May 30th, 2021
On the hunt for the best project control software for your company and find that you are stuck? If the answer is YES, here are eight crucial questions you need to ask yourself before making a purchase.
There are many project controls solutions in the market today. And they all have similar descriptions, making each product harder to compare especially if you are not familiar with the terminology used.
These eight questions will help you differentiate between what the software has to offer, and which is most suitable for you and your company.
Question 1: Is the software scalable?
Too often companies make the mistake of designing homegrown solutions or purchasing software with a specific project (or a portfolio of projects) in mind, and fail to consider solutions that will be scalable in the long-term or at the enterprise level.
It is common for companies to execute hundreds or thousands of projects at a time of varying size and complexity. Plus, projects are always changing, so it a good idea to implement software that can be used on any project, regardless of the requirements.
Look for software that is simple enough to deploy on those smaller projects, but still sufficiently robust and comprehensive to provide the benefits & functionality required for mega projects too.
Question 2: Is it purpose-built?
Are the right tools are being used for the job? Has the software has been built specifically for the purpose you seek?
There are many tools on the market designed only with specific needs in mind i.e. estimating, budgeting, change management, forecasting and monitoring productivity. That might be sufficient if you are only concerned with that specific task. However, if your requirements are more broad, you may need to implement additional tools which could create a headache with siloed data.
Consider your businesses processes and what it is you need the tool to do in order to help refine your list of vendors. Keep in mind, some solutions are purpose built to support all facets of project performance within one enterprise solution versus adopting multiple tools to form a piecemeal solution.
Question 3: Is it intuitive?
Having an intuitive, user-friendly interface allows us to work efficiently without an instruction manual. You will want to make sure that each user at every level is happy to use it and is reaping the benefits of the software. This will increase user adoption and the likelihood of a successful implementation.
An example of the importance of intuitiveness is when an employee leaves the organization and someone new takes over, the transition will prove problematic if the new hire cannot pick up from where the previous employee left off. But an intuitive software would allow you to move between different projects, business units and portfolios easily.
Question 4: Is it adaptable?
While offerings can include a standard product or some out of the box functionality, you want to make sure it is something you can build upon and the functionalities have the flexibility to be added and subtracted. Some vendors enforce more rigid toolsets that may not adapt with your business processes, so you’ll need to keep your priorities and needs top of mind.
Question 5: Is it configurable?
A configurable system allows you to personalize certain aspects such as, workflows, dashboards and easily allow for reports to be created and administered to meet your organization or teams’ specific needs.
Vendors can sometimes confuse customers by interchanging terms like customizing and configuring. Customization requires intensive effort. It requires the software vendor’s development team to create new functions or make changes to the software features, which can negatively impact the speed of implementation & adoption.
Configurable software on the other hand, puts you back in the driver’s seat to configure a system that serve your needs, without the complexity of custom coding & technical system changes.
Question 6: Is it easy to upgrade?
An upgrade requires you to think beyond your current needs and think about long-term needs. The reality is that your business may evolve; with that, upgrades should be easy and not disruptive.
Developing the software in-house can be challenging to maintain if the person that built it leaves, and no one is able to support or upgrade the software. You are then stuck with a static design and configuration.
Purchasing a tool from a trusted vendor provides you with a on-going partner to support upgrades and eliminate these burdens from your own organization.
Question 7: Is it integrated?
It is essential to consider if the software fits your existing systems architecture and integrates well with the tools you have.
Integrating your tools also eliminates double entry of data. Integration helps you improve the quality of information by connecting your project control software to your ERP and scheduling tool to bring in actual cost and progress information.
Question 8: Will you grow into it? Or will you grow out of it?
You want to be asking yourself, does this software meet my initial requirements? Are there more features and functions that I can turn on later to expand the use of the tool?
An excellent practice is to get something implemented that delivers the value as quickly as possible and meets your immediate needs, and then come back and build upon what you have done as your needs expand.
Partnering with a vendor who allows you to grow will always provide the best value to your organization in the long-term and fewer implementations.
EcoSys: A solution that answers the 8 questions
Hexagon’s EcoSys, an Enterprise Project Performance (EPP) Software brings your entire project portfolio (or multiple portfolios) into a single system, offering improved visibility and control.
Increased visibility allows for superior strategic alignment and delivery. It provides you the capability to view project data, costs, scheduling, productivity, and performance to make informed strategic decisions more quickly to increase efficiency and protect margins.
For more information watch On-Demand Webinar: 8 Questions to Ask Before Implementing a Project Controls System. Learn from the experts in Project and Portfolio Management.
James is an industry consultant for Hexagon’s PPM division, based in Singapore. He supports companies in their evaluation of EcoSys, Hexagon’s enterprise projects performance software. He is PMP certified with international experience implementing project management systems. His experience spans the entire project life cycle from initiation and planning to execution and closeout. He has a bachelor’s degree in construction management and a master’s degree in business.