With the proliferation of project management software options, finding an application with the features you need is not likely to be a problem. What can be tough is narrowing down your choices. One of the decisions you will have to make is whether to install on-premise software or use an SaaS program. Here are some features of SaaS to take into consideration.
Low Overall Cost Is Typical
This is the most frequently touted benefit of SaaS versus traditionally licensed software. The month to month fee is a lot easier for some businesses to swallow than the heavily front loaded price of on-premise software. The total cost of ownership over time can also be lower with SaaS project management software because the vendor is responsible for updates, upgrades, maintenance, security, and ongoing support. Generally, these services are provided at no additional cost as part of the monthly plan. Because the data is hosted on the vendor’s side, no additional hardware or server infrastructure is needed on the customer’s side.
Virtual Team Management May Be Simpler
Some projects involve team members and third party collaborators at sites in different states – or even different countries. Permitting everyone with a valid username and password to access your PM software anywhere, anytime can be a very attractive feature. This ensures that everyone is working with current information no matter when they log. Of course, you can set permissions so that SaaS users are only allowed to view, modify, or add data based on their level of responsibility within the project. You might even choose to give customers access to certain reporting functions so they can stay apprised of the progress of their project as needed.
IT Involvement is Still Required
Implementing a “rogue” SaaS application without IT’s knowledge is always a bad idea. Don’t let an SaaS vendor convince you that their project management software is so simple you don’t need help. One critical aspect of PM implementation is the ability to interface the application with backend systems such as Accounting. You need IT to check out the software to see if it will allow importing/exporting of data. Otherwise, you will be stuck rekeying information – greatly increasing the risk of errors. Ideally, your PM application will allow true integration with real time updating of data from your other programs.
Security is Always a Concern
There’s almost certain to be a large amount of proprietary information in your project management database. SaaS is becoming more secure all the time, but consumers still have concerns about how safe their data is when it’s hosted behind a vendor’s firewall instead of their own. This is another reason to have IT involved in the selection process for SaaS software. They can evaluate the security protocols (physical, procedural, and electronic) that these vendors have in place. Some may actually have even tighter security than your organization, so you might end up feeling completely at ease with third party hosting.