Economic Downturn is Time to Innovate
Financial crisis is all over the news today. Some analysts are trying to predict the future of the national and global economy. Others are offering tips on how to survive in the situation of economic turmoil. Yet almost all the analysts agree that it is no time to panic; rather, you should rethink your strategies. The question arises: what strategies can help your business survive the economic downturn? Some experts, including Bill Gates, answer: "Innovation." Innovation means finding new ways to do business in this harsh situation and learning to think differently. It is said that innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity and not a threat. Today, indeed, is the time to seek new opportunities, leveraging the full potential of your enterprise. One of the ways to do it is to improve the efficiency of your operations through innovations in project management. As I briefly noted in one of my previous posts, the ability of Project Management 2.0 software  to leverage field knowledge coming from the bottom up not only improves productivity, but also helps companies to innovate. Project Management 2.0 characteristics pushing innovation First of all, Project Management 2.0 tools allow you to weigh the collective intelligence of employees and at the same time keep tight control of all of your internal operations. In a sluggish economy, managers have no room for error. So a close insight into your business will help you to focus your resources and direct them correctly. With project management 2.0 tools, you have insight into every action of every team member, and you get immediate updates about the changes in the project plans. Thus employing the collaborative planning model introduced by the new technology, you will be able to build the strategy, taking the valuable bottom-up field knowledge into account. You also get an opportunity to use this knowledge to back up your decisions, so that you make fewer mistakes in resource allocation. Second, the new-generation technologies help you to make your plans easily adaptable. Today, there's no time to waste on gathering information from e-mails and meeting outlines, incorporating the updates into project plans and reporting the changes. When the economy is unstable, information quickly becomes outdated. So by the time you finish merging the latest updates into your plan, it can become obsolete already, and your work will be useless. But what is even worse, your company might miss an important opportunity. When all the routine work is performed by the software, managers have more time to evaluate the situation and to make the right decisions. Making the right decision in time is what your company's prosperity depends on. Third, Project Management 2.0 tools, which are usually delivered on a SaaS model, can help you cut your upfront and overall expenses. When the present economy makes businesses more conscious about their expenses, the new-generation technologies do look attractive. Project Management 2.0 solutions are usually lighter and cheaper (up to 70% cheaper in some cases) than traditional enterprise project management suites. The new tools can also make you more flexible for the frequent adjustments in the IT budgets. The SaaS model allows you to pay as you go, so you disburse only a small amount of money upfront. If you are not satisfied with the service you get from one provider, you can easily switch to another provider, as no big investments were made in advance. In fact, the interest in SaaS offerings is already growing, according to Jeff Kaplan, managing director of the reputable consulting company ThinkStrategies. Companies see an opportunity to reduce IT investments and direct their cash flow to other important things. These are three basic ways that your business can benefit from the new-generation applications. As a conclusion, I should note that the Project Management 2.0 solutions alone certainly will not be the main remedy for your business in the current situation of an economic downturn. But the innovation in processes that these solutions accelerate probably will be. You can increase well-being of your company through optimizing expenditures, realizing the most advantageous resource allocation and making smart decisions in time. The adoption of Project Management 2.0 tools may be a first step in this journey. Another success strategy in the present market situation is paying attention to your customers and improving customer service. So next time I plan to speculate more on how Project Management 2.0 technologies can help businesses to listen to their clients and get to know their customer communities better. An economic downturn not only breaks fortunes, but also creates fortunes. Meanwhile, if you could share with readers your strategy for this economic situation, we could turn this into a very helpful discussion.
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