Cross Point Solutions’ Project Budgeting Tips
We at Cross Point Solutions probably don’t have to tell you this, but regardless: budgeting is such an important aspect of managing a company and guiding it successfully into the future. From time to time, how skillfully crafted the budget is can mean life or death for an organization, especially after just getting through a recession. Budgeting, forecasting, and modeling organizationally is a regular process and tends to entail moving parts coming together to link actuals and projections for the impending fiscal year. And then there are times where a company or a department head needs to budget for a specific project or task. Whether you are a freelance professional proposing a bid for a job, a consultant tracking billable hours, or a project manager with more than one task to manage, project budgeting becomes a requisite Business Intelligence (BI) need in your career.
Last month, we had the opportunity to talk with a management consultant, who was charged with analyzing a company’s BI needs and present software recommendations to the team of executives. Since he had just begun the project, he did not know if he could find a complete suite of BI tools for a simultaneous implementation, all the while meeting the needs of the organization and the budgeting goals for this project. We ended up talking about budgeting for a project – and a consultant – of this sort. This conversation organically evolved into a focused conversation about project budgeting. In his experience, he said, “Most [people] think of project budgeting as an art, but in reality, if you use budgeting guidelines and the right tool, it can be decently accurate.” We agree.
Not being framed in a common timeline like a fiscal year, project budgeting is unique in its structure. Using the management consultant as an example, he will evaluate the company’s current BI tools and needs, an analysis of how corporate performance is currently managed, complete a search for the best, ultra-modern BI solution(s) that speaks to company needs, and assist in the implementation for around 9 months. This real-life scenario works out to be a perfect example of project budgeting today – and what it can mean in the context of BI tools. We at Cross Point Solutions are going to put together a theoretical project budget for this consultant as the company who would like to upgrade their BI tools, including an exploration of how to look for the best project budgeting tool.
For the sake of anonymity in this article, we’ll call the management consultant, “Bob,” and the company, “ABC Enterprises.” ABC Enterprises decided that their analytics need an upgrade, specifically in regard to their BI solutions. They are still relying on FRx even though Microsoft has retired the reporting tool and all support for the software. ABC Enterprises is satisfied with their Dynamics ERP system, but they would like the internal dashboards functionality to be a little more powerful. They do their own homegrown Excel budgeting, which is also pretty limited. They have hired Bob to take on the task of finding reasonably priced options to refine their BI analysis abilities, from evaluation of their company needs to implementation of new product(s). After a strong recommendation of Bob, ABC Enterprises started budgeting for the complete project.
To continue learning more about what to consider when budgeting for a specific project, read the rest of this article here.