It’s a trend that’s been happening for some time: businesses are increasingly turning to the cloud for software solutions. But while many businesses may think of the cloud as an excellent place to store data, implementing a cloud-based project management solution to improve productivity may be the next direction to go.
Keeping projects on time and under budget is difficult, particularly for large organizations. Project management software has gained popularity as a means for businesses to better monitor the minutiae involved with IT projects, such as time management and individual project stages.
Like most software, project management systems used to live exclusively on-premise, limiting the connection between employees who work from home and those who work in the office. While this may not have been a huge obstacle in the early 2000s, on-premise software is starting to isolate a greater number of employees. According to a 2013 Census Bureau report, 13.4 million employees now work at least one day from home. The computer and engineering industries in particular have seen a 70% increase in remote workers from 2000-2010.
The concept of remote employees still divides opinion, but it’s not always a case of employees simply working from home or at the office. Numerous verticals feature models where workers are based remotely so they can interact with clients face to face. Not utilizing the cloud means keeping these employees out of the loop, which hinders their productivity and reduces their effectiveness.
From a cost standpoint, the cloud has a number of potential benefits as well. For project management, which will fall under the Software as a Service category, implementing a new solution will have marginal up-front costs. A SaaS project management tool also won’t require any new hardware, so businesses won’t have to hire in-house IT to oversee implementation and upkeep.
Manage Projects from the Cloud
Some studies indicate that simply switching to cloud computing can make employees more productive, but a cloud-based project management program offers several additional advantages.
For productivity purposes, time tracking software enables employers to establish a baseline of time spent per project, which they can then tie to other key performance indicators such as quality of work or amount completed. For non-office employees, the cloud is essential for measuring their output relative to their work hours.
Cloud-based project management software also offers advantages when breaking down complex projects into manageable tasks. Robust task management software gives users a better understanding of their importance to the overall project. It also helps establish inter-connectivity between tasks by showing which goals are interdependent.
Using collaboration tools, employees can share relevant files without using a third party platform (although many software suites often third party file sharing integration). Providing easy access to a common document can greatly increase productivity by eliminating redundant revisions and knocking down barriers to access.
With the growing number of employees working from home, businesses would do well to consider a cloud-based project management solution to keep their workforce connected. In fact, offering employees the opportunity to work from home may actually increase their productivity. A recent study published in the Harvard Business Review found that call center employees who were allowed to work from home completed 13.5% more calls than the control group in the office. That translated into nearly an extra day of work per week and an estimated $1,900 in revenue per employee over the 9 month study.
So while remote employees may still be in the minority, their numbers are growing every year (especially in the computing and engineering fields). Keeping these employees engaged and productive is an obvious opportunity for cost savings and increased profits. The key? Employing the benefits of cloud-based software to help these workers manage and measure their projects.
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