Resource management software automates and optimizes an organization’s resource planning processes so they can allocate resources (people, time, technology, and budget) to plans and projects.
Project-based teams as well as managed and professional services—like marketing agencies, engineering firms, and business consultancies—use this powerful tool to:
- Manage resource capacity and plan based on availability
- Identify the best resources for each project or task
- Provide forecasts for future projects
- Present a single view of all company resources
Signs You Need Resource Management Software
Resource management software comes into play when companies fail to get the full value from their resource planning processes. It’s a superior solution to spreadsheets and a more visual and focused option than what’s available in ERPs.
Here are ten signs that indicate you might be ready to switch to resource management software.
1. Your heavyweight ERP software doesn’t provide the visibility or workforce-specific reporting that you need.
ERP systems deliver a wide range of capabilities. Although they can be adapted to manage resource planning processes, they’re predominantly intended for finance or accounting teams and can be highly complicated.
Consequently, people avoid using them altogether. In fact, only 26% of employees actually use their companies’ ERP systems.
The best tool is the one that everyone actually uses. While legacy resource management tools are primarily used only by staffing and project managers, modern resource management software is designed for collaboration. The goal is to get everyone in the organization—from executive leadership and team managers to client services and business development—using it immediately, without training or help from IT.
2. You’re tired of planning projects and resources in spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets simply aren’t scalable. They fall short in so many ways. Namely, they’re time-consuming, prone to errors, don’t support collaboration, destroy team culture, and are a nightmare to keep up to date. Plus, you can’t get any kind of data, reporting, or insights out of spreadsheets.
3. Your time-tracking is a mess.
Does your current process require everyone to manually track their own time for each project or task? How often do they actually do that?
This means that you have no idea how many billable and non-billable hours to attribute to each team member. You have little insight into how much time each project or task actually takes. And there’s no way for you to compare planned hours against actual so you don’t really know if you’re losing or making money.
4. You can’t accurately track project budgets.
If your business model is built around billable hours and you’re struggling to track everyone’s time, then how can you reliably track project budgets? Not to mention billable costs for any materials, equipment, technology, tools, or other resources.
Chances are, all this data is stored in different systems. You have to manually collect it and get it entered into your finance software. Wouldn’t it be nice to automate all of this?
5. You’re lacking visibility into workload or capacity.
Without a unified view of all projects across all teams, you have no idea how much work your people actually have on their plates. What typically winds up happening is that top team members get overbooked and newer employees aren’t fully leveraged for their talents. The risks here are twofold: potential burnout and/or under-utilization. Neither scenario puts you in a good position.
Plus, without visibility into workload, you have no idea how much new business you can take on or if you have enough projects in the pipeline to meet your goals. This makes it impossible to plan for a profitable future.
6. You’re struggling with hiring and/or retention.
Lack of visibility into workload and capacity leads to bigger resource issues around retention and hiring. Top performers leave because of burnout. Others depart because they’re not stretched to their potential.
High turnover creates critical gaps in your workforce that can put projects at risk. This forces you into a state of reactive hiring, making it even more difficult to plan for the future of the business. Resource planning software can be highly effective in reducing employee turnover and supporting strategic recruiting initiatives.
7. Your team keeps missing critical deadlines.
No matter how well documented your timelines, how precise your Gannt charts, or how clear your priorities, you’re finding that your team still misses major milestones. Project timelines run into each other and put new projects at risk of getting started in a timely manner.
Whether it’s because some tasks took longer than planned, balls were dropped when a project was passed from one team member to another, or deliverables got caught up in review limbo—the result is that the work wasn’t completed on time. This makes for unhappy clients and often puts undue stress on your top performers who wind up putting in extra hours to help get projects over the finish line.
8. Your projects suffer from scope creep.
Scope creep—the bane of every project-based and professional services organization. You commit to a project plan and budget based on a set number of resources. Then every project phase seems to take more resources than it should, slowly destroying your profit margins as the work progresses.
Without visibility into the real-time status of plans, it’s difficult for you to see exactly where projects are going off course and where your business is losing the most money.
9. You’re tired of logging into multiple systems to get the info you need.
Between instant messaging channels, emails, time-tracking apps, and project management tools, you’re tired of logging into separate systems. The time it takes to collect tasks, notes, planning docs, schedules, timesheets, and budgets is exhaustive. Loose “integrations” just don’t cut it.
What if all your day to day project and people data could live in one place? Just imagine how much time you would save and how much easier would it be to act on important information.
10. You’re stuck in micro-level detail and can’t properly plan ahead.
If you’re doing resource planning without proper resource management tools, you’re probably drowning in micro-level details that eat away at your day. Hours are spent allocating resources to project plans, then updating those plans again and again.
You can’t see beyond immediate needs, let alone try to proactively plan for the next quarter, year, or beyond. Not only are many of these tasks a waste of your time, but they prevent you from being able to plan ahead or accurately forecast workload.
11. You don’t have an accurate big-picture view of what’s going on in your business.
It’s frustrating to feel like you’re in the dark when it comes to project health but still be held accountable for results. The more you manage, the harder it is to have an accurate view of who’s working on which projects, how timelines are trending, and if you have all the staff you need.
Unrealistic estimates lead to late deliveries and exceeded budgets. Task due dates and project deadlines keep moving. You have to keep asking for updates. It’s no way to manage an organization.
You need a unified view of all resources, projects, and plans that will reveal gaps and overlaps, alert you to possible risks, and help you plan for the future.
Benefits of Resource Management Software
Resource management software changes the game of resource planning. These tools help you track and optimize workload, capacity, demand, and priorities across all team members and projects so you can maximize productivity and increase profitability.
Here are a few of the benefits you’ll experience by switching to resource management software:
- Optimize planning: Accurately forecast workload and automatically identify potential demand or capacity issues.
- Improve operational efficiency: Quickly stand up new projects, schedule entire plans with just a few clicks, and make automatic timeline adjustments.
- Increase utilization: Make sure that your entire team is busy with billable or goal-aligned work. Easily identify who’s available, who can step in to help in a pinch, and who has too much on their schedule.
- Increase profitability: Keep projects on time and on budget, and quickly compare actual to projected resources so you can adjust future project scope accordingly.
- Increase retention: Delight customers by delivering projects on time and on budget. And improve company culture through better communication, balanced work plans, and clear expectations.
The ROI of Resource Management Software
While software is always an investment, optimizing resource planning is the key to maximizing efficiency and profitability. Resource management software delivers ROI in two primary ways:
- It reduces the amount of time spent on manual, low-value data entry, meetings about meetings, and backchanneling.
- It improves productivity, efficiency, and project profitability.
The bigger your team, the more you stand to benefit from a resource management solution. For example, if you have a team of 100 people and you implement Mosaic’s resource management software, your organization will save an average of 4,000 hours per year and earn an additional $1.2 million. Impressive, isn’t it?