Delivering successful projects on time and within budget is the goal for professional services organizations (PSOs), and modern ERP systems make it easier than ever to meet it. Today, ERP systems like SAP Business ByDesign for Professional Services provide robust platforms that make frontline PSO staff ─ from project managers and consultants to resource and development managers ─ more effective and efficient.
This post provides several high-level insights into the ways ERP helps your core frontline staff members be successful and improve business.
Your project managers are so concerned with delivering results on time and within budget that they sometimes lack awareness regarding the implications of over-servicing or under-billing clients. The project management functionality within modern ERP offers project managers tools to keep projects on track efficiently. For example, they can measure actual costs incurred from specific tasks and compare them to their budgeted costs and create stage dependencies to prevent them from bending to time pressures and prematurely moving forward. How many times have project teams started writing design specs before completing the requirements analysis? ERP stops that from happening.
The ERP system also provides a single location for all project and financial data. Views into documents, resources, expenses, transactions, customer communications, and more offer the project managers context to help them provide quick-turn status updates and justifications to please demanding clients. If the project manager doesn’t feel qualified to answer a question, the collaboration capabilities in the system allow others to offer input to resolve issues quickly.
What’s good for the project manager is also good for the consultant. Consultants can view project dashboards and understand their workload: which projects – and when and where – to do, how much time is allotted for each task, and their scheduled locations across projects.
Within a project inside ERP, each consultant has 24/7 access via the web and mobile devices to a simple expense reporting and timesheet functionality, which allows them to leverage downtime to input time and expense data to keep the project within budget.
Gone are the days when resource managers must call and email to see which project managers and consultants are free for upcoming projects. With ERP, resource managers have visibility into high-level resource utilization data as well as drill-down data for each staff member’s availability. Appended to this data are staff biographies, skill sets, training status and history, and other qualification data.
Business development personnel are more effective revenue generators when they can access project management data in their ERP’s CRM module. Because the CRM dashboard grants access to project management information, development personnel can quote deals knowing the resources they promised can actually perform the work. And rather than pulling off Herculean efforts to gather resource commitments, realistic project start and finish dates, and pricing estimates, development professionals see the who/what/when information integrated into their quote and order management dashboards.
For ongoing projects, savvy salespeople can review project notes to identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and tailor future proposals and their timing based on what they see in the CRM module surrounding a project.
Project management, profitable resource utilization, and development are the lifeblood of any PSO. Isn’t it time you had them all in one place to make everyone in your organization more effective?
One of our team will be in touch shortly.