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

 

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

SBS Group Presented with 2017 BI360 Platinum Partner of the Year Award

Leading Business Intelligence Software Firm Recognizes SBS Group for Excellence in Delivering Solutions

Solver, Inc. named SBS Group as the 2017 BI360 Platinum Partner of the Year Award winner. Solver honored their top partners for demonstrating significant customer impact by delivering the BI360 Suite to help customers optimize their corporate performance management processes.

Solver honored 8 companies for their achievements in 2017, across various partner categories both globally and regionally. Of the more than 300 partners worldwide, these partners were nominated and selected for their excellence in customer service and innovation.

“We are especially excited to announce and recognize our top-achieving partners both in the U.S. and abroad, as last year was deemed our Year of the Partner and we are now starting to see the results,” said Nils Rasmussen, Solver CEO. “Our strong partner channel is the main reason we are expanding domestically and internationally, faster than ever. BI360’s success has everything to do with the partner relationships we have built along with committed, hard-working product experts. On behalf of Solver’s global family, I would like to congratulate and thank our award winners for their achievements in the past 12 months and for their continued dedication and support of Solver and the BI360 product suite.”

“BI360 has been a tremendous solution that cuts across all types of financial and operational reporting, budgeting, and analytics with capability to scale from our smallest to our enterprise level clients”, noted Eric Forgo, SBS Director of BI and CRM. “Because of the integration to each of the four Microsoft Dynamics ERP platforms, the ease of deployment is high and has yielded a very satisfied group of customers. We look forward to growing with Solver to serve our customers and deploy best of breed cloud-based solutions.”

About SBS Group
SBS Group is a Microsoft Master VAR and Indirect Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) specializing in Microsoft Dynamics solutions and services for companies of all sizes. With more than 3,000 active customers served by over 300 employees across 40 locations in North America, SBS Group is a recognized leader in cloud ERP, CRM, productivity and business intelligence solutions. We simplify the cloud experience and help our customers realize business value faster with SBS Group AXIO solutions for Dynamics 365 and our streamlined RightPath approach. SBS Group is headquartered in Edison, NJ and has been a recognized leader in Microsoft business solutions for over 30 years. http://www.sbsgroupusa.com

About Solver
Solver provides BI360, the leading cloud and on premise Corporate Performance Management and Business Intelligence suite for Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, SAP, Intacct, Acumatica, NetSuite and other ERP systems. Solver is a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner and the winner of the Microsoft BI Partner of Year Award and has a presence on the Gartner Group CPM Magic Quadrant. BI360 is sold through a worldwide network of partners and is ideal for companies looking to find a user-friendly, yet highly functional Strategy, Forecasting, Budgeting, Reporting, Dashboard, and Data Warehouse solution to give them deep insight and actionable information across all facets of their organization. For any questions, visit Solver’s website or contact Solver at info@solverglobal.com.

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/

Is your Business Project-based and you Don’t Even Know it?

SPI Research has seen a strong trend toward making virtually all work, project-based work. Companies in every industry have turned their focus toward projects. A project focus makes sense as organizations plan work with a beginning, an end, and all steps in between. The key with projects is that there are cost and time associated with every phase or task, and there should also be value delivered. Every dollar spent on an initiative must be tracked to determine whether it was worth the investment.

If we were a project-based company, someone would tell me, right?

Projects are easier to qualify and quantify
A project-based business environment makes perfect sense to executives. Projects begin neat and orderly, with specific start and stop dates, projected cost and expected value. Not a bad way to present yourself to your customers – right? Leading organizations have also incorporated a structured delivery methodology into the project-based work to track everything related to it more closely. This environment helps companies better project a return-on-investment (ROI), which in today’s economy has become increasingly important to customers and clients purchasing products and services.

But very few projects go exactly according to plan, as unforeseen conditions, or changes by the customer impact the project or service to be delivered. Those organizations that have taken a project-based approach to work can more easily change the scope of what is to be delivered, as well as its cost and expected change in duration. Again, this gives executives greater comfort in the work being delivered and its value to both the organization delivering it and its customer.

Better tools are now available for customer and client facing organizations
Tools for small and midsized businesses can increase billable utilization, increase profitability per consultant, and increase customer satisfaction as projects are completed more frequently on-time and on-budget. Additionally, Professional Services Automation software increases employee satisfaction, as they better understand what is required of them and the value they must deliver. Companies also have greater financial governance, tracking all costs associated with project delivery and comparing them to the revenue generated.

Progressus – Built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 – is next-generation Professional Services Automation and ERP software, mobile-enabled and architected for the Microsoft cloud. Monitor the pulse of your projects, and work smarter. Bring all your data together and create personalized dashboards in seconds. Use predictive analysis to drive informed, data-driven decision making across projects.

Progressus provides all the capabilities needed to manage professional services and project-based businesses of any size – operating in any geography. Functionality spans all the important processes in your firm – resource management, project management, sales and marketing, and financial management – to give you unparalleled insight and control of all of your critical business functions. Built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, it is constructed for cloud and provides role-based clients optimized for any browser or mobile device.

Taking a project-based approach to work will provide executives, employees, customers and clients with greater visibility into work conducted, its cost, revenue, and ultimately value delivered. If you aren’t already using projects to manage your business, consider shifting today. Check out our upcoming webcast, 5 Reasons Project-Driven Firms Switch to Dynamics 365.

5Reasons_email-400

Best regards,

Dave Drouin
EVP of Professional Services, SBS Group

About David Drouin

David is a graduate of Wharton School of Business with a B.S. in Accounting and Economics.  After graduation, he began a twenty year career in public accounting, including five years as a partner where he built a successful systems advisory practice and managed it as partner-in-charge.

David joined SBS Group in 2006 as the Executive VP of Finance before taking on his current role as Executive VP of Professional Services.Dave Drouin, Executive Vice President, Professional Services at SBS Group

In addition to his business and accounting background, David has strong technical skills which he has leveraged in helping hundreds of small businesses and large enterprises evaluate and implement ERP systems in his nearly thirty years in technology services sector.​

https://www.linkedin.com/in/daviddrouin

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