This is just one of the key findings of a study conducted by GetApp Lab, on online resource for PM buyers.
Almost 74% of individuals in a project manager role use between two and five work management tools, and 95% use two or more. This clearly indicates that there’s a disconnect between the available apps (let alone mobile apps) and the workflows/processes that PMs use for managing projects. There are a few reasons why this happens, and one of them has a lot to do with the workflows implemented in project management software.
There are many types of workflows used in small/medium companies, and it’s almost impossible to find a solution that can completely satisfy all of them. Integration with third-party apps is often a decent solution, but the integration has to be flawless in order to be efficient too.
Another reason might be the fact that managers don’t have a standardized workflow, and they try different apps or a combination of tools and see which ones work best.
Even if it’s hard to find the right tool, it’s obvious the need is present— more than half of the project managers surveyed are using project management software every day in their jobs.
One of the reasons for using multiple apps is the lack of certain features in project management software. The respondents were first asked which of the features they are currently using are the most important.
As you can see in the chart above, one specific feature was not in substantial demand over others (only task management has a slight advantage). Instead, there’s a wide range of features that project managers need urgently and frequently.
The next logical step was to see which of the most important features are missing from their project management software.
These answers tell a pretty sad story: project management software hasn’t caught up yet with the changing role of project managers. Bill Mabry, a PMO Director, has a good point on this:
“This digital transformation may include, and in fact necessitate, changes to their business models, workflows, and even partnerships in the industry. Project managers used to be execution experts. Go-live was the major success metric. Now, they must be strategy experts as well.”
Show me the money
How important are these missing features? We find the answer in the next chart, which indicates that project managers are willing to pay for software that helps them get the job done— 91% are willing to spend more for apps that include the missing features they need, and 15% would even spend 30% or more than they are currently paying.
To make an idea of how much money we are talking about, let’s have a look at the annual budget for project management software that these businesses have.
These findings might imply that while consumers don’t tend to see a distinct brand-based value, they do see value in software products’ distinct feature offerings – regardless of brand. It is also an opportunity for vendors who sell to small/medium businesses to create products with different levels of features that are built for different users and different company sizes. Meanwhile, project management software buyers can have products that scale alongside the needs of their business.
This led to the last question, where respondents were asked how likely are they to switch their project management software in the next year.
Not only are project managers willing to spend more on project management tools that meet their needs, but they are also open to switching software available on mobile, tablet, and desktop within the next year (67% are “somewhat likely” to do so). They want affordable solutions that are best for managing projects from planning to payment, so software for invoices and estimates or a simple invoice generator available on the cloud is next on the list of importance. This might be a reflection of how rapidly today’s business needs are changing—and maybe how slowly project management software vendors adapt.
For more details about this study, methodology, and demographics, please take a look at the full report.
First published on February 6, 2017.
Laurențiu started his marketing journey over 18 years ago and now leads a marketing team. He has extensive experience in work and project management, and content strategy. When not working, he’s probably playing board games or binge-watching mini-series.