 2011 and has built a seamless integration with QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Online. It has been available on Intuit App Center for over a year and one can see on its app card that it has a 4.5 star rating.

In February 2013, Mavenlink announced that it had integrated with Microsoft Office 2013. The Mavenlink app for Office, which is now available in the Microsoft Office Store, extends Mavenlink's communication and collaboration platform, allowing users to stay connected with team members directly from their Office documents. Using Mavenlink’s Office 2013 integration, users can manage tasks, comment on any Office document, post messages to a Mavenlink project, track time spent working on a file or project, and record hours directly to their time sheets, all from Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2013.

Mavenlink has integrated its solutions at the document level, which is where most people are working today. The company is also collaborating with the Microsoft SharePoint team on use cases to bring the two product workflows together. Microsoft has created an open-standards integration to the Office 2013 Suite, which allows ISV’s to provide a more comprehensive solution to their customer base, and users can now collaborate and manage projects directly from any Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation.

Latest Product Enhancements

In mid-2012, Mavenlink launched its HTML5-based cross-platform mobile app. According to an AT&T 2012 survey, 30 percent of small businesses use mobile apps for their businesses, and an additional 50 percent of individual users say that they cannot survive without mobile apps (up 31 percent from 2011). Mavenlink users can now collaborate, manage tasks, view files, and track T&E, all from their iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and other smartphones without needing to install apps or software.

Most recently, in February 2013, Mavenlink announced the launch of new capabilities, which provide Mavenlink Premier users with financial reporting and management control. The new reports, available in real-time and multiple currencies, provide users with a detailed view of the entire financial life cycle of projects.

Mavenlink’s press release lists the following key new features:

  • Utilization Reports: Maximize revenue through more efficient resource utilization and planning

  • Work In Progress (WIP) Reports: Keep track of planned and actual costs, as well as what has been billed and awaits billing on any project for every client;

  • Accounts Receivable (A/R) Aging Reports: Reduce time-to-payment through better visibility of upcoming and late invoices;

  • Time Sheets: Effortlessly capture time, view, and report on billable and non-billable hours for each team member or workgroup, with a real-time view of project costs; and

  • Task-Level Budgeting: Manage cost expectations and ensure tighter project controls by tracking budgets (hours and dollars) down to the task level.

Products are introduced on a rolling basis and there is no specific version number for Mavenlink products. The vendor’s customers are updated automatically when updates are available. Mavenlink offers an all-in-one footprint for the following realms (which are covered by a number of niche or specialist vendors):

  • Social enterprise: Jive Software, Socialtext, Yammer, blueKiwi Software, and Neudesic Pulse;

  • Collaborative project management workspace: Basecamp, Zoho, SohoOS, Huddle, Clarizen, and AtTask;

  • Invoicing, accounting, & payments: FreshBooks and SohoOS; and

  • Document sharing/storage: Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, SohoOS, Clarizen, and AtTask.

It is expected that Mavenlink will develop a customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities in-house as well as partner with other providers such as and SugarCRM. 2012 was a great year for Mavenlink but one should expect an even more exciting and action-packed 2013 with a number of product, partner, and customer announcements lined up throughout the year.

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