In most cases, vendors offer project management software as SaaS solutions. Actually, cloud-hosted software is really convenient: no installation, no maintenance, and no configuration headaches. However, they don’t work for each company.
There are various advantages offered by downloadable project management software that make companies install and run project management software within their own IT infrastructure. The reasons are individual and can vary from security considerations to better user experience, depending on work specifics in the company and in the field. What are the benefits of self-hosted tools?
Benefits of Downloadable Project Management Software
Among individual requirements that each company may have to the software used in work processes, there are several common trends that factor in the companies’ choice. There are some strong considerations that increase companies’ interest in self-hosted solutions. Here’s a list of the most common reasons why businesses opt for self-hosted project management software instead of SaaS.
Extra data safety
Data security considerations often prevent companies from using cloud solutions for managing their work processes. Banks, pharmaceutical businesses, financial companies and other organizations that handle confidential data tend to prefer downloadable software over cloud-hosted tools.
If a company is dealing with sensitive information, usually special internal regulations apply to the infrastructure where the software is installed, server configurations, encryption and other security features.
Self-hosted software allows IT specialists to set up the system according to the company’s requirements and implement procedures that ensure confidential data handling. The ability to implement extra security measures and customize configuration to match data safety requirements is one of the main reasons why companies prefer self-hosted software packages.
Full control over the data
For some companies, just entering and retrieving data from the app’s interfaces is not sufficient. Sometimes, automation and data processing procedures require direct access to the database, and here’s where solutions hosted on the company’s internal servers are more helpful than the cloud-hosted ones. They provide the ability to extract custom data sets directly from the database and make necessary modifications to them.
Another requirement that involves direct access to the data is the ability to integrate the software with other tools deployed in the company’s IT infrastructure. Self-hosted options allow IT staff to ensure full integration and customize data transfer processes between the tools.
What’s more, self-hosted software ensures better options for maintenance and data backup processes. The requirements regarding data backup can differ too. They usually include frequency of backup and maintenance routines, storage of backup files, and data access restrictions. With downloadable software installed on the company’s own server, it’s easier to adjust these routine processes to the data safety regulations.
No continued costs
Online software is provided on the basis of subscription system. This means, continued monthly, quarterly, or yearly costs should be budgeted. Self-hosted software usually implies just a one-time payment and can be used as long as necessary.
That said, there are some things to take into account here. First, support costs are usually included in online service fees but not included or only valid for a certain period of time in downloadable packages’ cost. Support services need to be purchased separately, which adds to overall costs. Second, upgrades to the new versions normally are purchased at a full license cost — this means, you need to plan these costs if you want to keep the system up-to-date.
Any IT specialist knows the pain when an unexpected update is rolled out. Buttons moved to a different part of the screen, new functions no one knows how to properly use… It’s a surprise for both regular users and IT staff.
In case of self-hosted software, you can plan updates as you need. Besides the obvious option of just sticking with the purchased version, the IT staff can roll out updates according to a convenient schedule, making sure that the updates don’t coincide with active work periods. Another option widely used in large companies is deploying a test server with the new version, testing it, training and onboarding users, and then rolling it out to the production server.
How to choose downloadable project management software
When choosing a project management tool, the first thing to consider is how the app’s functionality matches your company’s workflow processes. And, as the tool is intended for custom installation according to the specific requirements, there are various parameters that factor in the final decision. Here’s the list of what needs to take into account when choosing a project management software tool for installation on the company’s server:
- System requirements. Usually, project management systems don’t require significant hardware resources, but the requirements to the software environment — operating systems, database management systems etc. — can vary. Plan how you’ll integrate the tool into your company’s infrastructure and consider what systems are more familiar to your staff.
- Total costs. As self-hosted software implies one-time payment and no recurring fees, decision makers are often under the impression that the costs limit to the license cost. In fact, they, alongside with the purchase, include operation, maintenance, and upgrade costs. Carefully consider how much work time will technical works take; if possible, install a trial version to evaluate possible maintenance and upgrade expenses.
- Flexibility of configuration. As the tool is intended to be installed according to your company’s custom security requirements, it’s essential to ensure the ability to deploy the installation in a custom environment. This applies to possible server configuration options, implementation of encryption solutions, and other security measures necessary for data protection.
- Integration options. If you’re planning to integrate your project management tool with other software used in your company, make sure it has connectors or interfaces to ensure data exchange between the software running in the company’s infrastructure.
Examples of project management software for download
The variety of downloadable project management software is not as wide as the assortment of cloud-hosted solutions. However, there are various tools that can be used for secure project data handling in different fields. Here’s a list of project management tools suitable for hosting on the company’s internal servers.
A Microsoft tool for managing projects, maintaining high productivity, and handling all project-related information faster and more efficiently. It allows to plan projects, monitor progress, manage roadmaps, and make changes more manageable. The tool is available both in the cloud and in packages for on-premise deployment.
The authors of this software position it as an open-source replacement of Microsoft Project. It includes all project planning, management and monitoring features and is compatible with MS Project files. Project Libre is available in packages for different operating systems (Linux, Mac, Windows) and in the cloud.
actiTIME is a work and project management software available for download and on cloud servers. It includes features for work distribution, progress monitoring, and evaluation of results. The reporting module of actiTIME allows managers to monitor current results and take action as early as possible. Its API feature helps ensure data exchange with other tools used in the company. The self-hosted edition of the software is available for both Windows and Unix.
Open Project is another open-source project management software available for download and installation within the company’s IT infrastructure. It offers project planning, monitoring, reporting and collaboration functionality. The tool suits businesses of any size and allows to run reports of different scale from initiation to closure.
This completely free solution for project management provides basic features for running a project: planning resources, organizing project work in a logical and clear way, collaborating, and monitoring project progress. The tool supports data import and export in MS Project-compatible format. GanttProject is available in packages for Windows, Linux, and OSX.
It’s not uncommon for companies to prefer downloadable project management software over SaaS, despite of the obvious convenience of cloud solutions. Advanced security requirements that can only be met with on-premise installation are the main reason why businesses opt for self-hosted tools. If you’re intending to implement a project management tool within the company’s internal IT infrastructure, carefully consider its configuration options and analyze how it can be set up to satisfy data safety requirements.