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    2015 Trends: Goodbye to Stationery - Replacing Manual Methods of Project Management

    on 20 October 2015

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    Posted by Sam Abrahams

    While there may well come a day when we look back on those periodic paper cuts and highly-strung photocopy machines of yesteryear all wistful and dewy-eyed, for the moment at least, they appear to remain regular features of our daily endeavours that we would prefer to consign to the wastepaper basket.

    A report from software applications experts, Software Advice, on small businesses' buyer trends in 2015 of project management software has shown that, respectively, 52% and 60% of UK and US firms looking to invest in such software currently use manual methods to project manage.

    This means that instead of a Glasscubes-style workspace, replete with specialised tools for collaboration, document sharing and reporting, many firms still have their practices and processes embedded in generation-old forms of communication and administration, such as email, Excel spreadsheets and generic office suites.

    Power to the Post-it note and all that, but there's a reason why these same organisations are also prospective buyers of the latest software for managing resources and tracking tasks. Customisable, centralised and intuitive, online workspaces offer still more than version-controlled file sharing and a structure built for cohesive, collaborative teamwork.

    Over 90% of Software Advice's research sample, made up of companies with annual revenues of up to £32 million ($50 million), identified each of reporting and analytics, time and expense tracking, and task management as features they were looking for from their software.

    In fact, even among those companies to some degree already using software for project management, the need to update, simplify and consolidate their current methods of practice were recognised as being the top reasons to move over to a platform comparable with Glasscubes, offering monitoring, reporting and analysis of project progress, shared calendars for scheduling, and a secure online environment for typical work interaction, such as task assignment.

    Interestingly, what the report also showed was a very even spread of industries among those keen to improve their methods of project management, suggesting a broad movement towards cloud-based, extranet solutions, including not - as might be expected - just groups from the fields of IT and design, but also non-profit organisations, manufacturing, education and management consulting.

    But what does all this tell us? Take a long hard look at our paper clip and stapler-laden portfolios? Maybe. But also what we're being told here is that there is a steady, growing awareness and confidence that manual methods of project management can rarely be viewed as efficient practice, that the alternatives are legitimate and viable, and that there is a large number of dynamic companies and leaders who are willing to review their processes, assess the available technologies, and convert to specialised software. And that it's time to get out the hankies and shed a tear for those dried-out Tipp-Ex brushes.

    What type of pricing models will you encounter in your hunt for new project management packages? Look out for these three.