Document Management

There was a time, not so long ago, when metal cabinets heavily loaded with files were the only solution to preserve and file documents. This time now belongs to the past and paper is gradually replaced by the more convenient electronic format, less bulky, and easily sent to multiple recipients.image pour blogue  documents
Storage and classification of documents in electronic format are performed on directories located on the computer disk, in emails, on server, or in cloud mode.

Indeed, though this solution is rather convenient when one wishes to manage a virtual library, limitations will soon appear. We will get back to this topic a little later.
Demand generating supply, new tools and concepts quickly appeared on the market.
Indeed, terms such as Electronic Document Management and Content Management (better known under the term Enterprise Content Management -ECM) are now common. There are numerous document management systems.
Collectively known as content management solutions, they meet very diverse needs. Let us mention a few of them:
• Document management
• Web  content  management (WCM Web Content Management)
• Multimedia document management (DAM (Digital Asset Management)
• Archives management,
• Email management ,
• Content analysis of digital documents (Content Analytics  or Content Analysis). The aim is to manage the content of numerous unstructured documents in order to automatically analyze and identify trends in those documents.
What are the benefits of document management?
Utilizing a document management system offers numerous benefits. However, it is mandatory that the solution is integrated in a software suite which brings together the various modules required for appropriate and effective project management. In fact, quite often, organizations will have a whole range of management tools:
• Time Management
• Budget Management
• Management of the deliverables
• Management of changes occurring in projects
• Management of work in progress and billing
• Management of time banks
• Document management etc.
The problem that arises does not involve the tools themselves.  The problematic rather lies in the fact that those different systems do not communicate with each other. Therefore, the benefit of these solutions is dissolved in the time needed to forward information from one application to another with all the risks of mistakes and forgetfulness that this delicate operation involves.
Ideally, the document management tool must be available on a versatile software platform, easily operated by the project manager, that is to say; no need to use multiple software, and direct access to all components of the project:
• Budget
• Project WBS
• Allocation of resources
• Monitoring the availability of resources
• Transactions (timesheets, expenses)
• Management of vendor invoices
• Billing
• Financial Reports
• Notes on project
• And  other documents related to the project itself.

The direct benefits are time saving and centralization of information.
Abak360 was recently fitted with a versatile document management module. It is thus possible for the user to centralize all documentation relating to a project directly in the project folder (receipts, pictures, layouts, and any other type of documents). An employee who enters his/her time and expenses also has the ability to electronically attach receipts to the expense account.

For further information do not hesitate to contact us.

Project management and project cost management: two worlds.

Quite often when we speak about project management, we usually refer to the set of monitoring tools that are utilized to ensure that we shall deliver the project according to the three universal criteria:

• Deliver on time

• According to the specifications

• According to budget

It is rather simple to list the required specifications and to comply, and it is relatively easy (everything being kept in perspective of course) to plan the final delivery date for a project. However, it is more difficult to incorporate changes and contingencies that may arise during its execution. In general, project management tools used to manage these changes along the way allow limiting risks, at least on the organization point of view. It remains no less true that these changes have an impact on the financial component of the project.

Therefore, the concept of delivering ‘according to the defined budget’ becomes quite often uncertain.

The importance of billing method is obvious:

If we invoice the real number of hours and related expenses, then the situation is perfectly clear and there are no problems in sight. Whatever the changes involved in the life of the project might be, the billing will be done based on the real number of hours incurred in the performance of services and expenses. However unforeseen costs may occur after project delivery.

If we bill on a fixed fee basis, the following question will soon or later arise: what do we do if our flat rate billing does not reflect the reality on the ground? In other words, if we charge a lump sum which in equivalence is less than the selling value of the worked hours? Shall we post the difference in losses, or initiate a negotiation with the client? It will depend on the customer’s goodwill and on our negotiating skills.

Anyway, at this point we find ourselves still in the phase of delivery of services, but what about services rendered to customers beyond the delivery date of the project? Although these occur in retrospect, they were not initially budgeted, and as such they will affect the level of profitability of the project.

Let’s take an example:  we develop a software solution for the industry.

My project consists of three phases: needs analysis, development, commissioning. For the entire project I planned respectively 25, 100, and 50 hours for a total of 175 hours. My average hourly cost is $ 35 and my average hourly rate is $ 70. The agreement with the client is based on a lump sum of $ 14,000 (175 hours and a 25 hour buffer at the rate of $ 70).

I underestimated, in my analysis, development needs. In addition, the Beta version contained bugs that I had to fix. In total I spent 40 hours more than anticipated in my original budget (excluding the buffer). In compliance with the agreement I have  with the client I charged a flat fee of 200 hours and therefore have recorded a loss of 15 hours, representing $ 525  (cost). Software has been delivered. Two months later, the client informs me that there are recurring malfunctions and I have to work twenty hours to correct the situation. In total, although the project has been delivered I recorded a second loss equivalent to $ 700 (cost). To summarize:

Beyond project delivery, financial loss may occur. It is therefore appropriate to include in the budget a risk factor which ideally would represent the price of one year of service contract. In the example, besides the 25 hour buffer, it would have important to add an amount to cover the risk of post-delivery, for example 10 to 15% of the total contract value. Abak software specialist in time recording, billing and cost management of the project includes a component for budget calculation. Tell us about your projects, we will discuss your budget.