That’s not a secret that at present our life is undergoing a hasty growth of visualization, simple users of the Internet are getting more and more opportunities, they are given practically everything so as not to leave their computers, from ordering take-away food to seeking for a partner. Since the demand is growing, the list of web services is growing, as well.
Thanks to the new Web 2.0 technology, information resources, files, and corporate software can be moved to powerful servers with a possibility of corporate access to them. In other words, it’s like a virtual office when employees are at home but can manage their own clients, goods or services. In fact, such type of work organization is much more profitable because the company bears no expenses on renting premises, transport, utilities, etc.
The virtual office is a specially customized server where you can install the software that corresponds to your sphere of activity. If your sphere of business is sales or online stores, it can be a customer relation management (CRM) system with a client and partner database, an organizer, a mail, online services, and, of course, a file database. Moreover, the most important function of the CRM system is a set of marketing tools and tools for analysis, the so-called business intelligence system which helps to choose the most optimal variant out of possible ones.
For performing joint creative work on developing business projects and software, there’s another specialized virtual office – the online project management system where all the specialists related to the development of the project (software, mobile application, a website) have an access to the ‘working place’.
The virtual project management office consists of some main elements: a status panel, a task panel, a system of communication between participants (chat, forum), a program of tracking employees’ contribution to the project, time and task tracking (such as, for example, Comindware Tracker), a file database, etc.
Virtual Management Office Advantages
- A virtual management office significantly reduces the company’s expenses on renting premises and business communication between people living in different cities and countries.
- While recruiting employees for the project, managers may attract experts from all over the world. This system can also be suitable for organizations that have traditional offices but hire remote specialists for performing individual tasks or projects.
- Managers can provide the access to the general information environment to all the employees involved in the project.
- Managers can discuss the problems of the project, come to agreement on some points and deadlines.
- Managers can inform the team members on the changes in the documents, news, new tasks, and events concerning the project.
But, according to some people, the virtual management office has some disadvantages, such as:
- If a company is small with a high level of self-organization, it can work virtually. But if a company is big, it can’t do without a traditional office since, first of all, a traditional office plays a ‘representative’ function. Some clients don’t trust virtual offices.
- Some employees have problems in organizing their time properly, which can negatively influence the performance and the work on the project.
- No project management system can replace the ‘team spirit’. No time tracking system or task tracking software system can substitute the real communication between the manager and employees.
Despite these disadvantages, in my opinion, the virtual project management office is a simple and convenient tool for managing online projects and has more advantages than disadvantages.
About Our Guest Contributor
Jannet Sparts is an online editor and writes for several blogs. She previously worked as a project manager for several companies. Currently, she is conducting research on the the best PM software.