Industry Analysis

The project management software industry: Overview


The project management software industry (sometimes referred to as work management) has always been important for many companies, but now as we move beyond 2020 and look forward, it has become apparent that businesses are now dealing more than ever with fast paced societal, environmental, economic and technological changes. This makes it more important than ever to consider how these factors will impact how these organizations manage and execute projects.
We have curated fifteen pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding the global work management industry. This is also referred to as the project management software industry. This has included, but not been limited to, any COVID-19 related data as well as adoption and use of these platforms and technology, as well as any predicted growth and market size.

38 percent more projects meet original goals and business intent

  • Project management tools are cost effective in many ways. When looking at organizations that choose to use project management tools versus those that do not, about two-thirds (66%) of companies complete projects within their original budget, compared to just under half (47%) of those that choose to forgo a project management tool. Further, “businesses that take the time to develop project management practices save 28 times more money than those that chose not to, and almost half (47%) of organizations using project management software assert that it’s had a positive impact on the accuracy of project cost estimates.”
  • “Almost 200 project management software users were surveyed by Capterra in order to understand what factors drive their purchase decisions, how much they’re spending, and how they’re using these tools to achieve business goals.” They did this survey in 2015, and again in 2019. In 2019, when digging into project management software purchase decisions drivers, functionality was revealed to be the most important factor at 36%. Price has become users’ second biggest consideration at 22%. Customer support came in third at 14%. When compared to the 2015 results, functionality was also the most important factor (40%), but ease of use was the second most important consideration at 24%, and price was third at only 9%. Clearly price is much more in the thoughts of those purchasing than it was just five short years ago.

How do companies choose project management software?

  • Adoption of project management software is high for businesses in IT, software, and consulting services, financial services/insurance, marketing/advertising, accounting, and engineering industries across nearly every business size. When 400 project management professionals were asked what tools they use to manage projects in their organization, respondents were split.” About half reported that they use PM software and the other 50% admitted that they use manual methods, spreadsheets, or office management tools (for example: Google Apps or Microsoft Office). Below is an infographic which shows how respondents’ demographics break down across these two groups. As can be seen, the top three industries that use project management software are IT, software, consulting services at 16%, followed by the financial services/insurance industry at 15%, followed by marketing and advertising at 9%. Healthcare/medicine has a low rate of adoption at 5%.

Who uses project management software?

  • Capterra also asked project management software users how many tools/solutions they looked at and trialed before making their final buying choice. For such an important decision, the results were a bit shocking. “Only 29% tried out more than two solutions before buying their project management software tool.” (Twenty-one percent demoed three, and eight percent trialed four or more). What is particularly noteworthy is that only 24% looked at one tool before making a decision, and 5% did not even demo anything before purchasing.

how many products they demoed before making their final purchase decision

  • When digging into the search and implementation process for a project management software tool, Capterra reveals that both processes were fairly speedy. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed reported that they spent less than six months trying out and evaluating the tool. When the decision was finally made, 54% of those users revealed that it took less than six months to deploy and implement the new tool at their company.

 Find and then implement PM solutions

  • When it comes to how organizations view the benefits of project management software, forty-two percent of them reveal that they feel they received most or all benefits from their investment. Both AI and project management software appear to loom large for the future as eighty-five percent of companies believe that both things will fundamentally impact the way they do business over the next five years. When it comes to costs, on average, companies spend just over ten thousand dollars a year ($10,329) a year which translates to $861 a month, on project management software.
  • Project management software collaboration tools have suddenly become vital during the COVID19 pandemic, and not just surrounding important business processes. It is also impacting and helping the social lives and mental well-being of employees. Zimbra, Askaway, Sketchboard, and RemoteHQ are four examples of SaaS solutions that, while being used before the outbreak, have now seen an incredible increase in adoption and use.
  • According to Waikit Lau, CEO and co-founder of RemoteHQ, “We saw a surge of usage from around the world since March due to COVID-19 and across various company sizes. […]while video conferencing solutions are insufficient for hands-on collaboration. RemoteHQ’s shared browser can add another layer of interaction, at least within websites and web-based apps.” Keith Corso, CEO & Founder of BusRight, a school bus management solutions provider, asserts that “[r]emoteHQ has made our team’s lives easier and more productive. By bringing different collaboration apps into a workspace, RemoteHQ enables us to work together organically and ‘meet’ with potential customers like you would in a physical office. RemoteHQ’s Shared Browser app is a game-changer. It allows our team and customers to jointly control any website or web application instantly with no software download.”
  • Saiki Tanabe, founder of, reveals that “…during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sketchboard has seen increased use from education and online training users even as use by businesses of all sizes has increased exponentially. 400,000 users have signed up to use the tool. Since COVID, there has been three times the rate of adoption. It’s clear that people and companies are looking for collaboration tools.”
  • Jason Cottrell, the creator of Askaway, states that “Askaway’s latest features are timely for businesses facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen an uptick in the use of anonymous mode as we face really tough conversations that people are normally shy about having. A perfect example might be employees asking about the potential for team lay-offs or salary cuts. While not pleasant conversations, making sure everyone understands what you’re trying to impart is critical, so a feature like anonymous mode can go from tangential to must-have.”
  • Andrew Shingler Senior Solutions Consultant at Synacor, the maker of Zimbra reports that “[t]he group messaging component, Connect, offers a Slack-like experience where you can have project rooms, discussions, and group messaging, as well as video conferencing within the application.” According to Marc Gadsdon, Founder and Director of In-Tuition Networks, “[e]specially in the age of COVID-19 and remote working, clients having access to a suite of comprehensive collaboration features like videoconferencing, chat, and shared docs that can be deployed flexibly anywhere is incredibly important for an email platform and Zimbra delivers this for us.”
  • According to Gartner in a 2020 report, the chief information officer’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be focused on ensuring that their organization is equipped with the digital “tools to provide employees with a single, secure source of truth on everything that’s happening both within the business and with regard to general news and information that may affect their health and well-being; seamlessly integrate with other tools and software that employees already use, making remote work as a team more transparent and efficient; empower employees to create custom workflows that automate routine tasks; maintain relationships with customers, partners, contractors and vendors through the use of digital channels; and implement a long-term digital workplace strategy backed by security controls.”

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Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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