What is Project-Based ERP? Overview and Top Options

Last Updated: October 20th, 2023
Researched and Written by: Russ Davidson

Project-based ERP is a system that helps organizations manage and optimize specific projects. It tracks and manages projects, including resource allocation, budgeting, scheduling, progress monitoring, inventory management, accounting, and business processes. These systems offer advantages like centralized information, collaboration, and improved project planning. It also simplifies administrative tasks and provides analytics for better decision-making.

How Project Management Works in an ERP System

Key Features of Project-Based ERP Software

Compared to more generic ERP software, project-based ERP software offers a range of features and functionalities designed to streamline project management processes. These solutions review the dynamics of projects and provide efficient tools for better management.

One key feature of project planning is resource management, which enables businesses to allocate personnel, equipment, and materials effectively. This is crucial for project budgets and project accounting. Organizations can optimize resource utilization, ensuring that projects are adequately staffed and equipped.

Another important aspect of project-based ERP is financial management. It offers valuable insights into project management capabilities and project budgets, aiding managers in making informed decisions regarding resource allocation and pricing strategies. The ideal software will facilitate accurate user billing by automating invoicing processes based on project milestones or deliverables.

Collaboration tools are also integral to project-based ERP systems. These project management capabilities enable seamless communication among team members across different departments or locations, allowing businesses to track project progress. A project-based ERP will facilitate document sharing, task assignment, and progress tracking in a centralized platform, enhancing project management capabilities.

How Project-Based ERP Integrates Various Aspects of Project Management

Project-based ERP integrates various aspects of business project management by providing a unified platform for planning, execution, monitoring, and control. It eliminates the need for multiple standalone systems or spreadsheets by consolidating all relevant business data in one place. This streamlines project progress and makes it easier to track and manage.

One way the business achieves integration is through its comprehensive project planning capabilities. Project managers in a business can create detailed work breakdown structures (WBS) with tasks, dependencies, timelines, and milestones. To track project progress and ensure efficient resource allocation, businesses can assign resources to each task based on availability and skill set. This holistic view of the business project allows business managers to identify potential bottlenecks or conflicts in the business early on.

Furthermore, project-based ERP systems facilitate real-time progress monitoring through dashboards and reports. Managers can track project progress and key performance indicators (KPIs), such as budget utilization or schedule adherence, at any given time. If deviations occur from the planned trajectory, alerts can be triggered, enabling prompt corrective actions.

Project-based ERP software enables seamless integration with other enterprise systems like CRM or HRM. This integration ensures that data flows seamlessly between different departments involved in the project. For example, customer information from the CRM system can be accessed within the project management module, providing insights into customer requirements and preferences.

Role of Real-Time Data in Project-Based ERP for Accurate Decision-Making

Real-time data plays a crucial role in project-based ERP for accurate decision-making. By capturing and processing data as it happens, organizations gain valuable insights into project performance and can make informed decisions promptly.

For instance, real-time financial data allows managers to monitor costs throughout the project lifecycle. They can compare actual expenses against budgeted amounts and take necessary measures to control spending if deviations occur. This proactive approach helps prevent cost overruns and ensures profitability.

Moreover, real-time data enhances resource allocation decisions. Managers can assess resource availability, workload distribution, and skill gaps instantly. With this information at their fingertips, they can assign resources efficiently based on current demand and capacity.

Furthermore, real-time data enables agile decision-making by providing up-to-date information on project status. Managers can quickly identify potential risks or issues impacting timelines or deliverables. They can immediately mitigate these risks before they escalate into larger problems.

Exploring the Benefits of Project-Based ERP for Project Delivery

1 Improved Visibility into Project Progress and Performance

Implementing a project-based ERP system offers numerous benefits that can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of project delivery. One of the key advantages is improved visibility into project progress and performance. With a centralized system in place, project managers gain real-time access to critical data, enabling them to monitor every aspect of the project closely.

Project performance metrics such as milestones achieved, tasks completed, and resource utilization can be easily tracked through comprehensive dashboards and reports. This enhanced visibility allows for proactive decision-making, ensuring that any potential bottlenecks or delays are promptly identified and addressed. By clearly understanding the project’s progress, managers can make informed decisions to optimize resource allocation and mitigate risks.

2 Enhanced Resource Allocation and Utilization through a Centralized System

Efficient resource allocation is crucial for successful project delivery. By leveraging a project-based ERP system, organizations benefit from streamlined resource management capabilities. Such systems’ centralized nature enables teams to allocate resources effectively based on real-time information about availability, skill sets, and workload.

With an integrated ERP solution, managers can access comprehensive resource profiles that outline each team member’s skills, certifications, and previous experience. This empowers them to make well-informed decisions when assigning tasks or forming teams for specific projects. By having a holistic view of resource utilization across multiple projects simultaneously, organizations can avoid overloading individuals or departments while ensuring optimal utilization.

3 Effective Cost Control and Budget Management with Real-Time Financial Insights

Project costs play a significant role in determining profitability for businesses across various sectors. A project-based ERP system provides valuable tools for effective cost control and budget management throughout the entire project lifecycle. By integrating financial modules with other aspects of project management, organizations gain real-time insights into expenditure patterns.

Real-time financial data allows stakeholders to closely monitor actual costs against budgets, ensuring that projects remain within approved limits. This level of visibility enables timely adjustments if costs exceed projections, preventing potential financial setbacks. Project-based ERP systems facilitate accurate tracking and allocation of expenses, enabling organizations to generate detailed cost breakdowns for transparent reporting and compliance purposes.

For example:

  • A government contractor can utilize project-based ERP to efficiently manage costs associated with various projects they undertake.
  • By leveraging real-time financial insights provided by the ERP system, contractors can proactively identify cost overruns or deviations from budgets.
  • Tracking expenses at a granular level ensures compliance with government regulations and facilitates accurate billing for reimbursable costs.

Identifying the Best Project-Based ERP Solutions

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Project-Based ERP Solution

Selecting the right project-based ERP solution is crucial for businesses aiming to streamline their operations and improve efficiency. Several factors should be considered in order to identify the best software solution for your organization:

  1. Industry-specific functionality: Different industries have unique requirements, so choosing a project-based ERP solution that caters specifically to your industry is essential. Look for software solutions that offer features tailored to your sector, such as construction management, manufacturing process control, or professional services automation.
  2. Scalability and flexibility: As your business grows, you need an ERP system that can scale accordingly. Consider the scalability of the software solution and ensure it can accommodate future expansion without significant disruptions or additional costs. Look for flexibility in customization options so you can adapt the system to fit your specific needs.
  3. Integration capabilities: An effective project-based ERP solution should seamlessly integrate with other systems and applications used within your organization. Evaluate whether the software offers integration with popular tools like CRM platforms, accounting software, or collaboration tools. This integration enables smooth data flow across different departments and enhances overall productivity.
  4. User-friendly interface: User adoption plays a vital role in the successful implementation of any software solution. Choose an ERP system with an intuitive interface that is easy for employees to navigate and use effectively from day one. Conduct demos or trials of potential solutions to gauge user-friendliness before making a final decision.s

Comparison Between Different Vendors Offering Project-Based ERP Software

To find the best project-based ERP solution for your business, it’s important to compare offerings from various vendors in terms of features, pricing models, customer support, and reputation within the industry:

  1. Features comparison: Create a checklist of essential features required by your organization and compare how different vendors meet those requirements. Look for functionalities such as resource planning, project tracking, time and expense management, budgeting, and reporting capabilities.
  2. Pricing models: Evaluate the pricing structures of different vendors to ensure they align with your budget and business requirements. Some vendors offer subscription-based models, while others may charge based on the number of users or projects. Consider which pricing model offers the best value for your organization.
  3. Customer support: A reliable vendor should provide excellent customer support to assist you during implementation and address any issues that may arise later on. Look for vendors that offer comprehensive support through various channels like phone, email, or live chat.
  4. Reputation and reviews: Research the reputation of each vendor by reading customer reviews and testimonials. Pay attention to feedback regarding reliability, ease of use, system performance, and vendor responsiveness.

Evaluating Scalability, Customization Options, and Integration Capabilities

When assessing project-based ERP solutions, it’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate their scalability potential, customization options, and integration capabilities:

  1. Scalability assessment: Consider your organization’s growth plans over the next few years and evaluate whether the ERP solution can accommodate increased data volume, user expansion, or additional projects without compromising performance or incurring significant costs.
  2. Customization possibilities: Determine the level of customization offered by each software solution to ensure it can be tailored to meet your specific business needs.

Examples of Top Project-Based ERP

Below is a comparison of some of the top ERP software that offers project tracking and management capabilities.

Deltek Costpoint
Deltek Costpoint Screenshot
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Client OS
Cloud or On-Premises
What We Like
Straightforward payroll processing
Comprehensive reports
Seamless data export to Excel
What We Don’t Like
Unintuitive user interface
Error messages often lack clarity
Requires consultation for pricing
UNIT4 Business World
UNIT4 Business World Screenshot
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Client OS
Cloud or On-Premises
What We Like
Highly customizable to business needs
Wide array of functional modules
Intuitive, user-friendly interface
What We Don’t Like
Upgrade challenges due to customizations
Can be slow, especially during updates
Lacks built-in tutorials for features
Deskera Screenshot
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
Client OS
iOS, Android, Web
Cloud Hosted
What We Like
Improves productivity of manual tasks
Focuses demand based on historical data
Handy e-leave feature for remote access to time-off details
What We Don’t Like
Difficult integration process


What industries can benefit from project-based ERP?

Project-based ERP systems are highly versatile and can be beneficial across various industries such as construction, engineering firms, professional services (consulting agencies), manufacturing (customized products), architecture firms, research organizations (scientific studies), software development companies (IT projects), event management agencies (event planning), etc. These industries often deal with complex projects involving multiple stakeholders and require effective management to ensure timely delivery within budget constraints.

Can small businesses benefit from implementing project-based ERP?

Absolutely! Small businesses can greatly benefit from implementing project-based ERP systems as they help streamline operations by providing a centralized platform for managing all aspects of a project. From resource allocation to budget tracking to task management – an efficient system ensures better collaboration among team members resulting in improved productivity.

Are there any specific skills required for using project-based ERP?

While some level of technical proficiency may be required to operate project-based ERP systems, most solutions are designed with user-friendly interfaces and intuitive features. Basic computer skills and familiarity with project management concepts are usually sufficient to navigate through the system. Organizations often provide training sessions or support materials to help employees become proficient in using the software effectively.

Can project-based ERP integrate with other business systems?

Yes, project-based ERP systems can integrate with other business systems such as accounting software, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, time tracking tools, etc. Integration allows for seamless data flow between different departments and ensures accurate information exchange, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing errors.

How an project based ERP enhance collaboration among team members?

Project-based ERP systems offer collaborative features such as document sharing, task assignment, real-time communication channels (chat/messaging), and centralized project dashboards. These functionalities facilitate effective collaboration among team members by providing a platform where they can easily communicate, share files/documents, track progress collectively, and stay updated on project-related activities.

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