Why the PPM software market isn’t ready for SaaS

It doesn’t take long to notice that the Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software market is fully embracing the SaaS model. All top providers now offer a cloud option with many businesses moving fully into the cloud. Technically, the market is in great shape. Competition is rife, driving some genuine innovation, while costs are being driven down with new business opportunities soaring through the roof… So what’s the problem?

There’s something very unusual about PPM software, the challenges with adoption are like no other. Let’s consider HR or Finance systems. Once implemented, the users have no option but to do their job using that system, it’s integral to the process. Payroll cannot be transacted, joiners cannot be managed without the use of the system. In contrast, PPM software is often seen as discretionary and complementary.

Therefore to ensure continued use of the tool, the focus is not on capability (i.e. where’s the button) but is instead one of behaviour (ie. I will click that button at 9am every day). This is the key reason why PPM deployments fail: behaviour is not changed and the tool is simply left unused.

Historically, this hasn’t been a problem for PPM providers, the order of the day being nice, fat, expensive on-premises deployments. Short installation windows and lots of cash upfront equals happy days! But what about now? SaaS means that all the lovely revenue traditionally collected in the first month is now suddenly spread out over the next two years. And – hang on a minute – the client actually needs to use the tool for the providers to get paid??

This is the market defining problem affecting PPM providers, who currently have no way to respond to this change. Training simply does not address the core problem, behaviour.

At Paradigm, we designed our products around this problem with behavior fully in mind. Our Project Management as a Service offering provides a SLA backed guarantee that key PM disciplines are delivered, including the use of your PPM software – no questions, no excuses.

We’re working with the PPM market to ensure that their clients get the headline benefits out of their tools and that the longer term behavioural change is fully locked in.

P.s. Before anyone mentions the point of Exec sponsorship, let’s not be naïve. Edicts from on high do not change behaviour!