Startup builds hosted project management suite

Sydney-based startup Crux Cybernetics has developed a hosted work and resource management solution aimed at helping companies better manage projects, especially those which are distributed.

Crux Cybernetics' managing director Maarten Tentij - with a background of running multiple projects across multiple countries with many people involved - joined the company with an idea for a planning and scheduling solution.

"The tools just weren't available," Tentij said, to handle the next step in the process which the likes of generates.

"Once the deal is done and the work needs to be delivered, that's where we help to systematize, or implement processes, to effectively deliver that service. So we help - with - to deliver services."

The solution's features include components for project management, knowledge management, risk management, reporting, and resource management to track costs. The solution integrates a timesheeting system which captures the time people spend on jobs and then generates invoices.

It also means companies can get contractors, external people, vendors and partners up to speed to work together on a project.

"It doesn't rely on any existing [infrastructure], all you need is an Internet connection," Tentij said. "And where similar things happen in multiple locations, it's perfect for that because you can quickly turn that first 'office' into a template which you can then use to run a similar project in multiple locations."

Tentij cited IP telephony deployment across many branch offices around Australia as an example of where the solution would deliver benefits. is hosted on Linux at the Australian Centre for Advanced Computing and Communications.

"It's an open source solution," Tentij said. "We've got the Jboss J2EE server, PostgreSQL database, and it's an XML interface to a set of Flash-based user interfaces. So rather than HTML with page refreshes we have a rich Internet application so everything happens in real time."

Tentij said the application has been using Jboss for more than a year and described it as "rock solid" and without problems as it has had to "really pump through it".

"Jboss has all the enterprise java beans and does all the transaction management for a more fail-safe way of updating the database," he said. "We have many tens of thousands of items in our database and some 1000 projects in the system.

"There is a lot of data but it doesn't actually take a lot of space. It's a very data rich system; for example, e-mails can be sent from within a project so all those e-mails are tied to the project; you can also store video messages to the project. You can record a project meeting and tie that to the project."