How can you get started with I.T. resource/project allocation and management?
We addressed this exact challenge in the past year. I would encourage anyone facing this challenge to consider building a solution around two key questions to start: 1) Are we doing the right things? 2) Are we doing things right?
The first bullet is about the common notion of IT governance and prioritizing the highest value work for the company. Moving from a "squeeky wheel gets the oil" to a true business case / business value based prioritization of work makes a difference. The best part is that you don't need fancy tools to make this happen. A basic business case approach for each project combined with a list of key enterprise class projects and organizational accountability for the mission to answer question #1 is a great place to start. Get yourself a sponsor at the top of the organization and begin building out this capability.
Second, once you have established a prioritization approach, and focused activities around the key projects, you need the ability to log time against these projects. This can be done using paper and pencil at first. I have seen 400 person programs use paper and pencil. It can be done.!The key is scale. The larger the project the more important the tool you select needs to scale. Large teams and distributed geographies present real hurdles, but the process of allocating / charging time to a project is PM101.
I highly recommend implementing a process first, and a tool second. You can always add a tool later. Tools bring costs and complexity.
Build and implement a governance, prioritization, and time tracking capability, then focus on making the capability more mature over time. If you lead with a tool, you will most likely end up selecting a tool that may or may not fit a process fit for your organization. This could torpedo your entire goal. It has happened more than once before.