The Future of IT Project Management Software

Economic and technological trends are converging to create a bright future for project management software.

By Stacy A. Goff
Wed, January 06, 2010

CIO — Today's information technology organizations are responding to the most treacherous recession in memory. Their actions range from classic belt-tightening to innovating and improving value-added services in their organizations. A primary value-adding strategy for the most effective organizations is to further improve project management.

In view of this strategy, the project management software industry's future looks especially promising. During the global recession, industrial countries around the world devoted billions in economic stimulus funds for infrastructure and other projects. This has created considerable demand for project management software.

[ Why Project and Portfolio Management Matter More at Recession Time ]

In fact, the market for project management software and services totals about $1.2 billion annually, according to Forrester Research. The market for project portfolio management (PPM) software stood at $2.9 billion in 2008, according to IDC, which expects the PPM software and services market to reach $4.2 billion by 2013.

Companies and government agencies that are serious about project management have recognized for years that they can't manage larger projects and programs effectively without appropriate software support.

Indeed, project management software helps analyze, optimize and manage projects, and this lets organizations determine the right mix of projects and resources to accomplish their strategic goals. Without project management software, organizations find it difficult to track individual projects, the resources allocated to them and the costs associated with them. Similarly, without project portfolio management software, it is nearly impossible to manage portfolios of projects and the dependencies among them.

So what's the outlook for project management software over the next 10 to 15 years? For the answer, we must look at several trends that are helping to buoy the market for project management software and playing critical roles in its future.

Technology and Management Trends

On the technical side, software as a service, or SaaS, delivery models are making project management software more accessible to more organizations, particularly smaller ones. What's more, the growth of Web-based social media—from Facebook to Twitter—has put a focus on making project management software more collaborative, flexible and user-friendly. Today's project management software accelerates communication—across the hall or across great distances—and improves business results.

Another development that benefits project management software is the open-source movement. In the project management software market, this includes open-source versions of Project Workbench, one of the most popular project management software tools from the 1980s, and work-alike clones of today's most popular project management software (OpenProj).

[ 5 Free Apps that Make Project Management Easier ]

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