It is almost impossible that IT systems can solve all the problems in a company. It will hardly be possible to implement software to solve all complex and problematic situations immediately. Nonetheless, without powerful and adequate software, all types of business processes are often inefficient, error-prone and cumbersome. It is important to use the right system in the right place and to know the basics, general conditions and functionalities exactly.
For this purpose we have created a list including a short description for the most common tools to explain which functions are necessary for which areas.
Project and portfolio management:
Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the process of planning projects and programs from start to finish and deciding in which areas the company should invest. These should support the company’s overall goals by making the best possible use of available resources such as time, money and employees.
All project-driven and innovative companies can benefit from a uniform PPM solution.
The main capabilities of PPM should at least include requirements management, resource management, risk management, identification and elimination of inefficiencies, linkage and communication with stakeholders and change and budget management. An environment is to be created, in which all project-dependent areas are organized without much expenditure in such a way that the most suitable procedures for project and enterprise success are ensured. Status and risk analyses and overall budget overviews are used to create a uniform business overview. This simultaneously generates maximum process reliability and an overview of the “health status” of all ongoing projects.
Resource, project and portfolio management
Efficiency, effectiveness and best performance are in the foreground in these areas and form the core value of all PPM softwares. Through integrated systems, these areas should be easy to handle and decisions can be made quickly. Resource, project and portfolio management are the basic components of a sensible solution.
Resource management should allocate the resources in the company to the projects through automated scenario planning. These automated software workflows not only improve transparency, but also personnel decisions and adjustments and changes at the project level. Without optimal resource utilization, project success also suffers enormously – late deadlines as well as faulty and inefficient work processes result.
The project management in a PPM software should in any case have a real-time dashboard for a complete overview of all important KPIs, milestones and project details. It is also important that it covers the entire planning of projects from application to approval and complete execution.
Linked portfolio management not only monitors ongoing projects in terms of budget, resources and progress, but should also be able to analyze the impact of decisions on projects.
For an optimal and fully functional PPM solution, a kind of collaboration capability, demand management and comprehensive reporting should be included in the best case scenario.
Enterprise Ressource Planning:
Enterprise Ressource Planning (ERP) systems support the control of processes throughout the entire organization. They control and manage core processes such as finance, human resources, logistics, manufacturing, procurement, and more, and provide specific information for further processing. The aim is to facilitate and automate work steps in order to save time, costs and effort.
The typical functional areas of ERP systems usually range from classical materials management and production controlling, finance and accounting, R&D, master data management to product data management, document management, sales & marketing, etc.
The following areas of companies can benefit from a fully integrated ERP system:
ERP already supports the determination of requirements, procurement, order processing, warehouse management, sales and distribution controlling and finally disposition.
Research and development
Through integrated ERP systems, the areas of research and development can be managed through knowledge, information and milestone management, overall resource planning and project evaluation.
Finance and Accounting
ERP systems can also relieve the financial areas of companies enormously by creating and evaluating data, risk management or supporting accounting and budgeting.
Sales can also benefit massively from order processing, quotation management, price management, etc.
Improved data quality, optimised information flows and a high degree of automation result in shorter processing and throughput times which ultimately lead to better cooperation and time and cost savings.
Business Intelligence (BI), also known as business analytics, provides an environment for the systematic analysis of processes throughout the entire company. All data and information for further processing, representation and preparation are to be collected and stored uniformly.
The goal of a business intelligence software is to create a uniform platform for all data in order to present the current status and future outlook of the company and its environment. From these won realizations the business procedures of the enterprise are to become more successful and from it both creation of value, risk and cost reduction can result.
Business Intelligence softwares are usually used for automation processes of future planning, controlling and reporting. They are often used in conjunction with ERP systems in order to immediately use the resulting data and analyze the company circumstances.
One of the main reasons why BI solutions are popular is the enormous effort involved in the manual preparation of key figures and data, which arise from different systems and lists.
Thus there are three central tasks of BI systems:
Master data management:
A particularly important point, which is unfortunately often neglected, is the ongoing maintenance of master data in the company. Without maintained data, it is almost impossible to extract valid information from the system. The situation becomes particularly critical when a company has to maintain several systems. The more departments work with systems containing master data information in the company, the greater the risk that a data chaos will arise and the elimination of this chaos is not only very time-consuming, but also laborious.
The data warehouse:
Hier soll eine eigene Datenbank, das sogenannte Data-Warehouse, von den Daten der Systeme im Unternehmen geschaffen werden, um den Prozess der Weiterverarbeitung der Daten so einfach wie möglich zu gestalten.
A separate database, the so-called data warehouse, is created from the data of the systems in the company in order to make the process of further processing the data as simple as possible.
Professional Services Automation:
Professional Services Automation (PSA) supports service companies with customer inquiries throughout the entire project lifecycle. It usually starts with the sales opportunity, extends to the closing of the sale and the provision of all resources to handle the tasks. The aim of the software is for companies to complete all project milestones and tasks in a structured manner and for resources to be allocated and timed to finally provide all information for invoicing.
PSA tools can often differ greatly in their functionality. The key functions should include at least classic project management, reporting, resource management, revenue, time and cost management.
A survey by SPI Research found that the use of PSA software delivers a tremendous return on investment by increasing efficiency in three key areas:
- More efficient and effective project management
- Resource optimization and improved capacity utilization
- Optimization of reporting and increased transparency to increase margins
An Enterprise Architecture (EA) is supposed to form a company-wide knowledge platform and link all information and areas of the company in order to create a holistic view of the organization. The networking of all business areas and the visual representation not only creates company-wide transparency, but also explains all interrelationships in order to master the entire complexity. Accordingly, investments can be better allocated and managed.
It is important that Enterprise Architecture Management is based on four levels of enterprise architecture. These are continuously analyzed and further developed:
All business processes and business objects are to be visualized and screened uniformly in order to capture a business architecture.
On this level all applications are to be administered, which are necessary for the expiration of the business processes. Dependencies and relationships between the individual applications are to be created and visualized, and the inventory management of the applications is to be maintained.
In this area, all architectural elements of the IT infrastructure, such as setup and operation, are to be described and listed. At the same time, a basis should be created to procure the required applications, integrate them and ultimately operate them.
Data or information architecture:
This level also forms an essential part of EA. Here, all data is determined and displayed with the interrelated relationships that are decisive for the business process.
Clearly there may be shifts in functionality and overlaps in areas and tasks across industries, but we hope to provide a basic overview of the extensive enterprise software types at a glance. If you would like to take a step into the digital future with your company and are not sure which functionalities are important for your company, you can contact us at any time, we will be happy to advise you.