The Real Answer to the Question Professional Services Have all Been Asking: Why Budget?

Why prepare a budget?

You may answer:
• My business has been going for many years and I have never had one before.
• I make pretty good money, so why do I need one?
• If I focus on keeping my billable hours up, everything else will take care of itself!
• I watch my debtors and WIP; this is enough to keep everything on track!
• I am a professional, with more than enough on my plate and I don’t have time for this financial stuff. My bookkeeper is on top of all of this.
• I don’t have time for this business planning nonsense. ¹

Many of the professional services firms we work with don’t place importance on budgeting. However, we believe that budgets are enormously important to the operation of your business; not only do they help you manage your costs, but they also help you determine whether your profit goals are within reach and keep you on the right road from month-to-month. In its simplest form, a budget is a detailed plan of future receipts and expenditures. Think of a budget as a tool for providing control. For example, by looking at next quarter’s budget you can anticipate peak periods and schedule stock and labor to handle the sales volume. You can also plan vacations, marketing activities and inventory taking for slow periods.

The resource planning cycle for a company typically consists of planning, budgeting, and forecasting activities. But how is this process different for a professional services company?

Learn how to budget in professional services, and the seven tips and practices for creating a budget that supports your project in our eBook: Why Budget, as well as information about our two professional services automation tools (AXIO for Enterprise companies, and Progressus for small and medium sized companies). Let us know if you have any questions in the meantime.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

SBS Group to Exhibit at AXUG Summit Nashville, October 10-13, 2017, Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, TN

SBS Group is proud to announce that it will be exhibiting at the Microsoft Dynamics AX User Group Summit North America conference to be held this week in Nashville, TN, October 10-13, 2017. It’s not too late to register!

Step out from behind your monitor and take your big ideas and love of knowledge-sharing to D365UG/AXUG Summit this fall. For one week each year, we leave behind the world of net-centered chat to power real-life growth between peers and experts in a lively, engaged environment. D365UG/AXUG Summit is the can’t-miss conference for Microsoft Dynamics 365 & AX – giddy up and join us in Nashville!

Microsoft will meet its Dynamics customers with an updated leadership team that has refocused and refined its message around the business application lineup.

Dynamics GP and NAV, as well as the Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM product roadmaps remain a primary draw at Summit, along with opportunities to dive deep into current product capabilities, and Microsoft teams will be on hand to present over fifty sessions and keynotes. But the broader message to customers will emphasize Microsoft’s ability to help companies embrace purpose-built apps that rely on Dynamics, but also transcend it.

There is also a new Executive Program this year, for C-level executives.

SBS Group will be at booth #311 in the Expo Hall – stop by and say hello!
Check out the full schedule.

Check out our solutions for Microsoft Dynamics 365/AX, AXIO for Core Financials, Professional Services, and Distribution. We will update you all week with the big announcements at AXUG as we hear them. Also, save the date for Summit EMEA, 24-26 April 2018, Dublin, Ireland.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

Young Love, Project ROI and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Do you remember when you first started dating? Young love, holding hands, all of that business. You wanted to make sure that whatever you put into relationships, you would be getting back out of it. Did they make you laugh? Did they have a positive outlook on the world? Where they into the same activities as you? Hey, I did say YOUNG love. Or maybe you have kids who are going through this right now. It’s an investment. The same is true for any investment in life, as well as business.

Businesses are in business to make money. But when it comes to projects, calculating the true value of any project with respect to its impact on margin has always been challenging, mainly due to the ambiguity of turning notions into dollar values.

For instance, training employees will improve expertise and productivity, but how does that translate to bottom-line savings or revenue growth? Spending thousands of dollars on automated systems and software is likely to improve work efficiency, but what’s the dollar-value improvement of that efficiency?

Return on investment (ROI) is a key calculation in answering these questions, as well as showing the project value and its impact on the margin.

In a previous post, we talked about how a project-based environment helps companies better project a return-on-investment (ROI). Why is this important? Your customers want to know what their ROI is going to be if they do business with you. And you want to improve project profitability, as well as determine what ROI you are receiving from your own internal projects (when you implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 for instance 😊).

Project ROI

So what is Project ROI? It’s an indicator used to measure the financial savings/gain (or loss) of a project in relation to its cost. Typically, it is used in determining whether a project will yield positive financial benefits, and in turn giving approval to proceed. In six sigma, the formula is:

Project ROI = ((project’s financial gain or loss – project’s cost) / project’s cost)) X 100.

SBS Group has two products for companies who need project management, both based on Microsoft Dynamics 365: AXIO for larger, enterprise companies, and Progressus for small and medium sized businesses. Both products help you predict, manage, and track ROI.

axio-for-professional-services

AXIO helps you run your business and projects more effectively with enhanced resource management, invoicing, accounting, revenue recognition, collections, contract management, project budgeting and beyond.

Progressus monitors ROI every step of the way from project setup, budgeting, resource management, cost tracking, and time and expenses.

Let us know how we can help you measure ROI, and if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

10 Questions Companies Forget to Ask During an ERP Sales Cycle: Part 2

Welcome back! Last week, we talked about the first five questions that companies forget to ask during an ERP sales cycle. This week, we will talk about questions 6-10.

6. How will you, as the ERP provider, help support and foster the change the new software will bring to my organization?

A successful ERP implementation can help your organization streamline workflow and cut costs, but a poorly planned and implemented ERP rollout can severely cost your organization, in terms of lost productivity and delays. Make sure that you properly vet your ERP vendors, and talk to their service people who will be executing the rollout. Conference room pilots and service plans are important.

7. Is every cloud solution the same thing?

The answer to this question is no. There is private cloud, public cloud, hybrid, single tenant, multi-tenant, etc. Microsoft offers a huge amount of services, far richer than any other cloud services vendor. SBS Group works with our customers to customize cloud solutions for your particular needs and wants: private, public or a hybrid approach integrating existing clouds and on-prem.

Is your application suddenly trending on Twitter? Microsoft Azure has a free autoscale feature that can help you during unexpected traffic spikes, by automatically scaling up or down to meet demand, while simultaneously minimizing costs.

cloud-service-typesTop benefits of cloud computing

Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. What is it about cloud computing? Why is cloud computing so popular? Here are 6 common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:

1. Cost
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacenters—the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.

2. Speed
Most cloud computing services are provided self service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.

3. Global scale
The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right when its needed, and from the right geographic location.

4. Productivity
On-site datacenters typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware set up, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.

5. Performance
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure datacenters, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacenter, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.

6. Reliability
Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity easier and less expensive, because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.

8. Can you help me understand that a little better?

This question is so important. Make sure that you don’t leave a sales cycle without all of your questions answered. This will help you make the best decision for your organization. Your ERP system is only as good as the data that is in it. So, if you want your ERP implementation to succeed, it is imperative that proper programming and procedural parameters are put in place right from the start to minimize the likelihood of errors. We can help you with this, and we want to make sure that all of your questions are answered.

9. Is it important to decommission my legacy applications?

The answer is a resounding yes. If you do not actively work to decommission applications during the implementation, the result is an ERP system with all of the original legacy applications hanging off of it. Another piece of software that you are paying maintenance and support on, paying for hardware and upgrades, and paying for interfaces back into the core ERP. The point of implementing a new ERP system is to streamline workflow and reduce costs and waste, not increase fees.

10. What does a digital transformation really mean?

There’s a lot of talk about digital transformations these days. According to a recent CIO article, what many CIOs describe as a digital transformation actually isn’t. Mobile apps, AI-based chatbots, analytics and other digital services are often used to augment existing services. Gartner analyst Hung LeHong, whose job includes sussing out whether companies are conducting a “digital business transformation” or a “digital business optimization,” said “In a nutshell, we reserve digital business transformation for companies pursuing net new revenue streams, products and services and business models.” “This can include the creation of new digital business units or digital acquisitions. Sometimes the new business models can lead to ventures in adjacent markets or new industries.”

Microsoft defines a digital transformation as: to grow, evolve, and transform every part of your business to better meet the changing market and needs of your customers. We like to think that’s it.

Let us help you with answering these 10 important questions today. Let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Enterprise Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

10 Questions Companies Forget to Ask During an ERP Sales Cycle: Part 1

I think author Warren Berger got it right in his book, “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas.” Berger argues that while we’re all hungry for better answers, we must first learn to ask the right questions. Through a number of well-researched stories, Berger demonstrates that the most creative, successful people in the world tend to be expert questioners. They’ve mastered the art of inquiry, raising questions no one else is asking—and finding the answers everyone else is seeking.

With so many different—and in some cases, overlapping—approaches to selecting a software system, how do you know if you are asking the right questions during an ERP (and/or a CRM) sales cycle? I have been involved in many sales cycles, and these are the questions that I see companies most often don’t ask, but should.

1. Is it a mistake to push Analytics and Reporting (BI) out to Phase II of the implementation?

Yes. Many customers make the mistake of pushing BI out to Phase II, but the problem is, Phase II may never happen, or it will happen too late. It’s better to access analytics and reporting sooner rather than later. In some cases, this access to timely BI information alone can pay for the new system, helping you gain ROI now rather than later.

2. What other supporting applications or technology can use a refresh at our company?

You are making a significant change to your ERP system, and it’s a good time to look at other systems too. If your ERP vendor can’t help with it, chances are they can recommend someone who can.Old-Way-New-Way

3. Does our decision-making team consist of all the right players?

In today’s world of consensus buying, 6.8 people are involved in the ERP buying decision on average. While it’s difficult to free up your brightest resources from their full-time jobs, ERP implementations are not simple and they can be costly. It’s important to put your best people on the job. Not just your best IT people, your best people, period. You’ll need a project champion, and don’t forget the executives too – you’ll need their support.

4. Do we truly know why we are looking for new software? What is the value expected?

An ERP solution is critical because of its ability to increase information consistency and accuracy. Many companies still suffer from “multiple versions of the truth” – incorrect and inconsistent information across the business. Sit down with your team and make a list of reasons why you need a new system, and goals for the project. Focus on specific business processes and system requirements. The more specific you can be upfront, the more detailed your vendors can be in their proposals.

5. Do you know our industry? Do you have best practices and implementation tools that focus on companies that do what we do?

The answer to this question is critical. If your ERP provider doesn’t know your industry, the project may fail. Ask for references. Too often, people select an ERP system based on factors such as price, current technology buzz or the system that is the flashiest. But without a good fit, companies are left with expensive customization and bolted together solutions. The solution: Find an ERP system that is industry-specific, with tools and features designed to solve your business requirements. The ROI and long-term benefits of a good fitting system are extensive.

Don’t miss next week’s post, where I’ll cover questions 5-10 that companies frequently forget to ask. Meanwhile, let me know if you have any questions about 1-5.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Enterprise Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

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