When it comes to project management (PM) software, it’s not a matter of whether or not to buy a solution…it’s a question of which one would be the best fit.

In other words, said Planbox CEO Olivier Cabanes, PM software is a no-brainer.

“Not having a tool is really not an option that I would consider,” he said. “There are some really good tools out there. Obviously, Planbox is one of them. Getting organized with a tool, collaborating with people through their desktop, through the mobile devices that they use every day, is just something that should be natural for any worker, any user.”

Companies of all sizes can use PM software to complete their projects, but not everyone is sold on the need for special software. One expert Intense School recently talked to, for instance, said that PM software isn’t a must-have. Meanwhile, three PM software providers insisted not only that the right solution can help, but also that reasonable rates mean that IT/IS departments won’t have to drain their budgets to get on board.

Background Stats

Certain findings, such as the following, sure lend support to the notion that PM software is something that companies should at the very least consider:

  • The U.S. economy loses between $50 billion and $150 billion annually as a result of failed IT projects (Harvard Business Review)
  • 44% of project managers opt to use no application, despite the fact that PWC discovered that employing commercially available PM solutions boosts performance and satisfaction (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • Less than one-third of projects were successfully wrapped up on schedule and on budget over the past year (Standish Group)

Is PM Software Even Necessary?

The right software can help companies to complete their projects on time and on budget, acknowledged Daniel Lock, the principal of Daniel Lock Consulting. That said, companies considering their options on the PM software front need to remember that fancy, feature-rich software alone won’t get the job done.

“Software doesn’t implement projects or realize project benefits. People do,” said Lock, whose company helps organizations unlock value and productivity through project, process, and change management. “Sure, software can help, in some instances, but certainly is not a necessary condition of success. Most projects I’ve managed, I’ve used simple software, such as Excel. The big boon in productivity in the last five years has been the many simple and specialized web apps. But, once again, nothing beats people getting together and committing to each other and an outcome.”

Lock, whose free e-book, The Fundamentals of Change Management, is available for download, added that costly, complex applications will likely do more to help the vendors of such solutions than the companies that buy and use them.

Why Buy PM Software and What’s It Going to Cost?

Asked whether or not PM software is worth the cost, Cabanes said that the answer is, unequivocally, a resounding yes. There’s no question that companies can derive benefit from PM software, he said.

Planbox has different price points. It works out to about $5 per user per month—maybe more, maybe less—depending, of course, on the package selected. Customers that sign up for a full year will get better pricing. If customers have lots of users, the per-user cost can drop to some $3.50 per user per month.

When mulling over the possibility of buying PM software, the first thing many companies tend to consider is what it’s going to end up costing, said Catherine Constantinides, online marketing manager at OneDesk.

Doing a solution in-house or managing a team in-house is obviously less expensive than going out and getting a PM solution, she said, but that misses the point.

“Project management solutions are not there to really replace your team and their work, but they’re really there to facilitate the process” of getting projects done, said Constantinides.

In terms of price point, OneDesk recently rolled out a new model that offers a $10-per-month starter pack for five users. So PM software need not break the bank. For larger organizations with more users, the company also has a large enterprise pricing model.

Stressing the importance of PM software, Constantinides noted that it can help companies to store information so that they can “access it at any point in time. It’s important to have that central repository of product information so that you can have that visibility,” she added.

Neil Stolovitsky, senior solution specialist at Genius Inside, agreed that there is a tangible value proposition for companies that select the right PM tool for their unique situation.

Many of the companies that approach Genius Inside do so because of their difficulty in finding critical information, creating reports in a timely manner, and effectively providing higher-ups with a status report on where things stand from a profitability perspective.

“The real purpose is to centralize that information so you can easily get that visibility, making sure that things are on time, within budget, and that the profitability of those projects are in place because it’s all real-time, and you’re aggregating, consolidating information in one single place,” said Stolovitsky.

The cost for the cloud offering can be anywhere from $20 to $35 a user depending on the package and of course the terms (whether it’s a one-year, two-year or three-year agreement), he said, adding that the company presently has more of a blended rate.

“A big benefit of having an enterprise project management solution that’s 100% pure web,” he said, “is that you can access the information at any time and you can share that information with your stakeholders.”