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Getting the most out of your SAP solution for your professional services organisation

(Image credit: Image Credit: NakoPhotography / Shutterstock)

The increasingly crowded marketplace has meant that Professional Service organisations are looking to differentiate their service offering from that of their competitors – but it’s a complex task. To maximise margins there is a real need to engineer consistent services and package them to replicate timely delivery and meet customer expectations while improving profitability. Maximising resource utilisation is also key with the ability to accurately forecast demand and correctly assigning resources and subcontractors to projects. Process utilisation is the foundation to operational improvements to ensure timely, on-budget and effective project execution.

Implementing a robust cloud-based ERP solution can help organisations address these issues. Not only does such an approach simplify IT systems and reduce costs, it can also deliver clearer visibility of quotes, conversions, invoicing and project status.   There are a range of solutions available from a number of software providers but very few have been specifically designed for the professional services market – SAP Business ByDesign has been developed over the last 10 years to suit the requirements of Professional Services firms whilst being affordable and utilising the powerful HANA cloud platform.

SAP Business ByDesign enables organisations to bring key sales, project management, HR and finance information together into one central, easily-accessible solution. It also offers integration between the implemented modules out of the box and offers a rich array of reporting as standard.  Users have a clear view of quotes, conversions, invoicing and project status, making it easier to manage the product lifecycle, from first contact to billing and payment.  The Business ByDesign Solution has 36 in-built business scenarios that can be used to both standardise and support your existing business processes.

This integrated view enables managers to focus on specific areas and drive performance levels in line with business objectives. Because the data is accurate, real-time and integrated, it can be analysed to predict trends and help strategic decision making. The solution is also designed to be flexible – subscription user-based pricing gives business a scalable, predictable TCO and the included cloud hosting removes the costs and maintenance associated with hosting a traditional ERP solution.

Making the right choice 

It’s clear that Implementing cloud-based SAP solutions like SAP Business ByDesign can potentially bring many benefits to professional services firms. But to make it work, organisations will need to work with a reputable and experienced implementation partner.

It is undeniable that the choice of implementation partner will be crucial to the success of any project. Organisations need to appreciate that selecting  a partner that understands both the technology and your business requirements can significantly consolidate the gains of implementing cloud-based SAP.  So, what do organisations need to consider as they investigate their choices?

One of the most important qualities any business should look for from a partner is experience. After all, experienced consultants can help minimise any risk of an implementation going wrong. Expert teams can achieve faster implementation timescales and maintain savings by guiding your organisation effectively throughout the implementation project. It’s also worth organisations taking into account the scope of previous work conducted by their prospective partner. Implementation best-practice comes with experience gained from larger projects – a reputable partner will take this and transition it to be used with smaller customers.  Edenhouse has a wide range of experience implementing a number of SAP Software Solutions across all industry verticals and to a range of differently sized organisations.

Organisations also need to ensure that they don’t focus on the implementation process alone. It is very important that they also assess the future support model proposed by the partner. Traditional ERP support often involves annual retainers – for most organisations this proves to be both costly and unnecessary. Edenhouse is different.  After talking to our clients and looking at other offerings on the market we have designed an attractive and effective support model – Eden Days.  Eden Days will allow your organisation to utilise Edenhouse support in as little as 30 minute increments from a pre-purchased number of days.  Alongside the expert services provided by our teams you also get inclusive service management and reporting. The key differentiator in this package is that a number of rules in place mean you don’t pay for our down time and any time not used by the end of the quarter is rolled over.

Edenhouse recognises that knowledge, experience and value for money are the main factors in offering our customers a support service that is different to that of our competitors. Edenhouse can give you the choice of a partner where the support and implementation teams are one and the same. Our experienced staff will already know your business and SAP solution in detail and therefore will be able to assess the problem and provide a resolution promptly.  We have found that by combining our implementation and support consultants into one role means that you don’t pay for our down time - designated support consultants may not know about the implementation itself and will consequently have to learn on the job costing you time and money.

Beyond technology

The benefit of implementing cloud-based SAP solutions is well evidenced and referenceable. SAP Business ByDesign offers professional services firms the opportunity to drive agility and build a competitive edge by combining essential business areas including Finance, Marketing, HR and Procurement into one comprehensive environment. This functionality can allow your organisation to recognise potential strategies quicker, respond much more efficiently to opportunities and gain transparency across business areas.

Whilst the technology speaks for itself, the implementation of the solution will set the tone for the success of the solution – both functional fit and user adoption.  In order to convert potential gains from theory into practice, organisations need to be working with high-quality implementation partners. The right partner will provide the necessary experience and expertise for your organisation to provide the informed consultancy, technical help and advice that is ultimately key in driving success.

Becky Harris, bid manager, Edenhouse
Image Credit: NakoPhotography / Shutterstock

Becky Harris is the bid manager at Edenhouse.