The notorious TPS Report popularized by the fictional character Bill Lumbergh in the cult classic film Office Space has lived at one time or another within many organizations delivering project-centric services to their customers. For those unfamiliar with this report, it has its origins in real life as a “Testing Procedure Specification” report taken from the software world. However the TPS report I’m referring to is the more popular “A-la-Bill-Lumbergh” version also jokingly known as the “Totally Pointless Stuff” report typically imposed by a broken process to create valueless reports for just the sake of reporting. Although the film version is a caricature of the real world, in every joke there is a grain of truth. The fictional TPS Report has become a symbol of how even the best organizations will create wasteful processes and reports to adapt to the technological and organizational limits of their current business. As for professional services firms, they are no less immune to this phenomenon.
The fact is, many professional services organizations look to Professional Services Automation (PSA) solutions to help automate their current processes so that they can better deliver services to their customers and in some cases generate the “TPS Reports” demanded by internal stakeholders and customers. What some professional services firms fail to realize, is that to truly benefit from a PSA solution you must move beyond strictly focusing on automating what you have today and in many cases take a step back to take stock of your current business processes.
The leaders of services firms need to ask themselves strategic questions related to their PSA investment. Is what their organizations’ doing today a consequence of the current limitations of the systems in place? If so, then what can be changed with a new and improved solution? What is clear, “Resending a Memo” is probably not enough to improve the way you work. A successful PSA deployment will automate those processes that deliver the most value, eliminate those which are the most wasteful and will introduce (if relevant) improved processes based on industry best practices. True PSA software delivers both technological and operational innovation to service organizations. In turn, this services transformation will separate great services organizations from the mediocre ones.
So, what reports should you be looking at? As a services organization, keeping an eye on your Key Performance Indicators will help you determine if you’re on track to meeting your growth goals. Services executives will benefit from portfolio level reporting and project costing analysis, as we outline in our article 3 Essential Reports for PSO Executives. At a more practical level, take a look at the article 5 Resource Management KPIs You Can Use Today in which we talk about resource cost variance, resource effort variance, productive time, start date variance, and training time.