Peer Learning: Podio as an all-in-one management solution

Pollinators hosted a peer learning session to discuss use of Podio to enhance team productivity in different organisational contexts. This post outlines some general recommendations from the conversations, and has specific suggestions for particular users and purposes,

This session was attended by people in executive or manager-level roles within small to medium organisations.  This conversation continued pre- and post-session within the ‘Digital Cluster‘, which Pollinators members are able to join and contribute to.

Pollinators also has a specific upcoming training sessions on Podio on the 4th of November, as well as several other topics relevant for businesses, community groups and freelancers.

Some of the themes that emerged from the conversation about Podio included those immediately below.

We’ve also a ‘screencast’ (scroll to the bottom of this post) to walk you through one example of how Podio works for Pollinators Inc.

(Please note that these are recommendations based on our understanding of the needs and opportunities for local organisations in Geraldton…and may not be as relevant for other contexts.)

  1. Podio is the market-leader in its (large) niche and quite, quite amazing. If you are looking for customisable, comprehensive cloud-based systems for managing organisations, there are many competing offerings that will do:
    1. Project management, including managing deliverables, tasks, timelines,
    2. Customer relationship management,
    3. Webforms for customer inquiries and support requests,
    4. Booking management system,
    5. Tracking time, money, inventory items, news stories, membership records etc.
    6. Email, chat and webconferencing system,
    7. etc. but none can do it all, or have almost every aspect. Podio’s flexibility is incredible because anyone can use a drag and drop interface to make their own apps to collect and manage data they want, or use one of hundreds of free apps made by and for similar organsiations around the world. Podio also has mobile apps are close to true replicates of the desktop version; everything in Podio can be exported and imported to Excel for use in other software or for specific types of analysis; and Podio was acquired by Citrix, meaning they aren’t a small, risky startup anymore.
  2. Podio could save your organisations an immense amount of time. Just the reduction in time spent dealing with email traffic alone, or streamlining your project management could make it worth it. The ability to automate workflows and reduce the amount of paper and manual handling of inquiries can take time-savings to another level.
  3. Complementary software is needed to realise its full potential. The members at the discussion still use Google Apps, Dropbox / Google Drive, Xero and our customer/client-facing websites, but all complement and integrate with Podio. Software like Globiflow also unlocks even more potential in Podio, enabling automation of emails to your customers or users, customising of embedded views of your data on your website.
  4. There is a steep initial learning curve. This is more than another piece of software for a specific purpose. It enables quite different relationships and workflows within your organisation. Consider some of the on-boarding advice from Podio itself: “Ban email for a week”. Using Podio will require training and rethinking some policies and procedures, and will only suit people who are going to use it regularly (daily-weekly).
  5. It’s not for everyone, or every organisation. If you are small or have a network of engaged, tech-savvy contractors or volunteers who are often working different hours in different locations, then Podio could work for you. It could also work great if you want to take this on as THE ‘management’ system for your organisation with 5+ staff. It will work for you if you want to integrate email, customer inquiries, workflow and project management and relationship management on one cloud-based platform. It may not be suitable if you:
    1. Are regularly offline, without mobile coverage or behind government firewalls
    2. Have reservations about using cloud-based software
    3. Have staff with relatively low digital skill levels
    4. Aren’t willing to invest in creating the right structure, apps and workflows to make it work for you.
  6. Potential enterprise-scale users (e.g. more than 5 people) should seek expert advice. From our collective experience in setting up and working with Podio over the last two years, there are many insights into the ‘right’ way to structure workspaces, data and workflows. While Podio enables you to change structures, data and workflows with a few clicks, it will save time and make it easier for users if things are set up well from the start.

There are other considerations…but why not come along to the FREE training and experience Podio for yourself.

Example of a single Podio workflow, how we take, manage and track bookings for Digital Enterprise training.

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