The importance of integrated ERP systems for professional services
- Posted on February 6, 2017
The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Nick Lefkonidjates.
Firms specialising in professional services always rely on a number of systems. A system for customer relationships. A system for HR. A system for sales. The list goes on. Naturally, managing all these disparate databases can be difficult. But it shouldn’t have to be this way.
Different data systems may fall under different arms of the business but, ultimately, they’re all connected by a common thread: the overall goal of the business. This is why an integrated ERP system can help bring it all together [CLICK TO TWEET].
One System to Rule Them All
Services firms are unique – what they’re really selling is their skills. Success relies on the smooth delivery of services and projects that are completed on time and within budget. As such, to ensure profitability, understanding the performance of internal resources is crucial.
ERPs allow this to happen. They enable businesses with full visibility over their networks by joining up the various databases. This includes everything from tracking and billing systems to project management and procurement systems. As a result, efficiency gains can be made. Redundant tasks are removed, billing accuracy is improved and budget overruns are minimalised.
With an integrated ERP system, service firms can redefine their business processes to reflect the more customer-centric needs of today. This is a general direction that many service firms are heading towards, mostly fuelled by technology. The legal industry is a good example of this, where ERP technology is enabling flexible working, administrative simplicity and allowing for improved communication between firms and clients. The results have been a restructuring of fee systems, faster decision-making and improved transparency for the benefit of all.
The Right ERP Is Usually One That Has Been Tried and Tested
Updating to a modern integrated ERP system is a significant step towards supporting future business growth. Yet choosing the right one will make or break ERP success.
When searching for the right solution, service firms should look for an ERP that is fit for purpose and that requires minimal software changes. Because, while highly customisable solutions sound good in theory, they defeat the purpose of an ERP. Customisation is the main reason why ERP deployments run over budget and over schedule. Instead, look for a solution that takes advantage of the standardised processes that have been tested by many other companies.
You should also look for a provider with a thorough understanding of your processes and comprehensive experience of your industry. This will not only allow for smooth ERP implementation, but also ensure you have the right expertise on board should you require support later down the line.
All professional services firms are different. The same goes for ERPs. Make sure the one you choose is the one that’s right for you. To find out more about ERP, click over to the Avanade ERP Reimagined eBook.