More than 100 project portfolio management tools are currently being marketed. All PPM tools contain a database of information on proposed and ongoing projects, and most provide reporting and graphing capabilities that make it easy to view the project portfolio, compare project characteristics, and roll up project information. Beyond that, the tools differ considerably.

Some tools are designed for use by organizations in specific industries, others are general purpose. Many apply only to specific types of projects, for example, IT (information technology) projects. The tools differ in their functionality and degree to which they support project management (e.g., project planning and tracking of project status) and resource assignment (e.g., resource utilization tracking).

PPM tools are available as standalone applications installed on a single computer, applications installed on the client organization's server and allowing simultaneous access to multiple users over a local network or the web, and PPM tools available "on-demand" wherein the service provider hosts the application and makes it available to customers for a per month, per user fee.

Importantly, tools differ significantly in their analytic capabilities, especially the quality of the algorithms used to assess project benefits, value projects, account for risk, and identify value-maximizing project portfolios.

Links to tool suppliers are provided in the paper Project Portfolio Management Tools. Here is some quick tool-selection guidance. I also provide a free, downloadable Aid for Comparing and Evaluating PPM Tools.