Running a professional services organization is no easy task. Between making sure everyone has work to do, checking to make sure projects aren’t running over budget, and ensuring you’re turning a profit – the critical details can feel overwhelming at times.
Thankfully there are ways to make it easier. Always, a good starting point is with a Professional Services Automation system that will eliminate a lot of your day-to-day, time-consuming operational activities, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Real efficiency can only be gained by maturing your operations to streamline the way that you organize your delivery mechanisms. That sounds like a tall order, but there are some pretty simple actions you can take to set you on the right path.
1- Create project repeatability
No two projects are the same, but some are more the same than others. What do we mean? That nth project for that client starts to look and feel pretty consistent to others you’ve already delivered. Building out project templates allows you to take the experiences you gained from past work and apply it to future endeavors. And, voila, you’ve reduced the effort required to ramp up and manage that project, not to mention created a very usable asset that the rest of your organization can borrow to speed up their delivery process as well.
2- Spread the word and create SMEs
Do you find yourself angling to get that one, specific resource assigned to your project because they have that unique expertise that makes them invaluable, only to find that they are already booked, then having to negotiate internally, or worse, with the customer because their expertise is already being leveraged on another project? Why not capture some of their expertise and document their information so it can be distributed across the team. Not only do you build a shared knowledge that makes your organization stronger, you also remove the bottleneck of having to rely on the availability of that one resource.
3- Create project transparency
Sometimes it’s hard to draw the line between what’s billable and what’s not. Often these mistakes can go by unnoticed and thousands of dollars go unbilled – all because someone didn’t know what was billable and what wasn’t. Having structured policy guidelines allows your team to properly log, track and approve hours spent. At the same time, by having these guidelines documented, it allows you to be transparent with your clients so there are no surprises, come invoice time. It’s a worthy time investment to identify, document and share, so that everyone is on the same page.
Congratulations! Your templates are in order, critical business knowledge is documented, and you have a playbook on how to run your projects. Now the question becomes: where do you store all this great information? Information shared via email gets lost in the inbox. Pre-recorded training sessions and webinars become dusty. Document management systems become unwieldy and hard to maintain or even find what you’re looking for. It’s like going up to the attic to try and find the family photo album – you know it’s in there “somewhere”.
Thankfully, there is a much easier way to do this.
Over the recent past, professional services organizations have expressed a need to find a solution to capture, maintain and share this accumulated knowledge. Enter Knowledge Management. More than just a means to organize and search a repository of information, true Knowledge Management means collaboration, governance and improved project outcomes. Traditionally found in call centers and enterprise help desks, knowledge management systems are the backbone to optimizing agent efficiency: by putting information in front of the agent they spend less time finding the answers they need, decreasing the amount of time it takes to help the customer, and speeding up the time to customer satisfaction. Don’t you have the same goals when you’re managing deliveries?
By introducing Knowledge Management Software into your PSO, you’re effectively taking all that work you’ve already put in to maximizing efficiency and putting it directly into the hands of those who need it most: your project teams.
- What’s the best way to run the fixed bid project that’s been assigned to you? Call up the pre-built templates directly on your project setup page.
- There’s a detail escaping you on how something works and you need to look it up? Type your question into the Knowledge Base and find the most relevant answer.
- You did some rework for a customer and you’re not sure if you should bill for it? Find the policy in your time entry system, and follow the corporate guidelines.
Couple your Knowledge Management support portal with your Professional Services Automation system for maximum efficiency. Your project team is provided with knowledge directly where the action is taking place so they can pull up any necessary knowledge when it’s needed most. Changes to process can be documented and are immediately updated for everyone to see. New knowledge can be created as you mature your delivery process even further.
Want to learn more about Knowledge Management ? Register to view the webinar on demand now.