Anyone who runs a small business will know that just keeping the business going is hard enough without also having to manage all the paperwork, keep track of orders, and follow up invoices. Streamtime is a business-management program that aims to keep on top of just these sorts of things.
It can cope with issuing quotations, monitoring staff timesheets and schedules, and tracking jobs in progress. It also includes an address book, which keeps track of correspondence with a particular person or company. It does not include accounting, although it will integrate with popular accounts programs on both Macs and PCs.
It’s based on FileMaker Pro 9, and has the look and feel common to FileMaker solutions, with lots of fields and tabs. This can be a little daunting at first, and we think that a cleaner approach to interface design would make Streamtime much easier to get to grips with.
Nonetheless it is rather slick, and has some nice features such as handling multiple currencies. It can be set up to deal with companies split across several sites, and will allow you to break your company down into different departments, for more detailed performance statistics. But, of course, the amount of feedback it gives depends on the time users spend typing that information into the system in the first place. It also appears to be limited to the fields that it comes preconfigured with. It’s true that these do cover most eventualities, but it could have been a little more flexible.
This version has interactive Gantt charting, which breaks jobs into tasks and then shows those tasks on a timeline, giving a good visual idea of ongoing projects.
Streamtime is not cheap. The basic single-user version costs £1,000. If you add training and some customised stationery then you can expect to pay upwards of £1,500. Adding a second user will cost another £1,000 and each additional user a further £500. For this sort of money a small company could buy a far more powerful SQL-based MIS with similar functions.
Streamtime is quite effective as a customer relationship management tool and can certainly give a lot of feedback and perform quite complex calculations. However, it’s expensive and there are cheaper options available for freelancers, and more sophisticated solutions for small businesses for similar costs.