Prof. SCHUMANN GmbH

Software House - Experience Report - Göttingen / Germany

Prof. SCHUMANN GmbH

Prof. Schumann GmbH is a software company from Göttingen. SCHUMANN - as the company is known - has been offering consulting and software solutions for credit risk management for more than twenty years. The company's customers come from the sectors of industry and trade, banks and financial service providers as well as credit insurance companies. For time recording and project controlling of all accruing projects, SCHUMANN uses the software solution ZEP - Time Recording for Projects by the company provantis IT Solutions.

Time recording and project controlling of a comprehensive project portfolio with ZEP

Extensive project portfolio: Own development for time recording reaches its limits

"Our two focal points are consulting and software. This results in an extensive portfolio of the most diverse types of projects," explains Stefan Schubert. As a member of the SCHUMANN management team since 1 September 2020, he is responsible for project organisation and execution. He explains: "This means we have projects in which we advise our customers, regardless of whether they then decide to use our software solutions or not. In addition, there are projects in which we introduce our software at the customer's and also adapt it. Another large area is internal projects in which we further develop our standard software. All in all, this results in three very different project areas." SCHUMANN had developed its own software solution for the time recording of these different projects, which was operated on the company's own intranet. "With this solution, it was already possible to book working hours to the individual projects. It was also already possible to manage holidays," Yvonne Jost recalls. She is responsible for central controlling and the introduction of internal tools and software solutions at SCHUMANN.

"At some point, however, we reached its limits with the system, especially when it came to cross-project evaluations and project controlling."

Yvonne Jost, Central Controlling and Introduction of Internal Tools and Software Solutions, Prof. SCHUMANN GmbH

When faced with the question of whether to further develop the existing solution accordingly or to look for a standard solution from a third-party provider, the decision was made in 2017 to look for a corresponding external solution.

ZEP: Standard solution for time recording in project-oriented companies

In the end, the decision was made in favour of the software solution ZEP Time Recording for Projects by the company provantis IT Solutions. provantis IT Solutions was founded back in 2000 with the aim of developing and marketing a web-based, industry-independent standard solution for time recording and project controlling, especially in project-oriented service companies. With ZEP, this goal was achieved. Today, the software solution is already being used successfully on a daily basis by more than 900 companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. These include companies that offer consulting or software development as well as engineers. The size of the companies ranges from freelancers to companies with several hundred employees.

On the selection process for the new software solution, Yvonne Jost explains: "We did some internet research and came across ZEP pretty quickly. We had two other software products on the shortlist, but in the end we chose ZEP because it met our requirements best.

"With ZEP, we are able to map all the project types we mentioned at the beginning. Each employee records his or her own working hours. In addition, we cover three areas with ZEP. We keep the employees' working time accounts. We use the booked hours as a billing basis for our client projects, i.e. everything that is billed externally, and we use ZEP for the controlling of all internal and external projects."

Stefan Schubert, Member of the Executive Board, Prof. SCHUMANN GmbH

The internal software development projects are managed in ZEP in the same way as the external customer projects, even though there is of course no internal accounting in the true sense. According to Stefan Schubert, SCHUMANN is thus in a position to check that the internal project expenditure "remains within bounds". SCHUMANN uses the ZEP add-on module "Departments" for the allocation to the individual company divisions and currently manages 500 projects in ZEP with it. More than 150 employees use ZEP as part of their daily work.

Billing and interface to financial accounting

In order to invoice the working times recorded in ZEP for customer projects, SCHUMANN uses the ZEP add-on module "Invoice" for invoice planning and creation. The module links the recorded working times with the hourly and daily rates stored in ZEP and creates the corresponding invoice, which can then be forwarded to the customer. In addition, the ZEP module can be used to plan invoicing in advance. The system also reminds if working times have been booked for which no invoice has yet been issued or planned.

SCHUMANN uses the DATEV software solution for financial accounting. At present, the data from ZEP is still transferred manually to the accounting system. However, Yvonne Jost explains that it is planned to use ZEP's export interface in the future. It enables the transfer of invoices and costs recorded in ZEP.

Operation in the on-premise model

ZEP is offered both as a licence solution that can be purchased and installed at the customer's premises ("on-premise") and as a cloud service. SCHUMANN opted for the on-premise version. According to Yvonne Jost, the only decisive factor was cost. When asked about plans to migrate to the cloud, Stefan Schubert explains: "There are no concrete plans. However, we have already made the transition to the cloud for other tools. It is therefore possible that this will also be the case for ZEP in the future. At least we know that this option is technically available to us with ZEP.

Optimise the billing process

"The billing process has been optimised". This is how Yvonne Jost summarises the experiences from using ZEP so far. She adds:

"Especially the coordination of outgoing invoices could be significantly improved."

Yvonne Jost, Central Controlling and Introduction of Internal Tools and Software Solutions, Prof. SCHUMANN GmbH

She gives top marks to the ZEP support: "The colleagues at provantis respond to our enquiries within the shortest possible time and are always there to help and advise us". And if SCHUMANN has additional requirements and expansion requests, the manufacturer always listens to them. Yvonne Jost confirms: "So far, we have not had to customise the software. Instead, in most cases our input has been incorporated into future versions or updates of the standard solution.

Prof. SCHUMANN GmbH

Weender Landstrasse 23
37073 Göttingen