February 21, 2014

Project Visibility Matters: Project Management Through Integrated ERP

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Blog > Project Visibility Matters: Project Management Through Integrated ERP

Project Visibility MattersVisibility matters a great deal when it comes to project management. Knowing that you have a great team handling any particular project doesn't make up for being in the dark about the details, or for having to wait for a regular status report to see how the costs and timeline match up with the projections.

Instant visibility into any particular project has, for the most part, been something that only the manager in the field has had. Ask them for any information, and they will likely have the details at their fingertips. It's the natural advantage of being involved in every aspect of that one project, day in and day out. It's what a good project manager is expected to do.

The challenge is to take the visibility that comes with being in the field and kick it up the chain, where higher-level managers can review in the context of all the other projects they've got going on at the same time.

For example, consider a construction company that specializes in building housing developments in North America. Each Project Manager has their own payroll and material costs to manage, their own legal environment to operate in, and their own deliverables schedule to oversee. But what they don't know is how the details of his project look in context with the half-dozen other property developments that the company is building at the same time. That's the job of the Executives who need instant visibility into all the projects so that they can make decisions that will keep them all on schedule and under budget.

The specific projects change over time, but the need to be able to see how they're all progressing never does. We get that, because we're a project-based company, too. Vision33 wouldn't give its clients the project visibility they're asking for if we hadn't already put our own house in order!

What does this level of project visibility look like?

Each project will be represented on a Gantt chart that shows, at a glance, its progress against established milestones. You'll be able to view multiple projects simultaneously, or drill down one at a time if you prefer.

But visibility goes deeper than that. Because we're pulling together information from multiple, disparate systems such as payroll, accounting, sales and inventory, you're able to compare and contrast different projects according to a number of benchmarks, for example:

  • actual vs. budget
  • material requirements vs. orders
  • labor and overtime costs
  • invoiced milestones

These data will not only help you keep current projects on track, they'll allow you to make more meaningful forecasts as well. Your sales force will know if you're at capacity, and when you can start a new project. Materials can be ordered when the price is most competitive, based on accurate forecasts of what you'll need in the coming months.

All this, from a single integrated ERP solution dashboard on a single computer screen. Project visibility that is both broad (aggregating data across systems) and deep (for drilling down on the details) at the same time. The ability to review labour and material costs simultaneously... without having to alt-tab among several programs, or get people from different departments on the phone at the same time.

That's what project visibility is supposed to look like.


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