If you have been planning and executing projects on an excel or on a legacy software, we want to let you know that it’s time to consider alternatives. Excel might have gotten you through till now, but if you truly wish to keep your projects running on time and within the budget, a more robust and holistic resource planning solution is the need of the hour. Any business that wants to improve and build profitability will realise that the capabilities of excel are quite limited.
This might have got you wondering, “What are the alternatives?” We have done the research for you and have rounded up the top eight resource management softwares that will meet the needs of any scaling business and keep you ahead of the competition. Majority of these software offer a free trial period.
eResource Scheduler, also known as eRS, positions itself as enterprise resource planning software for larger businesses across multiple industries like professional services, healthcare and construction. The company has assisted over 800 customers, including top names like Honeywell, 7Eleven, Unilever and American Express in managing their project resources. eRS combines project management, resource scheduling, workforce management, project accounting and business intelligence into a single- view, comprehensive tool.
The user-friendliness of the software is its strength. One can schedule across time-zones and departments with the simple drag and drop feature. The system’s capacity meter will immediately highlight if there is any over or under utilization of resources. The real-time data on billings, work hours and project status helps managers plan ahead and mitigate possible issues like staffing shortage and skill gaps. eRS also allows you to split bookings and tasks to spread them across team members.
eRS gives you the power to see what you want without wasting time. Whether you want a big-picture view or want to see daily tasks at-a-glance, you can easily switch views and drill down or zoom out as required. The numerous views, including custom views, give you all the data and information you need about project status at a glance.
Get all members who will be using the software to prepare a joint needs document. This lists specific assistance each member requires from the vendor. For instance, a team manager may require help on dealing resource allocation conflicts, whereas a UX designer may need help on altering work time schedules.
eRS’s pricing is based on what features you opt for; for example if you are interested in scheduling only, it starts at $4 per user/per month. You can use the 14-day trial to see if eRS is right for your business.
A familiar name in the project management and resource planning domain is Asana. Asana allows a manager to set up a project plan, create individual tasks and monitor progress. Asana provides capabilities to create GANTT charts and view timelines and calendars for all resources. It also enhances collaboration and communication by allowing managers and members to leave comments and share files amongst themselves.
One drawback, according to users, of Asana is that it relies heavily on external plugins and modules like OneDrive and GoogleWorkplace for scalability. Another caveat is that the software only allows you to assign a task to one person on the team.
The basic version of Asana is forever free, however if you are in need of more features, then the basic package could run you $13.49/per user/per month.
Trello is a visual project management tool that’s best known for task management and collaboration. Project managers can use the kan-ban style boards to keep track of a project status, hiring process or product development; many even compare Trello’s kanban boards to sticky notes that give you a to-do list. Trello also seamlessly integrates with other frequently used softwares and apps like Dropbox, Slack and Microsoft Teams.
However, there are some areas for improvement. Trello doesn’t offer time tracking capabilities and neither does it hold information on a resource’s skill-set, background and long-term availability. Frequently used project management features like GANTT charts or custom fields require a power up (or plan upgrade) and this can quickly rack up the software usage costs.
Trello has a free plan, but one will quickly realize that it comes with limited capabilities. Trello premium plan pricing starts at $10/user per month, which is slightly higher than several of its competitors.
Monday.com offers managers an insight into their team’s capacity at a glance. Monday.com boasts of some great resource planning and management features like centralized team dashboard, ability to assign and track tasks across hybrid teams and detailed KPI tracking. The software also allows you to automate repetitive tasks and employee scheduling. Another plus point is that it offers inbuilt time tracking, most softwares have time tracking as an add-on option.
But, some reviewers have complained about the company’s slow service and response. So, if you run into some issues, there might be a delay before you get a solution.
Monday.com is free for up to 2 users; thereafter plans range from $8-$16 per user/per month.
Used by over 65,000 companies and thus making one of the top project management solutions, is JIRA by Atlassian. Initially developed as a bug tracking tool, Jira has now become a comprehensive project planning and tracking tool. Jira ditches the spreadsheet model and offers a single, centralized dashboard that offers key projects metrics like flow diagram, control chart and even a release burndown chart which tracks whether projects are being delivered on-time.
However, Jira’s specific resource planning and allocation features are quite limited. You can’t access all resource’s information or track the capacity for each. To do that, most organizations integrate Jira with another resource planning application or manually import and tweak the data.
For small teams of up to 3 people, Jira is free for 2GB of storage. However, if you are part of a larger organization which has up to 5,000 people, the plan costs $20 per user/per month.
Workday is a resource planning solution that can be used for finance, marketing, HR and operation teams. Founded in 2005, Workday has served over 9,500 clients across educational, healthcare, finance, technology and retail sectors. It’s easy to organize workflow, compatibility with external software, and in depth resource profiling tracking features are the software highlights. Workday can be accessed via desktop, app or iPad.
Workday doesn’t offer a free trial and the price point can be a bit steep. Workday is $100 per user/per year.
Teamdeck takes pride in calling itself a ‘complete resource management’ solution for teams and small businesses. The all-in-one platform offers capabilities for resource scheduling, project planning, time tracking, timesheets, budgets, utilization and performance analysis. The tool is also known for its financial metrics as it provides an accurate, real-time timesheet and billing tracking.
Users also rave about the customisation options available with Teamdeck. Teamdeck’s basic version is priced at $0.9 per user/per year, while the premium plan starts at $3.99/per user/per year. They also have a 7 day free trial.
ResourceGuru is one of the top, cloud-based resource management solutions used by over 28,000 people across 100 countries. What makes this app so popular? Users laud the software’s flexibility, ease of use (it’s simple drag and drop for scheduling people, equipment and other resources) and detailed metrics. The app tracks utilization rates, availability and billing in real-time. It also has a forecasting feature that will help you efficiently plan for forthcoming projects.
ResourceGuru’s basic version comes at a price point of $2.50/per user/per month. What’s even better is that they offer 2 months free if you sign up for a year. ResourceGuru has a 30-day free trial.
So many options, how to choose the right one? A lot comes down to what your needs and requirements are. A few guiding questions to help you narrow down your choices are -
What is your pain point and priority in terms of features? Not able to access all resources data or not understanding who is over or under utilized?
What is the budget or price point of the software? When it comes to price, don’t forget to see the fine wording on software renewal.
How is the customer support and training of software? If you are having issues with accessing data, how responsive is the customer service. You can get a fair idea of this by reading customers reviews and giving the software a shot during a free trial period.
Ready to find the resource planning software to supercharge your organization? Why not start with a free trial of eRS? It wins out on a lot of factors that are pertinent to efficient resource planning, so go ahead and give it a shot.
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