I’m always leery when somebody tells me I need something that I never knew about before. Do you really need that new wearable or gadget when you already have plenty to maintain? The business world is no different and, we seem to hear about new technology and trends all the time.
But some new developments go at the core of the way we do business and change the landscape for entire industries including professional services. Professional Service Automation (PSA) systems should be considered one of these new standards that any firm managing large, highly mobile workforces delivering services/projects for customers, should consider carefully.
Not Really a New Problem
The need to manage projects, capture worked time and resource management is not new to Professional Service Organizations (PSO). Being able to do this accurately and efficiently, directly affects profitability and quality. PSO’s handle this in a variety of ways including through “the project/staffing whiteboard”, manual timecards, time capture systems, excel spreadsheets, custom applications, project management applications or most likely, a combination of several processes and systems.
Integration is the Key
By using disparate systems for your accounting and project management, your staff is wasting valuable time which causes frustration, uninformed decision-making, and errors as information is transferred from one system or spreadsheet to another.
The key to achieving efficiency and improved profitability is not based on handling each particular aspect of the process (quoting, project onboarding, resource management and staffing, time capturing, project management and billing) separately, but to have the whole process integrated. By moving to a single PSA solution it allows partners, sales and project managers to see where the project status in real time, which has a huge positive impact on your ability to quickly respond to project cost, schedule or resource issues. A PSA solution integrates project management, time capturing and resource management. The best PSA solutions integrate seamlessly with the CRM system for proposal templates and pipeline visibility and, the accounting/ERP for billing and project costing.
How are Organizations Benefiting from PSA Solutions?
Project execution efficiency is, along the ability to find and close new opportunities, at the top of PSO priorities and, its impact to the bottom line is direct. Many professional services organizations are reaping the benefits of an integrated PSA solution. The eighth-annual Professional Services Maturity benchmark report by Service Performance Insight revealed a 6% difference (71.7% vs. 67.4%) in average billability and a 20% (37% vs. 30.9%) project margin variance between companies using PSA solutions versus companies with non-integrated solutions/processes.
A full view of your ongoing projects (including opportunities) and resource allocation through a PSA solution can also have a significant impact on the company strategy.
To learn more about how your organization can benefit from an integrated PSA solution, feel free to contact me directly or view our latest PSA on-demand webinar, Grow a Profitable Professional Services Practice by Working Smarter, Not Harder.