There s something better than traditional project management software.

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1 project management applications... your way? 1 contents: Project Management Applications... Your Way? Introduction... 1 Business Teams Today are Overloaded with Data... 2 Desktop Tools Reign... 2 Managing by Projects... 3 State of Project Management Software Today... 3 Project Management Theory is Complex... 4 Flexible Project Management Applications - A New Approach... 4 Interneer s Instant Application Platform; a wealth of benefits... 5 Adapting the system to fit a unique process... 5 Project Management Simplified... 6 Powerful Combination of Capabilities... 6 Conclusion and Case Studies... 6 Case Study 1: Global Consumer Electronics Company leverages Custom Application... 7 Case Study 2: Global Non-Profit Organization Applies Unique Hierarchy to Application... 8 There s something better than traditional project management software. Romeo Elias, Chief Operating Officer, Interneer, Inc. Introduction In today s business environment, managers and employees are confronted with an overwhelming amount of data and tasks. Which is why business people rely heavily on out-of-the-box software or their IT departments to create custom applications. Most project management software programs are rigid and complex. They require users to conform their business to the software s structured features and often endure a learning curve to implement and use. This coupled with a general decrease in IT support in most organizations, and the costly and long development periods has become a common setback among today s business professionals. In this whitepaper, an alternative to existing project management software called the Instant Application Platform is presented. The applications created using the Instant Application Platform are not limited to vendor supplied functions or resource constraints of over worked IT departments. The IAP allows businesses to quickly design, create and deploy solutions through an intuitive point and click environment which can be hosted or easily installed. In a matter of weeks, not months, a custom project management application to fit the unique needs of business can be created. Now businesses can have great scalability, reliability and extend an effortless global reach with a considerable cost savings with Interneer s IAP. This whitepaper discusses the problems created by: The increasing amounts of data & tasks which are difficult to manage The factors influencing this trend The need for a flexible on-demand project management application The current market for project management software And the new approach provided by Interneer s Instant Application Platform, Project Management application. In addition, two case studies are presented to provide relevant context to see the severity of the current situation and the solutions that were found to increase efficiency through the project management application created on Interneer s IAP.

2 project management applications... your way? 2 Research from the Enterprise Storage Group indicates that currently more than 70% of business-critical information could be stored in an organization s corporate messaging system, unavailable for easy access and use. Business Teams Today are Overloaded with Data Research from the Enterprise Storage Group indicates that currently more than 70% of business-critical information could be stored in an organization s corporate messaging system, unavailable for easy access and use. The Radicati Group, Inc., also estimates that the typical corporate user sends and receives an average of 84 messages per day. Meanwhile, managers and executives are increasingly taking on larger workloads with fewer resources and tools. For example, a current client of Interneer aimed to increase its product development output by 30% in 2004 using the same staff resources and budget as the prior year. Corporate users are often dealing with evolving projects and business processes. In most cases, the existing enterprise tools can not keep up with these changes. Under a recent survey conducted by Interneer, a group of business executives and managers revealed that more than 65% were using systems that were unable to adapt to changes in their processes or work environment. Adding to the difficulties, shrinking and overworked IT departments are often too busy to assist with improving day-to-day operational processes and individual business user needs. In fact, it has been estimated that only 5% to 20% of the average IT budget is available for new projects that could help address these issues. Therefore, it is no surprise to find an increasing reliance on inefficient desktop tools, such as spreadsheets and word processor, to communicate data, project status, assignments, reports and schedules. The study conducted by Interneer also revealed that upwards of 50% of companies use spreadsheets, 75% use and 55% use shared hard drive files to manage objectives, milestones and projects. Desktop Tools Reign According to a study by Booz Allen Hamilton, the number of business users that perform IT functions, but are not part of the official corporate IT organization, can be as much as 78% of the size of the total IT staff. These Shadow IT personnel, as they are dubbed in the study, perform many functions such as modeling, reporting, project management and data management using spreadsheets and general desktop tools. The appeal of desktop tools is that they are fully within the user s control and enable the user to make changes quickly in order to respond to particular business process needs. Unfortunately, often times the changes are not capable of being shared, or are database driven. The desktop tools typically lack the capability to notify relevant team members of project or action item status updates or changes. They also lack distributed reporting capability and thus contribute to information overload, since the data is often duplicated or spread across many different computers. Users relying on these tools find it difficult to enforce accountability or gain visibility into the current processes within the organization.

3 project management applications... your way? 3 Business professionals in non-technical departments, such as Human Resources and Marketing, are adopting project management methodologies for tracking deadlines, budgets and resources. In an attempt to overcome the challenges put forth by inefficient management tools, business professionals are having more meetings and spending more time trying to distribute day-to-day status, process and project information. In fact, the Interneer survey also revealed that 70% of the respondents waste two or more hours per week with unnecessary s, poor communications, tracking projects and searching for project related information. Managing by Projects Project management methodology is growing more popular in today s world and is branching out from its traditional engineering focus. Business professionals in non-technical departments, such as Human Resources and Marketing, are adopting project management methodologies for tracking deadlines, budgets and resources. These individuals realize the value of project management and are reaching out to implement it on an everyday basis, applying the best practices and discipline the tools provide. They recognize these techniques as critical to their work. However, traditional project management and corresponding software tools were intended for engineering and construction projects, and were tailored for use by people in these industries. For this group of users, capabilities like critical path analysis, detailed budget tracking and complex resource scheduling are a key requirement and need to be tracked accurately and in detail. These capabilities are reflected in the current marketplace of project management tools and, as will be shown, are not suitable for non-technical business practitioners. State of Project Management Software Today The abundance of project management software available in the marketplace today can be overwhelming. A quick search using Google for Project Management Software returns over 2 million results. One can find solutions geared towards any size business, requiring installation or hosted, for generic use or designed for a specific industry, and much more. One central and common element found across most of these solutions is Gantt chart reporting and task management functionality. While these are important tools for any project, they are currently the main focus of most of these applications, i.e., the software capabilities are designed around this functionality set. Whether the application is simplistic or robust, this focus is maintained. In the former case, most of the applications mainly track tasks and provide some basic Gantt chart reporting. These solutions work well for small groups or individuals managing personal or simple projects.

4 project management applications... your way? 4 Business professionals often find themselves overwhelmed with the theory and training required in order to use traditional project management tools that do not take into account the unique process needs that many businesses have. In the latter case, the applications usually include many other powerful and sophisticated capabilities that are task and Gantt chart driven. These solutions typically require a keen understanding of project management theory and require substantial training for most users. They may also handle large groups and complex projects; however, they are typically geared more towards a technical or engineering user. Project Management Theory is Complex Business professionals often find themselves overwhelmed with the theory and training required in order to use traditional project management tools that do not take into account the unique process needs that many businesses have. In some cases, these unique processes and best practices are developed over a period of time and, in many cases, serve as a competitive advantage for the organization. However, customizing and simplifying these packaged project management software tools to fit the company s unique needs is either impossible or too costly. Changing the business processes to fit the tool is equally unacceptable as it may force the business to forfeit its competitive advantage. Companies thus attempt to build a solution to match their needs. These home-grown solutions often fail to deliver and may exacerbate the problem by causing information and data to be islanded into a different system. For many, given these choices, maintaining the current inefficient process is the only choice, despite all the process inherent deficiencies. Interneer s Instant Application Platform The New Approach Interneer s Instant Application Platform lets companies create web-based applications at the speed of business, without the assistance of programmers. Whether you re looking to automate a manual process, create a new solution or customize an application to fill in the missing pieces of your existing software, Interneer s Instant Application Platform allows businesses to create software solutions to meet each company s unique needs. This is accomplished through the use of Interneer s patented Instant Application Platform technology (we refer to it as IAP), which is not limited to vendor supplied functions or resource constraints of over worked IT departments. The IAP allows you to quickly design, create and deploy solutions through an intuitive point and click environment which is delivered via the web or can be easily installed at your location.

5 project management applications... your way? 5 Through simple menu selections the user can rapidly define: Interneer s Instant Application Platform lets companies create webbased applications at the speed of business, without the assistance of programmers. Project forms as standard templates. Business process rules through a user-defined workflow. Reports generated instantly by system wizards. Dashboards that can be tailored for each individual user, high level or detailed. Access control for each field or page by user or group. Notifications to prompt the user through each activity or task assigned to the user. The marketplace is ready for the Instant Application Platform. The survey conducted by Interneer Inc. revealed that more than 85% of executives and managers prefer a system that can be tailored to reflect their existing business processes. In addition, over 90% of respondents prefer a system that can be modified by business users rather than technical experts. Interneer s Instant Application Platform; A Wealth of Benefits With Interneer s Instant Application Platform, the average business person maintains complete control, thereby enabling the user to define and continually improve internal processes. The user does not rely on IT to generate new reports, add additional fields in an existing form or create new forms. The same control and capability found in a desktop application is available, but with a database-driven, web-based, multi-user, collaborative and robust enterprise platform. Adapting the System to Fit a Unique Process Organizations are typically run on unique processes that do not fit any existing vertical application or enterprise system. Business professionals are drawn to desktop applications for help with these processes. In fact, according to Staffware, now part of TIBCO Software Inc., more than 95 percent of business processes in an enterprise require the intervention of a human. Flexible Project Management applications provide a way for the end user to manage and streamline these processes, thus enabling the user to build and define custom applications easily and rapidly. A key benefit is the fact that the user maintains full control of all aspects of the application. A solution can then be tailored to fully fit the business needs.

6 project management applications... your way? 6 Applications created on the Instant Application Platform include a number of powerful capabilities: spreadsheets, built-in workflow engine, report wizards, specific portals, and control over business rules. Project Management Simplified Project Management Applications built on the IAP may be configured to be as simple, complex, generic or unique as desired. The feature set can example, the templates can be configured so that top managers can review reports and problematic areas, interacting with the system with a simple blog-like interface. At the same time, a team member can be granted full or limited access to only applicable tasks, as well as be provided the ability to update status and labor time on any particular project. Powerful Combination of Capabilities Applications created on the Instant Application Platform include a number of powerful capabilities: spreadsheets that can be converted or reused within the system, thus enabling enterprise access to the information, as well as full reporting on the data; a built-in workflow engine that ensures that everyone is on the same page, assigns activities and notifies users and managers when there are delays; document management to organize files and attachments; reports wizards to ensure data is easily retrieved and organized; the capability to easily define role specific portals; and control of every business rule by the end user. Conclusion and Case Studies Solutions created on the IAP are simple and intuitive for the end user, since they are tailored to each user s individual role. The solutions focus on the project data, the process and the reports, rather than just the Gantt chart and tasks. These systems enable the business user to define the important elements of a project. The solutions centralize all project data and communication into one location, enabling easy access and search capability across all project information. This is a tremendous gain to organizations that typically have to query multiple users to obtain a snapshot of the project status. The following scenarios are two case studies presented to help demonstrate the problems and solutions as experienced in real-life business contexts.

7 project management applications... your way? 7 A unique and proprietary development process may mean the difference between the success and failure of a product or company. Case Study 1: Global Consumer Electronics Company leverages Custom Application In the consumer electronics industry competition is cutthroat, product development cycles keep getting shorter and costs are continuously being reduced to maintain competitive retail pricing. Companies are asking their development teams to produce more, using less. A unique and proprietary development process may mean the difference between the success and failure of a product or company. It is in this environment that a global leader was faced with a challenge: their unique development process was their strength and competitive advantage; however it was developed over many years and applied by way of a series of spreadsheet templates. A devoted team of business professionals focused on updating the templates and disseminating the new information to an engineering group of 400. The process was cumbersome and messy. Product and program managers found themselves tracking down spreadsheets, which required meetings to determine the current status and to ensure that team members were following the process and meeting deliverables, as specified. The company did not want to abandon their development process; however they were running out of options and the spreadsheets were crippling productivity. Developing a custom solution was very risky given they were not a software development company; it would imply they would be bound to a process that was difficult to change and adapt over time. In addition, they had reviewed many off-the-shelf project management and enterprise solutions. Unfortunately, those solutions would have forced them to abandon their valuable methodology and fit themselves into the off-the-shelf software s generic process; a choice they did not want to make. Interneer s Instant Application Platform was the only solution for this company. It enabled them to maintain their existing processes, configure the platform to adapt to their methodology and empower their existing team of business professionals to continue to update and maintain the processes. They could have their cake and eat it too. After deployment of the system, the development team s productivity and efficiency increased considerably. Product and program managers were able to focus on what they did best: promote the product and manage the teams. Most importantly, the company maintained their competitive advantage through their proprietary product development process.

8 project management applications... your way? 8 In the non-governmental, non-profit sectors, there is a unique approach to project management that breaks down the information captured into a hierarchy of multiple levels and a custom set of terminology. Case Study 2: Global Non-Profit Organization Applies Unique Hierarchy to Application In the non-governmental, non-profit sectors, there is a unique approach to project management that breaks down the information captured into a hierarchy of multiple levels and a custom set of terminology. The non-profit organizational structure needs to be reflected accurately in the system for it to be useful. In addition, a typical non-profit organization has staff members spread out among global offices with greatly varying needs. Information in these types of organizations must be accessible and searched easily through a variety of means. After reviewing many project management platforms, it was obvious to this leading nonprofit organization that their unique industry needs were going to be difficult to meet. Off the shelf project management solutions provided little configuration. Others required expensive developers to custom code the changes an option the organization was not willing to entertain given the cost and risk of a failed implementation. In addition, their unique hierarchy and search needs ruled out a large percentage of off the shelf solutions. A flexible project management application created on the IAP was the only solution for this organization. It enabled their project managers and existing IT resources to configure, maintain and continually update the system as their processes evolved. In addition, role and location specific dashboards were configured to ensure easy adoption. Interneer, Inc Agoura Road, Suite 114, Agoura Hills, CA 91301

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