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Suitable Cloud/SaaS solution for small consultancy

Atul  Madahar's Profile

Dear Proformative Friends and Neighbors, I'm helping a small 25 person engineering consultancy, with people in the US, EU/Russia, India and a few elsewhere. We are also evolving into having minor equity positions in several JV projects, and we plan to growth globally to about 40-50 people in the next 2-4 years. Just a general question. I'd like to start putting in the management processes/IT infrastructure together to manage this growth. We outsource our book keeping/accounting today, but moving forward what would be good (in house or outsourced cloud/Saas) solutions for a firm of our nature; especially as the abundance of new solutions is confusing to me: - Financial accounting - Managerial accounting - Project Finance - Contract management - Sales pipeline/CRM - HR Management - IT management/File sharing - Communication - Aligning a dispersed workforce around common objectives I'd like to have integrated solutions as much as possible... having a half-dozen separate systems doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Thanks as always to the Proformative Community...

Answers

Anonymous
(Consulting CFO and Business Operations Advisor) |

Atul,

My experience so far has been to stick with best-of-breed for the core processes, and then use those systems to fill in the blanks. It is quite possible to do a large deployment of a SalesForce or NetSuite-centric system that does most of what you're looking for, but that could involve some heavy lifting on your part to get it all functional...especially if you have special needs that aren't well suited.

Pick your top three critical functions (I would guess project finance, project management, contract management, managerial accounting), and 1) see if they fit any best of breed mixes *in how you use them*, or 2) If they can be crammed into one of the big vendors cloud apps (Biz1, OneWorld, etc).

Herman Chandi
Title: VP Business Development
Company: Procurify
LinkedIn Profile
(VP Business Development, Procurify) |

At the core, my advice would be to start with a financial accounting system and move from there. Most new generation software providers (such as Xero.com) and some newish (quickbooks online) have app marketplaces and open API's that allow for one click /cost free integration with other solutions based on the processes you have described. This kind of setup is ideal for a sub 100 employee organization.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Herman is on the right track. But before you look at any system, have a clear idea of what you need in terms of functionality, structure, KPI's and where growth will come from and what changes, if any that will produce.

System X may do everything now and in the future you need, but there may be a hidden gotcha, like period transactional quantities that knock that product out of the ball park (or require you to repeat the exercise all over again in the future).

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