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Dealing with complex projects in NetSuite SRP

Cooper Software, like all professional services and consultancy businesses, arrived at the point of the company’s growth where our collection of excel and point solutions (Salesforce, Sage, Ace Projects…) were creaking and failing to give us both the insight into our day to day operations of our Order to Cash lifecycle and the capacity to scale without significant administration investment.   We took stock and realised that we needed a more holistic and integrated Professional Services Automation system. After evaluating the market place, we settled on NetSuite SRP using the PSA modules to help us understand every aspect of our Projects and Resource Allocation.

NetSuite SRP

The PSA modules themselves are a powerful part of NetSuite and we implemented the system and, in our relatively straightforward operation at that time, the system worked well.

We could ensure that the right resources were working on the right project.

The beauty of NetSuite SRP was that our project management system was directly integrated into the finance system and CRM meaning we could:

  • Manage our CRM and Sales Pipeline
  • Manage projects
  • Allocate resources to project teams
  • Invoice in timely fashion

NetSuite SRP also provided visibility and control over our project resources.

Our Project Managers could plan more accurately, track and deliver projects, effectively allocating the right employees with the right skills, to the right tasks.

From the moment a new opportunity was identified through to project delivery, invoicing and revenue recognition, double data entry was eliminated and costly systems and integrations management overheads were removed.

There was no need to transfer every project related change, cost or invoice in to our ERP solution, it was there already.

So far so good….so what happened?

Problem #1: Our projects got complicated and we couldn’t easily show the customer why

When we began to move to more complex projects and programme management we began to find that our Project Managers were reverting to planning in Microsoft Project. This caused a number of issues

  • We couldn’t import or export Microsoft Project data into NetSuite
  • The standard Gantt charts were static with limited functionality
  • Our resourcing team struggled to pull the complex projects plan into a resource plan within NetSuite so our Resource Allocations were generic and unhelpful
  • NetSuite SRP couldn’t plan and track at master/child (programme level) in a seamless way.

All of this led to our Project Managers simply not using NetSuite as Project Management system having a knock-on effect across the business.

How we solved it

Using our expert development resources and experience we had gained in developing applications for our customers based on the NetSuite SRP framework, we developed Pro-Scope for NetSuite SRP built natively within NetSuite.

We created it for ourselves and we use it to this day.

Pro-Scope allows our Project Managers to:

  • Use NetSuite Gantt charts that can be interactively manipulated to edit and update project tasks.
  • Data can be edited directly in the chart and sorted by type, for example, by start and end date, resource name or percentage complete.
  • Drag and drop functionality allows us to easily add and amend project and resource entries.  The result is a fully interactive Gantt chart, manipulated directly on the chart with flow through to the data and integration with the financial systems.
  • Even more importantly, the chart itself can be easily shared with clients by exporting it in to Microsoft Project or saved and exported as as PDF, Excel or an image file.  We can even import MS Project files into NetSuite SRP and share them with clients.

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