Although we’ve all heard the truism, “you have to spend money to make money,” a more accurate statement might be “You won’t accomplish anything without the right resources.” Resources are the materials, people, abilities, time, or tools that we take advantage of in order to complete certain tasks. With very few exceptions, resources are inherently finite in nature; as we use them, they become depleted. Additionally, as more businesses enter the market, certain resources are becoming scarce. This makes resources not only valuable, but also limited. With this in mind, it makes sense that businesses would want to ensure that none of their valuable resources of any kind are going to waste. And in fact, there is very little disagreement on the issue, with 97% of organizations believing that resource and project management is critical to the success of an organization.
Wasted resources can have a hugely negative impact on the economy in general, and businesses specifically. For example, work associated with human resources alone consumes approximately 25–35% of small business administrators’ time — time which could be spent on other, more profitable tasks. Of course, there’s a significant difference between knowing that resources are valuable and worth managing, and knowing how to manage resources. Finite resources can have a finite application — employees can only be completely invested in a single project or task at one time, and there are similar issues related to time, tools, materials, and workspaces. As such, extensive planning is required for those businesses that wish to get the the most efficient use out of the limited resources available to them. Thankfully, advances in technology have made it possible for organizations to refine and automate the resource-management process, with resource-management software.
Software for resource management helps business leaders to better track and allocate the assets that fuel their businesses. This software comes in many forms, from basic spreadsheets and databases, to all-encompassing multi-platform solutions, and provides potential advantages to every department within an organization. For example, an IT department may use resource-management software to track the use of company computer equipment, and to help plan work-order schedules. HR can use resource-management software to track payroll and benefits, as well as other data associated with specific employees. Resource planning optimizes project management tasks by fostering coordination and collaboration among team members and partners.
Customer resource-management software can act as a form of customer relationship management (CRM), capturing and analyzing valuable customer data in order to help organizations better provide their clients with a satisfying customer experience. And as for the company as a whole, resource management software can be used to avoid cost overruns, automate scheduling and notifications, implement resource leveling, establish accurate forecasts, organize teams based on a variety of relevant factors, and more. Some resource management software integrates directly with financial systems, so that users can get a better feel for the relationships between costs and resources, and review the overall financial status of the company. Simply put, resource management software is designed to help your organization make the most of its available assets. However, in order for it to do so effectively, it needs to be a good fit your existing structure.
According to Capterra, reliability, usability, and ease of integration are the top three requirements project managers look for when shopping for software. This is because these three factors play important roles in user adoption. The same can be said for resource management software. In order for your resource management solution to be effective, your employees have to be willing to use it. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the three aforementioned factors as they relate to performing a resource-management software comparison.
Digital spreadsheets have been in use in the workplace since the late 1980s, and before that, nondigital tools such as paper files and calendars were the go-to solution for office resource management. But how reliable were these solutions, really? Paper files are difficult to organize and retrieve, and can easily be lost or destroyed. Calendars are only as reliable as those who keep them, often being forgotten or ignored. Digital spreadsheets are certainly a step in the right direction — particularly those that are designed to synch with digital calendars — and can be used to coordinate small teams and manage limited resources and scheduling, but still rely on manual data entry, and are often somewhat limited in terms of scope and accuracy.
Effective resource-management software are cloud-based programs, very similar to the structure of the best CRM systems. Taking a cloud-based approach enables them to instantly backup and synchronize in real time any changes made to the shared program by any authorized user. This ensures that you’ll always have the most relevant data, and that important resources are never falling through the cracks.
Large businesses may have thousands of employees all involved in resource management, which means that enterprise resource-management software needs to be user-friendly enough for a wide range of technical-expertise levels. Likewise, the learning-curve shouldn’t be so difficult that employees require extensive training for certification. Ideally, the program should be intuitive enough to allow users to jump directly into it with no prior instruction.
Of course, the more complex the system, the more likely it is that it will require some form of training. When this is the case, built-in tutorials that guide new users through hand-on interaction are extremely valuable. And, because many users would prefer to jump directly in and deal with issues as they arise, 24-hour multi-channel support options (such as via live chat, email, telephone, etc.) provide a safety net. Smaller businesses with fewer employees can likewise benefit from user-friendly resource-management software, as they will likely have a less robust IT department (if any) available to offer assistance.
Enterprise-resource management software should be designed to be able to function effectively throughout multiple users and departments. As such, in order to facilitate this, it needs to be able to perform with full functionality regardless of platform or device. Cloud-based programs make this possible. By housing the entire application online and making it accessible via browsers eliminates problems associated with incompatibility. When it comes to cloud-based resource-management software, Mac and PC users are able to not only enjoy the same resource-management capabilities, but are also able to work together seamlessly and in real-time. Likewise, given the current shift towards mobile computing, the best resource-management software solutions are those that are designed to be fully functional on mobile smart devices. Some may even allow for extended customization through third-party apps, improving integration even further.
In addition to the need for multi-platform integration, resource management software should also be capable of coordinating with any existing systems or processes that you organization may already have in place. If you use an effective CRM system, for example, resource management should be able to link directly with it, and work in tandem to provide data-based information and real-time solutions.
The CRM technology used to improve and maintain buyer-seller relationship is uniquely suited to resource management. Because of this, established CRM providers may offer the best resource-management software options to fit your organization’s needs. Salesforce is one such provider. With their mobile-first design, wide customization and configuration options (including an extensive library of third-party apps via the Salesforce AppExchange), web-based cross-platform accessibility, and real-time synchronization of data for all users, Salesforce resource management is a reliable, usable, and widely integrable option.
No matter you project, no matter your business, no matter your industry, your organization relies on its available resources in order to achieve success. As such, effective management of those resources inevitably leads to better execution and a greater ROI. And, just as you won’t accomplish anything without the right resources, it’s just as true to say that without proper resource management, your resources will never be able to provide you as much value as they otherwise could. Leverage technology for better resource management, and you see just how high your business can grow when built on a foundation of correctly managed assets.
The best way to see how Salesforce is revolutionizing customer service is with a guided tour of Service Cloud. With the guided tour, we can show you how Service Cloud shines in several common use cases and scenarios.
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