While price and support during the migration are on most people’s list, there are other factors that are just as important but are too often overlooked
Compatibility with the Tools You Already Use
One of the reasons Apple products don’t have the same reach as Microsoft Office is because it was not interoperable with everything else. You had to use Apple’s video, audio, and text editing software as a package. Microsoft took the opposite track and made their tools widely compatible with both software and hardware. You could open their spreadsheets on almost any device, and any vendor could create drafting and modeling software that worked on their platform. Therefore, MS products dominate the tech space, but there are many other companies supplying CAD, modeling, and scientific analysis tools.
One of the things to look for in product management software is compatibility with the tools you already use. There is no point in adopting a product management software if it will force you to change CAD software or go through a convoluted process to upload files for safe-keeping.
Ease of Use Across the Board
The ultimate product management software is not just simply for the casual user to use whether they’re searching for product specifications or uploading a new product model. The best product management software is easy to use for everyone else, too. It should be easy for data managers to approve changes to the design and release it as the new, official version. It should be straightforward for project managers to add new members to a project or change user permissions. It is incredibly important that your company be able to quickly deactivate someone who is accessing data they shouldn’t see or is making mistakes that affect the rest of the team.
Consolidated Data Collection
When you’re going through the design phase, you want to be able to collect input from everyone. This includes but isn’t limited to clients, marketing, engineering, and management. Many data management tools allow you to track versions and iterations of drawings and test plans. However, they don’t do a good job capturing casual observations, suggested changes to the design or brainstorming session notes that document what you could do better in the next generation Some companies use other tools to capture this information, but now you have to maintain two repositories of information. Others got it all down in meetings but only record what the manager in charge considers important. Information is lost in that process. The best product management tools allow you to keep everything in one place, so you don’t lose critical observations that could save you from repeating mistakes in the future.
The ideal data management tools connect with customer relationship management systems so that there is a clear process for relaying customer complaints to design and support. Whether it is telling technical writers that your user manual has an error on page 8 or informing shipping that a third of their shipments go out without all the necessary hardware, you need to be able to capture critical information from clients and relay it back to the responsible party.