Offering Project Managers Centralised & Standardised Data Management Tools
Cloud computing and Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) allows many different styles of business with varying products and services to gain benefits through leveraging off the power of cloud systems. Companies that operate based on delivering projects are discovering that project management and project information management systems available through a cloud platform offer many unique benefits not available in conventional project management software platforms.
Project management-centric businesses often have complex and well established tools that contain standard project methodologies and approaches that managers need to initiate and manage projects through their life cycles. Migrating these processes into the cloud allows for a more flexible approach by managers by increasing accessibility to updated data, available in real time.
Specialist cloud providers also cater for standardisation throughout the cloud system by tailoring business specific tools to meet the needs of individual companies and project managers – cloud applications and processes available through a web browser are customisable and may replace the current IT project management tools and broader less targeted project management software applications currently available.
The centralised approach of storing applications and data allows for updates and additions to the project management system to be rolled out immediately, to all project team members, at any geographical location and without the need for disruption by IT departments during software upgrades, hardware upgrades, patches, etc.
Although most BPaaS project related processes can be streamlined to minimise user error, the ability to access live project data and documentation increases the need for a deeper understanding of methodologies and best practice required by the members of a project team; this may include document naming standards to facilitate ease in locating files and knowing where to store data to comply with company data security standards.
Having access to real time data available to web enabled devices can drastically change the way companies operate and communicate with contractors, suppliers and stakeholders. It is therefore important to keep in mind how these users view your project information as it may be possible for external stakeholders to be given false indications of a project status due to temporary and recoverable errors. For example, the status of a project stage being accidentally flagged as behind schedule, when in fact it is on schedule. A simple enough issue to fix, but due to the instantaneous updating within the cloud, workflow processes may be triggered notifying stakeholders of a non-existent issue.
Through careful planning and integration, you will be able to make the most of the clouds benefits while minimising operational risks. It is important to find a cloud provider that has the experience offering a suitably customised software platform and ability to understand your business project management needs.
Real time global data access
Granting access to key project information (like progress against project plan, earned value, benefits realised, planned activities, etc.) for external stakeholders may grant significant reporting advantages for senior leadership teams and key stakeholders. This means users outside the core project team have greater power when it comes to the examination of project data expediting decision making.
Automated workflow processes can be leveraged to allow further decision making powers when it comes to authorising new documents, CAD data revisions or approving work orders, SOW’s, etc. Project Managers may approve and reject requests singularly, or even in collaboration with other designated approval parties. If one user rejects a newly uploaded CAD drawing for example, a notification can be sent to the supplier letting them know that they need to submit a new draft with details as to why the new revision was rejected and by whom.
Automatic notifications minimise communication error by standardising the email correspondence users receive throughout the various steps of a workflow process.
Benefits for Small and Medium Business
Until recently SMB were unable to take advantage of current Project Management software packages that only large companies could afford to operate. The costs and scalability associated with cloud computing now offers opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to take advantage of enterprise level software. You can read more about this and other benefits of cloud computing here.
The fact that key data and applications are available via a web browser means in certain situations (on site perhaps), a tablet PC is equally if not more suitable than a PC or Laptop – leading to further IT and training cost reductions. Project management documents, project plans, requests for information, reports and data dashboards are a few of the tools available for managers to access and update from any location with Internet capability.
Leveraging the cloud
The key benefits for managing projects via BPaaS cloud computing stems from the ability for businesses to manage and update a standardised centralised project system based on company methodologies while leveraging the many other cloud computing benefits. Massive scalability, reduced need to build and maintain applications, data and infrastructure all help to lower IT costs.
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