Digital channels make collaborating with stakeholders simple and cheap. Savvy organisations choose software that manages projects all under one roof.
Instead of trying to get busy professionals around the same table — a job that’s akin to herding cats — stakeholders can get online to collaborate when it suits them best, giving pace and spontaneity to their work.
Before you decide to use stakeholder management software, there are a few key points you need to bear in mind:
— Stakeholder management tools are an enabling technology. They will not run the project for you.
— Choosing the stakeholder management tool is one of those preliminary projects. In many cases, it is the first thing you need to get done so you can have continuity throughout the entire effort.
— Planning begins well in advance of project initiation and should be done with your stakeholder management tool in mind. Speak to the supplier and see if they can help you to understand how their system fits into your overall plan.
It is important to enter into the task of choosing tools using a disciplined and analytical mindset. There are many technology options in the market, and they can boggle the mind through their slick marketing tactics to the point of influencing you into making a hasty decision. As a rule, decisions made in haste will come back to haunt you later in the project.
To make it easier for you, we’ve created a software selection template designed to cater to the requirements of any stakeholder engagement professional.
So, what are the important criteria that will allow you to whittle down the selection a of stakeholder management tool to a manageable and relevant choice?
There are four considerations.
– What is your budget?
– How big is the project team?
– Who will be managing the software?
The power and degree of control needed for your choice of a tool hinge on the answers to these questions. Tools such as the industry standard Microsoft Project implemented in a SharePoint cloud environment costs thousands to acquire the enterprise licenses and isn’t built for stakeholder management. A tool that’s built with you and your specific needs in mind is essential for effective stakeholder engagement.
The more capable the tool is, the higher the learning curve is going to be. Remember that your entire project team will have to be able to use the tool at some level. What setup and startup support can you expect? Does the software provider offer free on-site training? Does that training save you the expense of hiring an expert to help you use the tool? For example, Tractivity have a fully UK based support and training team available to you for free.
How much free support does the vendor provide for the software package? Consider the quality of the documentation you’ll receive. What are the long-term technical assistance, automatic upgrade features, and bug fix policies? Tractivity provides handouts during onsite training, an online knowledge bank with how-to and explainer videos, regular feature upgrades and access to an online success manager with free monthly refresher courses.
Do you need to protect personally identifiable information (PII), completion of sensitive documents, and intellectual property? If the answer is yes, can the tool provide those services? Tractivity can anonymise feedback captured inside the system, all data is fully encrypted and held in a tier 4 data centre within the UK for data security.
Always perform your due diligence on any software package you’re considering to buy. You won’t be sorry you did your homework.
As mentioned earlier, we’ve created a software selection template designed to cater to the requirements of any stakeholder engagement professional.