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The Current Situation
Professional services organizations are generally characterized by manual processes and a heterogeneous system landscape with standalone systems for accounting, projects, customer relationship management, and billing. As these businesses grow, tracking business activities becomes increasingly difficult because they are stored in various systems, built into Excel spreadsheets, or recorded in contact management systems and email.
SAP Business ByDesign was designed specifically to address problems such as this via an integrated ERP solution. Through this integrated solution, SAP’s goal is to improve your company’s productivity, organizational knowledge, and therefore, profitability. In order to enhance this benefit to your company, ByDesign includes comprehensive features and functions that are specifically required by professional services organizations.
Complete Service Portfolio
When it comes to complete service portfolios, ByDesign’s professional services automation solutions can benefit any organization that is running projects and managing human resources. ByDesign supports many types of service categories that fall into professional services portfolios, including consistent, standardized services that have fixed scopes and prices, as well as project-based services that are customer-specific and can be both standard and customized based on the specific requirements of the client. Despite the differences between the types of services in a portfolio, sales and settlement processes are handled in the same manner. All sales, delivery, and settlement processes are tightly integrated into financial and managerial accounting, allowing an easy, accurate, and compliant financial closing process.
Improved Operational Effectiveness
Meeting today’s business challenges successfully requires exceedingly efficient business processes. Service companies require solutions to manage the entire project and service delivery life cycle – from the first customer contact to the final collection of payment. Fragmented systems with individual, unsynchronized components just don’t stand up to the demands of today’s business environment. Such systems result in unreliable reporting, excess re-keying, delays and inaccuracies.
ByDesign works to improve operational effectiveness by providing a powerful solution that covers the entire lead-to-cash cycle in one integrated system that includes all of the following: sales, account management, project management, time and expense tracking, invoice management, procurement, resource management, human resources, and financial accounting.
ByDesign has been created with the understanding that the success of service-oriented companies relies on the management of customer relationships throughout the entire project cycle. Due to this required customer-centricity, ByDesign’s CRM functionality makes the customer the focus of all relevant activities throughout the engagement lifecycle.
In addition, ByDesign’s built-in invoice management streamlines and automates the billing process by helping companies create prompt and accurate customer invoices. Once a consultant or service agent enters his or her time and expenses into the system, they are automatically forwarded for approval and invoice generation according to the appropriate billing type and schedule.
Between the full integration of processes, the importance put on the customer, and important functions such as invoice management, SAP Business ByDesign vastly improves operational effectiveness for professional services organizations. Having a single fully integrated solution like ByDesign allows management to see the status of every project in real-time, making a strong impact on an organization’s ability to anticipate risks as well as identify and promote the most profitable customers, projects, and services.
Increased Resource Utilization
Professional services organizations have a need to maximize employee utilization by accurately forecasting demand, developing and managing their supply of internal and external resources, and properly assigning resources and subcontractors to projects.
Unlike most ERP solutions, SAP Business ByDesign has a built-in resource management application designed to meet the needs of resource managers in professional services companies. This functionality includes the ability to accurately forecast demand, search for the best candidates among employees and service agents, and assign them to projects. The system also has the ability to report the actual and forecasted utilization by organizational unit, job and employee. The interactive availability calendar provides resource and project/line managers with a graphical overview of the commitments of employees in order to even better manage human resources.
Assured Compliance and Increased Transparency
The ever-increasing number and complexity of financial reporting regulations put companies at risk of noncompliance and leading them to spend a considerable amount of time and money on ensuring continued compliance. This issue makes it necessary for companies to run efficient and reliable financial operations, as well as integrated and just-in-time- financial reporting.
Business ByDesign addresses this need by building the complete set of financial processes directly into the system. This supports companies by providing converged accounting data that not only upholds regulations, such as the IFRS and IAS, but also facilitates management decision making. The result is a streamlined, multi-purpose, multi-dimensional, integrated accounting system.