Cloud ERP and PSA Software for Services Firms
This is the third in a three-part blog series based on an interview with Bob Anderson, VP and Analyst at Gartner Research, and Warren Linscott, VP of Product Strategy and Cloud Operations at Deltek, about Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP software) and Professional Services Automation software (PSA software) for Services Firms.
This interview is now available as an on-demand webcast.
“Service-centric firms are leading the charge to Cloud ERP as opposed to product-centric businesses. Within that, professional services firms appear to be outpacing everyone else.” BOB ANDERSON, VP AND ANALYST, GARTNER RESEARCH
Why are Services firms embracing cloud-based ERP and PSA software built for project-based businesses?
There are several reasons services firms are moving to cloud-based ERP and cloud-based PSA software solutions. They are moving to the cloud because they want to leverage the power of a great user experience and more quickly adopt new technologies. Recently, there have been significant advancements in ERP and PSA software that enable more effective collaboration and mobility, and that also embed analytics and business intelligence capabilities into the software. Service firms want to adopt all of these new capabilities that are available in native cloud solutions as quickly as possible. In short, they want all of the advantages that modern ERP and PSA software solutions provide, and when these solutions are cloud-based, it enables them to do that faster.
Watch this video with Deltek VP Neil Davidson that first aired on the Wall Street Journal to learn why services firms are moving to the cloud.
So what does this growing interest services firm have for cloud-based ERP and cloud-based PSA mean for ERP vendors?
First and foremost, services firms no longer want to be treated as second class citizens and have to make do with generic ERP and PSA software solutions. They want cloud based solutions that are not only project-based, but also designed for their industry. If a vendor has not made the proper investments in cloud-based ERP and PSA software solutions, and are not committed to developing project-based, industry specific solutions, they are the first to fall off the list of those vendors being evaluated.
Services firms are beginning to realize that there are ERP and PSA software vendors out there that really understand their specific industry and can deliver project-based software solutions tailored to their needs that don’t require customization.
“Of course, there’s been a few ERP vendors like Deltek that have a rich heritage of completely focusing on selling ERP solutions to project-based firms incorporating things like Professional Services Automation. And more and more, because of the current growth of this market, we’re seeing a handful of relative newcomers emerge focused on services and project businesses…While we’re seeing these solutions come together, it’s up to users to evaluate which providers have made the right investments, have taken the right approach…that will take them into the future”. BOB ANDERSON, VP AND ANALYST, GARTNER RESEARCH
So what should services firms consider when they evaluate cloud-based ERP & cloud-based PSA software solutions?
When evaluating ERP or PSA software vendors for your services firm, it’s important to do a thorough evaluation and choose a system that:
- Provides you with greater business agility: In a services business there are lots of moving parts and things tend to shift quickly. Make sure the ERP and PSA software solutions you are evaluating address your project-based business and specific industry nuances. You want to ensure the vendor you select has made the right investments and knows your industry well.
- Enables fast adoption across the organization: The system you choose should be intuitive, engaging and easy to work. It should support all of your users and work on any device, whether your users are in the office, on the road or at home.
- Your users will embrace: The more people you have actively engaged with the ERP or PSA software system, the stronger your firm will become. This high level of engagement is more easily attainable with the next gen cloud-based ERP and cloud-based PSA software solutions available today. They provide a strong visual experience (e.g. role based dashboards), that can be easily tailored to the specific needs of each user.
- Busts through silos and encourages collaboration across your organization: Cloud-based ERP and PSA software help to integrate core business functions like sales, finance, marketing, customer support, HR, and procurement to help your organization attain a level of cross-organization collaboration and visibility that can be extremely transformative.
- Embeds real-time analytics to improve the quality and speed of business decisions: When you have a system that gives you fast, accurate information and analysis, everyone across your organization will be able to make better business decisions and respond more quickly to issues and opportunities.
Can all size services firms benefit from purpose-built ERP and PSA software solutions?
Absolutely! All size services firms can benefit from purpose-built ERP and PSA software solutions.
As a small or medium sized firm, you’ll be able to outpunch your weight against larger competitors. Just because your firm may be small or medium-sized, it doesn’t mean your needs are any less sophisticated than those of larger firms. Purpose-built ERP and PSA software solutions will help you manage your business performance more effectively. When the information you get from the system is framed in the context of your industry and the projects you are managing, it can give you tremendous competitive advantage.
Large firms also benefit from purpose-built ERP and PSA software solutions. As a large firm you may not be as IT constrained as a smaller firm, however, like most large firms you are probably looking to move away from extensive software customization. Customization is expensive and time-consuming and has traditionally locked larger firms into older software due to the difficulty of upgrading. Additionally, with purpose-built ERP and PSA solutions, larger firms avoid paying for a lot of extra functionality they will not use.
As a larger firm, it’s important for you to ensure you choose a vendor with the proven scale and expertise for serving a company of your size. There are many vendors out there, but only a few that can serve the needs of large enterprises.
“Large enterprises are also increasing looking for industry and purpose-built solutions because they want an ERP that hits all the high notes on the music. They don’t want an ERP that’s good but offers a lot of functionality that’s not needed or tailored to their business. I’m thinking of statistics that show that in large enterprises up to half of the ERP’s capabilities still sit on the shelf unused. But guess what? Customer still have to pay for it.”
BOB ANDERSON, VP AND ANALYST, GARTNER RESEARCH
“The bottom line today is that customers are looking for ERP Providers who know their industry well and who build their products to address industry challenges and the business outcomes they’re looking for. They want to see evidence that product enhancements are being driven by a group of people who have expertise in their industry and that tangible investments and commitment are solidly in place.” BOB ANDERSON, VP AND ANALYST, GARTNER RESEARCH
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