Central Desktop Shows What's Hot for Summer

By Lauren Simonds
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Small business doesn't take a holiday even in the dog days of summer, and neither, apparently, do the folks at Central Desktop. Instead of daydreaming about a fab tropical getaway, they've been hard at work packing more business collaboration features into their new Summer Release.

The latest release of this Web-based (SaaS) service includes tools that facilitate time tracking and help-desk applications as well as a database API that lets customers pull other data into Central Desktop to create a variety of customized features and mini-applications.

The company's ultimate objective is to provide the best virtual team collaboration platform available, and it sees this latest version as a step toward achieving that goal. "We're continually looking for ways to improve how we service and support small to mid-sized businesses,” said Isaac Garcia, Central Desktop's CEO.

Central Desktop has tools that let you collaborate and share documents, tools, goals, calendars, reports and databases, but Garcia said customers need more.

[People] "in a variety of industries need additional support to track time, manage service and support, as well as bring together other industry specific functions into their daily business communications and collaboration efforts," he said in a written statement.

The platform is designed specifically for small businesses, Garcia noted, adding, "It's our number one priority to quickly develop our platform to meet our customers requirements as they migrate their daily business activities online.”

Database API

The new database API lets customers connect to data outside of the Central Desktop platform either by pushing data out to another application or pulling it in from another application. "Anytime you're in Central Desktop and need data from another source, such as Quicken or Salesforce.com, the API lets you write a tool to bring it in," said Garcia.

In addition, the new API feature lets you create custom mini-applications within Central Desktop Workspaces. You can also:

  • Integrate third-party data into Central Desktop workspace databases
  • Auto-update Central Desktop Databases from integrated third-party applications
  • Query and export custom data sets from Central Desktop
  • Auto-import custom data sets into Central Desktop

Time-Tracking Application

Central Desktop now lets you connect tasks to the database to create a time-tracking application, which is particularly helpful for professional services, consultants, developers, designers, project resource management or other professions that bill by the hour.

  • Track the amount of time spent on a specific task
  • Create time sheets and reports by person, by project and by date-span
  • Capture custom data into user-defined fields, so that people can track more than just time
  • Export time sheets and reports into third-party billing applications

"With time tracking application, you can see the workflow and then use the API to export the information into Quicken for billing," he said.

Help-Desk Application

Customer demand led to the addition of the helpdesk application. "Our customers wanted a lightweight ticketing system for a simple helpdesk," said Garcia. "We're not trying to get into the helpdesk market, but provide a simple solution for people without having more features and cost than you need," he said.

The basic application lets you

  • Track support desk tickets
  • Open and close help desk incidents
  • Report on the number of open and closed help desk incidents

Pricing for Central Desktop starts at $25 per month for a team of 10 people and 500 MB of storage, and it tops out at $500 per month for a team of 250 people and 500 GB of storage.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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This article was originally published on August 14, 2008
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