Challenges in acquiring top talent and new skills to cater to diverse clients and stay competitive are increasing for consulting firms. Add to this the problem of inconsistent or disorganized knowledge-sharing without unity in a single, transparent system and it’s no surprise that consultancies are looking for a new, better way of doing things. For many, that’s ERP.
Specifically, cloud-based ERP can help consulting businesses adopt the “‘anywhere, any time team operating model” Infosys Consulting CEO Mark Livingston sees as critical to delivering the choicest talents to clients wherever they are with direct access to the information they need in real time. It does this not merely by allowing consulting firms to operate remotely, but by solving yet other problems that flourish in outdated consulting practices–poor resource management and information silos.
Using cloud ERP, consulting businesses can differentiate from the competition with superior services and resourcing, make knowledge transparent and gain the means to make client work more profitable than ever.
In this article, we’ll give you the information you need to find the best ERP for consulting firms.
- What is the best ERP for consulting firms?
- Resource management: ERP’s secret weapon for consultancies
- Key benefits of ERP for consulting firms
- How to select ERP for consulting businesses
What is the best ERP for consulting firms?
Hands down, the best ERP for consulting firms is Professional Services Automation software, or PSA. PSA is a type of ERP that consolidates the various components of your Quote-to-Cash cycle in one data-rich system, strengthening resourcing, project planning, financial management and organizational efficiency. Elimination of project, client and cross-departmental information silos allows your consultants to execute their expertise responsively and with the agility needed to deepen client relationships.
Moreover, PSA ensures the efficiency and 360-degree visibility required to increase billable time, win more deals with the right resources at the right time and stay nimbler to meet the complex project needs of clients big and small.
As purpose-built ERP for professional services industries, PSA covers:
- Quote, proposal and opportunity management
- Project management and planning
- Resource management, scheduling and forecasting
- Time tracking, which in leading solutions can be automated with auto-populated timesheets that update project budgets and margins
- Business expense tracking, which can be as swift, simple and transparent as uploading photos of receipts and assigning predefined expense categories
- Task management with tasks available for all team members across your organization and visual task tracking against client projects
- Billing and invoicing, which the software should automate, including the scheduling of invoices for retainers and fixed-price projects
- Real-time reporting with data you can configure any way you need for various stakeholders
Get your FREE copy of the 2021 PSA Buyer’s Guide here
Resource management: ERP’s secret weapon for consultancies
Today’s consulting prospects are seeking providers that can quickly resource and solve specific, often “specialized” problems with specific, specialized services.
In this environment, getting your ducks in a row across borders and time zones with correct resourcing may be more important than ever before.
Gaining instant insight into your hiring needs
ERP gives you an almost immediate understanding of your hiring needs.
Leveraging ERP’s advanced project planning capabilities, you can see past project data and detailed information on project deliverables, including schedules, margins, budgets and resource allocations along with their cost and sales rates. Comparing this information to granular resource availability information and project planning, you can forecast resources and pinpoint what types of skills you’ll need as well as when, where and how best to apply them.
Being a powerful data repository and organizer, ERP can also store the types of activities your current resources can perform so you can quickly identify which skills might be missing. And this just scratches the surface of what ERP can do.
Some solutions can also give you a head start on planning before deals are struck with resource planning placeholders. These will give you an edge in forecasting job roles that will need filling, planning resources further out and calculating how much opportunities are going to bring in in terms of revenue, giving you more control over individual project profitability.
Key benefits of ERP for consulting firms
In addition to knowing which skills you’ll need, you’ll also be able to:
- Price services correctly guided by the financial details of successful projects you’ve completed combined with insight into internal and external resources’ cost rates
- Limit bench time and utilize existing resources to the fullest extent with a side-by-side view of project planning and resource availability
- Quickly spot instances where the completion or start time of work packages can be moved up with visual resource planning charts
- Share cross-organizational knowledge in real time with project and client documents, statements of work, notes and relevant information centralized, allowing for better, more flexible service delivery
- Incorporate analysis of pertinent (non-confidential) information captured in the ERP system, including project budgets, margins and work breakdown structures, into future projects and proposals
- Lower overhead, helping your organization grow in a fiscally responsible manner
How to select ERP for consulting businesses
Realistically, there are many moving parts of operating a consultancy as a profitable business and industry leader that deserve a much more thorough analysis than can be provided in this blog post.
So, we did this analysis and compiled everything you need to know about adopting the best software in our 2021 PSA Buyer’s Guide.
That said, consulting firms do need to look at specific criteria if they’re going to pick the right platform. These are what we are going to address below.
Choose mobile-friendly cloud ERP
Cloud ERP systems offer significant advantages over their (largely old-school) on-premises counterparts.
For consulting firms that want to deliver topnotch services anywhere in the world, only cloud ERP has the capacity to host instantly sharable knowledge and promote anywhere, anytime collaboration.
But also, if they want to keep their services relevant and stay on top of changing technology trends, there’s no competition.
Cloud-based ERP will come with automatic software updates of new feature releases from the cloud it runs on. So if your consultancy uses ERP that runs on Google Cloud, for example, you’ll work from an infinitely scalable infrastructure and have access to new Google Cloud application technologies just by using your ERP system.
To give you a better picture of this, because VOGSY operates on Google Cloud, we’ve been able to jump on Google’s Gmail add-on and dynamic email tech so B2B services firms could start working and collaborating from their Gmail inboxes and get vital client and project information in customer and company emails.
It’s also worth mentioning, data storage can be cheaper and safer with cloud tools. This is because it’s not subject to onsite storage and environmental hazards. As long as you’re working with a reputable cloud system and ERP vendor, safety and security are part of the package.
Make sure you can easily weigh capacity and demand
Good capacity management is easy capacity management. Put differently, any difficulty in understanding your consultancy’s resource capacity is going to compromise your ability to meet demand with an adequate resource pool.
What goes into easy capacity management? Quick-view sales pipeline and deal progression data accessible in real time. Clear resource availability presented in an easily digestible format. The ability to pencil in placeholders while planning resources for proposal-stage projects and assess resource gaps.
Here’s an easy test. During a free trial or demo, see if the main resource planning view makes sense to you. If it doesn’t, it’s probably not the user-friendly solution you’re looking for.
You can also check that the vendor has gained recognition in the B2B community as a leader in resource management software. This can give you confidence that the solution has been tested, vetted and confirmed to meet the highest resourcing standards.
Look for billability and utilization tracking
How billable is your consultants’ time? How efficiently is it being used? These are questions you can rely on your ERP to answer instantly so long as it offers real-time billability and utilization reporting.
It’s easiest if you can find this information without having to do any digging, so look for ERP solutions that offer it, along with other useful financial information (individual client profitability tracking is another handy metric), in a premade dashboard. That way, you can check in whenever you need and find it all in one place.
Check the depth of project financial reporting
Every services business under the sun needs to know where it lies on the profitability spectrum.
Estimated vs. actual project budgets and margins are a must if you’re going to keep projects on the right track and make sure they hit profitability targets. At the same time, you can use this data to learn from your successes and repeat those, not failures.
For consulting businesses, projects that are costing more than they’re making, or returning very little in terms of margin, are not worth doing. Likewise, knowing that certain types of projects deliver higher margins can give you a good idea of which direction to take in developing services and accepting new clients.
Not to mention, actual vs. estimated budgets and margins, along with resource costing and sales rates, is part of your right-pricing strategy.
Opt for easy onboarding
The larger the size of your consulting business, or even the more spread out your teams are over the globe, the more intensive deploying an ERP solution can become. Without adequate onboarding help, this can translate to longer implementation periods, disjointed efforts and adoption roadblocks.
The ERP vendor you choose should offer comprehensive, fast and easy onboarding with a proven track record. Though no ERP solution is turnkey, a strong onboarding experience can drastically shorten the time it takes to go live with your ERP solution from many months, or even years, to eight weeks tops.
Especially for larger and more spread-out consultancies, simplified onboarding creates faster Time to Value.
What’s more, it ensures the relationship building and project work your consultants are doing won’t be undermined by a sloppy software transition.
Make ERP your greatest asset
As consulting prospects increasingly demand more niche and skilled services–and don’t want to wait–consultancies can’t afford not to modernize. ERP is helping them meet the needs of their audiences and deliver the tailored solutions and specialized skills they’re looking for anywhere in the world with powerful resource management capabilities designed for the new remote-friendly business landscape.
For consulting organizations that also struggle with common problems from siloed knowledge to low client project margins, PSA is the dynamic powerhouse that will resolve them once and for all and make business predictable.
If you want a complete feature walk-through and convenient checklist that will help you identify exactly what you need from your software solution now, check out our free 2021 PSA Buyer’s Guide.
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What are the 3 common types of ERP? ›
There are three main types of ERP systems that function with different deployment model options. The most common types of ERP systems include cloud ERP, on-premise ERP, and hybrid ERP.What is the most widely used ERP system? ›
SAP solutions are the most widely used ERPs, and it enjoys a large chunk of the market share. SAP S/4HANA is SAP's ERP business suite for large-sized companies. SAP S/4HANA has rich real-time data analysis capability and can be deployed in on-premises, cloud, or hybrid.Which one is the most popular ERP software used in industries? ›
|Oracle Netsuite ERP||Most popular ERP system for multinational business|
|Oracle ERP Cloud||at ERP solution company if you need ERP analytics|
|Epicor ERP||Leading ERP systems for the automotive industry|
|Sage X3||One of the top ERP companies for process manufacturers|
An ERP consultant or specialist helps manage and implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for large organizations and small-to-medium-sized companies. They do this by contributing to resource planning. They make sure that the company's software works as efficiently as possible.How do you select the right ERP software? ›
- Perform a business process review and analysis. ...
- Evaluate ERP technology platforms supported. ...
- Understanding TCO. ...
- Determine potential business benefits of the new system. ...
- Determine the impact on personnel. ...
- Selecting the right business partner. ...
- Related Resources:
While they are usually not marketed as such, Enterprise Resource Planning software can be divided into four different categories. Box ERPs, Large Scale ERPs, Intermediate and Flexible ERPs, and Industry Specific ERPs. This categorization helps in understanding the landscape of the current ERP systems market.What ERP does Amazon use? ›
Amazon has been using SAP as its ERP system for its business processes. While the detailed SAP modules implemented by Amazon can't be predicted, some of the modules that have been implemented by Amazon include; SAP Basis / NetWeaver Administration. SAP Business Suite.Why SAP is the best ERP? ›
Why SAP is the Best ERP Software. SAP is different than other ERP systems available. Designed for SMBs, SAP ERP is useful for startups and large enterprises also as it can simplify business operations across different departments irrespective of the industry sector.What is a successful ERP system? ›
Seven aspects of a successful ERP implementation
Executive support. Employee involvement. Clearly defined project scope. Plan to optimize business processes. Proactive change management.
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
- Sage Intacct.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
- Deltek Costpoint.
- SAP ByD.
- Oracle EBS.
Why is SAP better than Oracle? ›
With Oracle, you can plan campaigns and budgets on a single platform while SAP offers cross-functional processes relating to finance, procurement and marketing. SAP's Customer Account Management tools can help your business with nearly every aspect involving the customer.How can I be a good ERP consultant? ›
- Information technology skills.
- Effective computer literacy.
- Management skills.
- Analytical skills.
- Data analysis.
- Organizational skills.
- Effective communication skills.
ERP Consultant Salary. $79,500 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $117,000 is the 75th percentile.Is ERP Consulting stressful? ›
ERP implementation can be a stressful time for everyone involved, it's important that the ERP consultant you choose can provide you with resources to ensure success. The ERP consulting firms should help evaluate the current state of your business operations, processes, and employee training.What 3 5 steps should a company take to successfully implement an ERP system? ›
- Identify the problem: Why do we need an ERP implementation? ...
- Understanding of the scope of implementation. ...
- Data migration: the next big step. ...
- Customized service. ...
- Testing and finally going LIVE!
- The Functional Fit for Your Organization.
- Industry Experience.
- ERP Vendor Viability.
- ERP Implementation Project Considerations.
- The Technology.
- Risk (and how to avoid it)
Compare your list to the various ERP vendor offerings, and determine who measures up, best. Discuss your actual business needs with other managers, such as R&D, Sales, and Accounting, to gain insights on efficiency and productivity, that will help you create a shortlist of viable contenders.What is the rule of 5 for ERP? ›
So, it's pretty simple: ERP project costs = 5% of total revenue. ERP project costs = 5x your software license costs. Internal resources = 5 FTEs.What are the 3 characteristics of an ERP? ›
- An integrated system. ...
- The system Operates in (or near) real-time. ...
- A consistent look and feel across modules. ...
- Multiple Deployment options.
QuickBooks is not an ERP because it provides only accounting functions — just one of the components of an ERP system. ERP systems help businesses manage a wide variety of business processes, including sales and marketing, production, inventory management, procurement and more.
What ERP is Tesla using? ›
Tesla's entire financial and operational system is completely internally-generated and integrated via its ERP software they developed in-house called Warp. Warp enables real-time, collaborative, and synced operations for a seamless workflow across Tesla production and staff functions.
Apple uses SAP software for their App Store, iTunes, online store, and other online store services. They also use different SAP systems for their finance department and Human resources. SAP has helped Apple to bring them closer to their customers and help them develop relationships with them.What ERP is Google using? ›
Google uses SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Ariba and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. Google migrated its internal financial software from Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) to SAP in April 2021.Which industries use SAP the most? ›
- Tata Consultancy Services. Tata consultancy services get commonly abbreviated as TCS. ...
- Accenture India. It is a multinational management firm that focuses on consulting, technological services, and outsourcing. ...
- NIIT Limited. ...
- ITC Infotech. ...
Disadvantages of SAP ERP
One of the biggest disadvantages of the system is that SAP ERP requires a considerable amount of memory. Also due to the - compared to SAP S/4HANA - significantly more complex structure of the entire system, data processing and analysis therefore takes considerably more time.
Unlike Salesforce, SAP doesn't specialize in only CRM. It incorporates capabilities from SAP's BI system BusinessObjects like KPI reporting. It can be used directly in SAP CRM without having to use a separate BI system, but this limits its comprehensiveness in some cases.What ERP system does Walmart use? ›
Order and Customer Sync. It transfers orders and transfers customers to SAP Business One® ERP in real time. It also helps identify repeat clients and customers in the whole system.Why do most ERP systems fail? ›
An ERP implementation project may fail for a number of reasons- Internal dissent, misaligned expectations, poor process execution, incompetent stakeholders, insufficient supporting tools, and hazily-worded training and digital adoption initiatives, to name a few.What ERP does Starbucks use? ›
Starbucks. Starbucks uses an Oracle ERP system to automate administrative functions and everyday business processes, including supply chains, finance, procurement, and project management.Is Excel an ERP? ›
ERPs are a single integrated system, making them less vulnerable to human error. On the other-hand, Excel is an extremely manual tool. Instead of being centralized and integrated like an ERP, multiple departments within your organization will rely on different sets of Excel spreadsheets containing the same data.
Is Salesforce an ERP? ›
Salesforce is not an ERP. Salesforce offers various business solutions, which can be integrated to enhance and support your ERP but it does not provide an ERP product. At the heart of Salesforce is its CRM — Customer 360, which is the world's #1 CRM system.Which companies are called Big 5 in ERP model and why? ›
The top 5 ERP Solution providers not in a particular order are Epicor, Infor, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Epicor: This company has been in the enterprise solution market for a very long time. The company was founded in 1972 and since then it has introduced several reputable products.Which ERP provider is the global market leader? ›
Deltek is the leading global provider of enterprise software solutions for project-based businesses.What are the top two ranked ERP vendors? ›
Microsoft Dynamics and Oracle are the highest ranked ERP vendors in the market.Will SAP become obsolete? ›
Enterprise and software giant SAP has set a 2027 deadline after which its systems will be built to run on just one single database. The year 2025 was originally the S/4HANA deadline.Should I learn SAP or Oracle? ›
SAP has better event management, giving you greater insight and supply chain visibility. But Oracle has better APS, allowing you to better track costs and allocate resources more efficiently. Winner: SAP and Oracle are tied for supply chain management capabilities.Which is best SQL or SAP? ›
While MS SQL is based on disk storage, SAP HANA uses in-memory technology. This essentially means that SAP HANA can load data into the server memory and process the data much faster than MS SQL. Hence, HANA is more suitable for applications that need higher processing power.What is the highest salary of ERP consultant? ›
Highest salary that a ERP Consultant can earn is ₹15.5 Lakhs per year (₹1.3L per month).Which is the highest paid job in ERP? ›
- JD Edwards Developer. ...
- ERP Consultant. ...
- Microsoft Dynamics Developer. ...
- ERP Developer. ...
- Microsoft Dynamics AX Developer. ...
- SAP ABAP Programmer. Salary range: $85,000-$103,500 per year. ...
- Microsoft Dynamics Consultant. Salary range: $62,500-$100,000 per year. ...
- ERP Analyst. Salary range: $65,500-$93,000 per year.
Average Deloitte SAP Consultant yearly pay in the United States is approximately $119,336, which is 14% above the national average.
Which consulting firm pays the most in the USA? ›
- Alvarez & Marsal. Max Total Compensation: up to $185,000.
- McKinsey & Company. Max Total Compensation: $147,000. ...
- Accenture Strategy. Max Total Compensation: up to $142,500. ...
- Oliver Wyman. ...
- Boston Consulting Group. ...
- Bain & Company. ...
- Investor Group Services (IGS) ...
- PwC Strategy& ...
How much does an SAP Consultant make in the United States? The average SAP Consultant salary in the United States is $112,655 as of May 01, 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $99,945 and $122,248.Why are consultant salaries so high? ›
They pay good money for said expertise and expect transparency, cost efficiency, trust, better quality and value for their money, accountability, and expediency, in their services. And if consultants fail to deliver, they can always switch to another firm that can provide results.What is the hardest part of being a consultant? ›
Not being able to make personal plans.
The uncertainty and unpredictability of consulting can make it difficult to make personal plans (see live a normal life) It can make the most normal of things (ex: scheduling a doctor's appointment) a truly difficult task.
Consulting often has high turnover rates, meaning that you may experience more coworker changes when working in consulting than you would expect when working as an employee at a company. This can make it harder to develop work relationships with your coworkers.What are the 5 major steps in the ERP implementation? ›
The six-part ERP implementation phase lifecycle includes discovery and planning, design, development, testing, deployment and support.What are the 3 typical challenges of implementing an ERP system? ›
- Determining the Processes that Should be Integrated. ...
- Resistance by the Organization's Teams to Change. ...
- Lack of Flexibility. ...
- Costs Involved in Maintenance. ...
- Issues Related to Data Migration. ...
- Poor Project Management.
Good enterprise resource planning software allows your business to use a range of integrated software applications. It should automate systems such as accounting, expense management, time sheeting, manufacturing, procurement, sales and inventory.What are the 3 key factors of ERP implementation project? ›
- Project Strategy and Start Up.
- Management Commitment.
- Project Scope.
- Project Team.
- Change Management, Communication and Training.
- Project Closure.
ERP iii addresses the final domain of enterprise class applications by addressing the customer focus value proposition. It is the extension of technology capabilities which brings collaboration with customers and the broader marketplace into the enterprise system.
What are three 3 disadvantages of ERP systems in an organization? ›
Key disadvantages include the high costs of ERP software, its complexity, slow implementation, and data migration. If you want your procurement process to be as efficient as possible, it's best to invest in a P2P solution that provides integration with an ERP system.What is at the heart of an ERP system? ›
Unified Information/ Data Analytics
Integrated information is at the heart of any ERP system. Through the ERP system, information will include from different actions including project management, accounting, and procurement.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (E.R.P.) Systems. ...
- Supply Chain Management (S.C.M.) Systems. ...
- Customer Relationship Management (C.R.M.) Systems. ...
- Knowledge Management Systems (K.M.S.)
Two-tier ERP is a technology strategy taken by large, multinational enterprises that uses tier 1 ERP for financials and other core common processes at the corporate level and tier 2 ERP for divisions, subsidiaries and smaller locations of the company to address specific needs.What is ERP 7? ›
About ERP MARK 7
ERP MARK 7 by Axqolt is an enterprise resource planning software suite that offers small to mid-size manufacturing companies with inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP) with finite capacity scheduling, and manufacturing execution (MES).
ERP 6.0 includes all important core and business processes.
With this system, you can map all important business areas, from finance and human resources to product development, production and procurement, marketing, sales and service, and logistics processing.
The six-part ERP implementation phase lifecycle includes discovery and planning, design, development, testing, deployment and support.