Software as a Service for Project Management

Introduction

Projects comprise various processes and work elements that must occur sequentially while minimizing delays in the completion time. The processes underline the necessity of possessing a tool that can guarantee effective management of projects. One of such tools entails the project management software, which is a very effective and functional tool that can assist project managers in maintaining controls in the project. Borrowing from the progressive case study (PCS), this paper discusses how this tool can be used effectively for the project I have been working on in the previous two weeks.

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Project Management Software

In the process of opening a new division in Scottsdale, Arizona, networking of technology constitutes a critical project. The primary goal of the project is to ensure that about 500 people who work at the multi-storey complex meet the needs of its clients in different satellite divisions. As noted in the previous progressive case studies, the building is equipped with modern telecommunications infrastructures. From developing the process, cloud-computing technologies are used. Therefore, it is also necessary to deploy web-based project management software.

Various activities are incorporated in the process of implementing the project. They include exporting the client’s information from the existing systems and network infrastructures, assignment of electronic signatures, implementing systems for tracking data and maintaining data backups, and conducting functionality of the system tests coupled with user interfaces. Hence, any project management software utilized by J. Smith & Associates should be capable of conducting these tasks in an effective and reliable manner.

The web-based software for project management at the company will be implemented in the form of web applications that are accessible through the company’s domain names. The software will take the form of SaaS (Software as a Service) (Bisong & Rahman, 2011). SaaS allows a reduction in the operations costs of IT through outsourcing of the software support and maintenance to the cloud service provider. When software updates are released, an organization can use the latest application versions without having to bear the load of installing new software.

Analysis of the capabilities of MS project

J. Smith & Associates should use web-based project management software that operates as SaaS. However, a question emerges whether this choice is the most appropriate. J. Smith & Associates IT executives must possess the requisite hardware and software to complete certain tasks, including project management. Whenever additional personnel are hired in the process of project execution, J. Smith & Associates will have to commit more funds to purchasing more software. Alternatively, the company has to ensure the current software license permits more users.

To cut the costs associated with purchasing more software, the IT executives may consider loading a single application that permits accessibility to a web-based application while hosting all necessary programs used by an organization. These programs are installed in some remote machines that are run by a different company. Such remote machines run programs starting from emails, word processing applications, and other complex software for data analysis (Andrei, 2009).

This process underlines the concept of cloud computing. In cloud computing, software is offered as a service that is charged on the pay-per-use time basis. Since projects are constrained by time and that project management software is only required in designing, execution, and testing of the technology-networking project, any costs that are incurred due to future needs for maintaining the software or ownership are inappropriate. Thus, it is only beneficial to pay for the software on the per-user basis and/or during the time in which it is in use. Consequently, web-based project management software that is offered in the form of SaaS is the most feasible PM software in the current project at J. Smith & Associates.

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Summary of Capabilities

J. Smith & Associates needs project management software that is offered as SaaS after ascertaining that its data encryption keys are not accessible to the employees of the company that is providing SaaS. This move ensures security of information as an important asset for the company. Indeed, availability is the most serious cloud computing cyber security issue since “several companies that use cloud computing have already experienced downtime” (Andrei, 2009, p.4).

Good examples of these companies are Google and Amazon, which have encountered threats amounting to denial of service through cyber attacks. Thus, one of the most important capabilities of the software involves overcoming risks or low risks to cyber security threats. Other important capabilities relate to the functionality of software, especially scheduling and providing information to facilitate decision-making processes. Scheduling enables the sequencing of activities together with allocation of resources (time and money) to each activity (Kostelac, Matrjan, & Dobovicek, 2011).

The scheduling tools for the software should have capabilities such as critical path analysis, estimation of activity time, and costing. Information provision relates to planning. Important capabilities here are communication to stakeholders, maintenance of costs, workload information, indication of risks or providing warning in good time on any risks, optimal allocation of resources, and the provision overview information on the project’s progress.

References

Andrei, T. (2009). Cloud Computing Challenges and Related Security. Web.

Bisong, A., & Rahman, S. (2011). Concerns in Enterprise Cloud Computing. International Journal of Network Security & Its Applications, 3(1), 3-45.

Kostelac, D., Matrjan, D., & Dobovicek, S. (2011). Relationship between Processes and Project Management. International DAAAM, 22(1), 1119-1120.

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