Small businesses may find that the superior functionality and convenient integration of cloud collaboration packages better suits their needs than traditional project management software.
That’s one major conclusion you can draw from recent research by software selection experts Software Advice, which analysed a random sample of 385 interactions with small businesses looking for project management solutions.
At the time of approaching Software Advice, the businesses in question were using a variety of methods to manage their projects. The largest group – 46% of the total – relied on manual tools such as email, Excel and even pen and paper! A further 35% currently used some form of project management software, while the remainder used non-project-management packages, a variety of multiple software applications, or nothing at all.
However, analysis of what all of these companies wanted from their new software uncovered some interesting patterns, suggesting that many were really looking for a solution that offered more than generic project management packages.
Cloud deployment preferred
Firstly, of the quarter of buyers who expressed a deployment preference, 100% said they favoured a web-based solution – signalling a move away from self-hosted project management software towards cloud-hosted packages.
Secondly, the vast majority of companies (88%) were interested in buying a suite that integrated two or more applications, such as document management, time tracking and reporting. Many said this was because they found it difficult to keep track of projects managed across multiple platforms, and wanted to consolidate within a single system.
In other words, while their core requirement was software designed for project management, they wanted an integrated system that gave them a range of additional functions. The most requested of these are detailed in the chart below.
While these were the most asked-for functions, it’s important to remember that all of them are critical to successful project delivery. So while just under a fifth of small businesses said they wanted a solution that offered integrated document management, this is a function that’s central to every project – and one that is unlikely to be offered in a traditional project management package.
The suggestion, therefore, is that while businesses need a wide range of functionality to successfully manage projects, many may not be aware that they can choose suitable software that already integrates tools for resource management, document management, issue management and other activities.
It’s likely then that buyers’ expectations are being shaped by the functionality packages that happen to be marketed as ‘project management software’. However, a far better way to source software is to draw up a list of all the functions you need – or may need in the future – and then look for a solution that integrates them.
That’s why any business needing to source project management software would be wise to extend their search to cloud collaboration packages. Not only are they web-based, but they integrate all their functions within a single interface – which is much more seamless than bolting together separate standalone applications, such as project management software, databases, time tracking tools etc.
Kahootz is a market leader at bringing together all major project management tools with additional, collaborative functionality. Using the functions nominated by Software Advice’s respondents as a basis, you can see that Kahootz ticks every single box.
Kahootz – much more than project management
- Project management – via secure, configurable, collaborative online workspaces which offer you a wide range of tools and functions.
- Time tracking – through online activity logging and reporting and a full audit trail of deliverables.
- Task management – by setting priorities, repeat intervals and deadlines and adding files, discussions and related links to provide context.
- Resource management – you can create databases that are tailored to your resource management needs.
- Reporting – Kahootz can create reports on the data you gather in databases and via online questionnaires and quick polls.
- Document management – share documents in secure folders, set access privileges and add comments on individual document pages. Upload new versions of documents while retaining the option to roll back to earlier revisions.
- Project collaboration – use workspaces to enable mobile working and collaborate with any person who has access to any internet enabled PC, tablet or smartphone.
- Budgeting – use spreadsheets and databases to keep track of project budgeting and spend.
- Project portfolio management – open up your workspaces to clients and use separate workspaces to track performance of your portfolio of projects.
- Issue management – create online issue and risk registers to ensure problems are logged and dealt with quickly.
As more businesses become aware that cloud collaboration software can fulfil all of their project management needs while bringing valuable additional tools to the table, more and more of them will source and use it.
It’s a matter of choosing software because of what it offers, not what it is labelled as. In the same way that old-style stock control software is being superseded by more adaptable and integrated Enterprise Resource Planning platforms, so will much project management software be replaced by online collaboration software.
Of course, some vendors will realise they need to up their game and evolve their products into fully-fledged collaboration software. But when that day happens, they may find their business customers have already moved on.