How Customized ERP Benefits Professional Services Industry
ERP for professional service industry is thriving in the post-pandemic age rapidly because globally, companies rearrange their operations. Accounting services, market research, and advertising services, public relations and related services, consulting services, management services, legal services, etc. Have recorded exponential growth in recent times for this reason. As per the report, the professional services market size is expected to reach USD 7.06 trillion in 2025.
Professional service companies operate people-centric businesses, and even though they primarily serve other companies under the B2B model, their focus tends to remain on people for various reasons. Even when these companies expand their reach or undertake high-value projects, they must rely on people to achieve their goals. In such a scenario, SAP Business One for the professional service industry can provide a valuable helping hand. By implementing SAP Business One, professional service companies can streamline their operations and improve efficiency, enabling them to effectively manage their resources and optimize their performance.
Professional services ERP software is designed to enable such companies to work more efficiently while assisting them to allocate resources properly and increase efficiencies. In this article, we are going to discuss the top challenges and benefits of ERP for professional services. But, before going forward, let’s start with some useful tips to choose the best ERP for professional service providers.
Choose the best ERP for Professional Services
These days, many options are available in the segment of ERP for professional service industry. Some ERP solutions were designed for manufacturing firms, but the consulting industry has adapted them, whereas some solutions focus only on time tracking and bill generation. Some niche ERP solutions are accounting software with additional functionality such as CRM, project management, inventory management, and HR.
In such a scenario, companies have to select a single solution that integrates the data collected from multiple sources. It is essential for gaining meaningful insights by analyzing corporate data. If you own a professional services company, you need to determine the business requirements and consider various aspects including customization. An ERP for service industries is capable of addressing all the basic requirements, but for integrating add-ons, you need to talk to a reputable ERP vendor.
Let’s go through the top benefits of professional services ERP software.
Improved Customer Service
ERP for services industries has specific modules like CRM and reservation management to assist companies in improving customer services. The CRM module keeps the data on all customers in a centralized database and service providers can utilize this module to get the necessary information as and when necessary.
ERP software for professional services can automate several repetitive processes ranging from customer management to staff management. You can get accurate information in real time from any location. As a result, your staff can save their time and effort. It further results in increased efficiency and productivity of employees.
A professional services ERP system can bring transparency and increase financial visibility. It helps professional service providers get real-time financial reports, cash flow status, and other accounting reports. They can see the actual financial health as and when they want to use the software. An ERP system also enables service providers to get audit reports.
This is one of the major benefits of professional service ERP software. It integrates all processes and keeps employees across different departments on the same page. In other words, an ERP solution enables everyone to collaborate with each other with easy access to centralized information.
Cloud-based ERP software can enable users to access and share information from anywhere in real-time. It facilitates employees to work from remote locations and the management to delegate tasks to the staff. Advanced ERP for professional services has additional features like multi-language support and multi-currency management to blur the boundaries.
7 Key Challenges of ERP for the professional service industry
When we talk about the benefits, we need to consider the challenges related to the implementation of ERP in the professional service sector. An ERP implementation is a complex project that involves redesigning various processes to leverage the benefits of the new system’s capabilities, migrating the company’s data, and configuring the software as per the objectives.
This multi-phase project lasts for several months and poses many challenges including
It is one of the biggest ERP implementation challenges. An implementation process includes multiple phases like discovery, design, development, data migration, testing, deployment, and maintenance with real-time technical assistance. Every phase has some critical tasks and deadlines. Here, project management comes into the picture. When the entire process is spread across different departments and multiple processes, the management of the project can be highly challenging. What’s more, successful ERP implementation needs participation from various groups consisting of users and developers. Initially, this is challenging for your company’s departments because they need to pay attention to every detail of an ERP solution along with their daily activities.
An ERP solution is working on data collection and processing. It can provide users with a single source of data for the entire company. But for leveraging the benefit of data analysis and actionable insights, you need to move data from multiple sources across different departments into the ERP database. This can be highly challenging because your company needs to gather information from all the departments. It can be buried in older systems, or department-specific applications, or may be present on paper as well. Data migration is, therefore, a daunting task and may take more time than expected.
An ERP for professional service industry brings revolutionary changes in the workflow and routine operations. It not only brings automation to several processes but also overhauls them to leverage the benefits of more efficiency. But then, this process needs a paradigm shift from a traditional working style to a digital pattern. Here, it is possible that your company may face internal resistance to change, at least at the initial level. This resistance can be a major roadblock and you need to play an active role to handle it. You can spread awareness about the features and benefits of the ERP solution among your staff and stakeholders while making sure that no employee will be fired because of ERP implementation.
As mentioned in the first point, ERP implementation consists of multiple phases and simultaneous processes. As per the Statista survey, scope creep or lack of planning is one of the most common reasons for budget overruns in ERP implementation. You need to build a clear and realistic plan from scratch to address various issues. Proper planning includes all possible speed bumps and issues that lead to cost overruns in advance. As a result, you can make more insightful decisions at the right time and keep the ERP implementation on track.
Quality of Data
Let’s face it! Multiple departments interact with the same products, customers, and stakeholders on multiple occasions. This leads to duplication of information. In other words, it is fairly possible that the same information is stored in different formats across various departments. Also, some information may have some inconsistencies or inaccuracies like different spellings of names or minor changes in the addresses of customers. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure data quality before migrating into the ERP system. The professional service provider needs to clean out duplicate entries and add missing information before integrating it into the custom ERP solution.
An ERP implementation is not an overnight process. Also, it does not end when the new system starts working. It is essential for you to ensure that the professional services ERP software keeps on evolving in line with changing trends and requirements. Therefore, the project team that handles the ERP solution should remain active after deployment. It is necessary to fix issues and handle new challenges as they come after implementing the ERP solution. Also, most companies use ERP systems for over a decade after implementation. Therefore, it is essential to keep it updated and ready to meet ever-changing needs.
A customized ERP for professional service may cost you more than your budget estimation. It is because many organizations tend to underestimate the effort and time required to switch to the new business system before implementing the ERP. As a result, companies witness cost overrun in a few areas. For example, limited IT resources in the company lead the management to use the ERP vendor’s service team more frequently than expected. As a result, the company has to spend money on the hourly rate of experienced ERP consultants and their travel expenses. Data migration can also increase the overall budget.
Thankfully, SAP ERP can assist the professional service industry to address these challenges. It has different modules like total workforce management and project management to manage the processes of professional services more efficiently. Let’s dig deep into this topic.
How SAP ERP Solves The Pain Points of Professional Services
A professional service industry has unique needs irrespective of the domain or field. Every service provider has to manage timesheets for billable and non-billable hours which require an advanced ERP system. The best ERP for professional services can offer bird-eye visibility to the entire business data with seamless access to project accounting. SAP ERP for professional services is an example of such a robust and reliable ERP for the professional service industry.
Here are the ways SAP ERP can address the pain points of professional services-
SAP ERP software can automate project accounting while moving the data seamlessly across different departments.
It enables users to create multi-entity consolidations instantly. It can save valuable time for your employees and increase their productivity.
Mobile access functionality facilitates employees and consultants to get access to corporate details from anywhere in real time.
SAP ERP solutions can have advanced features for project billing that can automate the entire process while generating accurate invoices.
SAP ERP software can help professional service providers keep their confidential data safe from hackers.
How Silvertouch can Help your Professional Services Business Perform Better
We, at Silver Touch Technologies, know the pain points of professional services and assist you to choose the best ERP for your business. As a renowned SAP Partner, we build customized add-ons and implement top cloud-based ERP solutions in the professional service industry.
SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Subscription Billing, etc. These are some of the featured cloud solutions for professional services. Our team of experienced professionals can understand your business requirements and long-term objectives thoroughly before suggesting the right SAP solution.
We enable professional service providers to get specialized cloud-based ERP applications to drive the cost-effective transformation of their business processes. We ensure the successful implementation of the SAP ERP software with your existing systems and provide your company with the necessary technical support to achieve sustainable growth.
Value of Implementing an ERP for Professional Service Organizations
Implementing an ERP for professional service companies can facilitate your organization to modernize the operational infrastructure and improve efficiency. A feature-rich ERP system can add value to your business in four different ways. They are-
An ERP system is designed to enable the professional service business to get insights from the entire organization in a single place. The cloud-based solution can show the necessary information on the dashboards as and when the user wants.
Professional service companies need to quote accurately and stick to the amount mentioned in it. A robust ERP for professional services industry can collect and analyze all the necessary data to enable you to come up with an accurate price for your services.
Enhanced Customer Management
An ERP solution has a built-in CRM functionality that assists you to manage customer relations efficiently. It enables the management to make decisions related to the company’s relationships with different customers.
A cloud-based ERP solution can enable your company to accomplish projects successfully within the given timeline and budget. It can make your organization ready for new challenges and grabbing new opportunities.
Advantages & Disadvantages of ERP Solution for Service Industry
Professional services business is challenging but full of opportunities. An ERP for service industries can assist you to leverage the advantage of actionable insights and improved predictability of resources. It benefits the decision-making process and ensures the success of your business.
Considering the top pros of a professional services ERP system, we can mention the following ones.
- Improved Billability
- Reduced Operational Costs
- Enhanced Service Quality
- More Profitability
- Increased Productivity
- Reduced Chance of Errors
Whether you offer professional services in marketing, technology, or any other segment, an ERP for service industries always remains useful.
However, ERP brings some disadvantages also. Slow and pricey implementation is one of the biggest cons of ERP. Other disadvantages include shifting objectives and numerous customization options that can baffle the company management.
Powerful ERP Solution for Professional Service Industry to Ensure Business Growth
The professional services industry needs to keep many aspects under control. Be its legal services or consulting firms, it is of the utmost importance to get the right people with the right skills and the right information from a single source. A tailored ERP solution can make it possible, but, you need a reputed and reliable ERP partner for gaining a high ROI through a successful implementation.
A tailored ERP for service industries can serve many purposes at once. It assists professional service providers to bring more accuracy, transparency, and visibility to their processes. They can build better relationships with customers while addressing different challenges efficiently. All you need to consult a reputed vendor for implementing the right professional services ERP system in your company.
FAQs for ERP for professional service
An ERP solution with the modules like contact management, sales activity tracking, customer service, and marketing can handle the daily processes of the professional services industry effectively.
As an automated system, ERP for professional services can manage project costing and make the billing processes more accurate for your company.
Increased visibility, reduced operational costs, higher security, and minimum chances of human errors are some of the major benefits of ERP software for professional services.
A feature-rich professional services ERP system can enable consultants with detailed insights on project budgets, deadlines, and resource allocation to handle multiple projects effectively.
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