Situation: You Are Doing Some Thinking about the Future of PM Software...
There are a few clear trends in the market today. The most obvious one is the movement toward very simple, easy to use, SaaS PM apps. The majority of these are great for giving some structure to simple projects, but they don't do a lot for you at the enterprise level. A lot software sales are being generated, based on this simple model.
Probably a more important trend is the integration of project work and basic operational tasks - allowing management to judge the value of all work, rather than just looking at projects. In the real world, you have to hire people and pay them a full time salary. Some of that effort and cost goes torward your project and the rest gets used elsewhere. If you can't look at the whole picture, how can you really make the right resource decisions?
In this posting, I wanted to bring out a couple of functional changes that software companies are making with this concept in mind. In my conversations with the Microsoft Project folks, Outlook task integration with Project is a huge step for them, directly addressing consistent feedback from users asking for a more integrated view of all work. In this way, users can organize both project and non-project work in the application they live in. It can be accounted for with integrated time tracking and viewed from a PPM perspective via their (acquired UPM) EPM tools.
Daptiv is doing some very impressive things with Cognos and Pervasive Software (press release on this coming out tomorrow) that not only allow management folks to easily spin the data up in a thousand different (and very useful) views and reports, but gives implementation folks much easier ways to integrate Daptiv with popular enterprise software packages like SAP, Peoplesoft, etc. Couple that with a push into functional areas of the business outside of IT (Marketing, HR, etc.) and you start gathering the data you need while granting access to it in a simple enough way that its really useful. There's a lot of power in that.
Why am I bringing all of this up now? There's something here that makes a lot of sense. Too often we get caugh up in "here is what PM software should do" versus "this is what our organization needs". Take a minute to think about how this sort of "work-centric" versus "project centric" approach to resource management would be better for your company? What parts of it are important to you? - and how should that change your portfolio reporting and software purchasing decisions?