Nowadays, companies are eager to track and optimize everything. Well, they can do that know since digital technologies bring absolute real-time traceability.
We don’t talk just about front office operations (like sales) but even internal operations are on the same path.
This is why many businesses have started to adopt collaborative software to optimize performance and communication. This is not about being different or innovative—it’s the new normal.
In your vendor research, you may have already found dozens of vendors that claim to be different, exactly what you need. You ended up confused and unnoticing that every provider has something different to offer or is addressing to specific organizations.
Work Management systems fall into the same discussion. It’s hard to distinguish how it differs from a project management software, or a business chat, an intranet builder, etc. Or maybe it includes them all?
Here you have 6 questions your boss —or any decision maker in your company–may ask while looking for work management systems.
What is the difference between a project management system and a work management system?
Both terms might be wrongly used interchangeably and, in fact. many of their features and functions overlap. The difference is that work management systems are way wider, as their name says, they go beyond project management functions such as tasks assignments, workflows visualizations, and calendars. They represent a bundle of tools that let employees everything they need at the workplace. A project management software is specific, so much that some providers focus on specific industries, like Trello and Asana for developers or Coschedule for marketers.
Meanwhile, project management systems tend to be generic and feature-rich platforms that can serve almost any aspect required at the workplace. For this reason, work management systems fit better for large and medium-sized organizations that have many individual needs for each department and want to cover everything inside the same application.
What features a work management system has to offer?
- Online Document management: you can connect and integrate with the tools you already use like Dropbox and Google Drive. You can edit and share each document with a specific team or user and view version history.
- Business chat: you can create and customize workplaces to interact in real-time with your team through instant messaging, video or voice. You can even share your screens at the same time.
- Project management: you have access to a robust project management module, where you can assign tasks, mention members, add deadlines, visualize in calendars or Gantt charts, progress tracking, etc.
- Workspaces: intranet software allows companies to structure departments, teams, and other dependencies into workspaces by using Intranet sites builders.
- Business email: ideally, your provider can add a corporate email function to your system so you have literally everything needed in a single place.
How can we show an ROI with a work management system?
You can determine collaborative tools ROI with an opportunity cost approach, answering the following questions:
- Does this system is making each employee more productive? Are they doing more than before in the same 40 hours workload?
- Do we need less personnel on project tracking and management tasks and still have the same or better results?
- Is it easier for managers and HR teams track progress and individual performance?
- Are our employees allowed to work more outside the office?
- Are we saving money using a collaborative software that bundles it all, instead of buying from separate, specialized providers?
How to choose among so many providers?
- Pricing flexibility: is your provider charging a fixed rate, or do they offer a monthly/yearly plan? How does pricing change for each organization? Do they charge per user, for instance?
- Mobile availability: Do they offer a mobile version whether it is accessed through a browser or an Android or IoS app? This requirement is, to me, mandatory. It’s only possible to talk about a digital workplace everywhere if I can access from a mobile device.
- Security: do they ensure all information is encrypted, offer backups and are compliant with the AAA protocol within their user management features?
- Customer support: do they offer a dedicated account manager, a complete customer onboarding process, documentation, and support through several channels like forums, email, phone or chat?
- Integrations: do the provider has a public API or any resource to your disposal that let you integrate their systems with 3rd parties?
- Customization: how customizable is the software interface in order to let you change the look n’ feel, branding and displays?
- Updates: how often is the provider announcing new releases? This happens to be a symptom of growth and a sign that customer satisfaction matters for them.
- Current customers: do they already have trajectory and high-level customers? If not, do they customers match your industry?
We cover deeper the criteria to choose a SaaS vendor in this article.
What is the cost of these tools?
Here are some pricing types you may find in the collaborative market:
- Monthly/yearly plans: monthly or yearly flat rates for organizations. Of course, you should expect a price reduction for yearly plans.
- Tiered plans: plans that change based on the features offered, from basic features (even for free) to full suites.
- Pay-as-you-go: this is more common for cloud and PaaS providers, but you may find companies that will charge you based specifically on resources usage.
- Charge per user: perhaps the most flexible way to determine how to charge a company is by its personnel size. After all, collaboration is determined based on people, not cloud resources, or connected devices.
- Enterprise plans: do they offer even more flexible plans for large enterprises with hundreds of thousands of users?
HyperOffice, for instance, can go as low as a Dollar or fewer cents per account. While others, like Gsuite, offer plans from USD5, not expensive for 20-people organizations but not the best fit for organizations with hundreds of employees.
Are your competitors buying collaborative software?
Collaborative software adoption numbers are undeniable:
- HyperOffice has served more than 2 million users since 2004
- Slack has grown to about 8 million users in less than a decade.
- Microsoft Sharepoint has made Billions (with B) with their Sharepoint releases year after year.
So yes, the answer is basically “absolutely”. If not, perhaps it’s a matter of time. However, though, not many of them may have adopted a work management system with but just specific tailored applications.