Enterprise task management solutions are maturing within the industry, and there are plenty to choose from. You have two main categories to choose from, On Premises or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) versions, however the real decision will come down to the functionality that you need for your own particular organization.
First of all, do you go On Premises or SaaS? The answer is really how secure do you want to be – On Premises gives you all the security your own data center can provide, however there is additional cost involved in this, as you have to stand up a server to run the solution, plus maintain the hardware and it may be more expensive to support with your selected vendor if they are unable to manage an issue remotely.
SaaS on the other hand is relatively simple to deploy, though you are reliant on Cloud security to maintain data integrity – you also must establish just who owns the data too – make sure it is your business!
We can split enterprise task management solutions into three further types:
- Traditional task management solutions, typically integrated into some form of BPM, e.g. IBM BlueWorks.
- Lean BPM or Low Code solutions which do everything you need except for the complex BPM functions which are frequently unused e.g. JobTraQ, Appian, and Wrike.
- Retail solutions which provide fast and simple deployment and pricing models, but which have restrictive implementation issues such that you need to change business processes to suit them, e.g. Basecamp, ZoHo, ProjectManager.
Many buyers in the SMB market mistakenly go for the low end, retail offerings only to come unstuck down the road as they find the solutions do not scale very well, and it is very important to find a solution that will fit around how you do business and not the other way around. An ill-fitting task management solution will require more human intervention, and this introduces the risk of not only human error, but the creation of shadow processes which are beyond the control and visibility of management.
Many enterprise organizations also make the mistake that they can only source what they need from IBM, Oracle or PegaSystems, not fully understanding the power and functionality being delivered for around 20-30% of the cost by the Lean BPM/Low Code offerings. Of course, if you require full BPM functionality, then you are going to need to look at them, but you should also be considering just exactly what you are going to need and actually use before making a final call.
The Lean BPM/Low Code offerings occupy the pragmatic middle-ground, in that they deliver tend to deliver a scalable feature set, which includes full customization, integration into your backend and other business solutions you are running, such as Outlook, and a host of others. You ought to shortlist those Lean BPM/Low Code solutions which provide you with the ability to design and deploy business processes on the fly, with the workflow design automatically creating tasks to be pushed through the workflow.
In addition, you should also look for role-based permissions, for ease of administration and enhanced security, plus a calendar which will synch with your Outlook or other email calendar, as well as allow for incoming emails to automatically create tasks.
Jane Wrythe is a business and technmology writer and she is currently blogging for Swift Systems.