Cloud-based software solutions (often called SaaS or software as a service) have been in use for over a decade but it is truly only in the past five years—and especially the past three—that the world has exploded with truly phenomenal solutions that work entirely through the cloud via your web browser and dedicated mobile apps.
How about solutions like Slack, Harvest, Xero, Asana—to name a few. In the AEC space, we have big leaders like Procore and Plangrid. And for enterprise there is SalesForce. So what about other newcomers that specifically address the needs of architecture and engineering firms?
Monograph Dashboard is a new project management software for architects and engineers. The company, Monograph, is based in San Francisco and was founded by three architects, Robert Yuen, Alex Dixon, and Moe Amaya. They have diverse experiences, including time at Flux.io and at international architecture firm Gensler.
Monograph Dashboard is aimed at helping all sized firms manage both teams and project planning with the inclusion of time-tracking to never lose sight of the financial implications of both. Because this is software “built by architects” for architects (engineers have similar needs), at first glance you will see a visually clean and straight-forward application.
As a SaaS application, it works through your browser. That means it works across platforms and devices. For Team management it builds a database of employee records, captures employee utilization and billable hours. You can see, for example, what projects employee X has worked on in the past month, on a visual pie chart and across a dateline with hours up the Y-axis.
Project planning happens in a visual calendar layout (Gantt chart style) where you can see all projects and phases across time. This is the best way to plan project loads for your firm. Time tracking is the third major feature and allows users to log time against fixed or hourly billings. It records hours per project, phase or activity.
Items Coming Up
Like any good SaaS tool today built likely in an agile environment, Monograph Dashboard will gain new features on a continuous stream or schedule throughout the year. Users provide feedback. The app got its start by working closely with multiple firms at different sizes.
Monograph is fairly transparent about what is coming up. For example, Tasks were on the list here but are now completed. Invoicing, international address support, Quickbooks Online integration, and Xero integration are all coming up next. Those features suggest that the app’s users are truly using the app and want to tie it into their accounting and banking solutions.
Other updates coming later are tackling reimbursable, major Gantt chart updates, and international currency support.
Monograph pricing is simple like most SaaS tools. There is a base price of $30 per month, then $15 per person after that. A slider at the bottom of this page helps you find the cost for your firm quickly. A 25 person office would be less than $500 per month.
To learn more visit them here: https://monograph.io
Architosh Analysis and Commentary
We have not had a formal demo on Monograph but will get one soon so we can dig in a bit deeper. At the moment the solution looks quite solid. There has always been a need for solutions like this in the architecture market in particular. ArchiOffice was an emerging leader in this space before it was acquired by BQE Software where it continues to be a leader. We have written about ArchiOffice many times in the past and know its founder.
Prior to ArchiOffice, Barry Isakson’s famed Architectronica, later named AIM: Architecture Information Manager, was a powerful and complete system for the entire functioning of an architecture practice, including contacts, staffing, detailing, documents, calendars, timecards and more. That solution was built on FileMaker Pro, Apple’s workgroup database subsidiary’s software that today is still quite popular and once was the sweetheart solution platform for several other AEC industry-based solutions like Architectonic’s solution.
The solutions that once dominated built on FileMaker Pro diminished towards the end of the last decade as new modern web programming standards emerged that lead to the SaaS movement. 37signal’s Basecamp was the early example of how the new tools for the web browser could work.
Monograph Dashboard looks very promising but ultimately what makes these solutions big winners seem to be a combination of two key ingredients: (1) forming a tightly focused and excellent solution with a winning UI/UX and (2) expanding to meet customer needs through the right mixture of organic updates and, most importantly, top-tier integrations with other SaaS leaders.
So far the decisions around Xero and QuickBooks look very promising. Instead of building advanced Gantt charts they may choose to integrate with Instagantt.com, for example, as Asana did. And speaking of the latter, this too may be another future integration partner or Slack for team communications.