Manage projects with the help of the cloud
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is one of the most exciting developments in business software at the moment. Improvements in computer hardware and Internet connectivity have allowed ERP providers to greatly increase the range of products that they can offer.
Cloud ERP is one of the most innovative developments in recent years and it is proving to be an invaluable tool for project managers. The main purpose of every ERP system is to enhance business processes to increase productivity and competitiveness. ERP software allows project managers to monitor and report every step in complex projects and quickly identify problems as they arise.
There are many ways that Enterprise Resource Planning can be used to manage projects and help with office admin. As well as managing the actual core project data, ERP systems can also manage budgets, human resources, client information and marketing. This allows the project manager to dedicate more time to the core project.
Cloud ERP or traditional ERP?
ERP is not new, but the recent development of cloud based ERP solutions has opened up the software to a wider audience. Cloud ERP is better than traditional ERP on several levels.
One huge advantage is the speed at which new systems can be implemented. Because a company does not need to upgrade computer hardware, it is possible to start using a system almost immediately.
Modern ERP software is created in modular format that allows users to add extra components when required; it is easy to test out new modules to see if they are compatible before making a full commitment.
With traditional ERP solutions, any updates and changes need to be installed by the service provider directly on the business’ computers. This creates an additional cost and delays projects.
However, the biggest advantages come after the system has been implemented. Cloud based ERP systems can be accessed from anywhere, and this allows a project manager to employ resources from multiple locations.
A project team no longer needs to operate from the same office, and project managers are also able to effectively outsource to specialists.
Cloud ERP tools
Another big advantage of ERP solutions over the traditional implementation of ERP is the huge array of productivity tools that can often simply be switched on by an ERP provider.
A complete ERP solution will combine multiple tools and modules to provide social collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), resource management, human capital management, financial management and project management.
Within project management there are several specific tools, such as modules for project creation, budgeting, planning and staffing, purchases, time and expense, invoicing and work order management.
From a project management point of view, a complete ERP system allows the project team to focus on the core task while other business departments can take care of more routine tasks such as finances and accounts, HR and payroll. Each department is able to input data into the ERP system and also extra reports.
For the project manager, an ERP system can make reporting much easier. Reporting is central to the project manager’s role; gathering data from each part of the project, analyzing the data and then compiling a report is usually the most time consuming task for a manager. A well-designed ERP system will automate much of this work so that the project manager can focus on specific elements of how the project is progressing. In short, ERP makes project management easier and more effective.