Firstly, what is an Enterprise Project Management (EPM) system?
All such systems have specific goals and objectives. Selecting suitable project management software for enterprises can be a hard task.
Why? Because it’s a lot of good-quality platforms available in the market.
Some like to keep it simple, with just a standard task and workflow system. While others add features like chatting, calendar syncing, and workflow management.
We’ll try to help you choose the right solution that skyrockets your project management efforts.
Table of contents
- Enterprise Project Management Software Key Features
- Best Enterprise Project Management Tools in 2023: Benefits and Challenges
- Keep your mind organized and focused on Microsoft Project Online
- Smartsheet provides permanent scaling up to enterprise-level programs
- Jira Software helps you be agile all the way
- Trello connects all project management components in one place
- Asana contributes to ensuring teams’ alignment and driving revenue
- How to Choose Right Enterprise Project Management Solution for You?
Enterprise Project Management Software Key Features
A glance at history: everything starts to be serious from the well-known Microsoft Project. The first commercial version of what was released for DOS in 1984.
Within a few years after its launch, it became the dominant PC-based project management software. It makes realistic the development of the project management software industry in the next few decades.
But why do companies of all sizes need project management tools?
Companies that handle multiple projects need to have the ability to balance and centralize the projects. Obvious.
But, this tool needs consistent maintenance to remain effective and viable. But also you should consider File Sharing, Video Conferencing, Internal Messaging, Calendars, Dashboards, Mobile Access, Integrations, Security, etc.
But the PPM landscape is everchanging. And according to the latest Gartner “Magic Quadrant for Project and Portfolio Management”:
- By 2023, 80% of organizations will have an enterprise project, program, or product management office (PMO) focused on integrating products and programs.
- By 2021, at least 40% of large enterprise IT organizations will have completed their implementation of a product-centric approach.
- By 2023, 65% of organizations shifted their focus closer to product-centric philosophy. That consequently changed their approaches and needs in the digital business area.
- By 2023, technology providers focused on artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and digital platforms will change the market landscape for traditional providers within the PM and PPM markets.
If earlier the question was “PM or PPM” now it’s rapidly transforming into “Portfolio or Execution Configurations.”
At the portfolio level, project portfolio management leaders are interested in aligning and prioritizing projects and programs with value markers.
Those markers can include how the pre-define strategy unravels, some key business outcomes, positive business transformations, etc.
PPM technology can support many of these interests, but sometimes it needs to be “twigged” to your business entity’s needs. Which in terms of technology means the ability to be customized.
For newbies, the question of “to PPM or not to PPM?” became just a bit more complex. But for project management veterans, who remember MS Project’s origin and its implementation power – there is no question at all.
However, for those of us, who’d realized the need for uniting all the business data in one ergonomic automated system long before yesterday, this means just a bit more options to think about. So, when approaching the PPM solution issue in your enterprise, you have two main points to consider:
- Either, you choose wisely – examine all the strengths and weaknesses of the system you’re about to adopt and find the one that suits you like a glove.
- Or find one that is designed to be easily customized to fulfill all your needs.
In case you’ve already “in the game and have chosen your champion” – looking for ways to improve your system of choice might be the only option.
After we’ve detailed the project portfolio management issues, let’s move to our Top-5 great EPR software solutions.
Best Enterprise Project Management Tools in 2023: Benefits and Challenges
For people who are addicted to project management software and tools, there has never been a better time to be alive. With task management apps, bullet journals, simple lists, and Getting Things Done we have a wealth of options from which to choose.
The elegance of modern enterprise project management software is based on sheer efficiency. You can copy and paste text, easily check off completed actions, and drag and drop items into your preferred organizational structure.
Everyone has different ways of doing their work.
Every manager needs a way to hit their deadlines, track the time their employees spent working on tasks, and collaborate with their team. No matter whether it’ll be online (like Smartsheet, Trello, and similar ones), or on-premises (like MS Project Professional).
Luckily, there are hundreds of online & offline programs that do just that. Lucky for us, there are thousands of Capterra reviews, as well as helpful case studies highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of every tool there is.
We’ve decided to stop at the TOP-5 popular toolkits of our time: MS Project Online, Smartsheet, Trello, Jira, and Asana. Let’s dive in and discover the opportunities!
Keep your mind organized and focused on Microsoft Project Online
In the beginning, there is Microsoft Project Online, probably the most well-known and widely used project management software. It’s listed on Capterra in the TOP-20 most popular project management software.
MS Project Online is a modern, swift, and lightweight descendant of Microsoft Project, which was exciting in the early days.
As the way of managing and running projects has evolved so too has the software, leading to new cloud-based, highly sophisticated, integrated alternatives MS Project Online became that alternative – the first of its kind.
Managers who are using Microsoft Project Online have the flexibility to manage their projects anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection on a laptop, tablet, or mobile.
MS Project Online is the industry standard for many project managers who like its ability to work with SharePoint.
- It is a flexible app for project portfolio management (PPM) and tasks, offered through Office 365.
- Microsoft is strengthening its messaging to customers and its partner network to reduce complexity and confusion on how to implement and leverage its PPM technologies. This includes helping customers easily understand how to combine and configure the various Microsoft PPM components to meet specific PPM and business needs.
- Microsoft Project Online allows users to evaluate the impact of unplanned work on portfolios of programs and projects. Users can capture and track formal project or work change requests, and assess the impact of these changes on work, durations, costs, and resources.
- MS Project Online integrates with different Microsoft, such as Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Planner, and Microsoft Project for the web and leverages these components in a modern way.
- Microsoft Project Online users (as a part of a subscription) also have Project Service access.
These customers should refrain from overly customizing (rather than configuring) their use of Project Online until the two offerings are combined into one platform and unified UX.
- Rigid learning curve: Some thought it lacks the intuitive approach of the ‘newer’ software. It can be far more complicated for most teams. It is an investment in training and resources to fully leverage the software.
- Lack of Customization options: Software is quite difficult to customize. However, to remedy the situation, you can use FluentPro’s “Quickstart Project Online Implementation Solution”
- Microsoft offers many PPM-enabling products and options for its customers, especially project managers who want to successfully manage and report on their projects. However, continued customer feedback indicates that Microsoft must improve its products based on customers’ feedback.
- Project Online offers strong capabilities for named resource management at the detailed project and execution levels.
However, dynamic resource management at the portfolio level, with the ability to create multiple scenarios and assess potential positive or negative impacts, would be a welcome addition that could expose macrolevel budget and schedule risks.
Microsoft tools pricing policy
If we’re speaking about Microsoft Project Management system pricing policy it’s important to admit, that Microsoft provided user-bases licenses.
There are three product plans:
- Project Plan 1 – providing you quick ability to administer and control all your projects with ease all in one web browser window for $10.00 per user/month,
- Project Plan 3 – for $30.00 per user/month you and your team can plan, implement, and assess your projects, by using well-known scheduling tools. This plan provides you with the web browser version or an additional desktop client (don’t confuse it with MS Project Standard or Professional – this price plan has its desktop client).
- Project Plan 5 is the fullest plan from MS Project Online. For $50.00 per user/month, you can gather and optimize your project portfolio to prioritize initiatives, also within the web and/or desktop clients at the same time.
Also, Microsoft provides an opportunity to use on-premises solutions like MS Project Professional and Standard for $679.99 and $1,129.99 accordingly.
Smartsheet provides permanent scaling up to enterprise-level programs
In the last few years, the popularity of Smartsheet seems to have dropped from being fourth in the Capterra TOP-20 most popular project management software in November 2013 to ninth in September 2017; and in 2022 it`s in 13th place (sorted by Most Reviews).
Smartsheet is a web-based project management tool and, although available for Windows, it is compatible with mobile.
Smartsheet is used across organizations to track and manage diverse types of work for teams large and small and includes tools for team task management, crowdsourcing, and even sales pipeline tracking.
The task management and sales pipeline tracking tools are a clear winner, however, the stability of the software may be letting it down.
- One benefit that some other task management services don’t offer is that you can in Smartsheet assign a task to multiple people, group a project of many steps, and assign each step to a different person.
- It’s also very easy to identify the tasks assigned to a particular person or tasks for a full project – it’s easy to sort and filter to view only the information you need.
- One of the biggest problems is its stability. Mondays seem to be the worst – the service runs slow, and sometimes you can’t even log in, of course. Mondays are the day when everyone needs to access the most, to remind them what projects are at the top of the list for the week.
- It’s also got a high learning curve.
Smartsheet can provide you with all the best project opportunities inside three product plans: Pro, Business, and Enterprise (customizable). The Smartsheet pricing policy is simple to use and understand – the first two plans are flexible according to your business needs and goals:
- Pro is the choice for those, who want to assess the Smartsheet functionality and compare it with other options. For $9.00 per user monthly you can obtain great opportunities like unlimited sheets and users, Gantt, Grid, Card, Calendar Views and Dashboards, Reports, and Forms.
- Business is the way to use all Smartsheet’s possibilities – for $25.00 per user monthly you add unique features to already existing Pro options like 1 TB attachment storage and unlimited automation.
Also, there is a Smartsheet Advance, which extends the full potential of the platform with premium capabilities for project, program, and process management at scale.
Jira Software helps you be agile all the way
Jira is familiarly standard these days at any software development company. This is the most powerful and flexible project management tool, but there’s a learning curve in terms of setting the workflows up. It has an extensive feature set, and customizations are endless.
You can integrate everything into it – Confluence, Bitbucket & Project management. That said, it requires significant administration effort to use.
- Because so many people use Jira, lots of vendors from the Atlassian marketplace make sure that their products interface with Jira as well.
- Create custom workflows of any size that match the exact way your teams build, test, and release software.
- Create a personalized view of Jira Software. Share dashboards to track project status, create custom reports, and monitor team wallboards.
- When there are a lot of individual subtasks that are linked to the master task, the workflow can become difficult to follow.
- Jira Software is a complex program that comes with a bit of a learning curve for most.
The great difference that Jira pricing has is a free plan (for 10 users). In this project plan, you already have Unlimited project boards to coordinate your projects and be successful in them.
Also, there are Standard (from $7.75 per user monthly), Premium (from $15.25 per user monthly), and Enterprise (flexible pricing plan) pricing options, varying one from another by functionality and features provided, so every PMO can choose the right version.
For teams that require a self-managed solution, Jira Software can become the on-premises solution (for USD 42,000 for 500 users and a 30-day free trial).
Trello connects all project management components in one place
Trello is another popular software tool by Atlassian for office collaboration. It’s an efficient one too as it makes use of the Kanban paradigm.
It was popularized by Toyota back in the 1980s for the supply chain management.
All projects within Trello represent as “kanban boards” or “trelloboards”. It contains lists and cards that allow you to drag and drop and progress from one task to the next, mirroring the flow of a feature from idea to execution.
Users can then assign each other to cards that contain their tasks or projects, and move these cards, update them, and even use them for communication about a specific task.
Cards hold comments, attachments, checklists, and even due dates that sync automatically with the calendar. It’s pretty simple, but it sure has gotten a lot of companies to switch over to Trello.
- The easy-to-navigate boards make it feel like you always have everything you need sitting right in front of you.
- Invite outside members, create closed boards, or add public boards.
- This “horizontal” tool is multipurpose, meaning you can handle everything with it.
- You can set all your tasks with a due date, and once set all tasks, sync them with your calendar for each board.
- Seamless Integration: Paying users can integrate with Slack, GitHub, and Salesforce.
- Easy to use and set up lists and cards.
- Gives an easy-to-follow view of project progress to all parties involved.
- While items can be organized into specific tasks and cards, once aboard collects many cards, the board can easily get crowded and cluttered.
- Unfortunately, Trello does not have native time-tracking capabilities either.
- There’s no way to add a project overview or any sub-task functionality.
- Print and export functionality isn’t great on the free version, you can only export to JSON format, the printer prints everything in a single list, and the applied labels don’t output.
Trello is a flexible solution when we’re speaking about pricing policy. There are available 4 different paid plans:
- Standard ($6.00 per user/month).
- Premium ($12.50 per user/month).
- Enterprise (flexible one, but not less than 50 users).
Also, Trello provides users with always-free product plans with basic, but sufficient functionality.
Asana contributes to ensuring teams’ alignment and driving revenue
Asana is a web-based software tool for team collaboration. Its main benefit is that it allows users to manage tasks or projects online without having to use email. Asana gives each team a workspace, and within that workspace are specific tasks.
Under each task, users and team members can follow the projects they need to so that if anything changes, followers of that specific project get updates or changes sent to them automatically.
Tasks tracking is implemented marvelously there. The ability to enter and modify tasks at the speed of thought can help you to get thoughts down before focus is lost. Asana also allows companies to use the product at an enterprise scale.
- Between workspaces, projects, sections, tasks, and subtasks organization is a breeze.
- Easily set recurring tasks for things that need to be completed more than once.
- Cuts down on the number of emails and messages needed to discuss project or task details.
- An easy-to-access calendar synced with all of your tasks, so you never lose track of what needs to be done.
- Unfortunately, you cannot assign multiple people to the same task with Asana.
- With so many tasks and documents in the same place sometimes the UI can get a bit slow.
- Since the program is heavily text-based, it’s easy to break structure, remove a task, or change its naming.
- There is no way to track time with Asana, unfortunately.
Asana’s pricing policy is as flexible as the product itself. As a user you can choose from:
- Free ($0.00 per user, up to 15 users)
- Premium ($13.49 per user monthly)
- Business ($30.49 per user monthly)
- Enterprise (individual.
If you want to consider the Enterprise level – feel free to contact Asana’s sales buddies. They can help you integrate Project management into your company’s day-to-day schedule.
How to Choose Right Enterprise Project Management Solution for You?
The right is all about a matter of work type and personal preference. You need to do a bit of research and find out what will be the best fit.
Get to know each product with a free trial (except for MS Project Standard or Professional). Top project management software providers offer a free trial or demo of their product to enable users to try out the features free of cost and make a comparison of different tools.
This will help you to gauge how useful the online product can be for your company.
Why you should choose an Enterprise Project Management Software
All these systems have their strengths and flaws, and it might be difficult to make a choice. Especially if you need the tool to fit the requirements of different teams who often manage projects differently.
Here we assume the key advantages of EPM tools:
With PPM Express, it is possible to start with several systems, for example:
- Jira – for technical teams
- Asana – for Marketing and Sales
- Microsoft Project Online – for large-scale engineering projects, etc.
And even if you’re using MS Project on-premises version you can connect it to PPM Express to obtain the Project Portfolio Management in your company.
You just need to install the PPM Express Project Publisher and connect it to PPM Express.
From this moment, you can import and open mpp files from MS Project and publish projects right to existing PPM Express projects or even create new projects in PPM Express (with all you need – tasks, milestones, and resources).
So, you don’t need to convert mpp to excel to connect all the information within one window.
PPM Express takes a critical project and portfolio data from the systems of record and provides unified management functionality and reporting so that executives can see the “big picture” without having to micromanage teams.