Mavenlink's primary selling point in our view is the breadth of analytic perspectives it offers compared to most other PM solutions. As soon as you have some real data flowing through the system, many of their out of the box Insights Reports provide next-level project transparency, which serves as a tremendous benefit for internal and external stakeholders alike.
Additionally, our organization handles project accounting in a unique and complex way, which had to be handled through a tedious manual reporting method in Excel. Mavenlink not only gave us a greatly simplified time tracking solution, but their Reports Specialists were also able to help us build a custom report that could automate most of the previously cumbersome manual process. It eliminated 1-2 days of recurring monthly work for some of our users.
Some other positives of the ML experience; wonderfully professional and courteous representatives at every level of the organization...I have yet to interact with any ML employee who has left a bad taste in my mouth, even when the point of the conversation was to listen to us complain; JIRA integration has worked fairly well for us, which allows our developers to remain in their familiar system while giving us an easier place to track and deliver reporting insights with clients; relatively easy to pick up the most basic project management functions right away.
Though ML has undoubtedly been a value add for our organization, it has not come without some bumps along the way.
- It's a comparatively pricey commitment. To this point, we're still undecided whether the benefits--significant as they have been--have actually been enough to convince us that the pricing isn't ultimately cost-prohibitive in the long term.
- There's a nickel-and-dime approach for every type of customization...implementing the JIRA integration (which has limitations of its own) and adding the custom reporting metrics cost us additional thousands. On one hand, I want to be fair enough to say that this makes sense...but given that this is where we have gained the most value, it feels important to point out to potential customers that you might have to spend even more than the already high seat license costs in order to get the most value out of the tool.
- Data refresh is hourly. Insights reports are incredibly valuable, but you'd better make sure you've got your most current information added at LEAST an hour before you need it. For some, this might not be an issue. But for organizations like ours with constantly changing/updating data, relying on reports out of Insights for meetings and updates with clients becomes a risky game to play.
- There are some use limitations even for the "Account Administrator" level. Not a huge downside, but there needs to be at least one sort of "superuser" permissions level where a true administrator can go in and correct project configurations when set with error.
- They tend to move very slowly when it comes to delivery of additional services. We'll request a custom report and will get an invoice VERY quickly, but then it will take a week or two before we're even assigned a BI specialist to begin working with to build the report. Again, this is the sort of thing that isn't a problem UNTIL you need something in a hurry. In which case, you're out of luck.
Don't expect a perfect solution out of the box, but do expect a VERY usable tool and a great team of people willing to help you get the most out of their product...albeit on a slower timeline than you would likely prefer. Would STRONGLY recommend taking the time to fully and thoroughly define EXACTLY what you are needing out of their tool before making the commitment to the service.
Custom reporting, and more importantly, custom reporting metrics that have automated some of the most critical previous pain points within our organization. Resource scheduling, given full adoption into the ML ecosystem, will be a huge benefit. Greater transparency when comparing project plans vs actual execution.