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Service-centric Cloud ERP and Human Resources implementations

As a person working within ERP projects, my main goal is to deliver not only Human Resources solutions but also to understand the full scenario and overall business challenges. It's much more than just personnel management or leaves and absence, I like to think that our duty as consultants is to advise on a strategic level. And that is the reason for this post, in the following lines I will share why the service-centric approach is the one we need to use for ERP projects, and what's the added value of doing so.

What is a service-centric cloud ERP solution?

Based on Gartners' definition, service-centric cloud ERP solutions are the suite containing the following:

  • Financial management system (FMS) functionality Order-to-cash (O2C) — from CPQ through cash collection activities

  • Procure to pay (P2P) — must include e-purchasing,

  • AP invoice automation, supplier collaboration, and payments

  • Human capital management (HCM) — administrative HR capabilities, such as core HR data management, employee life cycle transactions, and position management

  • Other administrative ERP — to support service-centric industries, such as project management (for project-centric capabilities), extended planning and analysis (xP&A), and real-estate lease management.

Where does Microsoft stand?

According to the recent Gartner results, Microsoft is one of the big players in the market towards the service-centric cloud ERP. The best way to understand why Microsoft is positioned as a leader is by listing the requirements for a service-centric cloud ERP and mapping the existing modules within Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. In the image below you will find an image that maps both worlds.

Service-centric Cloud ERP map Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

Why this approach is important for Human Resources implementation projects?

Compared to traditional ERP projects, a service-centric approach will cover business requirements from the very first moment, avoiding future problems and understanding the resources as a value cross-process and organization-wide. There are a couple of elements that support the adoption of this approach:

  1. Unified data and processes: a central place for workers' data, including personal and professional data. This unified and centralized repository eliminates the need for several spreadsheets or even solutions.

  2. Process optimization: combining HR functions within the ERP provides organizations with the ability to integrate workflows in processes such as onboarding, performance, and leave. Because they are part of the ERP these workflows can also integrate other modules just like project management.

  3. Workforce planning and allocation: this is my favorite, implementing a service-centric ERP will provide organizations to gain an overall understanding of the workers. Mapping skills, and availability with project requirements. With this approach, the right resources will be allocated to the right projects.

  4. Improved collaboration: Projects teams can access employee professional profiles containing important data such as expertise, availability, and much more, therefore communication is improved as well as collaboration.

  5. Integrated project management: even though #3 is my favorite, I must admit that this is also a great one. The service-centric approach enables project managers to access a comprehensive suite of project management tools. Managing, creating, and tracking project plans, progress, and resource allocation. In combination with the HR data PMs will have a better understanding of the resources, reduce risks and ensure great results.

Why embrace a service-centric mindset?

This answer will depend on your goals, if you want to build strong, long-term, and trustworthy relationships with customers, this is a mandatory step forward. If you are happy just being a firefighter and providing short solutions to the market, this approach is not for you. Adopting this mindset will:

  1. Improve customer satisfaction: the customer is the center of the decision-making, so satisfaction comes first.

  2. Competitiveness: providing a distinguished service is what will make your organization stand out.

  3. Long-term relationships: creating a bond with the customer will help you understand the business requirements on a whole new level. The opportunity to upsell and cross-sell is constant

  4. Business growth: if a customer is happy, they will recommend your services and resources to others. Besides all your marketing strategies, happy customers will always be the first to advocate for your organization

  5. Reputation: if your approach is bigger than just one-time implementation, reputation will come as a consequence of the good service and your strategic vision for your customer relationships.

By adopting this approach organizations will create and enable the mindset for constant growth, customer satisfaction, and increase reputation, promoting employee engagement. The customer-centric approach will lead to sustainable success in service-centric cloud ERP implementations.

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