I spent the day researching customers project management options today and the results were interesting. Right now there seems to be a notion that the web is good and the desktop is bad. Perhaps it's a reaction to Microsoft's desktop dominance, a desire for something new or just a knee-jerk reaction to business as usual. Whatever the case, those small numbers that Software as a Service (SaaS) charge per month really add up over the long haul-- even the not-so-long haul.
The three solutions: IntelliGantt Plus, MS Project Server 2007 and eProject PPM6. First off, in all fairness, IntelliGantt Plus has the fewest features of the three. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing as IntelliGantt Plus also doesn't include features only a rocket scientist can understand. IGP (as we call it) is designed to be useful and usable. We're not so worried about the high-falootin cube transformation of critical path chains for resource levelling as we are about getting everyone on the team communicating and reporting progress.
If you need the high-end features, then by all means look at MS Project Server and eProject. However, if your needs are more down-to-earth and your goal is adoption, then IntelliGantt Plus is very powerful indeed.
But on to the comparison (if you can't wait, go here). We chose two common, generic cases: 1) a 10 user group and 2) a 100 user group. For IGP and MSP we proposed a general ratio of 1 client application for the project manager for every 9 users. Thus the 10 user group has one PM tool and 9 users accessing and updating the project. The 100 user group has 10 PM tools and 90 users. For eProject, we couldn't really make that distinction, so everyone is treated as an equal user.
These two groups (10 user and 100 user) represent two interesting plots on a curve that demonstrate most of all that Saas might not scale, economically the way most people think it does, and that MS Project Server 2007 actually looks very reasonable next to eProject as the number of users increase. Neither, however, approaches the economical solution if IntelliGantt Plus.
Why? Because we don't make it complicated. No databases, no Client Access Licenses, no server components (well, actually one that supports our SharePoint Template feature). We work with out-of-the-box SharePoint Services (WSS 2.0 and MOSS 3.0) that actually ship with Windows Server 2003-- for free! We still need to flesh out the benefit comparison, but as you can see, there are a lot of compelling IntelliGantt features.
However, in straight number terms, the IntelliGantt Plus solution for a 10 person group costs roughly $60 per person for one year. By comparison, eProject costs $45 per person per month! Furthermore, while the IntelliGantt Plus costs per year go down in year two (because the license has been paid for and the only out-of-pocket expenses are support and software assurance), the eProject costs march on at $45 per month. This means after 3 years, the eProject solution is about 20 times the cost of IntelliGantt Plus. Software as a Service indeed.
MS Project Server 2007 is more of a hybrid solution, similar to IntelliGantt Plus. However, where IntelliGantt Plus makes use of existing SharePoint services, Project Server introduces its own server in addition to using SharePoint. Because of this configuration, the 10 person group using eProject actually comes out a bit ahead in year one compared to Project Server. However, once again after the initial license is purchased, eProject turns out to be more after years two and three are included since Project Server CALs turn out to be less than $45 per month. Of course, IntelliGantt Plus is still 10 times less than the cost of a Project Server 2007 solution.
This illustrates where we believe the market lies for IntelliGantt Plus-- or as we say 'bigger than a spreadsheet and smaller than the enterprise.' Once you get in to managing a group of people, does it make sense to jump right in to enterprise class solutions? They do not economically, and I don't believe they do in terms of productivity and usability either.
MS Project Server 2007 and eProject PPM6 are great solutions for enterprises, but make no mistake, that is what they are built for. As such, IntelliGantt is happy to work with them (certainly in MS Project's case), but also provide tangible value to the market between the single user project manager and the thousand-person workforce.
And its not like we skimp on features. For instance, we work very well off-line, thank you. Multi-Level undo? Check. Multi-Project view? That too. Automatic backup and restore points? Yes. Task based permissions. Yes again. The ability to drag a summary task and watch the gantt update in real time all the ramifications? I think that's just us. The ability to use alternate collaboration platforms like Groove, Amazon S3 or even a simple File Server? Definitely IntelliGantt :).
If you're intrigued, then check out the numbers for yourself. If you want to see IntelliGantt in action, check out our 15 day trial today and see what IntelliGantt can do for you.