Saturday, September 25, 2021

Best Cloud Project Management Software

Nearly every organization has a whiteboard for managing projects, particularly complex Big Data and data analytics initiatives. A physical whiteboard doesn’t scale, and neither does a single desktop application like a spreadsheet, especially for sprawling projects. This is why cloud project management solutions play a key role in today’s IT management: they offer enormous flexibility and scalability.

For managing projects across organizations of all sizes, there is a robust market of cloud project management software. Cloud-based project management services enable organizations to create, plan, manage, and report on projects across distributed teams and locations.

Typical features that are part of cloud project management software offerings include:

  • Collaboration. The ability to communicate and share information with team members about a project is a foundational element of project management.
  • Task Management. The primary capability of all project management tools is all about creating lists of tasks that are tracked and managed as part of a given project.
  • Time Tracking. Keeping track of time allocated and used for the project is an important project management capability.
  • Scheduling. It’s not enough to just assign tasks; project management is also about scheduling due dates and managing deliverables. Typically project management tools use Gantt charts to visually illustrate a project schedule.

How to Choose the Right Cloud Project Management Solution

There are a lot of different options for organizations to consider when it comes to cloud-based project management tools. While one tool might be the ideal fit for one company, it might not be for another. There are a number of key considerations to evaluate as part of a decision on cloud project management

  • Features. The basics of project management, including scheduling, task creation, and project tracking, are part of all cloud-based project management tools. Beyond the basics, it’s important to identify if there are other required features that you need, whether it’s directly integrated billing or a specific type of collaboration capability.
  • Integrations. Every organization is already using all kinds of different tools to get things done, whether it’s an existing collaboration, file sharing, customer relationship management, or other tool. Identify the tools that matter to your organization and make sure that the project management service you’re considering has integrations with them.
  • Cost. Cloud-based tools are always driven by cost per user subscriptions. Consider the total cost to operate a given service as a key factor when evaluating different options.

In this Datamation top companies list, we spotlight the vendors that offer the top cloud-based project management tools.

Zoho Projects

Zoho logoValue proposition for potential buyers: Using Zoho Projects might seem like an obvious choice for those that are already using Zoho for CRM or Zoho office software, but it can also benefit other organizations as a standalone choice for project management. The different views for task management and well-reviewed collaboration capabilities make this a reasonable choice for project teams across different industries.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Project management task are organized by Zoho Projects in a number of configurable ways, including milestones/task lists/tasks and sub-tasks.
  • Users and project managers get a number of different task views to visualize what needs to get done. Among the options are a simple list-based display as well as Kanban, which provides a tile-based approach for getting a handle on task management.
  • Collaboration is a particularly strong point in the service with social project management capabilities including built-in forums for discussion as well as integrated chat.
  • Among the more unique features that Zoho Projects offers is a module for service level agreement (SLA) automation that can help track and monitor the project status to make sure that it is achieving the right level of service for a given contract or customer engagement.

Additionally, Zoho has a top-rated business intelligence and data analytics software that allows you to create easy-to-visualize and intuitive dashboards in minutes. It can transform large amounts of raw data into actionable reports and dashboards. Track key business metrics, see long-term trends, determine outliers, and discover hidden insights with a business intelligence platform trusted by some of the world’s largest companies.

Try Zoho Projects now.


Asana

Asana LogoValue proposition for potential buyers: Asana’s emphasis on tasks and task management allows its users to view how each task fits into the overall schedule. Teams can see where tasks fall using the workflow view. Each task can have its own board with further information as well.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Asana has a list view that shows each task, which team members are currently working on it, and the timeline in which it should be completed.
  • Tasks are mobile; they can be moved between priority sections (such as Today, Upcoming, and Later) so that team members know when the task must be completed and can change that accordingly.
  • Each project also has charts available, which help users to view the progress for each part of that project and the milestones that must be reached.
  • Asana integrates with many other business applications, such as Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, Slack, Gmail, and Office 365.

Try Asana now.


Clarizen

clarizen

Value proposition for potential buyers: For larger organizations looking for a highly customizable solution that can enable complex work breakdown structures (WBS), Clarizen is a solid option. The platform also scores high marks from users who praise the service’s integrated collaboration capabilities.

Key values/differentiators:

  • The built-in collaboration features include presence awareness and chat for project team members. Additionally, connected emails related to a given task or project are all available from Clarizen.
  • Reporting capabilities are robust, giving managers a deep and broad view of the current and projected state of the project, in terms of resources and costs.
  • Resource management is another strong suit, with the ability to manage the demand lifecycle for incoming projects, to make sure that staff are properly allocated to complete tasks on time.
  • For organizations that also use salesforce.com for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Clarizen is a particularly good fit thanks to an integration between the two services that enables sales and operations people to see project status.

Try Clarizen for FREE now.


LiquidPlanner

liquidplanner

Value proposition for potential buyers: For organizations of any size, LiquidPlanner’s predictive planning technology goes beyond just basic project management with analytics that help to provide better insight into what’s actually going on with a project.

Key values/differentiators:

  • The predictive planning capability is a key differentiator, enabling the automatic creation of project schedules and resource workload reports.
  • Of particular value is the time tracking feature that integrates with billing and pay rates, such that a project’s costs can easily be tracked and billed against. The time tracking feature also helps to identify potential issues if a certain activity is taking too long or exceeding budget.
  • Reporting in LiquidPlanner is a particularly strong attribute with customizable reports that can be built with the service’s analytics engine. Reports can include items such as baseline trends, resource utilization, or other user-defined key performance indicators.
  • The collaboration engine is contextual, so that project team members can work with each other at the points and topics within a project task that make sense.

Mavenlink

mavenlink

Value proposition for potential buyers: Mavenlink is well positioned for service organizations that are looking for a centralized tool that can work as a system of record for projects. Core capabilities including planning, task management and accounting as well as integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resources Management (HRM), and General Ledger (GL) software and services.

Key values/differentiators

  • The master planning capability helps project managers to properly map out the tasks, resources, and costs associated with any given project.
  • Built-in expense and budget tracking is a key feature, helping project managers to know in real time where a project stands from a financial perspective.
  • There is a robust business intelligence capability built into the software; it provides multiple types of insights and reports, including ongoing tracking for performance to target goals, user tasks, and project manager scorecards.
  • Integration with salesforce.com in particular is a feature that users often comment on, making it easier to track projects alongside sales and ongoing customer service activities.

Try Mavenlink now.


Microsoft Project Online

Microsoft Project

Value proposition for potential buyers: For a generation, Microsoft Project was the standard tool for on-premises project management. It’s now available in an updated and expanded set of SaaS cloud offerings for organizations of any size to keep track of projects and teams.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Project Online is well integrated with Microsoft’s Office 365 and associated cloud services, making it an easy choice for organizations that are already heavily invested in Microsoft’s tools.
  • The template-based approach within the service makes it easier for managers to set up and manage projects.
  • Microsoft has integrated a number of automation features that can automate scheduling based on a user-configurable set of parameters.
  • The enhanced Gantt chart project tracking timeline is likely the biggest standout feature, with the ability to help manager track relationships and dependencies in a highly visual approach.
  • The ability to forecast and test different scenarios to see how they will impact a given project is another core capability that can help managers make appropriate decisions about project planning.

Monday.com

monday

Value proposition for potential buyers: This service is all about ease of use and time to value, with a simplified approach to getting started with project management that can grow in complexity as required. Monday is well suited for small to mid-sized organizations.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Monday is built around a simple core concept of a ‘pulse,’ which can be a task, a project or any item that needs to be tracked or part of an activity.
  • The service is designed to make it easier for organizations to get started and has a variety of different templates available for various types of projects and workflow scenarios.
  • The planning capabilities in Monday provide a good overview of tasks and progress and are supported by highly customizable dashboards, which users can adjust to fit different needs.
  • It can work both online as a full cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application as well a local application with support for Windows and macOS.

Try monday.com now


ProWorkflow

proworkflow

Value proposition for potential buyers: ProWorkflow is a great choice for organizations of any size that are looking for an integrated project management and billing tool for projects. The service includes project creation, tracking, and management features as well as reporting.

Key values/differentiators:

  • The ability to directly create and send invoices from within the service is a key differentiator. ProWorkflow can also be integrated with accounting software to go a step further and also keep track of payments.
  • Time tracking is another particularly strong attribute, with several tools including a built-in timer, browser widget, and manual input options that help project team members and their managers track billable hours.
  • The master dashboard does a good job of visually showing upcoming actions, hours worked, recent quotes, and invoices, among other project management activities.
  • ProWorkflow has an integration with Zapier that provides a web automation capability to automate certain types of repetitive tasks.

Try ProWorkflow for FREE now.


Smartsheet

smartsheet

Value proposition for potential buyers:The Smartsheet application is designed for mobile devices as well as computers, allowing teams to have flexible access to the platform depending on their needs. Although not every desktop feature is available on the mobile platform, there are enough flexible options, such as quick mobile access to forms and sheets and photo uploading options, to make it worthwhile for teams who are frequently on the go.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Smartsheet’s integrated cloud computing platform gives teams real-time updates to business projects and processes so that they can make decisions more quickly.
  • Smartsheet offers spreadsheets, dashboards, and content collaboration tools for teams to plan and manage their tasks.
  • Businesses in the retail industry will find the mobile application’s barcode scanning feature helpful for quickly tracking items and entering them into a spreadsheet.
  • Smartsheet integrates with many other popular applications so that businesses can optimize their project planning by streamlining the software they use.

Try Smartsheet for FREE now.


Wrike

wrike

Value proposition for potential buyers: For organizations of all sizes that are looking for a workflow and project management SaaS application, Wrike is a solid choice. Beyond typical project creation and tracking, integrated workflow management can enable proofing and approval for different tasks.

Key values/differentiators:

  • A core concept within Wrike is that of Folders, which is an organizing unit for project resources and tasks. This tool is set up with basic drag-and-drop functionality for creating, adding, and sharing projects and information.
  • Team members can use the service to submit project requests to managers, outlining tasks and responsibilities as well as any potential issues of concern for organizational policy compliance.
  • Workflow management is particularly robust, enabling different teams to set up their own required workflow task items in a template, that are required for a given type of task or client engagement.
  • Collaboration within Wrike is bolstered with easy comment buttons, which let collaborators on a given project read and comment on conversations related to specific tasks and projects.

Try Wrike for FREE now.

Vendor Comparison Chart

Product

Key Features

Pricing

Asana

Strong emphasis on tasks for workflow and schedule management

Premium – $11 per user/month

Business – $25 per user/month

Clarizen

Strong collaboration features that help to support  task and project management

Enterprise Edition provides up to 1 GB of file storage per user. 

Unlimited Edition provides unlimited storage

Pricing on request from vendor.

LiquidPlanner

Predictive planning enables automic creation of scheduled and project resource workload reports

Professional edition – $45 /month per user

Enterprise Edition – $69 / month per user.

Mavenlink

Analysis and reporting capabilities provide insight into project performance and tracking

Plans start at $19 / month per user.

Microsoft Project Online

Automation features to help enable rapid creation of project plans

Professional edition $30 / month per user

Premium edition – $55 / month per user

monday.com

Easy to get started, with template based approach for onboarding new projects

Basic – $25 / month per user

Standard – $39 / month per user

Pro – $59 /month per user

ProWorkflow

Advanced time tracking and integrated invoicing

Solo – $10 per month / per user

Professional – $20 per month / per user

Advanced – $30 / per month / per user

Smartsheet

Flexible mobile application for work on the go 

Enterprise and Premier plans available by request from vendor

Wrike

Workflow management templates

Professional – $9.80 / user /month

Business – $24.80 / user / month

Zoho Projects

Strong collaboration and configurable project task management features

Standard – $25 /user / month

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