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Why PSOs need an integrated ERP

If you’re still not convinced that your firm needs an integrated ERP system to manage its operations, this article’s for you.

We’d like you to think about something you probably don’t think about in detail a lot, even though you spend a lot of time doing it: your job. Or rather, the things that everyone in your organization has to do in order to do their job.

A “day in the life” is a complex thing to balance for professional services, because a given day will tend to vary considerably based on the maturity of the projects you’re working on. We’ll instead explore this from the point of view of the project lifecycle.

Let’s start from the beginning: before the project starts.

Click to read ERP product brochure Gated

Winning business and project setup

Even winning a contract today often requires presenting an in-depth breakdown into your team, their capabilities, their contributions, and the costs associated with all their work on the project.

And after a bid is won, the fine detail required to staff a project to maintain profitability is quite extensive when it’s broken down. Your leaders and project managers will need to know:

  • Who’s available to work on the project, when they’re available, and where they’ll need to be to do it.
  • The rate you’ll have to charge their time at in order to ensure expectations are met without eating into your profits.
  • What else these people are working on (to minimize bench time and ensure a high utilization rate without risking burnout.)
  • The resources that will need to be made available to each team member to ensure their success.
  • The regulations they’ll be expected to follow.

Managing, monitoring, and completing projects

Once the project is underway, PMs, finance, and HR leaders will need to keep a close eye on how things are progressing to keep actual progress in line with estimates, track expenditure and work done, keep an accurate record of skills used and gained, and take stock of your people’s wellbeing.

They’ll also need to be aware of the ongoing availability of those not involved on the project, and how other work demands might affect its smooth running. This will ultimately help to ensure utilization remains optimal and engagement and morale remain high.

Billing, closing, learning, and follow-up

After a project is completed, it must be billed promptly to reduce DSO (days sales outstanding) and ensure earnings are realized and financial resources can be allocated to pay staff, suppliers, and provide funding for the next round of bids.

Where does all this information come from?

Records of skills and their availability are often kept in your company’s HR system (if they’re kept at all.) They exist separately from information on time and billing (usually the province of both the payroll system – usually administered by HR – and the finance or accounting system.) Some of this information may also be stored or replicated by your project management tools – but not always accurately.

The disconnect between these systems and the resulting lack of visibility can easily create problems with any stage of the project lifecycle – and are even more likely to cause errors when the time comes to invoice the customer (as both project managers and finance teams need accurate information to bill correctly.)

There are typically thousands of different points of connection between HR, Finance, and Project teams across the life of a typical project. Independent systems with limited integration and visibility requires data to be reconstructed or transposed every single time one of these connections occur.

What’s more, even the “best of breed” solutions for each of these disciplines often lacks some of the functionality that would allow them to be used as a single port of call.

In this environment, an integrated suite of tools that brings together all of the data and capabilities your teams need to do the job is the only sensible solution.

ERPx – the ideal solution

We’ve developed ERPx specifically to create a solution which has best-of-breed capabilities for Finance, Project, and HR teams, drawing from a single data source. This makes it one of the only solutions on the market capable of managing your entire project lifecycle within a single shared ecosystem.

And it’s not just a unified ecosystem – it’s one that delivers a simple, automated, and multimodal experience that can be accessed from any device at any time, with specific functionality for professional services. All wrapped in a user experience that makes it simple and intuitive for even the most casual of users.

See what it can do for yourself

You can book your demo of ERPx here at any time. But if you want to know more about what it’s capable of (and how it addresses the specific challenges of professional services) check out this capability overview and this interactive eBook.

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