Does your tech stack reflect the way your organisation works? The way your team members collaborate and communicate, and how you manage customer relationships, projects, people, or cash flow and finances?

Whether they operate in-house or remotely, modern businesses rely on digital infrastructure to manage key business functions, including team mangement, finance, project management, customer relationships, etc. Work management software helps you not only manage these functions, but it can also centralise your data and processes in one place.

Depending on the software provider you choose, you might also get access to various features, like workflow automation, resource management, collaboration features, and more. Some tools are better suited than others for particular businesses — e.g., some solutions are ideal for small businesses while others are tailored to enterprise needs. That’s why it’s important to compare different tools to find the right one for your company.

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Understanding the different types of work management tools

Work management tools can vary substantially depending on their feature set and target audience. Some tools are ideal for specific niches — like IT consulting, marketing agency or a SaaS startup — while others might be general, off-the-shelf solutions that can be reasonably customised for businesses in any industry.

And different software may cater to different business functions, like any combination of workforce management, finance, project management, sales and marketing, etc. Some tools, like Caflou, are closer to “all-in-one” solutions, while others are best for specific functions, like a CRM or time management.

Generally, smaller businesses might find all-in-one solutions better because they offer great value for money and centralisation. However, larger enterprises with more processes and extensive operations may need more custom, niche solutions.

How to choose the right work management system for your business

Not quite sure how to pick a solution for your organisation? Try following these steps.

First, conduct a tool audit

If your organisation already has a tech stack, it’s essential to consider your existing tools before investing in a work management system. Specifically, you’ll want to audit your tools to determine:

  • How you’ll use them in conjunction with your work management software. Will you need IT to make any integrations? And if you already have tools to fulfill certain business functions — e.g., team collaboration — does your work management system still need these features?
  • Which tools to cut. Will your work management system replace some tools on your tool stack, e.g., your project management solution, CRM, or even your workforce management software?

Second, analyse your existing business processes

A work management system should reflect the way your business operates, so it’s crucial to analyse key processes and determine what digital infrastructure you’ll need to facilitate them. For example, if you’re currently storing and managing customer data haphazardly — maybe with the help of static spreadsheets — you might want to consider a solution with a built-in CRM.

Similarly, if your organisation has a robust project management culture, you might want to consider work management systems with extensive features for managing projects. This might mean vetting tools for their collaboration features, project layouts, and the project management methodologies they facilitate.

Third, consider your organisation’s collaboration needs

Team members communicate in two ways; synchronously, e.g., via Zoom calls, in-person meetings, and real-time messaging on Slack, and asynchronously, e.g., via tagging each other in project management tools or sending emails. When you’re building your tech stack, you’ll want to consider both kinds of communication needs.

If your team already has a reliable way to communicate synchronously — maybe through Microsoft Teams, Slack or by physically meeting in the board room — then you might want to find a work management solution primed for asynchronous communication. For example, one that lets your team members collaborate in different ways, such as by tagging each other in projects, labelling data, assigning tasks and responsibilities, etc.

Fourth, compare net costs and forecast future needs

SaaS tools have different pricing structures, which means your invoice may vary depending on factors like how frequently you’re billed (monthly vs. annual), the number of user seats, etc. So when you’re comparing different tools, consider these factors. Find out how many user seats are included in each plan, how much you’ll need to pay for additional seats or feature limits, etc.

You’ll also want to account for hidden costs, such as:

  • The costs of integrations. Does the work management system natively integrate with other tools in your tech stack? If not, you may need to pay for a third-party integration, which is an additional expense.
  • The cost of error handling. If you’re manually moving data across different systems, human error is inevitable. That comes with its own costs, as mistakes can negatively affect your bottom line. For example, if there’s a mistake in your project’s deliverables, you’ll need to redo it – costing resources and valuable manhours without additional compensation.
  • Training and onboarding costs. How easy and intuitive is the platform to use? Are there training videos and support documentation to help your team out? Otherwise, training people to use the platform takes time and resources.
  • The costs of expansion. As your team and operations grow, you’ll need more user seats and possibly higher limits (e.g., maybe you need more “account” limits to manage your growing client lists). Is the system you’re choosing cost-friendly with respect to expansion, or will your costs grow exponentially?

Fifth, shortlist and compare potential vendors

While costs and integrations are two crucial considerations when you’re choosing a vendor, there are several other factors you’ll want to account for, too. This includes:

  • Modules and features. Which business functions does the system cater to?
  • Customer support. Do they offer dedicated, working days or even 24/7 customer support? And do some vendors offer different levels of support with each plan?
  • Documentation and self-service. Is there comprehensive support documentation, training videos, and a seamless onboarding process?
  • Automation. Does the tool have built-in automation features, or does it support integrations with a third-party app that facilitates automation? For example, Caflou comes with its own workflow automation feature, but the work management software also supports integrations with almost any other system via Make.
  • Niche focus. Is the tool designed specifically for businesses in certain niches, or maybe even companies of a particular size? For example, tools like Caflou work best for companies with up to 100 employees.
  • Customer reviews and sentiments. How do existing users feel about the platform, and about the company itself? Are they satisfied with the support they receive, the development roadmap, the feature set, etc.? It’s worth looking into customer reviews on platforms like Capterra, scouring social media, and asking fellow professionals.

Sixth, implement your work management system and onboard your team

If you want your teams to thrive and fully benefit from your work management system, it’s crucial to facilitate adoption. Give your teams any necessary training they need to feel comfortable using the new system. For example, consider setting up an initial onboarding session and familiarizing them with the company’s documentation and help centres. Then, if needed, try hosting a couple of workshops to give your team members some hands-on experience.

The goal is to make people feel comfortable enough with the new system that working with it becomes second nature. And one effective way to do this is to introduce an internal ambassador, who can talk to your team members and provide them with any necessary guidance.

Lastly, collect feedback and make necessary adjustments

Your teams might not use the work management system optimally when they’re first introduced to it. That’s why it’s important to look under the hood, see how they’re using it, and advise them accordingly. An internal ambassador for your tech stack can help here, too, as they can intervene to change workflows and make them more efficient.

Why choose a unified work management software like Caflou?

Caflou is an all-in-one work management software that lets you…

Holistically integrate vital business functions

Manage your projects, customers, processes, team workload and business economics in a single, centralised platform. Caflou helps small businesses manage major business functions, from workforce management to finance and project management.

Centralise customer data in one place

Discover who your most profitable accounts are by tying revenue to projects and the clients they’re for. Invite your customers as collaborators on projects, deliver personalised support via email, and track your conversation history.

Optimally manage your resources

Track which projects and accounts are taking up most of your time and resources and accurately determine profitability. Find out which of your employees are most productive and estimate your revenue per employee.

Get accurate, organisation-wide analytics

Track cash flow, budgets, productivity, milestones, resources, and more with a unified work management system. Leverage historical data and work or financial plans to make data-driven decisions.

Tap into the power of automation

Automate your repetitive tasks and processes with Caflou’s built-in workflow automation feature. For more advanced needs, take advantage of Caflou’s integration with Make.

If you have a small business with up to 100 employees, Caflou might be the all-in-one work management system you’ve been looking for. The platform centralises all your business functions, giving you complete transparency into your projects, people, and accounts. Sign up to Caflou for free today.

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