As project-based firms grow, they may find themselves with a teetering tech stack. At the beginning, spreadsheets and institutional knowledge were enough to get projects across the line. Over time, different platforms are added as new functionality and management software are chosen by your teams. One day you look up and your business is running on half a dozen different software tools.
Why should you worry about an out-of-control tech stack?
Typical management of this “best-of-breed” platform approach involves maintaining poorly secured shared spreadsheets to coordinate data pass-through, access and processes for a combination of tools like small business accounting software (Quickbooks, Intuit), project management software (Asana, Trello), production operations tools (JIRA, Adobe), Client communications (Outlook, Google Suite), and executive management dashboards (Grow, Zoho Analytics).
Between these, the functions of sales, time tracking, budget forecasting, and efficiency tracking can become inefficient and unprofitable – but by dividing the data, you can miss the trends because you spend so much time focused on shuttling the numbers from place to place.
Common challenges of mixing platforms for project-based firms:
Security and access risks. If you forget to provide access to that 4th key platform, your staff will run into roadblocks. As the people on your team change roles and responsibilities, and even move to other companies, their access needs for each for your platforms will also change.
Inefficient spending. Many of these platforms have a cost per seat, and one of the trade-offs of using a best of breed software mix means that you’re not able to fully use the functionality available in each platform. You pay the full rate for each tool, while not using them to their full potential.
Data loss. Documentation and institutional knowledge can keep these systems running, but at scale, the manual processes required are hard to maintain and update. This leads to disconnects between the platforms being used and data falling through the cracks that could instead be tracking project cost vs margin, training opportunities, and client risks.
Shutdowns and outages. Many popular SMB software platforms used in this space are startups. And they are subject to the growing pains of small tech firms looking for funding. You don’t have much visibility into the product roadmap, and you risk the sudden shutdown of a platform, and the potential loss of your data.
Poor data control. With different data governance and versioning policies between platforms, your data is at risk of being manipulated, erased or corrupted by team members or unauthorized users, whether intentional or accidental. Many early-stage software platforms lack deep security and provisioning customization. All it takes is one lost laptop, and you could also lose critical data.
The Unified Tech Stack for Growing Agencies
Advanced Projects for Dynamics 365 Business Central provides all of this functionality in one place, with a solid application platform that integrates your team’s entire workflow, and comprehensive security provisioning.
When your finance software is fully integrated with projects, sales, marketing, operations, production, and beyond, your data and security control is in one place. Updates and functionality are maintained by Microsoft, a leading firm with decades of experience maintaining business-critical software systems.
Velosio’s Advanced Projects for Dynamics 365 Business Central steps in with the functionality project-based businesses need most: quote-to-cash functionality to streamline client deals, allowing your sales team to quote projects based on past project margin, and transform signed contracts into project tasks with any billing structure, invoicing, and flexible data dashboards. This suite of tools is seamlessly integrated with Dynamics 365 Business Central, meaning your team can truly work in a unified software system.
Realizing the Benefits of Project Accounting
With built in dashboards, implementation training and support, and regular releases of new functionality and updates, Advanced Projects for Dynamics 365 Business Central keeps your business running with up-to-date best practices for accounting, finance, project management, and security.
Project accounting means that your teams can work from templates built on the real outcomes of past work, setting your sales team up to build profitable quotes based on real statements of work. With visual resource scheduling, simplified task management, and intelligent suggestions built into Business Central, your teams can find patterns that are eroding your margin and fix them before it’s too late.
With integrated time tracking in Outlook, JIRA and Azure DevOps, your teams are able to track their time in Business Central or the applications where they most frequently handle their day to day tasks, and pass that data back to your finance team.
Learn more about how Advanced Projects and Business Central can unify your operations and help your team improve margin and workflow with our eBook, The Forgotten Fifteen.