SMBs and large enterprises buying benefits of on-demand collaboration
Clarizen Inc, an early-stage supplier of project management software delivered on-demand, has said it is making inroads into the established portfolio management market with more big businesses turning to software-as-a-service as their favoured delivery model.
“A focus for the company has been the small and medium sized business market, but we are definitely getting more large enterprises on board” confirmed Gil Heiman, who is the director of community for the Kfar Saba, Israel-based supplier.
Companies of all sizes are being drawn to the lower price points of SaaS he told us, but they are also seeing that collaborative, web-based systems offer benefits over traditional project management approaches. SaaS is inherently collaborative since it allows any user of an application to access information anytime from anywhere.
One of the big draws claimed by Clarizen is the way its software can automate simultaneous contributions to a single master plan. Via SaaS this also can easily be made visible to anyone that is supporting a project, be they an internal project team member, a customer or a supplier.
“It’s the one place where everyone involved in a project can go, all the way from the portfolio management office out to the smallest contributor, inside or outside of the organisation,” Heiman said.
All project stakeholders or participants can contribute directly to the master project plan, and see where their tasks and projects stand at any time.
The Clarizen system uses an Outlook plug-in to drive status reports, tasks and progress updates directly to the inbox of project team members. People can also send up to date emails on task status which can be automatically logged into the master project plan.
Clarizen’s software handles collaborative planning and project scheduling, through to budget tracking and task management. “We see no need for separate tools to manage different aspects of a project” Heiman said.
Gartner states that software-as-a-service project and portfolio management systems have “come of age,” as a means of providing visibility on the demands of a project against the variables of the available resources of time, people and money.
Market analysts have suggested that SaaS could undermine the premium pricing that has been charged for project portfolio management systems, a market with an entry point that can start at $125,000 and could exceed $250,000 for large enterprise licensing.
Clarizen charges a seat price of around $25 a month per user to access its SaaS project management controls.
Heiman said Clarizen was working on various additions and enhancements for its product that would help its move up market, with features that cater to enterprise needs in the areas of risk management, expense control and issue tracking. Release 3 would go live during the second quarter, we were told.
The company is venture backed by Benchmark Capital and Carmel Ventures and was founded in 2005 by CEO Avinoam Nowogrodski and research head Tanya Epstein, who both came from SmarTeam Corp, a company that develops web-based collaborative product data management software.