Picking the right project management tool can be a long and painful process. Apply this quick 5-point test to packages you’re evaluating for your business, and if one passes with flying colors, it could be the right choice for you. Here are the 5 points to consider:
1) Functionality: If you run a professional services company, the business processes you need to automate may include task management, resource assignation to tasks, employee effort tracking, and analytics on the information pertaining to these processes. Additionally, collaboration features are important today for timely communication with customers and employees.
2) Cloud or on-premise: Cloud software is becoming sort of a no-brainer today, but you still may have some very specific business requirements which could compel you to consider on-premise software. If you don’t have any obvious need for on-premise software, you almost certainly want to go for cloud software, as it will be quick and easy to start, and cost-effective.
3) Budget: How many users are you anticipating from your company will use the project management software? This will be an important criterion in determining how much you may need to pay. Usually, the initial few users are free and the next batch of users is chargeable. Cloud project management tools are typically monthly subscription-based which makes it easy to trial for a few months to see if it aligns with your business needs.
4) Support: Does the vendor have good after-sales support? To run your business smoothly, you need reliable support for the software, since it will make the foundation of your core business processes. Today, there are multiple channels like email, phone, help desk etc. that are provided by vendors who believe in offering comprehensive after-sales support to their customers. Carefully understand the support services provided by the vendors you are evaluating.
5) Integration: No business process works in a silo. To create a thriving business, each business process has to integrate with the others. In fact, in today’s business environment, this is an important point of differentiation between successful and not-so-successful businesses. Can your project management processes integrate with your time tracking, employee information, billing and customer relationship management processes? Is it possible to directly feed your project information to your financial processes and systems? This can be a make-or-break factor which can determine how well your business can respond as one integrated entity to the rapidly changing business environment. Look for the breadth of coverage of business processes and integration capability of the vendors you are evaluating, even if your current requirement is something more singular like project management automation.
Hopefully, this 5-point test will help make the project management tool selection a bit easier for you.
Sanjeev Kumar is Product Manager for Business Analytics at iBE.net, which offers cloud-based business software for small to mid-size enterprises. For more information visit www.ibe.net.#cloudcomputing
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