“I don’t know”. Such a simple phrase, but it should send a chill through the heart of any business leader. Information is the currency you need to survive and thrive, it is what supports the decisions that make or break your future and it is what confirms you are achieving the results you need. Without information you are operating blind, and that’s not a strategy! Those three words are so terrifying your team likely never uses them, but that’s an even scarier proposition, because chances are they don’t know whether they are providing you accurate information or optimistic guesses.
In professional services organizations (PSOs) the need for accurate information is even more critical.
The only clear cut indicator of performance in professional services is financial – and by the time you see a profit and loss statement it’s too late to do anything about it. PSOs must be able to look at projects ‘in flight’ and understand whether they are on track and where adjustments need to be made. They must be able to commit to projects confident that they can deliver an appropriate return on investment and with an understanding of where the risks and opportunities exist. You can’t do that without information you can trust and rely on. “I don’t know” doesn’t cut it.
Yet the vast majority of PSOs rely on manually maintained spreadsheets to provide a consolidated view of the business. Those spreadsheets are likely populated by copying and pasting data from multiple standalone systems which may or may not be maintained with any degree of rigor. Everything from opportunity and lead tracking through project management and time tracking will be thrown at a desktop spreadsheet application to try and generate information the PSO relies on to make critical business decisions. In the highly competitive landscape that exists in all industries today this is simply not sustainable.
Those same organizations invest a lot of money, time and effort into their standalone project management tools, accounting and billing systems and customer relationship management suites, and this is the heart of the problem. There are powerful professional services automation (PSA) offerings available that take all of the functionality offered by those tools and integrate them into a single solution which will provide an end to end view of how the organization is operating – without a single spreadsheet.
Professional Services Automation (PSA) offers everything a PSO leader could need to make the best possible decisions:
- Opportunity and lead management to track customers and prospects
- Resource management to track utilization availability and bench strength
- Project management and time tracking to manage schedule and profitability
- Invoicing and billing to ensure revenue is realized and funds are received
- Reporting and analytics to provide insight into all of this information in an integrated and actionable way
The advantages of PSA are considerable and the risks of not having it are even larger. It doesn’t take too many “I don’t knows” to more than justify the investment.
If you’re ready to look your team in the eye, and say “I know” then contact us today for a PSA demo and we will show you how.