There are plenty of project management tools that allow you to work with team members all over the world. Tools like ActiveCollab or web2Project require you (or your IT team) to set them up on a server, but once you’ve got everything installed, your team members can access your tools from anywhere. The question is whether self-hosted tools are the right choice for your organization.
Control of Your Data
Keeping your data under your own control is an important consideration. When your projects are sitting on some other company’s servers, you may lose access to them. A small hiccup in the billing process could mean that your team is locked out of all the projects they have been working on. That’s a scary thought. In most cases, running project management tools on your own server means that no-one else can come between your team and your work.
Another reason to have your project management software running on your own servers is the question of security. If you are handling confidential information, you can add additional security measures. Furthermore, you’ll have a much better idea of what physical security is in place for your server if that server is your own.
All of that makes for an appealing set of reasons to run your own project management tools, but there are many reasons to go with a web-based application hosted by another company. There is the consideration of overall access: when a company stakes its reputation on keeping your projects accessible at all times, they’re going to be in a position to invest more in the infrastructure of keeping their servers up and running, quite possibly at a lower cost than your organization can manage, esepcally if running a server isn’t something that you normally need to do.
Managing the Costs
Many of the options for project management tools that run on your own server are open source, which means that they’re theoretically free to use. However, that may not be the way things work out. Of course you’ll need to factor in the costs of running your server. But there are other considerations, such as managing upgrades and even creating new features — and these can all add cost. Those costs are not necessarily more expensive than paying for a hosted application (that can depend on how many team members you’re working with, how many projects you have going and a variety of other considerations), but should be considered before making a choice one way or the other.
At the end of the day, whether or not hosting your own project management tools makes sense in terms of cost a question of core competencies. If you’ve already got team members who can effectively manage running a server and all the details that go along with it, your costs are going to look very different than an organization that needs to bring in outside help on a regular basis.
Do you host your own project management tools?
Image by Flickr user Rudolf Schuba
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