If you are a regular at ‘Productivity Land’, I am sure that by now you must have read a couple of Resource Management software posts. In addition to that, we also wrote a brief number of articles on Customer Resource Management, resource scheduling software listicles and everything else that has to do with helping users deal with their business’s volatile resources.
The idea behind those posts was to engage users in a healthy conversation while recommending reliable resource planning and scheduling programs that can take the “conversion” factor for a business to the next level. Did it help you? Well, the majority concurred with the diversity of content. However, there is still a number of people who send their queries through emails. Most of them are small business owners and struggling entrepreneurs who relate to the following two categories:
- A business owner who bought resource management and scheduling software but didn’t get the results that he/she foresaw.
- An entrepreneur who wants to use a resource scheduling or a customer resource management program, but he/she is sort of dumbfounded due to information reload. As a result, this person is not able to make up his/her mind.
What Is a “Resource” & How Does a Resource Management Software Fit In?
So let’s start with “Resource”; how would you define it? In business terms, a resource is a usable asset. It doesn’t matter if that “asset” is permanent or temporary for as long as it is a useful thing that can help to complete a task.
Resources can vary from one business to another, but they all remain the same – i.e. it could be a person, a facility, some form of material, money and/or other consumables. Businesses not only thrive on resources but can also fall down to their knees. This is where proper resource planning and scheduling comes in.
The main so-called problem with resources is that they are finite. Eventually, the reserve does run dry – and when that happens, you do not want your business to be at the burning end of the matchstick. The best way of managing resources in today’s day and age is to stick with resource planning and scheduling software.
How Does a Resource Management Software Help a Business Thrive?
Speaking of a program, there are literally hundreds of resource management tools out there on the internet. Of course, not all of these programs are worth buying as some of them lack proper features to execute effective resource scheduling and planning for that matter. Likewise, proper resource planning keeps the utilization rate of resources aligned with the profit margin.
To further demonstrate this concept, we have decided to take Float: Resource Management and Scheduler software as a benchmark. It is a good program; we wouldn’t call it a perfect or an ultimate solution to resource-related woes, but it is damn near perfect to helping companies achieve their goals on a timely basis.
We also featured an in-depth review of Float at our website. If you haven’t read that, do it as this will give you an idea about how valuable of an asset that program is.
Now that we look back from a bird’s eye perspective, Float wasn’t the only software that we tried against resource planning, customer resource management, and various other functions.
As a matter of fact, we have written a bundle of listicles about customer resource management and similar user intended operations before. You can read more about them here. The point is that among all those programs, Float managed to offer an abundance of perks that deem the program a well-rounded product – both from general to specific use perspective.
Some of the main highlights of Float in general are:
- Resource planning as an individual – i.e. as an admin, or as a team.
- Resource scheduling at any given time during the lifespan of a project.
- Multiple projects resource scheduling, budgeting, and forecasting.
- Resource utilization reporting.
- Resource auditing and allocation.
And about a bazillion more. Do bear in mind that we haven’t listed the technical features of the program yet. Since we wanted you to warm up to the fuzzy feeling of using resource management software as a small business for the first time, things had to be done a little differently.
And that’s not all, resource planning programs also contribute to other sectors of the market. For instance, these software have learned from the difficulties faced by people who work with commercial off the shelf product, excel sheets, and diaries. The problems were turned into solutions to help people cut down on redundant work that makes it easier to save time, save buck and energy.
On the other hand, some companies rely on one particular software for their day to day operations. These programs are sort of “tailored” for fulfilling the company’s requirements. From my past experience, I recall that the dev team at nTask – Task Management Software had a different version for public users and a custom version of the same program for big companies.
The difference between two versions of the same program was that one of them was standardized for regular folks, while the latter was custom coded and constantly updated to meet the demands of a platform managing resources at a bigger level.
Regardless, in both use case scenarios, a resource planning software lets teams take control of their resource planning preferences, execution of projects and budgetary concerns.
Resource Management Software Is Kind of a Big Deal, Here’s Why?
These days, the software industry trend has traversed to SaaS model. Otherwise known as, Software as a Service, SaaS-based programs eliminate the need for having the program downloaded and installed on a customer’s computer. These resource scheduling programs are, instead, treated as a service, and hosted at the main company’s computer. Users can just log on to the dev’s website; create their profile and use the program as is.
What’s better is that the end-user data is stored in the cloud – i.e. users done have to worry about losing their data, managing their files locally and vice versa. The good thing about cloud-hosted data and services is that they always maintain speed, reliability, and security as key focal points for success. On that note, Float also hosts everything at their side. You are not required to download an installer package to use the company’s resource scheduler and planner software.
How to Choose the Right Resource Planning Software for Your Company?
Of all the issues associated with any resource planning software, here’s the biggest problem so far – how do you choose the right program for your company? First of all, you want to select a software that’s affordable. Based on a SaaS model, companies don’t charge a hefty price upfront, but they do have a monthly payment structure that you are supposed to subscribe to.
Based on your payment plan, you might be pushing out too much cash for a mediocre resource management tool, or you probably ended up with something worth your hard-earned money. As they say, the “Sticker price” is just top of the iceberg.
One of the reasons we mentioned Float: Resource Scheduler and Planning Software was because they don’t indulge in shady billing practices. You can get away with one price, that’s supposed to be charged at monthly intervals. The company will not charge you in case you have encountered some sort of error, API related issues, and vice versa.
Believe me, some vendors bill for storage, API calls, usage upcharges, and God knows what else. The only reason these vendors have a customer is because of their extremely low package price on the resource management tool in question.
Choosing Something That Makes the Work Easier:
You want to pick a software that’s not going to be a pain in the ass later. Before paying, I’d advise that you evaluate a program on the basis of whatever they’re offering in the Trial version. This should be more than enough to see if the number of features in a software matches your small business’s requirements.
Speaking of features, Float’s latest update added more features to the previous build of the program. Take a look below:
- Task Management
- Instant Notifications
- Schedule days or time off
- Team Workload Visualization
- Easy and Quick Updates
- Manage Resource Availability
- Manage Individual skillsets
- Know your team
- Part-time availability
- Flexible permissions
- Keep track of contractors
- Add tags to track skills
- A team on the reserve
- Access rights and permissions
- Assign a Project Team
- Identify Project Mileposts
- Assign a Project Manager
- Client-based management
- Add Billable or non-billable
- Addition of task notes
- Utilization track
- Compare staff and contractors
- Drill down to departments
- Report holidays and time off
- Set custom date ranges
What makes it better is the price going on at Float’s website. You only need to pay $5 per month, per user basis. If you have a big team, that’d mean that there are an additional 5 bucks for each user onboard. However, this structure is affordable and pretty much feasible as compared to other resource planning programs that charge double the amount of money – and that too on per user, and per month basis.
Beyond usability, if you are looking to commit to a program for yourself or as a company, measure the usability factor. Yeah, of course, the software has all the perks, glitz n’ glam, but does it really fulfill your company requirements? Usability also means how easy it is to use the software in question. Does it come with some sort of coding requirements? Do you need to know a certain number of keyboard shortcuts to manage those resources? – so on and so forth.
According to experts at Gartner, CRM and Resource Scheduling software averaged more than 26 Billion Dollars in 2015. Since then, that number has continued to grow because of the startup industry these days. As a matter of fact, we are already in the year 2020, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the numbers going up exponentially.
In the aforementioned context, companies are advised to make resource planning a part of their daily rituals. Add CRM to the strategy, and you are looking at a win-win situation. Float isn’t exactly CRM oriented because they lean on resource scheduling and planning a lot, but if you have a know-how of how CRM model works, you can get by with a few perks on the side that will help you to use Float for CRM strategies as well.
What Else Does a Resource Management Software Add To Your Business?
If a resource management software is added to the stack, it can help your company in a number of ways. And by “stack”, I mean if you already have a number of valuable programs running on company panel. For instance, imagine working in an IT company that deals with product and customer management; the company’s modus operandi is based on Agile work methodology and they are using CRM, resource management and other programs to excel in the industry. That’s a killer combination right there under proper leadership authorities.
Here are a few more ways which a resource planning software can add to the business:
- Learning: Resource planning is not all about organizing things and moving them around on a computer screen. Yes, with Float, you can do that and it is pretty cool. However, you also get to learn about your resources; how fast they are consumed and the varying trends.
- Organizing: With a valuable resource planning software, you can definitely look forward to a more polished approach to getting things done. A software will help you to identify all your resources, keep them grouped and readily available whenever they are needed from a strategic advantage. Plus, you get to keep tabs on the resource pool before it runs dry.
- Resource Optimization: last but not the least, with proper resource planning, resource optimization automatically comes in. When you are accounting for resource consumption through a resource planning software, you will end up using excess resources ahead of the project finish date.
Some projects come in with a lot of money, so they don’t pay as much attention to resources as being their top priority. But don’t let that get to your head! Plan, execute and optimize to win big from long haul perspective.
It is very important for managing your assets and resources when you are running a business. From a CRM oriented business’s point of view, the importance of good resource management software cannot be overemphasized. If you have used a resource manager before, we’d love to have your point of view in the comments section below.
Alternatively, you can also email us at [email protected].