Here’s the second tip for improving team productivity with customizable web-based software. I’ll post another tip every few days. But, if you’d like all the tips now, click here to request them.
Tip #2 – Find your productivity sweet spot
When seeking a project management tool, professionals and business owners have often been caught between two options: off-the-shelf, packaged project management applications or custom solutions built in-house, or with outsourced developers.
Packaged or Custom – Each has its pros and cons.
Packaged applications offer the convenience of out-of-the-box features and rapid deployment. But they impose their rules on users, have limited features and cannot be tailored to meet the unique needs of different companies, or even different teams within the same company.
Custom software will certainly work for your teams. But it’s expensive and it can be time consuming to develop, implement and support. Modifying the software to meet changing functionality and process needs is neither easy nor fast – every application change introduces a new round of development, testing and installation.
There is a way to get the convenience you need with the flexibility you want. Instead of buying packaged software or developing a custom solution, consider customizable “software as a service” (SaaS) project management solutions. SaaS solutions are Web-based applications delivered as a service, hosted by a third-party vendor on a secure server and easily accessed via a browser.
SaaS project management offers a productivity “sweet spot” that gives you:
SaaS solutions require no additional hardware or software and are often priced per user. With the per-user pricing model, you only pay for the number of users you need as you need them. As you add and remove users, your monthly subscription fee adjusts accordingly; with desktop software each license becomes a sunk cost that requires an additional investment. Some SaaS vendors provide an unlimited application model in which you pay per-user and have access to as many applications as you like, rather than paying a user fee for each application.
With customizable SaaS solutions, you can control: what information is gathered and tracked; how information is displayed; who can see what information; what information is communicated when and to whom; and what analyses and calculations are performed on data.
This flexibility allows you to work the way that’s best for you and your team – instead of conforming to processes dictated by the software. And it’s easy to modify the application on your own – without a consultant – as your business evolves. But the key word here is “customizable” – not all SaaS solutions allow this flexibility.
SaaS solutions are much friendlier to a company’s growth model than packaged or custom-built solutions. The best SaaS solutions allow you to add or remove users quickly and easily as your needs change. This scalability allows companies to start small and grow their application use over time and is especially helpful for quickly adding users in a new location.
Coming Thursday – tip #3 – Get the hosted application advantage
Have a friend who’s struggling with off-the-shelf or custom project management software?
Send them the link to this tip and introduce them to the SaaS productivity sweet spot.
What about you?
Have a packaged or custom project management application war story?
Reply to this post and share your story. Tell us why you decided to look for an alternate solution and why you selected QuickBase. Tell us about life pre- and post QuickBase. And, you guessed it, be one of the first five people to share your story and receive a Starbucks gift card as a thank you. Your complimentary coffee – or Starbucks treat of any kind, like a salted caramel hot chocolate or awesome congo bar – is just one reply away.