To compare the two applications we have chosen five battlefields. They are: Look and Feel, Functionality, Customization and Interoperability, Browser and Language Support, and Price. For each category we will point out strengths and weaknesses of both applications and then we will choose category winner. In the end of the article we will sum it all up and pick the overall winner.
Look and Feel
Basecamp is very intuitive application. With the main menu, including all the sections, located at the top, tools for each section located at the right side and a central panel which displays the content, it is easy and comfortable to use. Layout of Clarizen is very similar, it also includes main menu at the top of the page and central section for content. Tools for the particular section are located bellow the main menu. In some cases, like projects or tasks, extra tools (to show dependencies, expenses, teams) are present, located on right hand side on a sliding panel. This is very nice feature, which not only makes the use of the application easier, but also is one of the key functionalities that helps to get most out of using this project management application.
As for the design, Basecamp has very plain design, mostly with text links or simple buttons, which are easy to follow. Clarizen’s design makes an impression of professional application, with more icons and colours to demonstrate various statuses of tasks and projects.
Lastly we would like to compare the main page (called Home Page in Clarizen and Dashboard in Basecamp), because that is the first thing you see after logging into the application and this should provide you with updates and help you to stay on schedule with tasks and projects. In both applications is included a list of recent activities. Clarizen also provides charts with overall status of all assigned projects and tasks and closest upcoming deadlines/milestones.
Both applications cover all core functionalities for project management.
Basecamp includes: To-do´s, Calendar, Whiteboards, File and Messages, as well as an additional module for Time tracking, which allows users to fill their time spent on particular activities and then calculates the total time spent on the project.
Clarizen offers few extra tools than Basecamp, namely Gantt Charts and two additional subsystems. The classical collaboration tools include Projects, Milestones, Tasks, Files, Discussion and Notes. The Time Tracking subsystem is very similar to the one in Basecamp. In addition to that it also includes Expenses subsystem, which makes it easy to keep track of both project related and general expenses and Issue Management Subsystem which allows users to manage issues, bugs, requests and risks that are related either to one of the projects, or to a separate task.
Both systems offer options to create reports by exporting data, which could come in handy.
Customization and interoperability
What we really liked about Clarizen is its integration with various other applications, including SalesForce, Intacct, ZendDesk, Calendar (Outlook or similar) and GoogleDocs. Besides the integration it also offers wide range of very powerful customizationtools to define own business rules, workflow rules and actions that would suit the organization.
Basecamp offers different Addons, for example functions like making 3D graphs. These Addons doesn’t come directly from the Basecamp developers; they are supplied by external companies.
Browser, language and general support
Basecamp offers a good choice of language mutations like Italian, Spanish, Japanese, French, German etc. (overall 16 language versions as for January 2012, promising more coming soon). Basecamp indicates that it supports all usual web browsers - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari, but during our test it ran smoothly in Opera as well. It works on practically all commonly used mobile devices.
Clarizen is available in over 10 languages, but it definitely is not easy to find this information on their website. All main web browsers are supported. As for mobile devices, it runs on iPhone so far, support of more devices is coming soon.
Basecamp offers free plan for 1 project and then various plans which all have unlimited number of users and differ only in number of projects and GB for file storage. Basic plan for $24/month (15 projects, 5GB), Plus plan for $49/month (35 projects, 35GB), Premium plan for $99/month (100 projects, 30GB) and Max plan $149/month (unlimited projects, 75GB).
Clarizen offers three basic editions: Professional edition ($24.95/user/month), Enterprise edition ($39.95/user/month) and Unlimited edition ($44.95/user/month). Editions differ by support, and especially by customization, where the cheapest version includes only 3 custom fields, business rules and custom actions.
Both tools would be perfect help with project management, they include all core functionalities and have good support of languages as well as web browsers and mobile devices. Clarizen offers more functionalities and additional subsystems which makes the application more complex. Considering this, together with its advanced customization tools, it would be suitable when dealing with more complex and bigger projects, but on the down side, these extra tools are reflected by the price. One little difference we have noticed is that Clarizen focuses on getting projects and tasks done on time by rich functionalities like notifications, planning tools and charts, which would come in handy especially for a project managers working on multiple projects at the same time, while Basecamp just simply helps to manage projects and To-Do lists and due to unlimited number of users could be used by all members of the team.Overall Winner
: Clarizen, however as we mentioned in the summary, in some cases Basecamp could be more suitable