Project Information Management. Access critical firm-wide and document information in one central location

It’s a competitive world out there and whether you’re a lawyer, architect, engineer or contractor, the need to organize your emails and documents is critical. Organized information saves you time, and saving time saves money.

 

1. Are your emails overflowing?

People spend nearly 2-3 hours a day on email-related activities, consuming 20-30% of their business day. Firms with document information management systems spend minutes, not hours, with email.

2. Can you find your firms critical documents?

6 in 10 firms rely on network folders to manage projects, but face inconsistent file structures, accidental deletion, drag-and-drop displacement hindering productivity and negatively impacting utilization. Firms can proactively manage documents through the entire legal lifecycle instead of waiting until the matter is complete to start organizing files.

 3. How quickly can you find critical documents?

Firms can spend hours, if not days, tracking down critical project information, wasting valuable resources and critical project time. With project information management, firms can find drawings or documents completed yesterday, last week or last year in a matter of minutes.

 

4. Do your teams struggle to share & manage files internally & externally?

Only 9% of firms have a single enterprise-wide collaboration system. Yet, 75% believe sharing documents is the most important way to improve collaboration. 

 

 5. Is your firm’s information a liability or an asset?

The average cost of a single misplaced file is more than R1000. Think of that times the number of files in just a single project. An effective document management strategy could reduce cost by 30% and lower risk by 23%.

 

Register below to Enquire more information

By Jerry Lee

To adapt or to customize your ERP? This decision requires prudence when implementing an ERP system.

Often, business problems are tackled with a customization rather than evaluating if the business process can be adjusted to work within the base system design of the ERP. Businesses also often start applying customizations without fully understand any implications that may have an impact in the long run. There are times where custom functionality is needed and customization is great to get “what you want”, but what’s the catch? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

PROs:

  • It resolves specific required functionality not native to the ERP system. Even so, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, why customization?
  • We are living in a customizable world, in the era of new technologies allowing users to customize and personalize their own applications. Been accustomed to this flexibility, it becomes difficult for people to adjust.
  • Protect competitive advantages that have made organizations successful. This is what makes the organization unique from its competitors. Because it is unique, no ERP software is able to provide as an out-of-the-box functionality.

 

CONS:

  • Upgrades becomes more complex, costly, and risky because a special upgrade path will be necessary.
  • Help desks typically does not support customizations, this is because they do not have the knowledge of the customization.
  • Potential interference or incompatibility with future implemented modules if the customization is poorly designed.
  • Outdated (or zero) documentation is very common for customizations often due to delivery pressures.
  • Having to do your own testing extensively for every affected module in the ERP system, because you are the only one with this unique requirement.
  • The risk of customizing for the wrong reason. For every customization that has been identified, we need to ask if the customization is really necessary. It can be a possibility that the customization is required because the people does not want to adopt new business processes and software functionality. This could suggest that the organization should invest in change management to help people adapt to new ways of doing things rather than investing in customizations.

 

Customizations can be inevitable in organizations, the key is to understand the implications and find the right balance. And most importantly keep it simple because “Simplicity is a competitive advantage”!

 

Take Away: Applying Industry Best Practise

As feasibility allows, make efforts to implement the customization outside the ERP system. The customization can be either an interactive interface or a batch process as a standalone. This approach can be to your advantage over customizing your ERP in the long term. Having a standalone may mean not having a seamless interface but you need to consider the key advantages for adapting to your ERP:

 

  • Easier upgrade path allowing you to take advantage of the standard software upgrade releases with minimal upgrade effort.
  • Less time and costly to upgrade by eliminating custom functionality troubleshooting and debugging efforts.
  • Access to support documentation and knowledge-base because you are not the only one with the knowledge of the system’s functionality, information will be widely available.

Want to know more on ERP implementation? Download our ERP for dummies eBook below:

 

Discover how transparency provided by ERP software can increase resource utilisation and profitability.

 

Focusing on your project lifecycle as a whole is one of the best ways for Professional Services companies to optimise efficiency and hence profit margin. Resource utilisation, time from proposal to completion and time from completion to payment are three key aspects of a project lifecycle which can maximise profitability if carefully managed.

Our slideshow explores how, by concentrating on these three aspects of your service delivery, you can ensure that you have the right people working on the right projects and, most importantly, the cash keeps on flowing. Read on to discover how ERP software can give you the right information, in real time, to ensure better project management and margin control.

 

 

 

 

Who makes the decisions in a company? Is it the CEO, middle management or the employees? The answer is actually none of the above, as it is the customers who decide ultimately.

By Maria Fernandez, Marketing at Silversoft South Africa

“Put your customers at the top, and it will permeate through the entire organisation,” proclaimed chairman of the board and management consultant, Jens Moberg, a guest speaker at a recent knowledge-sharing day for lawyers organised by Deltek.

And the customers are certainly the ones who have begun calling the shots at law firms as well, with more and more customers asking for flat-rate agreements instead of traditional hourly billing ‒ and to top it off, clients have also become less loyal and do not automatically use the same law firm every time they need to resolve a legal matter.

Customers, or ‘clients’ as they are known in the legal sector, are making greater demands for transparency. What does this mean for the business side of things? In this respect, it may be better to call them ‘customers’ instead of ‘clients’, as the knowledge-sharing day was all about how to move from a traditional client-orientated business to a modern, new business sales model – at the centre of which are the customers.

Greater demands from customers, heightened competition and pressure on margins all mean that law firms must learn how to deliver services differently, and this naturally affects the way in which the business is run. To summarise, we see four characteristics which are now separating the legal sector from others actors in the knowledge-based service industry, which includes the likes of consultancies and accounting firms:

Law firms seldom employ dedicated sales representatives

vs the rest of the knowledge-based service industry, where some actors are miles ahead when it comes to securing sales and keep up with the latest trends, such as social selling and inside sales

Law firms do not have a clearly defined sales process

vs. the rest of the knowledge-based service industry, where the sales process has been defined with sales filters, and, in the majority of cases, with clear processes that cover the entire spectrum, starting with the opportunity and finishing with contract being signed.

Law firms seldom have a well-founded CRM process

vs. the rest of the knowledge-based service industry, where actors have almost played a CRM volume game, with plenty of tracking and quantification of opportunities.

Law firms are among the best at maintaining and building on relationships with existing customers

vs. the rest of the knowledge-based service industry, where caring for existing customers is not always given top priority.

By taking a look at the knowledge-based service industry and finding inspiration in the way others do business, your law firm can find new ways to optimise business. We are convinced that the legal sector must embrace ‘the new normal’, i.e. start to run your business as others in knowledge-based services do. Here are four areas in which there are both risks and potential for optimising your business:

  1. Less customer loyalty means that you should:
    1. remain focused on existing customers
    2. while becoming more focused on new sales and marketing
  2. Increased competition means that you should:
    1. develop and implement an alternative business structure and professionalise staff functions, e.g. by appointing a CFO and an HR director
    2. develop additional and new price structures that match the customers’ needs and wishes
  3. New business models mean that you should:
    1. develop pre-packaged solutions that enable you to standardise assignments
    2. offer set-price agreements
  4. The New Normal, or adapting the legal sector to the rest of the knowledge-based service industry means that you should:
    1. change management structures
    2. change the business processes and implement KPIs
    3. implement product development

The challenges are many. A number of law firms are already well on their way to optimising their processes in relation to ‘the new normal’ to ensure that they can continue to grow. This is not something that can be done overnight, and it is not an easy process, as evidenced by the large turn-out at our knowledge-sharing day, where some of the largest and most successful law firms in Denmark shared experiences of turning around their business perspective. And, as Jens Moberg said, the time has come for the customer to decide, not the CEO. Even if the customer is a client.

Download below The New Normal in the legal sector Whitepaper to know more

 

The Professional Services sector has seen encouraging growth over the last few years. Firms across the consulting, architecture and engineering and legal have seen their level of business and headcount increase as its fastest pace since 2007.

So how have these best in class Professional Services companies managed to grow so successfully? We look at three examples – Hill & Knowlton EMEA Agency, Elden Law Firm and RAMBØLL Consulting Engineering Firm – to see how they have leveraged project-based ERP to solve their key business challenges and increase transparency within their organisations to enable further growth.

Learn how your organisation can follow the lead of these forward-thinking companies with project-based ERP, a strategy for growth and the right behaviour for embracing change.

Find out how three Professional Services companies are using project-based ERP to solve their key business problems. Download eGuide below.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will vary from business to business and industry to industry. The metrics that matter to a Manufacturing business will not necessarily matter to an Accounting practice. When determining KPIs for your business, it’s important to assess your core activity and understand what you need to measure in order to measure your business value over time.

For project-based, Professional Services firms there are certain KPI’s which are essential to measure. These KPIs will likely be the same across Architecture, Consulting, Engineering and Legal Firms.

In a study by IDC – Managing your firm for growth – Professional Services firms were asked to identify the KPIs that matter most to their business and the results clearly show the top 10 KPIs which all Professional Services firms should measure. In this blog, Deltek specifically looks at the four metrics that every CFO or Finance Director needs to know and how to measure them. Namely Revenue Growth, Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), Customer Lifetime Value and Market Share.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

If you want to find out more about KPIs for Professional Services Firms you can download our Ultimate Guide to KPIs for a Project Based Business Below.

According to a survey by CIPD, a third of businesses don’t measure their productivity. Many of those that do measure it appear in practice to be thinking about business performance more generally.

What is productivity?

Productivity is the work generated by companies and their employees with the resources they have.

It is thought that, in the UK, productivity has been at a standstill for seven years due to companies not investing in their employees and required resources.

Improve your productivity

To learn more about the 5 tips to improve your productivity and become more efficient at work, click here.