Effective management is a vital weapon in the arsenal of any business. In recent years technological advancements have made management tools more accessible for all types of business but with the smorgasbord of options out there it can be difficult for a business to know what management tools to choose. So, what are some of the best management tools available for business today?
1) Project Management Software – Services such as Planzone (www.planzone.com) and Huddle (www.huddle.net) allow you to manage your projects with input from your whole team. Rather than having to integrate varying status reports together yourself before you can get a handle on the progress that is being made, team members can update their own statuses, generating easy-to-view reports for you to look over.
2) Conference Calling – Increased globalisation, the rise of outsourcing and contract work, and the many employees who are seeking to take advantage of the opportunity to work from home all present challenges to managers today. Group meetings have long been seen as an excellent way to brainstorm with team members and give feedback on individuals’ performances. However, the challenges above make these meetings costly, difficult, or even impossible to arrange with any great frequency. Conference calls allow the benefits of group meetings to be realized while avoiding the costs and difficulties. Services such as conferencenow (www.conferencenow.co.uk) mean that conference calling does not need expensive hardware or software, and instead conference calling can be achieved at the price of a phone call.
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3) Time Tracking Software – With many clients charged based on the hours worked on their project, a manager needs to know what the current and projected cost of the work will be. It is also vital to be able to track how long each aspect of the work is taking in order to ascertain the likelihood of meeting deadlines and whether any team members are not pulling their weight. Software such as SantexQ (www.santexq.com) offers a time management and billing tool in one integrated package.
4) Chart and Diagram Generators – Pictorial representations of your data, findings and progress can often be easier to understand than raw data, especially when presenting the information to those who are not intimately involved with the project. Accurate charts and diagrams, correctly used for different data sets can also allow you to narrow in on particular challenges or opportunities that may not have been immediately obvious. Companies such as ASQ (www.asq.org) offer a variety of tools to turn your data into accessible diagrams.
5) Instant Messenger Software – Instant messaging is not simply a social tool used by teenagers and bored college students. Instant messaging allows you to keep in touch with your team in a way that is more user-friendly and quick to access than traditional company email. Quick questions or requests for clarifications can easily be asked and answered without clogging up your inbox. If you are concerned about security, providers such as 12Planet (www.12planet.com) ensure that all instant messages stay on the company intranet and are therefore less vulnerable.