Advantages of Microsoft Project software for small businesses
In early 2017, Project-Management.com posted an article written by Lauren Maffeo about the surprising staying power of Microsoft Project in this age of modern cloud-based applications. Microsoft Project is one of the software giant’s most popular and longest running application, a favorite by enterprise users. However, the same article showed that out of 200 US-based project managers, where three quarters are in small and midsize businesses (SMBs), more than 67 percent use MS Project. Microsoft Project is a project and portfolio management software that helps users organize and schedule projects, prioritize initiatives, and get insight how resources are used.
The GetApp Survey
Another survey was conducted by GetApp Lab to find out why project managers are not only still using MS Project, but why many of those who do not are planning to switch to Project very soon. A total of 496 project managers who work in US SMBs responded to the survey. By definition, a small business is one who has less than 100 employees, and a midsize business as one who has less than 999 employees. All qualified respondents stated that they plan to switch to Microsoft Project.
Statistics and Findings
From the survey, it was discovered that about 25 percent use Basecamp. Asana and Trello users account for about 21 and 20.6 percent respectively. About 7 percent are Wrike users and 5 percent use Atlassian JIRA. The remaining 20 percent of respondents use a diverse range of tools, such as SharePoint, Excel, Smartsheet, or use no tool at all. Also, about 20 percent stated that they will stay with their current project management software if their vendor adds more features.
Reasons for Moving to MS Project
The most important finding in this survey seems to be that about 32 percent will switch to MS Project for the reason that it integrates with Office 365. The second most popular reason for the planned switch is because users perceived that Project has more advanced features than their current PM tool, about 24 percent of the respondents answered. Exactly 19 percent stated that their team and requirements have outgrown their current software. About 13 percent believed it is the best match for their PM method, while 9.5 percent will switch because it is their clients preferred PM software.
SMBs Prefer Office 365
On the top of the list of reasons is the integration of Microsoft Project with Office 365. It has become clear that one strengthens the other. Office 365 has become the preferred productivity suite of SMBs over Google’s G Suite. One reason apparently is because of Office 365’s integration with MS Project. Conversely, more people are switching to Project because of the ubiquitous presence and strong hold of MS Office apps among its users.
The intent to switch are accompanied by definite timelines. About 15 percent plan to switch to Microsoft Project within the next month. Less than 36 percent will be switching in the next 1 to 3 months, and about 33 percent will transfer in the next 4 to 6 months. In sum, about 84 percent will be switching to MS Project in the next half year from now, which is a huge percentage. But as the numbers show, switching software is not simple and should not be done in haste.
Reasons for Staying with current PM software
On the other end of the survey, respondents also stated some reasons that can keep them with their current PM software provider. The top reason to stay is if vendors add more features and integration. This seems to be logical, as teams and business experience growth, their requirements also grow. However, the data about integration does not seem to make sense. In comparison, the other PM software integrates with more popular apps when compared to Project. Upon further analysis, it seems that what the respondents really mean by more integration is simply more integration with Office 365.
The End Result
In sum, more project managers in SMBs are switching to Microsoft Project because they need software that integrates with Office 365. With the increasing popularity of Office 365, it may seem difficult to use a project management tool outside this particular productivity suite. In addition, Microsoft has invested in its Cloud Solution Provider program to give more control to its resellers, including pricing options, making it more competitive against Google’s G Suite. However, it is also advisable for users to first look into the integration features and options of their current PM tool before making the switch. Many integrates with Zapier, where they can build their own web app connections. Moving project data from one software to another involves substantial time, money, and a learning curve. If there is no sufficient reason to move yet, then it is best to stay put. More information on project management training.