What Kind of ERP System Do Project-Driven Companies Need?

Here we highlight the essential requirements for an effective ERP system tailored to project-driven companies.

James Thomas

Industry Director, Professional Services

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Table of Content

    When it comes to ERP, one size does not fit all, especially for project-driven companies. Project-driven work has clear goals, milestones and deliverables and a defined start and end date. Projects may take hours, months or longer — the duration varies with every project and business need. But the work is aligned against business needs and objectives, not specific roles. Project-driven companies are typically in areas such as consulting, architecture and engineering, public relations, government contracting, construction, software, or technology.

    What Kind of ERP System Do Project-Driven Companies Need?

    Project-driven companies are typically concerned with managing customer demands, delivering services on time, staying on budget, and keeping up with compliance regulations. They need an ERP system that combines project and financial management capabilities to provide users with end-to-end functionality across project management, job costing, data analysis, and material management.

    • Project ERP software is built for the project lifecycle, integrating all business functions, and encompassing all processes of a project-driven organization into one solution.
    • Traditional ERP solutions are built for product manufacturing, encompassing large, repetitive processes that drive economies of scale through repeatable, streamlined activities.

    Professional Services leaders webinar about ERP.

    According to G2, to be considered project-driven ERP software, it must be able to:

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    • Include functionality for project, program, and portfolio management
    • Provide an end-to-end solution for all project-driven work of a company
    • Track and record resources and costs on a project and portfolio level
    • Deliver front office (sales and marketing) and back office (procurement) features
    • Manage suppliers, subcontractors, contracts, as well as bids and RFPs
    • Support project-accounting features as well as time and expense tracking
    • Integrate with or provide modules for HR, workforce management, or payroll

    Project-Driven KPIs Must be Supported by ERP

    Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) or measures is critical during a project. Without them, it’s difficult to see how you’re progressing toward your goals. But how do you know what you should measure for each project? Overwhelming your team with data won’t make the project succeed, but providing the right data, at the right time, ensures the project stays on track.

    A few project management KPIs to consider tracking in your ERP solution include:

    • Number of Schedule Adjustments
    • Resource Conflict Year Over Year (YOY)
    • Budget Line Items
    • Cost Performance Index
    • Customer Complaints
    • Employee Churn Rates
    • Project gross margin
    • Repeatable revenue
    • Net operating income
    • Billable utilization
    • ID to quote
    • Time to source

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central + Progressus for the Win

    Progressus is purpose-built for project-driven companies and powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. The Progressus solution was crafted to cater to the intricate and dynamic needs of project-driven businesses such as Project Accounting, Project Management, Project Resource Management, and Project Reporting. Progressus was built by professional service industry experts who understand the complex requirements of project-driven companies. It supports remote work environments and is available 24/7 via the cloud.

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central combined with Progressus fills a gap left behind by the popular on-premises solution for project-driven companies, Microsoft Dynamics SL (formerly Solomon). Many project-driven companies rely or relied on SL as their ERP solution, but Microsoft is ending mainstream support for SL in 2024, and extended support for Microsoft Dynamics SL 2018 will be available until 7/11/2028. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is meant to be the replacement cloud-driven ERP solution for SL but lacks project-driven ERP components that Progressus fulfills.

    Progressus allows for efficient task tracking and completion to determine which team members are the most productive. Progressus is the premier solution for Microsoft Dynamics Business Central for project-centric companies.  Features like project accounting, resource management, time and expense tracking, subscription management, Jira and DevOps integration, scheduling, and Microsoft 365 Outlook calendar integration have made it a must-have for companies that rely on billable resources and complex projects. Progressus also includes Power BI reports and Power Automate features.

    The integration of Microsoft Copilot to Business Central will allow Progressus to utilize AI and natural language processing to enable business users to create content faster. Along with other Microsoft productivity tools, users can complete routine and time-consuming work tasks with minimal effort, eliminate many manual processes, and streamline business processes like never before.

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    Management Consulting Firm ScottMadden Replaces Microsoft Dynamics SL with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central + Progressus

    With an aging Microsoft Dynamics SL back-end ERP and NetSuite for CRM, management consulting firm ScottMadden resorted to sticky notes and Excel spreadsheets.

    “When you start to see an introduction of manual processes, work arounds, and Excel spreadsheet jockeying, you’re not maximizing the power of your ERP,” says ScottMadden partner George Penton. “Eventually these manual processes which have been cobbled together generate billing issues, which in turn create accounts receivable and collections issues,” continues Penton.

    ScottMadden selected Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central with Customer Engagement, Marketing, and Progressus, for an end-to-end modernization project with Microsoft partner Velosio.

    “During implementation, we really tried to treat the solution as not just another tool—it’s bigger than that,” says Penton. “Dynamics 365 is an opportunity to transform the way in which you operate. We put together a continuous improvement and change management team in tandem with the implementation which keeps the training fresh, keeps features and functions present, and ensures user adoption and evolution of the system,” continues Penton.

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    Data and reporting were big considerations during the project and after go-live. Velosio engaged its Data Platform Services team to help complement Business Central and Customer Engagement, with Power BI to provide clear visibility, in real-time, for its executive team to aid in decision making.

    Customer Engagement and Marketing

    With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, ScottMadden has insight into lead stage, and what opportunities will soon close, so they can determine what resources they need to fulfill the projects. Once the deal is closed, it’s sent over to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for billing information and scheduling. Now, schedulers can match skill sets from their consulting bench with appropriate projects.

    On the marketing side, ScottMadden can now funnel leads from their website into Dynamics Marketing to put them on a customer journey with targeted emails and campaigns. Webinar events are fully managed online with Microsoft Teams integration to Microsoft 365.

    Progressus Advanced Project Management

    Timesheet management is now a structured, weekly process. The management team can easily pull reports at the push of a button to determine where timesheets are stuck in the process, as well as to look at resource utilization. Specialized dashboards for ScottMadden’s 25+ partners help them to better manage their project portfolio. Each partner can now log in and view information for their assigned projects.

    Progressus Advanced Projects for Dynamics 365 Business Central provides everything ScottMadden needs from a project management perspective — flexible project forecasting, powerful project planning, estimating, and budgeting. Easy mobile time and expense entry. Project-focused analytics and insights. With Progressus, ScottMadden can now maximize utilization, complete great projects on time and on-budget and optimize its project portfolio.

    System Benefits

    The new, improved Microsoft solution allows for:

    • Forecasting and visibility into project profitability
    • Weekly timesheets instead of monthly
    • Analytical dashboards for staying on top of project management
    • Converting pipeline to forecast
    • Marketing campaign management with customer journeys
    • Increased visibility for real-time decision-making
    • Workflow approvals and resource management
    • Increased cash flow and profitability
    • Better project management and limiting overruns

    Learn More

    Do any of ScottMadden’s challenges sound familiar to you? Learn more about their project by listening to their interview with Consulting Magazine: Watch Now.

    Want to check out Progressus? Visit the website to learn more about the leading project-management solution built in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for project-driven companies.

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    James Thomas

    Industry Director, Professional Services

    Follow Me: