Presentation on theme: "Integrating finance and CRM systems for effective project management: ODI’s Information Systems Integration Project Peter Gee."— Presentation transcript:
Integrating finance and CRM systems for effective project management: ODI’s Information Systems Integration Project Peter Gee
ODI is an independent think tank on humanitarian and international development Last year celebrated its 50 th anniversary It is a charity, but not a membership organisation Is expanding from current staff of 150, to around 200 next year, plus research associates, contractors, consultants and interns. Apart from some major funding streams from DFID and The Gates Foundation, the majority of funding is project-related, from a range of institutional funders.
ODI’s main earners are its 70 + research staff. Continuing to bring in enough project funds to cover all our costs is crucial Managing finances has always been challenging but with tighter margins has become even more so
Responding with IT To meet this challenge ODI computerised its finance systems back in 1989, with: – financial accounting using TetraPlan coupled with – management accounting and reporting through a parallel spreadsheet system For more than a decade this system worked generally well, but depended on a few long-serving members of staff, using poorly documented systems. Overhauling the financial system in early 2000’s proved to be difficult and more expensive than envisaged.
In-house solutions tried: develop our own reporting systems and customised billing system, integrated with SharePoint using Microsoft SQL Reporting Services - partially successful – but highlighted problems with accuracy of project data – a more integrated system was needed, and our developer left us. Working group on systems development & integration, with some SQL database and SharePoint –but with very limited time and budget progress was slow.
Case is made for systems integration Perception that finance and other systems still don’t deliver: – inefficient, fragile, disconnected systems, multiple re-entry of data, cannot be scaled up, highly dependent on a small group of specialist finance staff. – do not support tracking the ‘profitability’ of projects; producing basic financial information; and preparing research proposals. Consultants brought in (Sayer Vincent) Management team decide to make the case for substantial financial investment in a systems integration project
Consultants report Benefits identified: – reduced staff stress; – increased financial stability – increased external cohesion and impact Options for software solutions – Ranging from integrated practice management type systems ( as used by lawyers and accountants) through modular systems to separate systems with bespoke integration
Solution/supplier selected Preliminary sifting with demonstrations Shortlist of four suppliers – Two with mainly Microsoft solutions; two others. – Each presents to representative project team, which score aspects of their solutions Nov/Dec: two suppliers make detailed presentations with prototyping – Reference site visits – Further detailed evaluation Final decision made shortly before Christmas 2009 – With high level of agreement from the project team at all levels – FD Systems with solution based on Sage 1000
About the Selected System Given the complexity of ODI’s requirements, no single product could meet all our needs. The system selected involves several different software components requiring detailed configuration – core Sage 1000 – ‘cloud’ based Replicon time recording/expenses – Sage CRM – Qlikview for flexible reporting
What is ISIP? SHAREPOINT SAGE 1000CRM REPLICON Info on Customers / Suppliers Info on projects / budgets Project documents Time & expenses info QLIKVIEW Project title and ID number Weekly time / expense claims Project title and work tasks Hyperlinks to relevant data Project Progress Reports Project / programme financial reports Individual / Programme target reports Budget data Actual time / expenses data Information out Information in Finance reports Key: Personal / team time reports
System Design and Key Implementation Decisions Implementation phase for 2010 and 2011 – not always smooth. Some key decisions made during the implementation – Significant alteration of the proposed integration points – Phased roll-out with a temporary solution while development continued – Include some bespoke elements (with a.NET budget tool application)
Reflections in October 2011 with Stage 2 live [almost] The original timescale was optimistic, and some slippage was probably inevitable Nevertheless Stage 1 went live within a couple of weeks of target date. Stage 2 took far longer than any of us envisaged, eventually to launch in June 2011, and there have been some outstanding issues since then. A key challenge has been availability of staff on both sides – the complex timetable agreed with the contractor could be easily thrown out. During 2011 a shortage of developer resources at FDS has caused many further delays. Workshops with staff were problematic in configuring and delivering complex elements Some staff had strong ownership of the old system and were reluctant to support the new before full end to end demonstration Challenge of ‘scope-creep’ Practical difficulties in testing the whole system before completion Overview of what the project should deliver
ISIP CRM: Projects Replicon: Timesheets Sage: Finances BI & Qlickview: Reports Reduced staff stress Input efficiency Retrieval efficiency Process efficiency Increased financial stability Winning business Mobilising resources Delivering the work Increased external coherence and impact Better management reports Better donor reports Business integrated with public-good activities Portfolio management of projects Strategic management of clients Improved strategic decisions Built-in workflow and approvals Better donor “records” Aggregated donor project information Live tracking of time and other costs Automatically generated donor reports Better understanding of time use Single project info system User-configurable dashboards Easy budget / input changes Pre-configured reports Can aggregate info in multiple dimensions
An extensive training and support programme has been put in place: