Unite front and back office to halve billing time and double reporting accuracy
The new generation of business technology means streamlining your workflows to create better levels of operational capability is going beyond just breaking down silos.
With modern ERP, FP&A, HCM, and financial tools, it's now possible to totally integrate every part of your business into a single, seamless, organism. And given the challenges being presented by increasingly global working and mounting operational costs, this kind of integration will soon be necessary for survival. Playing a key role in proactively controlling costs and ensuring your resources are used to their greatest possible effect.
Service focused businesses – like software and IT consulting, engineering, and architecture firms – face unique challenges. Maintaining profitability as clients demand higher and higher levels of service. Winning new business while continuing to service existing clients effectively. And ensuring operational efficiency scales and improves with the company.
And the crisis precipitated by the COVID pandemic have only made the need to find sustainable, long term solutions to these challenges more urgent. And it’s not just a matter of ensuring resources aren’t wasted and costs are controlled to help the business save for a rainy day. Remote working is making us all reexamine concepts like optimizing and sustaining utilization, carefully managing project lifecycles, and ensuring everyone involved remains happy and engaged. Not to mention increasing the need for full project visibility even as projects become more fragmented.
So how do we tackle these issues?
In this climate, each member of your team will feel more pressure than ever before. And their success will depend more on being able to work together with their colleagues. But collaboration now requires more than simply working well with the rest of your own team. It requires the entire company to work in complete harmony. With finance and HR teams integrating their workflows seamlessly with those of sales, consultants, and other front office staff.
Fortunately, modern cloud-based ERP, FP&A, and HCM solutions have evolved to such an extent that they can now form the basis of an operational architecture that allows you to achieve this kind of integration more easily than you might think.
For example, our customer Kinetic IT has used Unit4 ERP to reduce billing time by nearly 50% by radically simplifying operational processes through automation and integration. (And in the process, they’ve also improved their forecasting accuracy by 94%.)
Start with the basics
The main obstacle to integrating front and back office functions – even in the age of technology – lies in conflicting “philosophies” of how work is and should be done.
The finance team handles invoicing and payments. Sales handles sales. Consultants do consulting (and sometimes project management.) Each in isolation from the others. Combined with normal resistance to change, this represents what can seem like a major cultural obstacle.
But it’s one that can easily be overcome by giving people the tools they need to achieve their individual goals in harmony with those of other teams.
A single ecosystem within which all members of the organization can work – and within which they’re able to see how their own actions impact the workflows of others – can go a long way to achieving this. And what’s more, it can create organic opportunities for different teams to influence each other’s success. Consultants and project managers can support sales representatives to sell more to new customers based on their practical experience.
Sales representatives can help consultants and project managers to better identify additional sales opportunities with customers. And the back office functions of finance and HR can proactively spot where resources are needed to support project management and frontline teams, and make sure they’re properly allocated.
In fact, by consolidating their systems in this way, another of our customers has seen so much success they’ve been able to work seamlessly while handling over 20 mergers without any interruption to normal workflows.
Discover how Unit4 can help elevate your business. Join us at X4U.
We want you to experience what Unit4’s solutions can do for a business like yours. Which is why this October, we’re hosting Experience4U. A global virtual event showcasing everything our products can do for a service-based business like yours.
In Building adaptability and resilience into service-based organizations, we’ll be covering topics like the one we’ve been exploring here – merging your front and back office to create a unified service delivery system that uses the engines of Procurement, HCM, Planning, and Financials – in conjunction with powerful workflow and reporting capabilities – to drive greater efficiencies for your billable staff. A Unit4 customer will speak about how their journey to Unit4’s PSO Industry model has made them more agile, efficient and effective.
In Managing Global Projects, we’ll be exploring how project management changes when your team is distributed across various geographic regions. And how technology will be essential in helping you and your teams deal with the planning, legal, fiscal, and regulatory issues that inevitably arise from this new model of working.
In Streamlining Administrative Processes, we’ll be hearing directly from Havas Media Group how the flexibility and configurability of Unit4 ERP made them retire 4 other platforms in their US division to create a unified simpler, more efficient administrative infrastructure at a lower total cost of ownership.
And in An Integrated Approach to Financial Planning Needs we’ll explore how a flexible, integrated approach can cover all your organization’s financial planning needs. From planning cash flow, managing operational budgets, to forecasting sales, costs, and revenue.