On-premises vs. Cloud-based ERP for Professional Service Firms: 6 Reasons to Make the Switch

To minimize time spent on non-billable tasks, PS firms are moving from on-premise to cloud-based ERPs. Here are the top 6 reasons why.

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    Professional services and project-based business rely on efficient project management for success ⁠— spanning across all areas of their business and business systems. To minimize time spent on non-billable tasks, firms are moving from on-premises to cloud-based ERP systems. Here’s the top six reasons why we’re seeing project driven firms make the switch:


    Increased speed of doing business can provide a competitive advantage. This kind of speed is provided by modern, connected systems that operate on a common data service. These systems provide the visibility, efficiency, focus, security and cost savings you need to remain competitive.

    For instance, consider the value of automating contract initiation, renewal, realignment, amendments, billing configuration, sales tax management, workflows and approvals, discounting, security and administration, reducing time spent on contract administration, management, and associated tasks. Compared to running these functions on multiple, point solutions that are disconnected from each other, your savings could be 75% or more.

    Contract Management

    Easier management of contracts and their associated complex billing, time and resources requirements. ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (for small and medium sized firms) and Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (for larger firms) can streamline and automate the contract renewal and realignment process. At the same time, the labor of meeting milestones can be decreased.

    Resource and Project Management

    Three of the main drivers of efficient project management are:

    • Increased billable hours (team member utilization),
    • skill-based resource assignment, and
    • talent sourcing (i.e. recruiting and onboarding of talent).

    Project based businesses live and die based on efficient project management and resource utilization, change orders and write-offs. They benefit from connected CRM, ERP and Project Automation systems that give visibility into projects and helps manage the risk.

    Consider the benefits of automating workflows that can free up billable time, increase accuracy, and minimize exceptions. Automation also improves coordination and collaboration across teams to solidify customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    Unified Business Systems

    Provide a unified platform with connected systems making entering data, working with the latest reports and sharing one version of the truth easy. Unlike on-premises ERP solutions, cloud-based systems provide a single platform that people trust and decrease manual errors and lost time caused by switching back and forth among systems.

    BI and Analytics

    Capitalize on modern BI tools and give the power of predictive intelligence to the people who can take action. Systems like Microsoft’s Power Platform allow staff to see data in a format that is easily digestible and understandable – and give them the ability to build custom dashboards and reports, and slice and dice the information easily.


    Support revenue recognition needs, especially as businesses grow. Companies that follow GAAP standards are now required to comply with new revenue recognition guidelines detailed in ASC 606 & IFRS 15. To make this a reality, companies need a system designed and certified to meet these guidelines. Modern ERP systems streamline and automate the functions required to comply with the new standards.

    Moving to a cloud-based system with all applications operating on a single, data platform opens up many opportunities to accelerate success for professional service and project-based businesses.

    ͏Things to consider when choosing an ERP for Professional Services and Project-based businesses:

    • Increased speed is becoming a competitive separator.
    • The need to effectively and accurately manage changing contracts and subscriptions is now the norm.
    • ͏Projects and client expectations are getting more complex and are tightly tied to performance results.
    • The use of seamlessly connected, easily accessible systems for better transparency and efficiency is a competitive necessity.
    • Modern BI and Predictive Intelligence are must haves.
    • Firms must be able to comply with Revenue Recognition guidelines efficiently and effectively.

    For additional insights, watch this 30-minute webcast on demand and learn more about how your firm can connect and deliver greater value with Microsoft cloud technologies.

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