As businesses across the globe continue to evolve and adapt to new challenges, the need for efficient and effective project management has never been greater. On-premises project management software provides organizations with the tools they need to streamline workflows, enhance communication and deliver successful projects on time and within budget.
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Let’s explore the top seven on-premises project management software solutions available today, their benefits, key features and how they can help you achieve your business goals.
Top on-premises project management software compared
Selecting the right project management software can be a daunting task. To make your decision easier, we have put together a comparison chart showcasing the top seven on-premises project management software solutions with their features and starting price information.
|Software||Customizable workflows||Time tracking||Resource management||Integration capabilities||On-premises pricing|
|Microsoft Project||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||From $679.99|
|Jira Data Center||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$42,000 for 500 users|
|Confluence Data Center||Yes||No||No||Yes||$27,000 per year for 500 users|
|OpenProject||Yes||Yes||Yes||Limited||Starts at $7.25 per user per month, billed annually|
|ActiveCollab||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Starts at $9.50 per month for three users, billed annually|
|Tuleap||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$25 per user per month, billed annually|
- On-premises vs. cloud-based project management software
- Benefits of on-premises project management software
- What are the key features of on-premises project management software?
- How do I choose the best on-premises project management software for my business?
- Review methodology
Microsoft Project: Best for comprehensive project management
Microsoft Project stands out as a comprehensive project management software that caters to the needs of various industries, from construction to software development. Its on-premises version provides organizations with the control and security customization they require while integrating seamlessly with other Microsoft products, making it an excellent choice for businesses that rely heavily on Microsoft services.
- Project Standard 2021: Priced at $679.99.
- Project Professional 2021: One-off price of $1,129.99.
- Project Server: Contact Microsoft for Project Server pricing information.
- Flexible project scheduling and planning allows users to create and adjust timelines with ease.
- Comprehensive resource management (Figure A) capabilities enable efficient allocation and tracking of resources.
- Seamless integration with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365 and Power BI, promotes productivity and collaboration.
- Offers a robust feature set that accommodates the needs of different industries and project types.
- Highly customizable, allowing users to tailor the software to their specific project requirements.
- Provides a wide range of available templates, helping teams jumpstart their projects quickly and efficiently.
- The steep learning curve for new users may require additional time and training to fully harness the software’s capabilities.
- The potentially high cost for smaller teams could deter them from adopting Microsoft Project as their preferred project management solution.
For more information, read the full Microsoft Project review.
Jira Software: Best for software development teams
Jira Software is a popular project management software specifically designed for Agile teams and software development projects. Jira Software Data Center is the on-premises version of the popular project management software.
It’s designed to meet the needs of Agile software development teams and offers robust features, including customizable workflows, issue tracking scalability for large organizations.
Jira Software Data Center is available for at least 500 users and costs $42,000 for 500 users. The product has a 30-day free trial.
- Flexible task management with Scrum (Figure B) and kanban boards as well as customizable Agile workflows.
- Agile project management features alongside advanced resource management and workload allocation tools.
- Time tracking and reporting features for improved project insights.
- Customizable workflows with support for multiple issue types and statuses.
- Custom field optimizer to scan and manage custom fields easily and optimize the performance of your Jira Software instance.
- Designed specifically for Agile teams and software development projects.
- Highly customizable and adaptable to various team structures and workflows.
- Scalable for businesses of all sizes.
- Strong integration options, particularly with other Atlassian products.
- Can have a steep learning curve for new users.
- May be overly complex for smaller teams or non-software development projects.
- Support for Jira Software Data Center ends in 2024.
For more information, read the full Jira Software review.
Confluence: Best for knowledge management
Confluence Data Center is a top choice for organizations looking for a robust, scalable and secure knowledge management platform that complements their project management processes. Its on-premises deployment offers greater control over security, customization and performance, seamlessly integrating with other Atlassian products like Jira Software Data Center.
For a team of 500 users, Confluence Data Center costs $27,000 per year. It has a 30-day free trial period.
- Powerful document creation and editing with real-time collaboration.
- Hierarchical organization of pages and spaces for structured knowledge management.
- Advanced search functionality for quick access to relevant information.
- Customizable templates (Figure C) to streamline content creation.
- User-friendly and intuitive interface.
- Strong focus on team collaboration and knowledge sharing.
- Easy integration with Jira Software Data Center and other Atlassian tools.
- Supports a wide range of plugins and extensions for enhanced functionality.
- Limited task management and resource management features compared to other project management software.
- Can be expensive for larger teams.
- Support for Confluence Data Center ends in 2024.
For more information, read the full Confluence review.
OpenProject: Best for open-source project management
OpenProject is an open-source project management platform that offers a comprehensive suite of features and caters to a diverse range of industries. It promises efficient classic, Agile or hybrid project management in a secure environment. OpenProject’s self-hosted option allows businesses to maintain full control over their data while benefiting from a cost-effective and customizable solution.
For the on-premises hosting mode, OpenProject’s pricing is as follows:
- Community: Free.
- Basic: $7.25 per user per month, billed annually, or $8.50 per user billed monthly.
- Professional: $13.50 per user per month, billed annually, or $14.75 per user billed monthly.
- Premium: $19.50 per user per month, billed annually, or $20.75 per user billed monthly.
- Corporate: Pricing information available on request.
- Agile boards for Scrum and kanban methodologies.
- Integrated Gantt (Figure D) charts for timeline visualization.
- Time tracking and cost reporting for project financials.
- Customizable workflows for tailored project management.
- Inbuilt document management and team collaboration tools.
- Open-source, offering high customization potential.
- Cost-effective solution for organizations of various sizes.
- Wide range of project management features.
- Has an active community and regular updates.
- Limited integrations compared to other solutions.
- Might require additional setup and maintenance efforts.
For more information, check out how OpenProject compares to other open-source kanban boards.
ActiveCollab: Best for all-in-one project management and collaboration
ActiveCollab is a versatile project management software that combines task management, time tracking, team collaboration and invoicing in one comprehensive platform. The self-hosted version of ActiveCollab provides businesses with the added control and security they require while maintaining the software’s robust feature set.
- Plus: $9.50 for three members per month, billed annually, and $11 billed monthly.
- Pro: $8 per member per month, billed annually, and $9 per member billed monthly.
- Pro+Get Paid: $11.75 per member per month, billed annually, and $14 per member billed monthly.
- Unified platform for task management, collaboration and invoicing.
- Built-in time tracking with reporting capabilities.
- Customizable task views (Figure E).
- Extensive integration options with popular third-party tools.
- Self-hosted version for enhanced control and security.
- Comprehensive feature set for project management and collaboration.
- User-friendly interface and easy to adopt.
- Flexible pricing with a one-time payment for the self-hosted version.
- Active development with frequent updates and improvements.
- Migrating from the cloud-based version to the self-hosted version can be complex.
- Some advanced features might require additional plugins or integrations.
Taiga: Best for small Agile teams
Taiga is an open-source project management platform designed with Agile methodologies in mind. Its self-hosted option allows organizations to customize and control their project management processes while offering an intuitive interface for managing tasks, sprints and user stories.
Taiga’s Self-hosted offering is free and open-source, enabling users to access and customize their installation as long as they respect Taiga’s open-source license.
- Kanban (Figure F) boards for effective workflow visualization.
- Integrated issue tracking for efficient bug management.
- Support for Agile methodologies, including Scrum and sprints.
- Built-in Wiki for team collaboration and knowledge sharing.
- Extensive customization options through available plugins.
- Open-source nature enables high customizability.
- Intuitive user interface that’s easy to navigate.
- Strong focus on Agile methodologies.
- Active community for support and feature enhancement.
- Limited integration capabilities compared to some competitors.
- Scalability could be an issue for large teams or complex projects.
For more information, see how Taiga compares to other kanban board software.
Tuleap: Best for open-source flexibility and customization
Tuleap is an open-source project management and application lifecycle management platform that provides unparalleled flexibility and customization options. Tuleap’s on-premises deployment ensures enhanced data security and compliance with industry-specific regulations, making it a popular choice among organizations with strict data privacy and security needs.
In addition, Tuleap’s robust community support and active development ensure the platform stays up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in project management.
Its on-premises pricing (originally billed in €) is set as follows:
- Expert: About $25 per user per month for up to 25 users, billed annually.
- Managed: About $36 per user per month for up to 25 users, billed annually.
- Comprehensive Agile and DevOps support ensures seamless collaboration across development, operations and business teams.
- Highly customizable platform suitable for various industries and project types due to its open-source nature.
- Offers both Scrum and kanban (Figure G) boards, allowing teams to choose the most appropriate Agile framework for their projects.
- Integrated Git, Subversion and Jenkins streamline the development process and promote efficient workflows.
- Powerful issue tracking and reporting capabilities enable effective issue resolution and informed decision-making.
- Open-source software provides extensive flexibility.
- Supports a variety of Agile methodologies.
- Large number of plugins for further customization.
- Strong community support and active development.
- May require significant configuration and setup.
- Less polished user interface compared to some competitors.
For more information, see how Tuleap compares against other top open-source project management tools.
On-premises vs. cloud-based project management software
When choosing project management software, organizations must decide between on-premises and cloud-based solutions. Each option has its own set of advantages and drawbacks that should be carefully considered.
On-premises project management software is installed and hosted on the organization’s own servers and infrastructure. This provides businesses with more control over their data and allows for greater customization and integration with existing systems. However, on-premises solutions often require more upfront investment in hardware and maintenance and may demand a dedicated IT team to manage the software and infrastructure.
Cloud-based project management software, on the other hand, is hosted on the provider’s servers and accessed via the internet. This is a more cost-effective approach, as it eliminates the need for hardware and maintenance expenses. Additionally, cloud-based solutions are typically easier to scale and update and may provide better accessibility for remote teams. However, businesses may have less control over their data and face limitations in customization and integration with existing systems.
Benefits of on-premises project management software
On-premises project management software offers several key advantages over cloud-based alternatives, particularly for organizations with specific requirements or concerns around data security, customization and integration. The benefits of on-premises project management software include:
Enhanced security and control
On-premises solutions provide businesses with greater control over data security, as all information is stored on the company’s own servers. This can be particularly important for organizations that handle sensitive data or operate in highly regulated industries. Additionally, on-premises software allows for stricter access controls and monitoring of user activity.
On-premises project management software typically offers more flexibility in terms of customization, allowing businesses to tailor the solution to their specific needs and preferences. This can include creating custom workflows, templates and user interfaces, as well as the ability to modify the software to align with organizational processes and practices.
Integration with existing systems
On-premises project management software can often be more easily integrated with existing in-house systems, such as human resources, finance and customer relationship management software. This enables organizations to leverage their current technology investments and create a seamless ecosystem to streamline business processes and improve efficiency.
Long-term cost savings
While on-premises software may require a higher initial investment in hardware and infrastructure, it can result in long-term cost savings for organizations. Once the system is in place, businesses can avoid ongoing subscription fees associated with cloud-based solutions and may have more control over costs related to maintenance, upgrades and user licenses.
Compliance with industry regulations
Organizations operating in regulated industries and sectors, such as finance, healthcare and government, may need to use on-premises solutions in order to comply with data protection and privacy laws. On-premises project management software enables such businesses to maintain compliance and mitigate potential risks associated with data breaches or non-compliance.
What are the key features of on-premises project management software?
On-premises project management software offers a range of features designed to address diverse business needs. Some of the most important features include:
Resource management helps optimize the use of available resources, including personnel, equipment and budgets. On-premises project management software supports resource allocation and workload balancing, ensuring resources are used efficiently and team members are not overburdened.
Time tracking features enable teams to monitor the time spent on tasks, providing insights into team productivity and helping identify areas for improvement. Reporting tools allow users to generate project status updates, performance metrics and other critical data for decision-making.
Customizable workflows and automation
The ability to customize workflows and automate routine processes helps streamline project management, reducing manual effort and minimizing the risk of errors. Customization features allow you to tailor the software to your organization’s unique needs and processes.
Effective task management is crucial for project success. On-premises project management software allows you to create, assign, prioritize and monitor tasks, ensuring team members have clear responsibilities and deadlines.
Multiple project views
Offering different project views enables team members to visualize project progress and workflows in the most suitable format, promoting better organization and productivity.
Collaboration and communication tools
Effective collaboration and communication are essential for project success. On-premises project management software offers tools such as in-app messaging, file sharing and real-time updates, fostering better teamwork and ensuring everyone stays informed.
Integration with existing systems and third-party apps
Integration capabilities enable on-premises project management software to work seamlessly with your existing systems and popular third-party applications, enhancing overall productivity and reducing the need for manual data entry.
How do I choose the best on-premises project management software for my business?
Choosing the right on-premises project management software for your business involves considering several factors.
- Identify your business requirements: Start by analyzing your organization’s specific needs and requirements. Consider factors such as team size, industry, project complexity and your existing systems.
- Evaluate the features you need: Based on your requirements, prioritize the features you need in project management software. Ensure the software you choose offers the necessary features, such as task management, time tracking and resource allocation.
- Consider customization and scalability: Select a software solution that can be customized to fit your unique workflows and processes. Ensure the software can scale to accommodate future growth or changes in your business.
- Examine integration capabilities: Choose a software solution that can easily integrate with your existing systems and popular third-party applications to maximize productivity and minimize manual data entry.
- Compare pricing and plans: Evaluate the pricing structure and plans offered by different software providers. Consider the features included in each plan and select one that offers the best value for your budget.
- Read user reviews and testimonials: Gain insights from the experiences of other users by reading reviews and testimonials. This can help you understand the pros and cons of each solution to make a more informed decision.
- Request demos and trials whenever possible: Many software providers offer demos or free trials to help you evaluate their products before making a purchase. Take advantage of these opportunities to ensure the software meets your needs and expectations.
By considering these factors and following a systematic approach, you’ll be able to pinpoint the best on-premises project management software for your business.
To deliver this review, we carried out research based on hands-on experience with most of the tools and analyzed key factors such as customer reviews, pricing and the core features of on-premises project management tools. We assessed each solution’s usability, functionality and overall user experience. This comprehensive approach helped us identify the best on-premises project management software options for 2023.
If you’d like to see if any of these software solutions are right for your industry or specific use case, check out our lists of the top project management software for marketing, software development, creative teams and construction.
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