The Project Management Institute's (PMI's) Pulse of the Profession 2018 survey reveals that businesses waste a significant amount of money—"$99 million for every $1 billion invested"—on poor project performance.
The report also finds that the key reason for poor project performance is that businesses are not able to close the gap between project strategy and execution.
This is where enterprise project management (EPM) software comes into the picture.
EPM software, such as project portfolio management (PPM), can help businesses identify high-value projects and align them to business strategy.
Using these solutions, business can identify projects risks, monitor progress and analyze employee performance metrics, which help in improving project quality and processes.
However, there are many enterprise solutions out there and making the right choice means selecting the one that fits your current and future project management needs. There are many factors that should influence your software purchase decision: from the project management practices (waterfall or agile) your business follows to the niche requirements of your project management teams.
You should also research whether software vendors you're considering are adopting the new technologies that are redefining project management, such as project management bots and predictive analytics, to ensure you're investing in a solution that will remain relevant in the face of technology disruptions.
In this Buyer's Guide, we'll look at these and other considerations that buyers of enterprise project management software should have top of mind. Additionally, we'll look at the key features, benefits and uses cases of EPM solutions.
Enterprise project management software helps businesses accurately measure and control scope creep (costs, time and resources) and consistently deliver projects that are in alignment with business goals to ensure project success.
These tools come as a full suite solution, or as separate tools for niche buyers, with functionalities such as project portfolio management, resource management, risk management, demand management and project analytics.
Additionally, EPM solutions offer features typical of small business project management solutions, such as task management, document management, project collaboration, mobile applications and integrations.
Enterprise project management solutions offer a wide variety of functionalities that can meet different business needs. For instance, if your business needs a solution for managing IT projects, then demand management is a key feature that will help you accommodate ongoing changes in projects owing to new feature requests from stakeholders, adopting technological changes, managing competition and more.
Similarly, businesses can use the features of enterprise project management tools to gain insights into top performing projects in a portfolio, improve team collaboration, manage employee work and more.
|Project planning and management||Plan projects with timelines and task schedules using built-in templates. Access reports such as burndown charts to track project progress and upcoming milestones.|
|Project portfolio and program management||Manage projects from initial concept to final delivery. Create risk-return profiles to compare initiatives so that all the projects within a portfolio align with strategic goals and deliver business value.|
|Reporting||Monitor key performance indicators and export data for a snapshot of current standing. Analyze data and compare with previous reports to better understand organizational performance.|
|Project collaboration||Allow teams to collaborate and communicate effectively via centralized online workspaces where they can view each other's activity streams and project calendars and discuss projects via chat or by commenting on tasks.|
|Resource capacity planning and management||Assess employee skill levels and allocate resources across multiple projects based on skill sets and availability. Practice resource capacity planning and ensure that high priority projects are staffed first.|
|Security and user management||Check for flexible security options, which includes data encryption, as well as user management functionalities for controlling user permissions and setting up single sign on (SSO).|
|Demand management||Evaluate and manage incoming demands such as new product features, technical changes, operational constraints etc. in existing, planned and unplanned projects, within a portfolio.|
|Risk management||Identify known risks, assign to staff for evaluation and monitoring and create risk management plans. Establish issue/change management protocols to deal with change requests and new issues that arise during project execution.|
Buyers evaluating enterprise project management solutions may fall into one of three categories: large business buyers, best-of-breed buyers and small business buyers.
Here's a quick look at the top concerns of each buyer type when selecting EPM solutions.
In a GetApp survey, two out of three (67 percent) of small business respondents say they use Microsoft Project (MSP) for their project management software.
Typically considered a tool fit for large organizations, the solution's popularity with SMBs is largely due to its seamless integration with Microsoft Office Suite.
Since many small businesses and their clients have a default reliance on MS tools, an integrated project management solution that can talk with common tools such as Word, Excel, Outlook and Skype makes project communication and collaboration easy.
Like MSP, most enterprise project management solutions are integrated tools that offer many benefits to small businesses, such as:
The primary downside of enterprise project management software is that these are expensive solutions. Not all SMBs would get the best value for their money by purchasing EPM software, instead they should check out more affordable project management solutions that can get the job done as efficiently.
Besides understanding the features and benefits of enterprise project management solutions, there are many things to consider before making a purchase decision. Here, we highlight some key considerations that you should keep in mind.
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