A recent nationwide survey of sales and project managers, commissioned by the QuickBase division of Intuit Inc., found that communications, status tracking and consolidating information from multiple sources are key challenges among corporate workgroups. Sixty percent of respondents named "getting and keeping everyone on the same page" as their top concern in managing group projects. Using an assortment of standalone desktop tools, such as e-mail and spreadsheets to communicate can make sharing and consolidating information among team members and customers difficult. Yet despite the inefficiency of these tools and the availability of specialized software and Web-based solutions, more than 60 percent of sales and project managers continue to rely on spreadsheets, and more than 50 percent still manage their projects through e-mail.

The ability to have "anytime, anywhere" access to information was the top requirement for software applications for 78 percent of sales managers and 54 percent of project managers, making files and information kept on a single desktop or corporate server an ineffective way to track, update and consolidate information on group projects. Over 60 percent of both sales and project managers also cited ease of use as a critical feature, with more than 50 percent also pointing to cost-effectiveness as an important attribute. Large companies expected to spend upwards of $8,500 per year on a sales or project management application, and more than a third of the total respondents (34 percent) to devote more than 10 hours a week to maintain their solution. That's at least 40 hours a month that teams are spending just on maintaining their project or sales management applications. Small and medium companies had similar maintenance expectations, but looked to spend from $1,000 to $3,000 dollars less on management tools.

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