According to Statista.com in 2016, more than 1,357 billion euro revenue will be made through software, hardware and IT services.

While the growth numbers are promising the other side of the story continues to be a point of concern.

Project Failure: Project Failure is still a massive problem in the IT industry. According to a survey conducted by Innotas in 2015, project failure rate had increased by 23 percent. (Source: CIO Magazine)

Over budget: In 2012, McKinsey in collaboration with the University of Oxford conducted a research that revealed that half of all large IT projects (with initial price tags exceeding $15 million) — exceed approved budgets (Source: McKinsey).

Value delivered: The McKinsey report also highlighted that on an average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted. They found that the longer a project is scheduled to last, the more likely it is that it will run over time and budget, with every additional year spent on the project increasing cost overruns by 15 percent (Source: McKinsey).

The verdict is clear: For an industry that is continuing to grow at an unprecedented pace, the IT sector is still grappling with serious project management challenges.

These challenges can be attributed to lack of a proper project management methodology, inadequate project management tools, poor process awareness & adoption and project management culture issues among others.

Project management tools obviously have a central role to play in addressing most of these challenges. Today project managers rely on PM tools for planning, task management, resource management, budget management, collaboration and analysis & reporting. It is, therefore, important to understand what project management software buyers are looking for. Our good friends at Software Advice helped us out with their latest report IT Project Management Tools – Buyer Report 2016. Based on this report, Here are some key insights that paint the picture of the IT Industry outlook on Project Management Tools.

Replacing Current System a Critical Deciding Factor for IT Buyers

When it comes to procuring project management tools, graduating from the current setup seems to be the topmost decision factor.

The research found that:

  • Nearly 60 percent, combined, are currently using PM software to manage projects, either alone or in combination with manual methods or other tools.
  • 36 percent are managing projects with manual methods (pen and paper, spreadsheets or email) or do not have formal PM processes in place.
  • An additional eight percent are using non-PM software (e.g., office management suites, CRM software etc.)

Prospective IT Buyers’ Current Methods

 

While this graphic indicates higher levels of PM maturity than other sectors, the very premise of replacement highlights a lack of long-term vision. A new system comes with its own challenges such as learning curve, adoption & compliance and business fit (to name a few). The onus lies on business stakeholders to have the foresight and plan ahead when it comes to making investments.

IT Buyers Replacing Existing PM System Want More Functionality

The top reasons for software replacement turned out to be:

  • A more robust system (37 percent)
  • A single, dedicated PM solution (18 percent)
  • Streamline/automate processes (16 percent)

Top Purchase Drivers

This is a reflection of how the IT industry approaches to project management; the change seems to kick in only when things literally break down. A makeshift approach for a discipline as scientific as project manager will most likely never yield the desired outcome. Today even start-ups are looking at project management adoption from day one. A sector as mature as IT should definitely have a more well-laid framework for project management software procurement.

IT Buyers Want both Basic and Advanced Features

The top features requested by IT professionals include:

  • Task management (62 percent)
  • Time tracking (56 percent)
  • Resource management (54 percent)
  • Reporting and analytics (53 percent)

This clearly indicates that with time, IT project managers are looking to bring more sophistication and measurement to day to day operations. This includes time and task management, resource & capacity planning, document & knowledge management and advanced analysis & reporting capabilities. This also indicates that process maturity brings with it a more refined set of business metrics such as productivity, quality and budget adherence, which basic PM software may not be able to track and report.

IT Buyers Want PM Software with PPM Capabilities

PPM has come out on top among most needed features.

Most Requested PM Software Capabilities

Managing multiple projects with varying levels of complexity with the same service levels has always been a challenge with the IT industry. Project Portfolio Management is not a new concept but organizations tend to take their time when it comes to PPM strategy. Whether this is the right strategy is a discussion for another time but there is no doubt that it should be a critical consideration point when it comes to PM software procurement.

To summarize, the IT sector seems to be coming to terms with the need for proactive mitigation of project failure risks. The numbers also highlight the IT industry’s inclination towards a more comprehensive approach when it comes to project management software adoption; that’s a sign of things to come, for both the buyers and software providers.