Planning software: bespoke vs out-of-the-box

What is Resource Management Software?

Software tools help companies plan resources effectively. On-premise options include spreadsheets and apps for commercial off-the-shelf products (COTS).

The most powerful software helps to implement:

  • Effective Collaboration
  • Quick and convenient exchange of information
  • Personal data and resource structuring
  • Reporting and DB automation

Who Can Benefit from Resource-Planning Software?

Companies of all sizes are dedicated to resource-planning. This includes all those who manage a team of employees, contractors or a combination of the two.

Small business

If you have a small company or a startup, you may run resource-planning without software through regular team meetings and whiteboards. However, when your business reaches a certain size, more formal tools are needed to avoid resource shortages and maintain occupancy rates. And if you’re at this stage, you’ve already faced the need for a handy business management and planning tool.

Medium-sized company

For creative medium-sized companies, resource-planning management software will be valuable when the team reaches 15-20 people. At this size, maintaining high utilisation and margins is difficult without the help of technology. Many companies first use on-premise solutions, such as spreadsheets, before adopting more integrated systems, but we’re here to help you take a step forward.

Large enterprise

The benefits of resource-planning software correlate with the size of an enterprise. In larger organisations, the more resources and clients needing managed, the greater the impact of improvements in forecasting and allocation. Large companies are more likely to be measurement-oriented and are expected to maintain utilisation rates and specific financial objectives. Enterprises focused on improving feasibility and profit margins make maximum use of professional resource-planning solutions.

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At the initial stage, some standard solutions, like Excel, Google Spreadsheets, MS Outlook for data structuring, Salesforce for Sales Management, AMO-CRM for business communication and lead development and Wordpress for site creation and content management can be a great option.
All operations are divided into functional blocks and multiple tasks are duplicated so as to be represented in several different systems. Complicated data synchronisation and checks must be implemented to avoid manual updates and various human factor errors.
And finally, you, as a business leader, do not see the overall picture of your company’s development. Now is the right time to think about bespoke planning software which works as one complete system, meeting all your business needs.

How to Choose the Best Planning Software

Your choice of software can considerably influence your general success. Before choosing any solutions, check this guide and compare.

  • Clarify what you need: team management and high engagement or a simple ticketing system? Understand the various strengths of management software. Does it look like an all-in-one solution or specialise in a specific task?
  • Confirm whether it’s compatible with mobile devices
  • Read reviews in the app store and in the user community
  • Ask the provider for demos and see how easily it is integrated and adopted

There are a lot of opportunities for those who don’t have the option of creating a bespoke system. However, there are some disadvantages. Ready-made software often requires custom integration with other software solutions, and also costs more to maintain. After integration, you need to maintain, expand, host and eventually replace such apps, so you should always consider all costs, pros and cons.

Off-the-Shelf Software to Consider

COTS planning software is widely available in many forms. It may be conventional software (that is, installed locally and hosted on a server) or a subscription based SaaS, which is becoming increasingly popular for several reasons - such as the reduction of previous costs, simplicity of maintenance and the periodic updating.

Based on our experience, we’d recommend you consider the following open source options, paying attention to the advantages you may get.

If you want to expand your company, Freedcamp is your ideal choice. The free version lasts for a long time and updating is fairly cheap. Administrators can restrict the privileges of multiple users at the client level. Freedcamp also offers time-tracking, templates and billing.

If you’re a Waterfall fan, Zoho Projects has a great Gantt Diagram option, which allows the user to set complex tasks and milestones. Zoho Projects also provides timesheets and detailed report features (if you don’t want to create your own report, you can choose from 50 predefined templates).

The MeisterTask project board is ideal for a variety of agile methods. The board is completely customisable and the team may create anything from kanban to scrum and various mixed forms.

Finally, this software can boast good design. The communication side is simple, similar to the = system, but with no instant update. MeisterTask also adds collaboration options (such as preferences and comments) for task relationships, email tasks and team drive.

Asana allows users to visualise their objectives, track time, prioritise tasks and obtain project updates via the program. In addition, it has a calendar function to display the team’s tasks graphically on a dashboard.

If you’re interested in small-team collaboration, Wrike is actually one of the best options for you. Users can configure privacy settings in projects (unlimited) and interact with the flow of real-time Wrike activities. The Free PM tool is easy to use, providing task management features and extended storage options with integration, and users can learn how to do it in an hour.

Orangescrum is completely customisable. With high-tech teeth, you can basically turn this free resource into whatever you need it to be. Users can see their project using the Kanban view, the Gantt chart and the task status group. In addition, Orangescrum users can integrate Google Drive and Dropbox in the free version. However, as Orangescrum is very versatile, it requires a serious knowledge of coding to make the most of. If you aren’t a tech guru, you’ll need help of expert developers like those at Magora.



What Are the Disadvantages of Ready-Made Planning Software?

Like many commercial technologies, planning and management software requires customisation and affordable compensation. Of course, the solution may be highly customisable, but maintenance is expensive.

  • Traditional COTS costs, installation and updates may result in even more expenses in the long run than bespoke development
  • A SaaS planning system is usually affordable, but at the expense of limited flexibility

Some companies are doing a better job than others of coordinating software according to their needs. To mitigate this risk, choose a product that forms part of a series of applications or is integrated with priority project management. Otherwise, you may face barriers to adopting a dedicated planning program, making it too costly to perform the integration needed to achieve the expected results.

Training (and the possible re-engineering of business processes) must be successful in order to use the planning app instead of a spreadsheet. The user experience varies significantly between different solutions. It is important to choose the interface used by the computer. For this reason, it is also important to choose a provider that offers both the user interface and sufficient customer service to meet your criteria. Get App, Merchant Maverick and Capterra are useful places to start looking for software that meets your needs.

planning software by magora dev

Advantages of a Good Business Tool

The right business tool solves the specific task of meeting your business demands and customer needs, painting a real picture of your company’s efficiency and providing you with an exact ROI calculation, as well as saving time on reporting and guaranteeing corporate DB safety and invulnerability.

For this reason, you need a special tool so that, rather than have to ask yourself what your teams are doing now, you can estimate the contribution of each team member and visualise the company position and achievements at any given in online mode. High technology can make it possible to complete all your work on time.

Finally, a good program can provide a central working area for teams to collaborate. Executives can see not only the financial impact, but also who’s working on what and at what time. With reporting tools, you can adapt to changing circumstances in real time through data-driven decisions.

You may also reassign projects when the project timeline changes. The right solution also helps extend the predictable scale. If the project size doubles or a new client appears, the right program tool will show where you can extract the right resources and achieve the necessary work. If you need to, you’re free to build a program that incorporates financial information or integrates with CRM and accounting solutions. This allows you to see the cost benefits of reallocating resources to other tasks and the overall financial status of the company.

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