Project-based companies run projects for external clients as well as for traditional service-or product-oriented companies. It involves grouping employees into teams to complete a project. The company determines the scope and budget of each project based on an estimate of the labor and materials needed to deliver the customer specifications. [Companies in project-centric industries must carefully segment, monitor, and report on time and resources more carefully and granularly than other product (or service) based organizations.]
The challenges faced by this line of business are different from those witnessed by product-focused companies. Companies often struggle to set the right scope for projects, allocate the right resources, and effectively execute. The other challenges that project-based businesses must overcome to capture the full margin potential are: [Like any project, the goals are typically: On-time delivery, on budget, and meeting the scope and goals of the project itself. Accurately tracking time, resources and cost are obviously important but quickly identifying inefficiencies, scope creep and other elements that lead to not meeting the above are critical. Managing this not only requires post activity reporting but also helping to anticipate shortages or risk. Some components include:
- Expense tracking against which project/activity
- Critical (and non-critical) path (chain) management
- Resource capacity and dependency management of shared equipment, people, deliverables, and resources
- Project progress reporting
- Overlapping projects competing with each other for people and resources
- Fragmented planning leading to inability to manage multiple projects with ease
- Outdated tools that affect productivity and collaboration
Project-based companies, therefore, need to invest in technologies that provide a more holistic view of the company’s processes along with project management practices and features.
What We’ve Learned (and, client feedback):
Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps project-based companies to optimize the management of their projects all the way from start to finish. We’ve worked with project-based companies in: Construction, Manufacturing (Engineer/Make To Order), Distribution Services, Real-estate development and more.
This means that you can maximize your performance, deliver projects on time and budget, and therefore, increase billing. The solution is designed to:
- Provide a full overview of resources and budget
- Give updated project information in real time
- Effectively manage financial data such as time and expenses, which are critical for billing
- Assess the performance of projects with all your data in one place, enabling you to analyse and forecast with ease
- Adapt easily to individual projects
- Create consistency in project set-up with customized templates
- Be cost-effective and easy to use as it is built on the Microsoft platform
- Process remapping/confirmation – need to ensure the integrity and necessity of steps, dependencies in overall program management
- Re-usable assets – whether it’s costing, templates or anything else – this minimizes start-up time and cost; care should be taken to re-visit these assets to ensure the asset remains valid
- Reporting and visualization accuracy and selection – being able to see raw numbers and drill down to detail is needed but so are visualizations that provide immediate insight to outliers, or “yellow” areas to be researched.
- Watch for latency – some activities might require manual submission, e.g., timesheets. It’s vital to be diligent in the collection, audit and final approval of these since they impact reporting and as importantly billing delays.
- Change management workflow – more related to scope changes that alter the project (time, resources, cost). This is not just a system issue since there is often collaboration and consensus required to avoid disagreements and conflict.
Typical Modules Implemented:
Finance, Human Resource, Payroll, Project Management and accounting and Service Management