What do Service industries need from an ERP solution?
Posted by Ted Rohm
Post by guest blogger Ted Rohm, Senior ERP Analyst, Technology Evaluation Centers.
In order to deliver the best service possible to their clients, people-centric organizations have very specific and varied requirements when selecting an ERP solution. Maximizing resource utilization, project management and execution, and managing time and expenses, are some of the ERP capabilities they need to be effective.
Services industries by nature are project oriented, as opposed to product-centric. Historically, ERP systems were built to serve companies that designed products, manufactured them and billed for them. Service-centric organizations trying to work with these system have to distribute project information across system transactions through customizations. The complexity and workarounds involved do not support a service organization to deliver great service. ERP systems for services organizations must be project-based and allow for the flexibility these organizations require to create service differentiation.
Being very project and people centric means every transaction must be recorded in a system, either manually or automatically. It’s therefore surprising that many service organizations still rely on spreadsheets and manual processes to manage vital areas of business. Disconnected processes cause delays and errors with financial implications and, perhaps most importantly, impact the service they deliver to the client.
ERP for services solutions, built from the outset for service organizations, deliver a completely different experience. They are designed to manage complex projects and to allow for service differentiation. As the system most critical for any sizeable service business, they can make the difference between success and failure. At the same time, social, mobile, analytics and cloud are having a major impact on enterprise software. New cognitive capabilities are making ERP systems more powerful and promise to change the way we work with these systems forever.
TEC’s 2016 ERP for Services Buyer’s Guide provides analysis about the ERP for services landscape. More and more software vendors are addressing the needs of this industry. The Guide compares key functionality of major ERP for Services products, and includes stories of how ERP for services software has helped businesses overcome business challenges.
As part of the Guide and to better understand service industry challenges we conducted a research survey that highlighted key concerns in services industries. In order of concern they include maximizing resource utilization, project management and execution, managing project costs, customer relationships, finding new business, hiring and retaining qualified staff and expanding into global markets. The right ERP solution designed for services can deliver all the insight required to address these areas.