According to a study from the Economist Intelligence Unit, 90 percent of senior executives and project managers around the world say that project management is either critical or somewhat important to their ability to deliver successful projects and remain competitive.

When only an estimated 39 percent of projects succeed on time and on budget, it’s easy to see why managers are always looking for new ways to increase their chances of success. While a lot of project management (PM) software offers the tools needed to plan and execute a successful campaign, without a knowledgeable manager who knows how to best utilize its resources, such solutions remain ineffective.

By integrating PM software with existing solutions, companies can increase efficiency and accuracy of projects while preventing data from being siloed into specific departments.

Companies that understand what to integrate in different departments can more effectively utilize their PM software.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Having quick and easy access to customer information is integral to the timely completion of projects in addition to maintaining effective customer relationships. When client contact and interaction information is stored in multiple locations, a breakdown in communication can happen, leading to forgotten meetings and redundant action. To remedy this issue, some project management solutions integrate with existing CRM systems, allowing for users to easily leverage this information.

Salesforce, the most widely used CRM on the market, offers cloud-based programs for contact management, productivity, social media, and more. By teaming up with Salesforce, project management vendors such as AxosoftCentral Desktop, and Oracle leverage this information to increase project efficiency and effectiveness.

For example, through Central Desktop’s integration with Salesforce, project managers can create extranets that are ideal for collaborating with customers and partners. Your customers can access certain aspects of their project to view progress, creating a more professional and hands-on user-experience.

Additionally, part of a project’s progress may include contacting specific clients or related vendors. With CRM integration, this information is readily available and easily accessible. In some project management applications, pertinent client information can be attached or tagged to items to increase ease of access even further.

Integrating PM and CRM software is common even in unique industries. For example, Axium, a PM platform designed by Deltek for architects, engineers, and construction professionals, includes integration with Cosential, a CRM and proposal automation solution designed specifically for the same industries. This allows construction industry professionals to effectively utilize tools such as paperless billing and client contact information for more seamless interactions and increased efficiency.

Accounting Software

One of the biggest problems project managers encounter is keeping costs under budget. In fact, an estimated 59 percent of projects experienced cost overruns in 2012. While some PM systems include minor accounting capabilities, they are often inadequate and lack the necessary detail to maintain accurate, usable records.

To counteract this shortcoming, some project management solutions have created integrations with accounting and financial software like Intuit QuickBooks. This allows the PM software to focus on its strengths while utilizing a system that many businesses are already employing.

For example, the PM solution Clarizen integrates with QuickBooks, and allows users to transfer any expenses, time entries, and other project-related financial data from Clarizen to QuickBooks for recording and analysis. Information transfer between systems is a seamless process, increasing efficiency by eliminating unnecessary data entry.

By selecting a system that integrates with QuickBooks, project managers gain  access to otherwise unavailable services. For example, if a project manager wants a PM system that offers invoicing, it usually means a heavy price increase. Selecting an option like Easy Projects that integrates with QuickBooks lets the project manager export time entries and other financial information from the PM software to QuickBooks to facilitate quick and accurate invoice generation.

Project management vendors that offer specific solutions to niche markets often include additional integration capabilities. For instance, Countersoft’s PM platform Gemini offers integration with multiple coding assistance applications such as GitHub, SVN, Testuff, and TFS. This allows developers and programmers to more effectively manage their projects in a way that works for them, through applications they’re already using.

Choosing a PM platform that integrates with your existing software helps your company improve efficiency and effectiveness. By carefully selecting the right solution for your company, you can increase your chances of ending projects on time and under budget.

About the Author 

Jesse Jacobsen is a content writer at TechnoloyAdvice. He regularly covers topics related to project management, business intelligence, gamification, and other business technology trends. Connect with him on Google+ or LinkedIn.

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