How to Buy Project Management Software

Andy Derrick, Sales Director, Xergy Group
low-cost software project management work management solution
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We know you’ve heard the sales pitch 100s of times already. “Use our never-seen-before cloud-based project management software to transform your business by tackling your inefficiencies and spiraling overheads.” Just one glance at software review site Capterra will bring up hundreds of highly customised project management software solutions. All appear to offer the same benefits and conveniences. So how do companies make the selection and what is the justification for choosing one project management software over another software option?

Buying software is difficult: there is a lot on offer out there and it is not always easy to work out what is going to be the right fit for your company. Let’s be honest, business software is traditionally difficult to install and even more difficult to get your team to love. So often new software is complicated and hated and there is always someone in the business who doesn’t agree with the choice of platform.

Getting the right project management software solution onboard can make real, tangible differences to the way you and your team work.

This saves you time and money and making you more efficient. Small businesses and large enterprises alike can no longer choose to function without a business operating system that connects all your work flows. A lot of us who work in companies that service client projects have to deal with tricky legacy issues. We are at the mercy of huge spreadsheets, siloed teams, layered processes and clunky ERPs. We’ve all heard the tales of companies committing to expensive, unwieldy software suites that end up being unpopular and under-utilized.  None of us want to be the one responsible for making the wrong choice.

Finding a route out of this problem can seem overwhelming, so here is our advice on how to buy project management software for your business, whilst attributing tangible value to Proteus, giving you the confidence to bring your whole team onboard.

There are some basic questions that you need to ask yourself when you set out to buy project management software:

1. What’s your business problem?

Before you buy the cure, make sure you understand the sickness. 

Just identifying that you are not generating enough profit is not enough. Start with your business goals and work back from there, cross-referencing with your team, then answer these problems with needs and in turn match those needs with a software’s features. 

For example, many of us have teams working remotely. This creates numerous difficulties from lack of consistency and transparency to slow turn-around times which in turn create needs that are directly aligned to business goals. Some of the most common we see amongst Proteus clients include the following problems and needs.

  1. The Problem: Project overspend: We can’t keep project progress and team utilization in line with what has been approved by clients during the proposal stage. Our teams are working on separate spreadsheets and incomplete CRMs. This makes margins hard to manage and we can’t turn a profit. 

The Need: We need an easy way to get an instant overview on where we are as a team,  to get insight into each team member’s progress without having to contact different levels of management.

The Feature: Proteus’ Project Management Dashboard gives a real-time overview of all team progress against approved goals.

  1. The Problem: We don’t have enough consistency: each team member has a different standard in their deliverables, including writing proposals and project documentation meaning errors and variations in costs are common.

The Need: We all need to issue the same standard of work to control our quality and manage risk. We need to be able to control costs and charge out rates.

The Feature: Proteus builds in preset average costs, meaning personnel, equipment or any costs cannot be bought in or charged out at a rate that is unprofitable.

  1. The Problem:  We waste so much time trying to find documents that are saved in different places or knowledge that is held by other teams or team members.

The Need: A holistic management system where all information, from contacts to contracts to documentation are all easily instantly accessible and historic project knowledge is shared.

The Feature: All contacts, contracts, files and historical project documents are easily searchable and accessible through Proteus.

There are quite literally 100s of software solutions out there so now you have to drill down into exactly what your requirements are.

2. What’s on your project management software shortlist?

To narrow it down to a manageable short list of options, you need to figure out the basic must-haves:

Features: you have already worked out your needs and prioritized the functionality that answers those needs. When looking at the softwares no offer, focus on the core features only.

Users: How many users will you need? What level of permissions do the users need? Can the platform facilitate the varying needs of your users.

Budget: How much budget can you put towards this? How will this grow over time? Do you need to forecast an additional user base?

Existing infrastructure: How many legacy or existing systems do you need to integrate? Can integrate, Zap or API into the system where needed?

Looking ahead: How much room for growth is there? Can the software expand (and contract) where needed?

Research: Find out as much as you can about the product, beyond the sales patter. Read third party reviews. Talk to your peers, find out what they are using and how successful it has been for their business. 

3. What’s it going to take to make the project management software work for your company?

Once you have understood the value a software platform like Proteus can provide, you then need to go through some very basic steps to get to the end of the procurement process:

Do a demo, then a trial. These should always be easy to get and always should be free. At Proteus we offer an in-person demo via video conferencing and a full 30 days free trial that is 100% cancellable. 

Get a clear understanding of installation requirements and timelines. Find out if you can get support with any customisation work. At Proteus, whilst the software platform is designed to be very easy to install and setup for any configuration, we provide a full support service to ensure you get up and running correctly. Depending on the size and complexity of your business, Proteus technical experts can take your databases, organograms and templates and within days get Proteus working seamlessly for your unique business structure.

Determine service levels. Proteus employs a highly trained full time team of technical experts who are online throughout the business day to provide support. We are available on chat, email and via the phone. In addition, our tech team is on hand to work on integrations that may be unique to your business. We are constantly working on upgrades and improvements which are automatically implemented via the cloud, meaning you have no issues with outdated or obsolete software.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount- seriously, as a community we are all in this together and there is always room for negotiation, for example an upfront annual payment will save you money over a monthly payment scheme.

Agree what success looks like. Review your key objectives and select a couple of topline metrics as key performance indicators. For example, your business goal may have been to cut down admin costs when issuing and processing invoices. Your KPI may therefore be a % of admin cost savings.

Allow a bedding-in period (this will vary from business to business, some may see instant impact from installing a software, others will need at least 12 months to get the benefits)  and monitor that % of saving. If you are not reaching your goal you need to get to the source of the issue. Either the software is not performing due to the way the team is using it or there is an integral problem with the software itself.  You will need to revisit the software capabilities comparing them with your objectives and identify the gap between what you wanted to achieve and what is actually happening. Get the Proteus team involved: we want to help you make it work.

About us

Xergy Group’s Proteus work management solution is designed to work with your existing systems, and to scale and evolve as your business evolves. It was created by energy sector professionals, for the diversified energy sector, and delivers an end-to-end project management software platform compliant with ISO audit requirements and common project management frameworks.

How to get Proteus

Proteus’ work management software is a cloud-based system designed for businesses of all sizes to handle projects of unlimited complexity. Each Proteus feature is aimed at making bottom line improvements by improving utilisation, streamlining workflows, providing quick and efficient access to resources and reducing overheads. One of the unique advantages of Proteus is that we offer a free onboarding consultation service to ensure your company account is set up according to your company’s needs. This makes getting you up and running on Proteus quick and easy.

We recommend getting setup on a free trial. Proteus operates under a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. We offer Enterprise packages and flexible pricing solutions: contact our team to learn more.

We designed Proteus to be simple, and that means you can get up and running on Proteus without an IT team or support from a programmer. You will want to spend a bit of time configuring the admin console so that you have everything set up to suit your company structure, but it’s very intuitive and you don’t need a PhD in IT. However, we want you to get the best out of what is a brilliantly powerful tool, so don’t hesitate to ask for our support. We have a team of product experts who are ready to help you with the configuration process, so get in touch today.


Read more to find out more about how using a work management solution such as Proteus can help you manage digital transformation in your business, or get in touch with our team today.

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