iMeet Central Review

Date Established
2005
Location
Pasadena, California

Overview:

Note: iMeet Central was known as Central Desktop SocialBridge until 2014 when the company was acquired by PGi. The software has subsequently been overhauled and rebranded.

iMeet Central aims to be your one-stop-shop for collaboration. With stated goals of increasing conversation and discussion in the workplace, it claims to “democratize” the workplace, bringing employees who might never have contributed to the table and giving voice to their ideas.

These lofty ideals are accomplished through a common sense user interface, practical features (including HD video calls!), and dedicated support. Though iMeet Central is one of the more expensive project management programs around, the company takes steps to make the cost worthwhile, with dedicated customer service and programs to help make sure you are taking full advantage of the software’s capabilities. And apart from the customer service, the organization of the app itself is smart enough to warrant your consideration, despite the high sticker price. Currently, iMeet Central serves over 750,000 users, including big name companies like MLB.com, Pizza Hut, and Amazon.

Web-Based (SaaS) or On-Premise:

iMeet Central is a web-based program, with no downloads necessary.

Pricing:

Based on the language on iMeet’s website, this program is not intended for the small startup, and the pricing plans confirm that supposition. This is not a software that can be termed cheap, especially when compared with other project management applications.

iMeet Central is available in two subscription levels:

  • Enterprise:
    • $25/user/month (ten users minimum)
    • Unlimited workspaces
    • 50+ GB storage
    • File storage and sharing
    • Project management
    • iMeet/GlobalMeet integration
  • Marketers & Agencies:

    • $45/user/month (ten users minimum)
    • Marketing/agency workspace templates
    • Review + Approve
    • Moodboards
    • Account view
    • Project management
    • Project templates
    • Project roles
    • NetSuite integration

If you want to give iMeet Central a try before you buy (something I always recommend), there is a 15-day free trial available.

Ease of Use:

When you first log in to iMeet Central, you will be greeted with a number of helpful prompts to get you started, sometimes including video tutorials. This is a fantastic touch, one I wish more of iMeet’s competitors would emulate. It certainly makes figuring things out much more straightforward.

iMeet Central’s interface, while not as gorgeous in design as the likes of Redbooth, is very functional. Upon login, you are greeted by your “accounts” page, where you can set up accounts for your various clients. Within each account you can create various workspaces filled with tasks, milestones, documents, conversations, and so on. Moving through your accounts (and the workspaces within) is as straightforward as it should be, though I do wish editing tasks and milestones required fewer mouse clicks. In general, the interface is satisfactory, though I think it could be streamlined for further efficiency.

If you find yourself constantly on the go, iMeet Central does have an app available, requiring iOS 6 or later for Apple products, and Android 4 and up for Android users. The iOS version has not yet received enough reviews for Apple to show a rating, but the Google version is widely panned by users, who claim it is extremely unstable. Keep this in mind: working on your phone may not be the best option with iMeet Central.

Customer Service and Support:

Subscribers to iMeet Central receive access to a number of customer services:

  • Implementation: iMeet Central provides customers with a strategist to help them effectively roll out the software to their respective companies. It can be hard to help all employees learn to use a new program, so this is a nice touch which helps explain the higher price tag. You may be paying a king’s ransom for iMeet Central, but in return, they will treat you like royalty.
  • Product Support: The celebrity treatment continues here, with features like a 24-hour help desk with email, live chat, and phone support, automated health reports, and even dedicated account managers to ensure your problems are solved quickly and efficiently. Enterprise subscribers get a guaranteed four hour response time, while those paying for a Marketers & Agencies account will get answers in two hours or less.
  • Advisory Services: These services basically entail an efficiency manager, supplied by iMeet Central. This dedicated analyst will review your practices and advise on how to best use iMeet Central’s features for your specific needs. Such support helps ensure your employees really use your new software: not an easy task at times!
  • Training: Need a little more advice, but not necessarily the intensity of a personal advisor? iMeet Central provides two options for you: a user forum, and monthly webinars.
  • Social Media: iMeet Central’s Facebook page is updated once or twice a week with links and articles about project management in general and iMeet Central in particular. It is not a particularly good place for getting answers to direct questions, however. The Twitter page is updated a little more frequently but is also not a great place to look for answers to specific questions.

All it all, it is an impressive suite of support options, but though I searched high and low all over the website, I never found publicly accessible FAQ’s or tutorials (video or text). This strikes me as a little odd, as nearly every other program I have reviewed does include at least a rudimentary FAQ and a few videos. It seems to me these basic support options would be useful, not only in aiding current customers, but in helping potential clients decide if iMeet Central is right for them.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

I found these common complaints about iMeet Central:

  • Buggy: Several customers say that they ran into buggy interface issues, especially when co-editing a document. In my own experience, loading times on the company website were a little longer than would be preferable, but I didn’t have any issues with the program itself.
  • Sometimes Inefficient: It seems a little strange to write this about a program featuring dedicated advisors specifically trained to increase efficiency, but some users found that iMeet Central offers so many ways of completing tasks that they sometimes can’t see a clear path to their objective. The same users recommended keeping in close contact with iMeet Central advisors to help navigate.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

There are plenty of people out there who love iMeet Central. Here are some of the reasons why, from the words of the users themselves:

“We can easily reference the work we’ve already done, and build on that so there’s no delay or friction in us communicating out what the next step is for our activists,” – Shiloh Stark, Amnesty International

“The fast, secure and scalable architecture of iMeet Central allows Javelin to scale quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. That trifecta of awesome is hard to find,” – Michael Radigan, Javelin

“From my perspective as the leader of the company, the largest return from implementing iMeet Central, and what allowed us to increase our net income by 800 percent in 2013 and more than 100 percent in 2014 vs. 2013, is the custom workspace used to host Blue Corona’s intranet,” – Ben Landers, Blue Corona

Features:

iMeet Central has quite a few features tucked away, many of them turning up where least expected. These include the standard “projects,” “tasks,” and “milestones” which can be assigned to different team members and given specific due dates. There are also the usual communication features: document sharing, comment boxes, and the like (though I didn’t find a chat feature, which seems a pretty serious deficiency). Here are a few of the other features I found most useful and interesting in iMeet Central:

  • Gantt Charts: A mainstay of nearly all project management applications, iMeet Central’s Gantt charts are fully capable of providing a visual representation of your projects, milestones, and tasks. While this is certainly not a feature unique to iMeet Central, it is definitely a useful one.

  • Group Markups: This feature is unique to the “Marketers & Agencies” subscription, but I think it is worth including here. iMeet Central allows groups to co-edit documents, adding markups individually as they deem necessary. When each member of the team has looked the document over, the creator is notified so that changes can be made. It is a feature I have not seen before, and it’s nicely done here.
  • Workflows and Databases: To be honest, I don’t really understand how this works, but iMeet Central allows you to automate task assignment, email reminders, and notifications. The website claims “no technical expertise or programming required,” which is a good thing since figuring out how to do that makes me a little dizzy. This certainly falls under the umbrella of the advisory services iMeet Central offers all customers. Once it is set up, this feature could become a big time saver.

  • Reporting: iMeet Central provides a number of pre-made reporting templates, including member logins, time logs, status reports, and more. If these aren’t thorough enough for you, there is also the custom reports option. Once the report has been run, you can save it for your own files or share it with executives at your company who need to be in the know.
  • Meetings: iMeet Central is integrated with PGi’s iMeet and GlobalMeet software, allowing you to both engage in HD Video calls and participate in online meetings of up to 125 people. Very few of iMeet Central’s competitors can offer a similar feature.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

iMeet Central integrates with several applications, including:

  • Box
  • Dropbox
  • fatTail
  • NetSuite
  • Google Apps

iMeet Central also offers an API, allowing you to craft your own integrations if you see fit.

Security:

In the words of iMeet’s website, “your data is safe with us. iMeet Central runs on a global infrastructure that provides maximum security, performance, and reliability so you can work without worry.” iMeet Central provides the following security measures:

  • Firewalls on all servers
  • SSL 256-bit encryption with high strength ciphers
  • SSAE 16 SOC 2 audits performed annually
  • Daily systemwide backups
  • HTTPS URLs with TLS 1.0+, bank-grade encryption

Final Verdict:

If you are looking for a quick, easy-to-use program that will fit into the budget of a small business, then iMeet Central is not for you. Sure, it is decently easy to use, and it certainly is quick. But I wouldn’t call it affordable. Especially when some of my favorite features are only included in the more expensive Marketers & Agencies plan. In my mind, this is a major mark against iMeet Central. Add to that the lack of dedicated chat feature, and I find myself wondering what draws over 750,000 users to this program. It really doesn’t seem to bring anything special to the table, especially when compared with other, cheaper, smoother programs.

On the other hand, no other program I have reviewed has included dedicated support staff for all users. The level of support available to iMeet Central is nearly unparalleled in my experience. That goes a long way toward explaining the hefty price tag and also helps explain the lack of self-help options available on the company website. After all, why provide text or video tutorials when you have trained professionals aiding your customers night and day? That said, I like being able to try and understand things myself before asking for help. Part of that is pride and maybe a little machismo, but there is also a pleasure to be found in figuring things out for yourself.

In the end, I don’t think I would personally use iMeet Central. That doesn’t mean the program itself is bad or does not work properly. On the contrary, it works very well indeed. But I prefer a smoother, more communication-focused interface (like Redbooth or Basecamp) to the more clinical iMeet Central. But don’t take my word for it; use the free trial to test iMeet Central out for yourself.

Wesley Kriz

Wesley Kriz is a writer from the misty peaks of the Pacific Northwest, or as he prefers to call it, the Best Coast. He is willing to debate on almost any topic, but he is admittedly very stubborn, so beware. When not writing for Merchant Maverick, Wesley is likely thinking about Star Wars, or reading Lord of the Rings.

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