Though technology has become ubiquitous across many functional areas in project management, teams may not yet be taking full advantage of the available features and functionalities. But with the right technology strategy, stakeholders can better utilize the tools available to them to gain efficiencies, reduce data entry errors, enhance collaboration, and get more value out of their investments.
Begin by thinking of technology as more than a one-to-one upgrade. Digitization isn’t just about recreating your existing processes. Rather than simply converting an analog workflow into a digital one, use the migration as an opportunity to rethink and optimize your processes.
- How can you make tasks more efficient?
- Is there a way to rework your processes and achieve better outcomes?
- Can you eliminate bottlenecks and better utilize staff time?
You may even be able to eliminate tasks entirely if you find they’re suddenly redundant, or that they’re replaced by a digital process that’s more comprehensive.
Look for integration opportunities that enhance efficiency and streamline tasks. The value of many technology solutions is multiplied when they’re linked with complementary systems. For example, budgeting software that integrates with your organization’s accounting platform can share information seamlessly between the two solutions, moving data more quickly than if you had to initiate data transfers individually. The right integrations also reduce the need to enter the same information into several dashboards, since a single data point can be utilized in multiple places. This saves time and minimizes the risk of redundant or outdated information.
Be ruthless—and persistent—about reducing manual work. Repetitive activities and tasks that depend on manual actions are huge time sucks. They consume too many resources while also opening the door to data entry errors, oversights, duplicative records, and the addition of poor-quality data into your systems. Fortunately, you don’t always need complicated solutions to address many of the day-to-day workflows that occupy your team’s time. Prioritize those tools that can be quickly applied to routine activities to eliminate them from your plate, then continue to build out your use of technology as you become more comfortable transitioning your manual tasks to the efficiency of digitization.
Enable broad access to your company’s technology tools. It’s not uncommon that only a small handful of people have login credentials for core systems. But the more members of your group that can take advantage of the functionality provided by modern software, the more value you’ll gain.
- User-friendly web portals make it easy for executives to view the latest reports without waiting for your team to send them out.
- The availability of automated forms enables the project team’s customers to quickly submit feedback, ask questions, and provide mid-project updates on changes to workflows.
- Document management platforms allow people to upload new contracts, drawings, and other documents directly, rather than routing them through a single point of contact.
- Collaboration is a snap when everyone can join the same web chat or video conference.
In some instances, it may even be appropriate to invite vendors and other external partners to access your internal technologies. Consider where information sharing is most critical and then assess whether there are risks associated with enabling them to participate.
Give employees the training resources they need to adopt new technologies and incorporate them into their workflows. Change is a key element in project management, but project team members are sometimes hesitant to make big changes in their own daily work. By empowering them with a good understanding of how to make the tools work, your team will enjoy better adoption and realize more value from technology.
PMAlliance, Inc uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consulting, project management training and project portfolio management.