Organizations must consider numerous factors when evaluating project and portfolio management software, all within realizing PPM benefits and more value from projects. Characteristics must be correlated with business requirements, business details, and stated business objectives. While some decisions and feature considerations are obvious and based on the limits of the IT architecture or compliance requirements, others require significant deliberation and a frank assessment of the expected growth of the business. In short, decision-makers must look inward at the company before looking outward at products.
Local PPM software vs. on the cloud
This is the question that companies face with many large system purchases: in the cloud or on-premises?
Is the PPM software available through a private cloud in the cloud, or is it hosted as part of a public cloud service?
Some companies are moving to fully cloud environments, making the availability of portfolio and project management software in the cloud a high priority. Others keep certain business applications on-premises, often for security reasons, so a cloud-only delivery model is out of the question.
With cloud offerings, including SaaS, cost factors like subscriptions, maintenance fees, expansion modules, and training are important.
Cost factors include potential hardware, licensing, maintenance, deployment, training, service, and support requirements for local offerings. Companies should also view the PPM system and its release schedule for any potential upgrades that may require additional investments.
Collaboration features represent an important purchasing consideration. Project and portfolio management is a team effort, so collaborating and sharing documents is vital. This includes features that allow users to ask questions and solve problems related to projects, tasks, resources, schedules, and other problems.
Do the collaboration capabilities of PPM software allow managers and team members to easily work together on prioritization, resource allocation, and process flow? Can the team drill down to a specific project, resource, or task while collaborating? Are enterprise social networking capabilities, instant messaging, and other easy-to-use collaboration tools available?
Global and mobile capabilities
Many companies run multiple projects worldwide, so the ability of portfolio and project management software to support international operations is important. This could include a currency conversion feature, as well as multi-language support.
Many organizations also have a large mobile workforce, so supporting mobile access to PPM functions is key. Mobile access to project and portfolio management software enables users to take advantage of features regardless of where they work from and can help foster better collaboration.