Planning And Scheduling Software For Your Business

If you are a small business looking for planning-scheduling software to help you manage your daily operations, you only need to do a quick search online to discover that there are an overwhelming number of options when it comes to planning and scheduling applications.

Let's take a look at the options that are available so that you can make an informed choice. Essentially, there are three options available to you and I'll go over each of these briefly.

Scheduling-Planning Software Options

The solutions that exist to help you plan and schedule projects for your business boil down into one on three categories:

  1. Desktop applications
  2. Microsoft Exchange and other server applications
  3. Hosted groupware

Desktop Applications:

There are a wide variety of desktop planning and scheduling software packages available on the market. By desktop software I'm referring to scheduling programs you install on your own computer.

If you are a one-man operation and rarely consult with others outside your organization on projects, this may be all you need. You can probably find a decent scheduling-planning software package in the $100 to $500 price range.

If you need to work with others, however, then these kinds of planning applications have some serious drawbacks. The programs may allow you to manage a schedule or project, but because it sits on your computer, it is not easily accessible by others that are involved in your projects. In addition, if you or the other team members are away from the office, at a client's workplace for example, you can't easily access schedule information or other files you may need for the project.

Microsoft Exchange

On most projects, you need the ability to easily collaborate with others including employees, contractors, clients and other stakeholders. In order to do this, many businesses look at Microsoft Exchange or other similar server solutions.

For the most part, these are too expensive to be an option for most small businesses. They require significant investment in hardware, installation, setup and maintenance. This is not a do it yourself project.

Hosted Groupware Software

Groupware applications are relatively new applications that allow you and others involved in projects to collaborate online. It provides all the benefits of expensive solutions like Microsoft Exchange without the high cost. Services like Pretzel Logic ( for example, can be had for less than $10 per month for a user.

Unlike desktop scheduling/planning software packages, the service is hosted securely online and is accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. So you can access your schedule or your team's schedule from any place you have access to the Internet, whether that's at cottage or onsite at a client's workplace.

When you are looking for planning and scheduling software, take a look at hosted groupware. It's a simple and low cost alternative to traditional planning-scheduling software options and will dramatically improve the efficiency of your business.