It’s difficult to organize and manage projects or share information, when you have employees spread over different locations.
In the free global market, an increasing number of companies, small businesses or large enterprises, are using collaborative software tools to be more efficient, productive, and competitive.
With the right collaboration tools…You could be getting 20-25% more out of your knowledge workers (Source: McKinsey Global Institute)
Using collaboration software is the way to go to stay at the Top in your field, which offers solution to streamlining your top business processes.
This makes organizing workloads as well as team collaboration faster and more efficient compared to accessing tools scattered either across the web, personal computers, or the company’s network.
Good collaboration software solutions also help integrate productivity apps into your workflows.
This article traverses through a decision making framework for selecting software as well as a list of criteria to help the business owner navigate through the myriad choices available today.
1-Is it cloud hosted?
Being a Project manager you should be concerned on the cost of the tool which should have Low Upfront cost. It should also be Accessible anywhere, anytime via internet.
Just shun buying a server and hiring IT staff to manage the tool. A simple easy to manage tool is what you require.
It should not be limited to company intranet which will limit the functionality of the software.
2- Scope of Free Trial
Most vendors allow free trial of their product which lends you firsthand experience before buying and evaluating the tool. You have the opportunity to evaluate the tool for your industry specific needs and use.
The possibility of after-sale problems can also be eliminated. Besides you gain knowledge on the service of the vendor.
Buying a service software means you are bonded with the vendor for a long haul who becomes partner in your growth and fixes issues in the future. It builds mutual trust which is key to success.
3- Simple and Intuitive to use
You buy the product for the whole team and necessarily they aren’t IT nerds. It has to be easy, intuitive and should function with little help from the vendor.
The dependencies need to be kept as minimum as possible. It has to be user friendly. Complex operations bog down the user and performance is hampered.
4-How’s the Learning curve
If the software is easy to use; it saves you time and money. Be careful to choose a tool that’s simple and has low training/implementation overheads. Else, the tool adoption would be a challenge.
5- Clarity on price and product
You should know how much exactly to pay including the fine prints. Discuss and ascertain price before purchase about hidden costs like extended licensing fees, additional user fee, add-on fees etc. All your takeaways should be on papers so that you never get duped.
6- How strong is the customer support
Customer service should be 24×7, or at least somebody should respond to your email within hours to minimize project delays.
Stronger the customer support better the software efficacy. Unaddressed glitches will delay your adoption and impact productivity.
7- Does it have a mobile app
A mobile app can help members to collaborate on the go via their smartphones. Not having mobile app will surely affect adversely when 78% of the users access internet on their devices and stay on-line always. It allows you to be in a single workspace.
8- Are there Add-ons
You can scale the software up and down to match your project’s needs. Buy if you must or limit your team’s collaboration scope, otherwise there are chances that you pay for unnecessary extra features that you don’t use.
9- How secure is your data and backup
Security breach or data loss can compromise your deadlines and/or bring your business down. If the company assures on full security then you can focus on your deadline and move faster.
10- Flexibility in data sharing
Data exporting functionality adds to the efficiency of the process. This feature keeps everyone in the collaborative mode in this digitized world.
“The use of commercially available PM software drives higher levels of portfolio performance and greater satisfaction with an organization’s project management practices.” ~ PriceWaterhouseCoopers
So why panic! Enjoy best of the things that suits and serves you best.