Integrated ERP Systems that companies use to capture spent hours and cost, beginning from time sheets all the way to employee payroll and project invoicing are great. And they provide fantastic visibility into how an organization is performing on a certain project.
However, once you have a joint venture with multiple partners forming a special purpose vehicle to undertake a project,getting that data visibility across all partners, to obtain project wide performance visibility; things get complicated.
Some of the challenges that I have either experienced or could think of are:
- Each partner of a joint venture use their own ERP System (i.e. Oracle, SAP, JD Edwards….etc) to capture effort and cost and is, again completely integrated with how they pay their employees and bill their projects across the whole organization.
-Many partners in joint ventures are usually concerned about confidentiality issues when it comes to sharing data with other partners in a joint venture. There is a trend to share the least possible amount of data, which in-turn requires constant manual data manipulation and creates waves of extra work across all partners.
On one joint venture led project that I worked on in the past. We tried to work around this issue by engaging an additional stand alone cloud-based project timesheet booking management system that all project staff - regardless of which company/ partner they belong to - had to put in their effort / hours detail. This seemed to have resolved that challenge in theory. However in reality, project staff had No strong motivation to record their hours in the additional project based time booking system, simply because there were No consequences to not recording your effort and time in it. Contrary to corporate based effort booking system, where not recording your effort is linked to your payroll, there is no link between the project-based time booking software and payrolls. It becomes more of an honor system, which unfortunately turned using this application into a white elephant.
I am sure many of you experienced a similar challenge on a multi - partner consortium or joint venture. I am curious and interested to learn how you worked around it. I cant help but think that there must be an efficient solution that is either out there or that could be developed in the near future. Something similar to a project based plug-in to the different commercial ERP software that can extract normalized data from these different sources to have an efficient harmonized project-wide data visibility, with minimal manual input.