Software applications are considered an indispensable item in a project management information system. All major applications provide standard and customizable process tools that are widely deployed across the globe. In this paper, we present the results of a study carried out to assess the effectiveness of software applications in managing increasingly complex projects.
During this study, a group of 100 project managers, from the EMEA region, was asked about their experiences using software applications to manage their projects. Project managers were asked to rate the tools and features they find most useful as well as list the shortcomings of systems they have used. They were also asked to provide a wish list of features or process tools that they would love to see added to the systems available in the market.
This study was carried out to explore and report the perceptions of project managers in the EMEA region. This study aims at achieving the following objectives:
- Understand project managers’ satisfaction of current software systems.
- Understand the relative importance of common features and tools.
- This will enable project owners to select suitable tools based on inputs from project managers.
- This will also help software companies to plan product upgrades and add or remove features.
- This will also help project managers in preparing effective training programs to minimize the learning curve.
- Understand the shortcomings of software applications.
- This will help software companies to plan upgrades aimed at increasing customer satisfaction.
- Understand the wish list of project managers who hope to enhance the efficacy of their PMIS implementations.
- This will help software companies to plan upgrades and add suitable features.
- Educate project managers on possibilities and limitations of software applications.
- This will help project managers and PMOs in optimizing the level of automation.
WHAT IS MIS? | MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Management Information Systems (MIS) is the study of people, technology, organizations, and the relationships among them. MIS professionals help firms realize maximum benefit from investment in personnel, equipment, and business processes. MIS is a people-oriented field with an emphasis on service through technology. If you have an interest in technology and have the desire to use technology to improve people’s lives, a degree in MIS may be for you.
MORE THAN CODING
A common misconception is that MIS only concerns coding (or writing computer code). While coding concepts represent some of the fundamental principles of information systems development, implementation, and use, many jobs in MIS do not utilize coding at all. A large portion of the MIS degree focuses on data analysis, teamwork, leadership, project management, customer service, and underlying business theories. These aspects of the degree are what set the MIS professional apart from a computer science specialist.
- Do you enjoy working with people?
- Would you enjoy the chance to work on global problems with people from all over the world?
- Do you enjoy analyzing and solving problems?
- Do you want to create innovative, cutting-edge technology solutions?
- Do you want to learn how to make businesses more efficient, effective and competitive?
Then you should consider as your major the field that is experiencing a critical shortage of professionally trained individuals. A field where demand is skyrocketing with projected growth rates of 38 percent – the fastest of any business discipline
Current PMIS Landscape
Organizations around the globe are increasingly relying on software applications to automate project management processes. A lot of emphasis is also placed on improving the accuracy of data based on which key performance indicators and reports are generated. Major project management responsibilities, like maintaining different registers and documenting the lessons learned, get a lot easier to fulfil by deploying a suitable application. The following sections provide an overview of the current PMIS landscape specifically in the EMEA region.
Industry Specific Systems
While some of the project management software applications are suitable for any industry, others contain templates and features appropriate for specific types of projects. Pricing and operational costs also play a role in limiting the use of certain applications to certain industries. Major industries and applications popular in them are shown below.
This study was carried out using a survey in which 100 respondents were selected from all over the EMEA region ensuring representation of all regions and industries. Respondents were given a list of common features and tools found in most project management software applications and they were asked to order the list based on relative importance of items. Each respondent was asked to select the features or tools used most often as well those used least often. Respondents were also asked to list the shortcomings in their own software applications as well as provide a wish list of features or tools that are likely to facilitate effective utilization of their PMIS. Respondents were also asked to indicate their level of satisfaction from the software application currently in their use.
The survey was carried out during the months of September and October of 2012. Findings were processed and compiled in November 2012. The demographics of respondents are given in Exhibit 3.
Features/Tools Used Most Often
The top 10 features and tools used most often, based on the aggregate ratings from all geographies and industries, are given in Exhibit 6.
Features/Tools Used Least Often
The features and tools used least often based on the aggregate ratings from all geographies and industries are given in Exhibit 7.
Top 10 Shortcomings
The top 10 shortcomings, based on the aggregate ratings from all geographies and industries, are given in Exhibit 8.
Wish List of Features
Very few features were identified by respondents as items on their wish list. Features requested are enumerated in Exhibit 9.
The findings of this study do provide some interesting insights regarding software applications used widely across the EMEA region. Based on the results shared in the preceding sections, it is recommended that:
- Software companies work closely with their customers to explore reasons for having low satisfaction scores.
- Software companies plan their upgrades by including features listed in Exhibit 6, if they are not already there. They should also try to overcome the shortcomings and include items on the wish list as early as possible.
- Project owners evaluate the software applications based on the features used most often and those used least often. They should not invest in an application that misses out on the features needed most by project managers. At the same time, they should not pay a higher price because a system includes features that are of least importance to project managers.
- Project managers prepare their training outlines based on items identified in Exhibit 6.