Tired of putting reminders on sticky notes and maintaining your project and resource data on Excel sheets? But what are the alternatives? Have you heard of resource management software? Resource planning and management tools can completely transform the way you work. Having said that, many questions need to be answered before you decide the kind of tool that is suitable for you. Questions like – should you get a tool installed on your servers? What are the most important features that you should look out for? Is there a tool available that could manage the end-to-end project lifecycle? Find an effective resource planning software that offers a centralized platform for helping you with resource planning, allocation, project management, time-tracking, and a lot more. Wondering how? Read on to find what are the 10 most common questions that buyers ask before buying resource management software.
Implementing resource planning and management software can be a game-changer for your project operations and resource management. You can do away with a lot of manual processes, which enables more accurate estimations, better resource management, and timely project deliveries. However, you need to make some important considerations before you make the final decision by asking the following questions.
You need to be clear about which tool or solution would suit your requirements the most. The first question to ask is whether you want a web solution, a Cloud-based resource management solution, or a solution that is installed on your servers. You should be aware that if the tool is hosted, then you would be able to access the resource management software in a browser. You will have to pay a subscription fee for this software that the vendor has offered you as a service (SaaS) version. In this option, the vendor manages all updates of the software. However, if the software is installed on your servers, then you have to get the installation done, ensure maintenance and update procedures happen on time.
It's very important to know if the resource planning software you have opted for is easy to use or not. Ask questions to know how you can perform various processes on the tool. Find out how many clicks would it take if you need to <insert critical task> . Also, find out various types of interactive features that are included in the tool. It's also a good idea to ask the vendor if the required training for resources will be provided or not.
The resource planning and management software you choose should be intuitive and collaborative. It will be good if the tool's interface is user-friendly and people don't have to spend a long time learning how to use it. By collaborative, we mean that the solution should help your team to make timely and well-informed decisions. It should act as a single online platform where people from different locations can share data, information, and work with multiple calendars.
It's always beneficial to go for resource management software that provides different permission levels. Though, it is the project managers who mainly use such a tool but imagine if the team members could also benefit from it. They could check their daily or weekly work schedule, manage their availability, and even record timesheets by using this tool. If a resource management tool has the capability to allow different permission levels, then your clients can also log in and check the project plans or dashboards. The right resource scheduling software offers several roles and permission levels that enable you to create a structure including different users in your projects.
You should ask the vendor about which reports will the tool provide you? Ask for a list of all the standard reports that are available with the resource planning software. It's also important to check if the tool offers an integrated functionality to customize and design reports as per your requirements. Some resource management software like eResource Scheduler include graphical reporting features and comprehensive dashboards.
As a project manager, you need to manage multiple projects and your projects could face various challenges. How would you ensure that you tackle any risks, timeline crunches, or resource constraints that come in your way? The right resource management software that has an in-built capability to manage risks do resource management, time tracking, etc. is the key to it. Therefore, you need to ensure that the tool you select offers all the features to effectively manage all your projects entirely from the planning to delivery stage.
The ideal resource planning and management software will have to fit in the way your business functions. The tool should be able to support your decisions to work with established structures and highlight areas where any improvements could be made. Having said that, while opting for resource management software, establish a benchmark for all-inclusive project and resource management and a vendor who is flexible to help you with any updates, if needed.
When you are exploring the cost, what are the most common factors that would impact the price? It's the tool's scope and functionality. As there are multiple variants and choices available in the market, the prices quoted could be quite different. Therefore, it is important to first lay down the features that are completely necessary for you. Then, evaluate different pricing structures and compare the features. While comparing costs, also ask if the cost includes training for users and post-implementation support.
Your organization or some specific departments could be currently using some tools or software. In fact, you should be aware that organizations that are not integrated well usually suffer due to cost escalations and inaccurate or unbalanced resource utilization. Whereas, integrations help in removing any silos, enabling various business functions to collaborate, and improved data accessibility. You should find if the resource planning and management software includes an application programming interface (API) and also how extensive the API is. It's also recommended to ask the kind of interface protocol that the tool's API is utilizing. Request the vendor to share a few examples of programs with which you can integrate this software successfully.
Tracking the time spent on various projects is an important factor. Especially if contractual employees are working on an hourly compensation model or even if time management or efficiency is a challenge. Resource tracking software with built-in time tracking capabilities help in tracking resource utilization and avoiding any over-burdened or under-utilized resources. It also helps in distributing workload in a balanced manner to all team members. A resource management scheduling software with a time-tracking feature measures resource utilization precisely across several projects, teams, or geographies. You can create easy-to-read reports if you wish to review your team's utilization, productivity, or performance. All the information in the tool is updated in real-time, which means, you will get a notification if any team member is allocated to a project, free, or over-utilized, etc.
Whenever any new system is implemented, the initial six months are always tough. It's a good idea to ask the vendor if he will offer any post-implementation support or not. Find if he will provide training to assist new users to adapt themselves to the tool and help in troubleshooting. It's also advisable to ask if there is an extra cost for this and if that would be included in the tool's annual license fee. As you may be operating from different geography than the vendor, ensure that the support team will be available in your time zone or not and if they offer 24/7 support.
Free trials are important as they provide an opportunity to test if the tool will work within your parameters or not and if making that investment is worth it. Many vendors allow you to do a test run on their software as that helps to get a feel of the speed, features, and intuitiveness of the tool. But remember to ask for a free trial and also check if the software is working well on mobile devices as well.
Check out Enbraun's flagship product, eResource Scheduler, which is a multi-user, intuitive resource management software. Designed with intent to help you maximize your resource utilization, this tool also assists in improving your resource coordination while working remotely and gain real-time visibility. What's more? You don't need to worry about how to configure it. It's easily configurable according to your organization's needs and is a very cost-effective solution too! To know more about how you can benefit by implementing this resource planning software,try it for free today.