Questions and answers
Here we give you answers to the most frequently asked questions about PQFORCE Cloud, our SaaS solution, which you can conveniently subscribe to in the webshop. If you do not find the answer to your question here, please contact us here. Our sales department will be happy to help you with words and deeds.
- My organization knows neither project portfolio nor line management. Is PQFORCE still worth it for us?
Absolutely. PQFORCE covers much more than a pure PPM system. PQFORCE uniquely combines project portfolio management, project management and resource management. Which of these functionalities you use effectively is up to you in the organization.
The PQFORCE Edition Starter focuses mainly on project management and resource management and somewhat less on portfolio management. This edition is also intended for small companies that (often for good reason) do not operate a mature portfolio management. Resource management can also be done in PQFORCE with very little administrative effort. The primary interest is to create transparency as quickly as possible and to visualize the workload of the employees with the current projects and to track them in real time. You already receive this added value with the PQFORCE Edition Starter and at very favorable conditions.
- In which countries and languages is PQFORCE available?
PQFORCE is a cloud solution and can therefore be subscribed to and used around the globe. All you need is a browser and an internet connection. As a user, you can choose one of the available languages when logging in. Currently, these are German, English, French and Italian (as of 01.03.2021). However, the available language packages are constantly being expanded.
- Is PQFORCE always available? Are there maintenance interruptions?
PQFORCE is basically almost always available. Over the year, the availability is 99.7%. There are few planned interruptions - and for good reason. We continuously develop PQFORCE further and ensure stable, high-performance and error-free system behavior. We roll out these developments promptly and automatically, so that all customers and users always benefit from them. During the term of your subscription, you will receive new features from time to time, of course at the same price.
Such system rollouts can take place every Friday between 16:00h and 20:00h (CET) and last a few minutes. Usually we use the maintenance window every 3-4 weeks to apply a feature or hotfix release. During this short time of the rollout PQFORCE is not available. As a user, you will receive an appropriate system notice when accessing PQFORCE.
- What exactly does a PQFORCE subscription include? And how long does it run for?
With the successful subscription to PQFORCE Cloud, you will receive immediate access to your PQFORCE system (so-called client) of the selected edition. After successful payment, you will automatically receive the access data as a system administrator via email to the email address you provided. A subscription therefore includes the exclusive right to use your system as long as it is paid for.
In your PQFORCE system, you can create, manage and, if necessary, delete a maximum number of project and resource objects configured by you when ordering. See also the questions What are resources in PQFORCE? and What counts as a project in PQFORCE?
The subscription is automatically renewed according to the payment period you have chosen. The amount due is automatically debited to you at the beginning of each period. Automatic renewal can be switched off and on again in the Customer Center. You can also switch to a different payment period in the Customer Center, always at the end of the current payment period. You can also increase the quantity structure you have selected or activate a higher edition, i.e. switch from Starter to Advanced , at any time in the Customer Center.
- What exactly are resources in PQFORCE? And how do they count in terms of subscribed data volume?
In PQFORCE, resources are all data objects that have limited availabilities (e.g. have a working time model with 40 hours/week) and can be scheduled for activities (tasks) in one or more projects and thus be loaded (so-called allocations). As a rule, this is understood to mean human resources, i.e. personnel resources. However, this does not have to be the case in PQFORCE. We have a somewhat broader view of resources and speak of different resource types.
The following resource types are available in the Starter edition, which can be created, managed and made available to projects in the HRM module:
- Organizational units (boxes in the organization chart)
- Employees (elements in the boxes), which are subdivided into managers, employees and trainees within an organisational unit.
An organizational unit has the sum of its contained employees as availability. Important: Since an organizational unit can also be generically scheduled (allocated to tasks), it also counts as a resource. The workload of a unit is therefore equal to the sum of the workload of all employees plus the generic workload of the unit itself.
To help you estimate how large the data volume you subscribe to should be, let's make an example: An organization chart with 1 company, 3 departments and 6 employees per department counts a total of 22 resources (1 + 3 + 3 x 6). If you choose the Starter edition, you will therefore need a volume package of at least 25 resources to map this situation in the system. Since your subscription can be extended in terms of data volume at any time, you can also start with a smaller volume and upgrade later if required.
In the other PQFORCE editions, further resource modules and resource types are available, e.g. in the IRM module the types Facilities, Rooms and Vehicles. Or in the KSM module the type Skill, with which personnel resources can be combined into different skill groups. In the Enterprise edition, even customer-specific resource modules and types can be configured.
- What counts as a project in PQFORCE? Do completed projects count?
Projects in PQFORCE are managed in the PPM (Project and Portfolio Management) module. Each project belongs to one or more project portfolios (boxes in the portfolio tree). A project has a life cycle and passes through the different states in it. In the Starter edition, the project lifecycle is limited to 6 states, one of which is "completed".
Important: All projects in the PPM module are relevant for the project volume, regardless of their status. However, a project that is simultaneously managed in several portfolios only counts once. Completed projects also count in terms of data volume for this reason, because such projects are fully included in the calculations by the system at all times in the various displays (generated resource utilizations, cost progressions, portfolio key figures, etc.). Completed projects can also be reactivated at any time and cannot be compared to archiving, where the data is exported from the system and deleted in the system itself.
Let's make an example: In a system, there are 2 project portfolios which include 5 and 8 projects respectively, one of them occurs in both portfolios. In total, there are 12 projects. This requires a usage license with a project volume package of at least 15 projects. Since your subscription can be extended at any time in terms of data volume, you can also start with a smaller volume and upgrade later if required.
- What is the exact procedure for ordering a subscription? And what is the minimum I commit myself to?
PQFORCE Cloud is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and can be conveniently subscribed to in the two editions Starter and Advanced from the webshop. You buy a subscription with a number of resources and projects, which is paid by credit card. When ordering a subscription, you can also choose the payment period (monthly, quarterly or annually). In any case, the amount due will be charged to your credit card at the beginning of the selected payment period. This means that you commit to a minimum payment of EUR 80 - in the case of the Starter Edition, this is for monthly payments. If you deactivate the subscription within one month, you will not incur any further costs. You therefore do not have to observe any notice periods. Depending on the type of customer (Private vs. Business), the corresponding value-added taxes will still apply.
- What and where is the PQFORCE Customer Center? What is a customer account?
The customer center is part of this website. While ordering a PQFORCE subscription, you will be asked to register on this website with your email address and password (customer account). This is the only way you can also take out a first PQFORCE subscription. With the order you are also automatically logged into the customer center for the first time. With the customer account you have access to the customer center at any time and can manage, deactivate, upgrade etc. your subscriptions here.
With a customer account, you can buy additional independent PQFORCE subscriptions at any time. So if you are already registered in the customer center, you can solve further subscriptions without re-registration and thus add them to your customer account.
Please note that the customer account is not to be confused with the access account to your PQFORCE system, which you will automatically receive by e-mail after successfully ordering a subscription.
- Can I get a free test system?
We offer a free and unlimited PQFORCE Free Edition. Besides the reduced functionality and the limit for resources and projects, there are no further usage restrictions of the Free Edition. You can therefore also use PQFORCE Free Edition for commercial purposes.
- What payment options are available?
PQFORCE Cloud can be subscribed in the editions Free and Starter directly from the webshop on this website. In fact, this is the only way to obtain such a subscription. The system provisioning takes place automatically. The paid Starter edition can be paid by credit card or, if your country belongs to the SEPA zone, by SEPA direct debit. The charge is always made in advance at the selected time period (monthly, quarterly or annually). For quarterly and yearly payment you will receive a discount of 5% and 10% respectively in relation to monthly payment.
An exception are the Advanced and Enterprise editions, for which you contact us to obtain a subscription. Here there are then also other payment options.
- How does the adjustment of a subscription work?
You can upgrade an active subscription at any time and increase the number of resources and/or projects, or change to a higher edition, e.g. from Starter to Advanced. A downgrade is not possible, neither in terms of the number of resources or projects nor in terms of the edition. To adjust your subscription, log in to the Customer Center, where you have an overview of your active subscriptions and can manage them.
- Am I entitled to a refund if I cancel a subscription?
No. A subscription to the Starter or Advanced edition is always paid for in advance and the system is available to you for the selected time period (month, quarter, year). It is not possible to cancel the subscription early. However, you can deactivate the subscription at any time at the end of the current period, stop the automatic renewal or change the payment period.
- Who can I contact with questions? Is there a support service?
PQFORCE includes an integrated help system (context help). This is the first point of contact for user questions. The help system can be called up interactively and provides explanations of the available functions in a tooltip layer on the respective view. From these tooltips, further explanations in the form of an electronic manual can be called up at the click of a mouse. The electronic manual for PQFORCE is located on this website and becomes accessible to every PQFORCE user as soon as he/she is logged into PQFORCE.
For the PQFORCE Free, Starter and Advanced editions, no advanced support is available from INTRASOFT or any of our partner companies. Such support services with telephone hotline and e-mail address is available from the Enterprise edition or already included in the corresponding subscription to a standard SLA (Service Level Agreement).
If you notice an unexpected or obviously faulty system behavior when using PQFORCE, we ask you to report this via the contact form provided. We will check this and if it is a system error, this will be included as a bugfix in a subsequent hotfix or feature release. In this case, you will receive an appropriate response from us by e-mail.
- What are the technical requirements for using PQFORCE? Which web browsers are supported?
The simple answer is: You only need a current Chromium-based web browser and Internet access.
And here is the slightly longer answer. PQFORCE is basically a web browser application. This means that a browser forms the front end for the user (PQFORCE Client), which exchanges data with the backend infrastructure (PQFORCE Server) via the network. In the case of PQFORCE Cloud (which includes the Starter and Advanced editions), the server is located in our data center and the data is transferred via a secure Internet connection.
PQFORCE does not place any special requirements on the end user's terminal device. A modern, commercially available personal computer (PC) with an installed web browser is sufficient. No plug-ins or add-ons are necessary either. For displaying exported data (PDF, XLSX, CSV), the corresponding software solutions are of course required (e.g. Acrobat Reader or Microsoft Excel).
Currently, the following browser types are tested and supported by us with PQFORCE (as of 03/01/2021):
- Chrome (Google)
- Edge (Microsoft)
- Firefox (Mozilla)
For performance and security reasons, we recommend the use of Chrome. Internet Explorer (Microsoft) and Safari (Apple) are explicitly not supported. On the other hand, PQFORCE is generally fully executable on other Chromium-based web browsers not explicitly listed above or on the basis of the Blink rendering engine. This is simply not tested by us.
By the way, for customers of the PQFORCE Edition Enterprise we offer a desktop client as an alternative to the web browser. This is interesting for organizations that cannot use one of the supported web browsers, e.g. for governance reasons.
- Can MS Project files be imported?
Yes, this is possible from the PQFORCE Edition Advanced. And it is quite simple. You can drag and drop MS Project files (and other equivalent formats such as MPX, MPXJ, MSPDI, etc.) from your desktop into PQFORCE. The contents, i.e. the work break-down structure (WBS) with the tasks with start and end dates as well as their dependencies, are read out of the file and mapped into the corresponding data structures of PQFORCE. In this way, you can read your file-based planning into PQFORCE in no time and thus share it online with other users.
- Can I connect PQFORCE to another system, such as an ERP system or MS Exchange Server?
In principle, this is possible. PQFORCE has an open, documented REST API (application programming interface). However, we do not offer support for this in the Starter and Advanced editions. However, you can of course develop interfaces to the respective third-party systems yourself or with the help of a third party, e.g. a system integrator. Starting with the Enterprise edition, we offer our own interface framework, the so-called PQFORCE Agent, as well as API documentation.
- How is the data stored in PQFORCE?
All data that you enter or import in PQFORCE is stored in a central database. This applies in particular to documents that can be stored in PQFORCE from the Advanced edition onwards. Each PQFORCE system is a separate client and is logically separated at different levels from all other clients on the same server infrastructure. This excludes the possibility of data cross-access from one client to another. Starting with the Enterprise Edition, it is also possible to obtain a Dedicated Server (private cloud) and thus have your own virtual server infrastructure in the PQFORCE Cloud. See also the question Where is my data located?
- What types of data export/import are possible in PQFORCE? Can I obtain my data when I cancel a subscription?
The data in PQFORCE can be exported from various views of the user interface. In the Starter edition, these exports are limited to the PDF format. Starting with the Advanced edition, exports in XLSX, CSV or XML are also possible. In each edition, data can always be accessed via the REST API. All data can be retrieved in JSON format. See also the question Can I connect PQFORCE to another system?
Consulting and training
- Do I need training to use PQFORCE?
Certainly not an intensive one. However, the answer to this question naturally also depends on the comprehension skills of the user. We always try to design PQFORCE in such a way that intuitive operation is possible. In addition, there is an integrated help system that provides the user with quick hints and assistance. The primary focus is on functionality, i.e. the question " How do I do this and that in PQFORCE?
On the other hand, the introduction and use of PQFORCE will also lead to a different way of working and collaboration among users. PQFORCE enables a completely new type of project management and planning in the organization. This also raises questions of governance, i.e. how do we handle this in our organization? The users may very well have to be trained for this. However, this is more a matter of conveying work instructions.
- Are there any consulting partners who can help me with the implementation and use of PQFORCE?
Yes, there are. Please contact us so that we can put you in touch with the right partner. These partners also support you in the design of a PPM strategy, the targeted system introduction and the implementation and establishment of project management methodologies. In particular, they will help you to increase your process maturity and achieve a digital transformation. PQFORCE is the platform for this.
- Who owns the data I collect and manage in PQFORCE?
Of course, you are and remain the owner of your data, even if you hand it over to third parties for management, so to speak. With the PQFORCE platform, for example, we are merely data processors in the sense of the European Data Protection Regulation DSGVO and adhere to the applicable legislation in Switzerland.
- Where is my data?
The data is technically located in a database. From a legal point of view, however, it is important to know that we hold the data in a data centre in Switzerland. We guarantee that this will always be the case and that our data center partner is ISO 27001 certified. This is how we keep our promise that PQFORCE is a 100% Swiss solution, both in terms of development and hosting. Click here for more information.
- How long will the data be kept in my system once it has been deactivated?
After the subscription expires or if payment is not received (e.g. because your credit card cannot be charged), the use of your system will be automatically deactivated. However, a deactivated system can be reactivated for further use. We guarantee that the data of a deactivated system will be preserved for a period of 90 days after deactivation. Reactivation of the system at a later date is generally not possible. The data will then be deleted.