The best project manager is supported by a project management software tool that caters to unique project requirements. When selecting a software to run a project or business, many buyers overlook key factors that ensure a successful project management software implementation. The purpose of this article is to provide business owners and project  managers with insights on how to select the best project management software.

Ranking Business and Project Management Priorities

When evaluating a project management software or a business software, it helps to have a thorough understanding of the day to day project management activities and needs. This helps identify whether or not and how the software is capable of solving  business and project management problems. Since every project and business has unique qualities, by studying current project management practices and theoretically applying them to the project management software in question one can almost identify one-for-one how each problem or project management need can be resolved using the software. Listing project management software features in order of priority is time well invested into the project management software selection process. By ranking business and software needs, a manager creates a clear picture on how to create a best-fit between project management activity and software.

Assessing Future Project Management Requirements

Although it may be difficult for a manager to predict exactly how project management software requirements may evolve over time, it is possible to understand the degree of flexibility that the software accommodates. Flexible project management software allows a company to grow and change over time. The more flexible the software, the more options project managers will have to accommodate project-specific situations that were not accounted for or expected during the project management software selection process. Project management software that is simple to use, may or may not have the ability to match evolving needs of a company as volume increases or decreases. The ability to change and adjust to as many situations as possible is of tremendous value to a company, and therefore a project manager.  All too often project management and business data is segregated across multiple different software applications that do not synch up with each other and often create additional, undue burden on the company. Yet, the company still needs a means of tracking abnormal situations. An effective project management software solution accommodates change and can be tailored to meet changing business demands without degrading former or existing projects management needs already set forth by existing projects.

Project Management  Software and Accounting Software Integration

It is a reality that there is no one single software that services every business need a company has. Therefore, the ability for one software to share data, import/export or otherwise synchronize business data with another software becomes an essential component to the software selection process. Software product vendors  may put forth “a one size fits all” attitude however the best way to ensure that a project management software can share data or synchronize with an accounting software is to understand the technical requirements of both software systems. This way, the software systems in place and the software being selected may be assessed as a set of integrated software systems that work together rather than single handedly, as how most businesses select software. In fact, software integration as a primary driver to the software selection process will dramatically reduce implementation costs, due to a reduction of data setup and a consistency of terms and language used across different business software systems.

Project Management Software Vendor/Customer Relationship

The project management software vendor and the customer should establish a mutually supportive relationship. When selecting a project management software to run and manage business data and for project management, the project manager should factor into consideration how responsive and competent the project management software vendor is in both the project management software itself and also the business industry that the project management software is intended to serve. The project manager should also observe how willing to help the project management software vendor is, and how promptly and accurately the project management software vendor follows up and follows through. These are all indications of how the project management software vendor will perform when supporting the customer.

Many project management software vendors offer support for project software-specific questions, however such questions often call for business-related questions on how to handle best project management practices, for example, using the project management software. Since a project software is to support projects for the business, there should be no separation between answering technical questions about how to use the project management software and questions on how to solve project-related questions within that project management software.

The vendor should become an active participant in supporting a project manager or company with it’s own project management processes, thereby having those project processes clearly defined and managed within the project management software. Once a business is invested into a project management software, the switch can be costly depending on whether or not the company wishes to migrate project management data from one software to another. Therefore, it is in the best interest of a project manager to, when selecting a project management software, to analyze how much effort it would take to switch to a new software, if the company reaches the limits of the current project management software.

Although it may be difficult to assess the cost of moving project management software data to a new project management software without knowing ahead of time what the new project software is, part of the project software selection process should identify how such a switch in systems will be addressed, should such steps be taken in the future.

It is in the best interest of both the customer and A1 Enterprise to provide a project management software that works for our customer and our customer’s specific industry. If, in the event, A1 Enterprise feels that the customer needs are better matched with any specific project software, A1 Enterprise makes suitable recommendations and provides assistance in the project management software selection process when needed by the customer. A1 Enterprise has a substantially diverse background in software development and customized software for small businesses and large companies.

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