I work for a small (3 person) consulting/Investment Banking group. For the last 2 years I've been looking for some kind of software to help us manage our "projects" but our projects look nothing like the kind of projects that PM software is typically designed to help with.
An example of a typical project for us is one where we're helping a client sell one of their subsidiaries, a project that we've been working on for about 18 months, during which time we've communicated with 50+ companies (and usually multiple people within the company).
At any point in time I need to get an overview of what the status/last communication is with each of those 50 companies, and then, ideally, click on the company name and get a chronological listing of all the communication we've had with them related to this project.
When I'm on a call with a client it is expected that I should be able to answer within a few seconds a question like "Last year we had active discussions with company X on both projects Y and Z, what was the last communication and why did discussions break off?" I should also be able to send a client a report with this summary level information for all the 50 companies, or alternatively, a report that details all of our communications with one of these companies over the course of the project
I've looked extensively at cloud based CRM providers (we currently use Zoho), but the focus of CRM is almost always around the sales process and getting new clients. I've looked less carefully at PM software, but everything I've seen has been around managing a product where you actually produce something, and any communication management tools are focused on managing an internal team, or maybe communications with the client, but certainly not designed to organize communications with dozens of different organizations. I've also looked at software that is supposed to combine CRM and PM into one product (Solve360), but it still is the traditional CRM for the sales cycle, and PM for delivering some kind of product. I haven't found anything that is designed, or seems like it can be customized, to fit our needs.
The current process, as much as there is one, involves searching through email archives and CRM records, and sporadically trying to summarize in Excel when we need to provide a report for a client. The result is messy, time consuming, and means important information is often overlooked on review. Perhaps most importantly, it can not scale as the organization tries to take on more projects.
I realize this is a forum mostly for and populated by software developers, and the types of projects we work on are fairly different from those. But I haven't found any other place on the web that seems to have as thorough and well thought out answers as there are here, so I'm hoping I might get lucky and someone has some ideas.