Satisfaction Among Project Management Software Buyers Falls Short

The results of a new survey conducted by ESI International report that satisfaction with project management and business analysis software tools met or exceeded expectations for only 10.5 percent of respondents.  Respondents were representative of federal, state and local government agencies as well as numerous commercial industries including aerospace/defense, financial services, IT, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and healthcare.

When asked to describe their organizations level of satisfaction with project management or business analysis software, including project and portfolio management and service-oriented-architecture related software, they had purchased:

o Only 9.3 percent responded that the software had met all of their requirements and expectations and 1.2 percent responded that the software had exceeded their requirements and expectations.
o 23.5 percent said the software met some of their requirements and expectations.
o 34 percent said the software met most of their requirements and expectations.
o 16 percent werent sure.

According to Gartners 2007 annual Project & Portfolio Management report, End-user organizations seeking improved project and portfolio management should primarily spend effort identifying needed changes in roles, skills and processes before exploring which tools can best support and enhance PPM capabilities.

When asked by ESI what they thought would improve their level of satisfaction with the software and make it more effective in meeting their organizational requirements and goals:

o 71 percent responded integrated training that shows how accepted project management and business analysis concepts and best practices make the software more valuable. 
o This was almost double the percentage of respondents (36.6%) who chose the next most cited response, specific software training on how to use the tool.  

In the critical integration of people-process-tools, too often software purchases lead a change effort, when it is an organizations people and the development of their skills that should be at the forefront, said Sean McDonald, Director of Strategic Alliances, ESI.  These responses further validate ESIs approach in customizing learning programs to a clients environment, including working with their software providers to drive peak performance by their people and the software they use.

The survey findings do not indicate project management and business analysis software is deficient, but rather that too often, the maturity of the organization and the skill level of its people are not effectively aligned for the tools to deliver their maximum ROI.  As is often the case with software purchases, the features and functions dont mean much without an understanding of how they work within the skill sets they are designed to support, said McDonald.

Survey Methodology

This online survey was conducted in April 2008. Responses were received from 270 U.S.-based senior managers and executives in functions including IT, operations, product management and administration.  Not all 270 respondents answered every question. 

About ESI International

ESI, a subsidiary of Informa plc (LSE:INF), helps people around the world improve the way they manage projects, contracts, requirements and vendors. In addition to ESIs more than 100 courses delivered in 18 languages at more than 75 locations worldwide, ESI offers eight certificate programs through our educational partner, The George Washington University in Washington. Founded in 1981, ESIs worldwide headquarters are in Arlington, Va, USA. To date, ESIs programs have benefited more than 950,000 professionals worldwide.

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