Are we reaching the limits for software-driven efficiency measures and project collaboration tools? By combining a new take on task management, user-centric design, and exploring new business models, there might be more to come in online collaboration and project management. Samuel Cyprian explains more in this interview.
Samuel Cyprian serves as the Vice President of Growth for Planview Projectplace. Since leaving Spotify last year he’s been exploring how software can boost team and project productivity further – or if we are reaching the end of the road. The result is to be launched later this fall.
SaaS changed the landscape
When ProjectPlace was founded back in 1998, it was one of the first ever SaaS providers. Back then, delivering software on demand was revolutionary. Today it’s a commodity, and a demand from users everywhere. Consumers have known this for a long time, but the issue facing brands is that it has yet to catch up with the true potential that the SaaS model has to offer. It’s entirely possible for users to benefit from scalable solutions that are constantly being updated and made more accessible. Vendors can focus on development and distribution, with a high volume potential by addressing mass markets.
The market conditions are changing for B2B vendors, where all business professionals – rather than designated buyers – are out looking for solutions that can make them successful in their day to day work.
From pro to accidental
“We want to realize this potential by delivering our 17 years of experience and expertise in empowering teams and organizations, basically to achieve their goals,” says Samuel Cyprian. “The interesting thing is, our customer base has expanded from our initial target audience of project managers. There is a fast-growing subset of professionals, let’s call them ‘accidental project managers’, who are being drawn into projects in some way or another. In other words, they are tasked with the job of getting things done together with a group of people.”
Samuel Cyprian sees a need to zero in on the collaborative task management market by delivering a solution that not just solves a specific problem, but a solution that creates an engaging experience for our customers. There is still much focus on the needs of the professional, in the sense of a trained project manager with loads of experience of creating complicated Gantt schemes in Excel.
“The industry has a responsibility to open up, and make more accessible tools. Many solutions on the market, even if they are very potent, still reflect the needs for the trained few. Often when you look at enterprise software, you can tell that the majority of solutions out there are intended to be sold to customers, rather than to be bought, used and loved by customers. One of our main goals is to give to our customers a product that they get real value from.”
Next generation collaboration
As one of the founding members of the Growth team at Spotify, a primarily consumer facing music streaming service, Samuel Cyprian’s main focus was to fuel the business by creating engaging products and experiences. Initiatives at Spotify unsurprisingly were designed with a massive scale in mind – the user base is huge.
“I often think how I can apply that method of design and apply it to projects, a traditionally very enterprise-centric domain with a niche audience. But by zeroing in on the collaborative task and work management market and taking into account the accidental project manager, we’ve been able to design a new solution that addresses the needs of the wider masses, but with a B2B application.”
The main challenge is to ensure that the new solution is made not just relevant, but critical, in every aspect for project managers and people in general taking lead in initiatives. And also for everyone else who is involved in getting the job done.
“The new ProjectPlace solution we’re working on will be as appealing, user-friendly and engaging as possible to these people who are regularly invited to participate in projects, not just the professional enterprise project manager.”
A new toolbox
“In addition to injecting ideas to make the product experience even better, we’ve been working hard on removing all the administrative hurdles that the business professionals encounter when dealing with a B2B solution.”
Any employee in an organization will soon be able to be invited to ProjectPlace and immediately get involved with the software.
“Collaborative work manifested as projects dominate today’s workplace and for this reason, restrictions cause more harm than good,” says Samuel Cyprian. “The ultimate aim with the new upcoming solutions in ProjectPlace is to deliver a world-class toolbox to the team and the project manager, accidental or otherwise.”
The next generation of ProjectPlace will be launched this fall. The tool is being fine-tuned at the moment and the first beta users are now being provided access.