10 Best Project Management Tools to Integrate into Enterprise Systems
Project management tools have revolutionized the way modern teams work and collaborate. The boost in IoT, artificial intelligence, and mobile app development has pushed business processes even further, increasing the ROI of investing in ERP systems above and beyond any expectations.
In this article:
- Make sense of the peculiarities of the enterprise systems
- Look at what top 10 enterprise project management apps have to offer
- Consider the steps of integrating the tool into a larger enterprise-level system
Understanding Enterprise Systems
Enterprise systems are different from single-feature tools such as time-tracking apps or task boards. These are complex and scalable solutions that consist of elaborate corporate software and/or combine tools concerned with diverse business functions such as:
- Project management
- Task management and scheduling
- Team communication and data sharing
- Sales and marketing tools
- Human Resources management
- Client management
- Supply chain management
- Reporting and analytics
Seamless integration of all the data that flows through the company makes it more agile, facilitates the decision-making process, helps to maintain stringent security standards, and allows aligning all business processes to the overall organizational goals. Thus, it is vital to make sure the project management data is on par with any other, starting with the data from IoT devices and finishing with the figures sent to the financial department.
It is worth noting that the spread of cloud technologies and the growing complexity of enterprise mobile apps redefine enterprise systems. Namely, it has become common to speak about SaaS vs custom-built solutions and enterprise mobility in relation to building enterprise systems.
What is Software as a Service?
Software as a Service (Saas) is the model of software delivery, where the software is located centrally and provided to users using a subscription payment system. SaaS continues to grow in popularity as it lets enterprises feel in full control of the technology:
- First, the modern SaaS solutions can be customized to the unique needs of an organization (or at least most claim to do so, despite some unfortunate conclusions driven from the practice of customization),
- Second, SaaS hosting providers allow exporting and backing up corporate data whenever the user chooses to.
This urges companies to abandon legacy systems in favor of enterprise mobility. In fact, all the best project management tools mentioned below are cloud-based SaaS solutions available to enterprises upon subscription.
Note that since the system is cloud-based, the terms cloud and SaaS are often used interchangeably. The difference between the SaaS and cloud is that the cloud stands for the environment where SaaS sits. Thus, it is also possible to store your custom project management software in the cloud and enjoy all the associated benefits.
Choosing Between Off-the-Shelf and Custom Apps
Before choosing between the available project management tools, it is necessary to decide what would work for you best: off-the-shelf tool or a custom-built solution. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks briefly summarized in the table below.
|Off-the-shelf project management tools||Custom-built enterprise apps|
The opportunity to instantly access cloud-based corporate data from any location makes enterprises adopt a mobile-first approach to building enterprise systems. However, according to Forrester’s research, this is only the second out of 4 stages of mobile transformation maturity that organizations can go through.
Further stages presuppose leveraging mobile app development for a deep transformation of the client and employee experience and development of new services, products, and business models with mobile apps at their core. This is the trend that made the most innovative companies attain a dramatic competitive edge in the marketplace.
Top 10 Project Management Tools
What are the tools used in project management?
We have compiled a list of the best project management tools that can boast a wide range of features and suitability for diverse industries. See a short overview of how each software can help you with project management.
Zoho Workplace is a suite of apps built to improve team productivity and collaboration including tools for the creation of spreadsheets, documents and presentations, a file management app, team chat, and even social intranet. It can further be integrated with other Zoho bundles such as Zoho CRM or Zoho Finance, which allows managing almost any aspect of teams’ work in one system.
Microsoft Planner is an enterprise team management app built for Office 356 suite (and working well with all of the Office 365 accordingly). The Planner helps with the creation of plans, task management, and file sharing. What’s more, it provides a team chat and works across all devices, which promotes instant and to-the-point team communication. Smart notifications and progress charts are other useful features boosting the effectiveness of task management.
Scoro is a comprehensive solution that provides great project management opportunities. The features of an enterprise app include project and task management, management of contacts, quoting, billing, reporting (including customizable KPI dashboards), and team collaboration. It also allows time tracking, prioritization of tasks and deadlines, and management of user rights, which is vital for managing the security of enterprise systems.
Asana is known as a truly easy-to-use app for project and task management and related team communication. The app allows real-time progress tracking, breaking down tasks into to-do lists, and setting custom rules to automate routine tasks. For example, following the rules you set, Asana can route new tasks to specific projects, give visibility to the relevant stakeholders or auto-assign executives based on their role or project type. It also integrates with more than 100 popular apps, which allows turning it into a comprehensive enterprise team management solution.
Slack is the most popular team chat app for real-time team communication including video calls and file sharing. Collaboration happens in channels that organize communication of a separate team or are related to a specific project or topic. The key advantages Slack users enjoy are excellent search and notification features (for example, being notified when a specific word pops up in a team conversation), as well as a wealth of emoji and GIFs for creative self-expression.
Bitrix24 is another enterprise apps suite with a large set of features from project management to contact management and social collaboration. The top features that help to differentiate the solution from other enterprise team management apps are social intranet, Gantt charts, workload management, as well as CRM, HR, and telephone integration.
ActiveCollab is an intuitive project management tool that allows management of tasks and deadlines and real-time team communication. The tool also has a built-in time tracking and invoicing for billable hours, which make the app good for managing creative teams.
Trello is a simple task management tool popular among laypeople for personal time management and executing projects like a wedding. Thus, not all companies associate it with a serious enterprise team management app. They should though. Trello is used by companies of all sizes, Google and National Geographic among them, and has dedicated scenarios that help to organize the business processes of various teams. Hundreds of add-ons help to make Trello a comprehensive solution tailored to the needs of a specific organization.
Jira is associated with two apps used for team management. Jira Software is used by development teams to plan, track and release software and well as report and resolve issues. Jira Align is an enterprise team management app with a focus on linking business strategy and technical execution. It allows top management to see the aggregated team-level data and manage the teams relative to the overall goals and customer value.
Notion has been rapidly growing its popularity so that many teams advocate for the switch to this enterprise project management app. The app itself claims it can substitute a wealth of popular single-feature tools and the chaos created by using them all at once. Namely, Notion combines notes and docs, wiki-like functionality for knowledge bases, task boards, to-do lists, and a lightweight CRM. The app has a clear intuitive interface and works across all devices, which makes a good case for giving it a try.
Introducing a Project Management Tool into Your Corporate Environment
Selecting the most suitable project management app doesn’t guarantee ultimate success. To make the new technology effective and transformative for your enterprise, go through the following implementation steps:
- Testing: Test the tool and research the customization options. Ask yourself how well it can serve your business and how intuitive the interface is. After all, even the best project management tool will not make any change unless it is actually used by the team.
- Get approvals. Get the necessary buy-ins from the higher management and other stakeholders. Mind that some CEOs may see it as an unnecessary expense, while the staff may be simply reluctant to change the way of completing tasks. This is a task of a digital transformation manager to prepare a good presentation and clearly explain the rationale for change.
- IT specialists consultation. Discuss the opportunities for integrating the tool with other apps in your enterprise system. Check security policy compliance. Ask yourself if the tool increases or lowers the chances of a data breach? Agree on how access rights should be managed in the new project management tool.
- Onboarding and mentorship. Onboard the team on the new project management tool. Also, arrange for frequent meetings to discuss the benefits and hurdles of using the system and suggest innovative ways to adapt it to your business processes soon after its implementation.
When selecting an enterprise project management app, make sure that your choice is not due to the app’s popularity, but due to the features that can serve your team best. Other important aspects to consider here are:
- App’s scalability: this allows you to make sure you won’t have to switch the app when the needs of your team grow
- Intuitive design: the best app would be the one your team will actually use; thus, great user experience is a must for any enterprise app
- Mobile app: the importance of having a mobile app for business is growing as it can boost either customer engagement and sales or team productivity.
SwagSoft helps companies in Singapore to overcome the challenges of enterprise mobile app development. Contact us to discuss how a custom enterprise app will help you achieve your business goals and outperform the market competition.