Project management is longer about a lone project manager printing out a Gantt chart in a project management office (PMO) war room. It’s about data. Project managers, teams, stakeholders, and even clients can benefit from the data that today’s cloud-based project management platforms generate. This new breed of project management platform means an application programming interface (API) that will play a growing role in the future of project management and ultimately become the ultimate project management application feature in the future.
Part of the frustration about desktop project management applications outside of uneven user experience (UX) is that they were and(mostly) still are a data silo. Now project management data needs to be understood and consumed at all stages of the project delivery process. Here are some example integrations:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) integration enabling better management of technical staff during the sales cycle
- Financial/accounting systems integration enabling better management of staff billable hours and expenses versus the project budget
- Partner management platform integration enabling better coordination of partner and channel support of project delivery
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration
- Learning management system (LMS) to manage better certifications and training amongst project teams
Project management APIs in action
Professional services organizations are natural customers for project management APIs because professional services automation (PSA) can offer them a competitive advantage regardless of their industry because they can manage projects from customer on-boarding through closeout.
My favorite example of project management APIs in action is project management platform integration with a CRM platform. It enables you to pull in prospective customer data over from Salesforce or another CRM to start managing the prospective client project. When the sales team is ready to close the project, it’s easy to kick off the project because key customer data is already in place.
Once management creates the project, they can assign resources and schedule the project as if the project is going to happen including booking the time of the necessary technical staff. You can assign resources and scheduling as if the project is going to happen. If the deal falls through, it’s easy to delete the project data thus restoring resource allocations to their correct level.
Project management platform APIs and analytics
While writing about project management platforms I came to see the future of them being more analytics and reporting driven. A project management platform API can help integrate with a cloud analytics platform to enable project managers to move from tactical to strategic decision making because the API is opening up data that would otherwise be trapped in a desktop project management silo.
APIs are the future of project management platforms
As project management continues to evolve into a more data-driven field, the project management platform API is going to rise on the list of platform requirements for a prospective buyer. Open standards add to the possibilities because enterprises can do the integrations themselves without the need of an expensive and time-consuming professional services engagement.
How are you integrating your project management platform with other corporate backend systems?
Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. He has worked with commercial, federal, higher education, and publishing clients to develop technical and thought leadership content. His technology articles have been published by CNET TechRepublic, Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week, Toolbox.com, ZDNet.com and others. Follow Will on Twitter:@willkelly.
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