If you are considering using ERP software for your business or are not satisfied with your current one and are looking elsewhere, understand that not all ERP systems are created equally. As we think about what makes great ERP software, we should consider the project lifecycle and the process of project management. The ERP should have all the elements of the project lifecycle as a basic part of the system. Below are only a few of the elements your ERP system must have in order to be a good fit for your business:
Customer Relationship Management
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a discipline that manages your company’s interaction with current and potential customers. CRM has become a priority to improve overall relationships with customers, specifically to focus on customer retention (stickiness) and to drive sales growth.
An opportunity pipeline for a project-based business is the visualization and/or measurement of contracts or projects that you will attempt to win over time. Visibility into the pipeline gives vital information on needed resources, enterprise growth, profitability, and revenue trajectory.
Project stakeholders can visually see the availability, skills, utilization, and time phasing of the resources. Resource management's level of visibility and control will help maximize overall performance and profitability.
A budget represents what the business believes is achievable and what it intends to accomplish. The project establishes a budget that becomes the baseline for performance management. Visibility into budget vs. actuals is important project manager information.
Throughout the execution of the project plans may change, the resources may change too, and it is the responsibility of the project manager to revise the work to best accomplish the end goal. How much is it going to cost and when will the project finish? The forecast will answer that question.
Earned Value Management (EVM) is a project management best practice that flows directly with your established PM policies. The basics of EVM are plan, execute, assess performance, and monitor the project. Project managers can assess completion of the work at the task level and by doing this will get a host of metrics on current and future performance.
Revenue is the amount of income the organization is making. It is one of the most important metrics/KPIs that a business/project monitors. Project Managers are responsible for achieving revenue goals, so having the ability to track revenue real-time is a huge benefit.
Time and Expense
Time collection systems are used by every employee in the organization. They collect hours for tracking project effort, and are supporting systems for payroll, invoicing, project accounting, chargeback, and job cost accounting. Expense systems track employee expenses to a project. Integration of time and expense directly to the project keeps project managers up-to-date on resources and current costs.
As engineering companies, it is critical to be able to automate and shorten the bid-to-bill lifecycle. Engineering organizations need revenue recognition and billing to be completely in lock step. The concept of billing and invoicing does not need much explanation as we deal with bills continually in our daily lives. Billings/Invoices typically are a form that contains information like name, address, payment terms, a unique id, elements of cost, direct costs, and indirect costs applied.
Real Time KPIs and Reporting
Real-time information is key to managing the day-to-day operations. Project team members need information throughout the life of the project. For instance, project status reports, EVM, time and expense, financial, and resource reports are a must. Dashboards are eye candy for all levels within the organization. They are a real-time visual representation of the role-based business information needed to manage the business. PMs should be able to quickly see with colors and graphs where they are against plan. Key Performance Indices (KPIs) provide actionable insights to help execute projects.
Your Search is Over! Choose Unanet's Projct Based ERP Software
When it comes to an ERP system, your business needs a streamlined, efficient solution that helps you manage resources, staff, projects, and more to keep you organized, on schedule, and under budget. Unanet is here to help. To learn more about the moving parts of ERP software, download our ebook, Selecting an ERP for Professional Services, or our white paper, "Have You Outgrown Your Existing ERP?"