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How ERP in the cloud can benefit management consulting firms

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Visibility, control and agility are key drivers for consulting firms. To keep up with project management delivery, competition and innovation, management consulting firms are transitioning their ERP to a cloud environment, according to a new report from Deltek.

A report by Gartner states that 30% of service centric companies will move the majority of their ERP apps to the cloud by 2018*. “Such a system hosted in a cloud environment brings significant advantages and return on investment to managing internal processes, service delivery and prepare for digital disruption,” says Fergus Gilmore, Managing Director UK and Central Europe at IT services firm Deltek.

Management consulting firms rely on their employees to deliver profitable projects on time and within budget. However, projects are increasingly becoming more complex due to globalisation, customers’ demands, market changes and digital transformation. With innovative technologies providing a growing potential for consultancies to improve their performance, analysts are increasingly touting technology strategy as a factor that firms must get right to be successful. Gilmore: “Digital transformation is not a passing trend, but a reality as companies strive to remain competitive, better enable employees to deliver exceptional projects and expertise, and prepare to overcome future challenges.”

Consultancies across the globe are picking up on the trend. According to IDC, worldwide IT spending of professional services firms* has risen year on year in the recent period, with a growth of 6% forecasted for 2017. “The increase in spending by consulting firms is mainly aimed at ensuring that they can do more, faster and cheaper,” explains Gilmore. “Technology enables partners to get control of processes in an agile manner, get an overarching view of portfolios and projects, and it sets the fundament for optimal project delivery and performance.”

Consulting to the cloud

An essential part of digital strategy is the transition from traditional server-intensive models to cloud-based way of working. With 22,000 clients Deltek is one of the world’s largest providers of enterprise software and solutions for project-based businesses. Gilmore says that he sees that the trend is also rapidly gaining momentum in the consulting industry. The development does not come as a surprise; in a 2014 survey by Deltek, the researchers found that 73% of consulting firms were planning to or in the process of moving their systems to a cloud environment. A similar trend is visible across the IT services landscape, with Gartner research stating that the ‘cloud shift’ will affect more than $1 trillion in IT spending by 2020.

Based on his experience at Deltek, Gilmore enumerates some of the reasons consulting firms are moving to cloud ERP. He highlights that an important element of a project-based business is to maintain one version of the truth across the entire organisation to improve vision, efficiency and better informed decision making. “This can only be done by unifying data to link people, processes and information.”

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