Top 3 Integrations Your Services Organization Needs

You’re a leader in your professional services firm. You know that time is money, and that efficiency and innovation are the way to make your organization stand out in a crowded marketplace – and turn a profit. Many hours are lost entering data into multiple systems, analyzing why different tools are showing you slightly different versions of the same thing and chasing down accurate figures that you know should be somewhere. Much of this time wasting comes from having a disconnected technology landscape in your firm. You may have best of breed enterprise tools, but if they don’t talk to each other, they aren’t serving your team members to the best of their ability. Disconnected software means time spent trying to keep various tools aligned so the data looks accurate everywhere. And that’s a waste of time.

System integrations may sound difficult to set up, but today’s modern technology makes even complex enterprise integrations within your reach. It’s no longer the case that you need an army of IT professionals to keep everything running. In fact, a best of breed professional services automation tool like Upland PSA will connect with pretty much anything you might have running in your business today or in the future. Having said that, you should prioritize first setting up the interfaces where you will see the most return.

Here are the top three integrations your service organization needs.

1. CRM Integration

Your customer relationship management tools should seamlessly dovetail into the rest of your IT estate because your client records are so important to making your services organization work smoothly. A best of breed professional services automation tool will integrate with any CRM platform. You can then push through client information to your PS software. This reduces the manual effort of data entry into multiple systems and reduces the likelihood of errors. You’re creating one version of the truth to be used by all integrated systems.

2. Finance Integration

Being able to bill accurately and reconcile incoming revenue is essential for professional services firms. With so much work being chargeable, you need a smooth and effortless way to create invoices that represent the activity being done. Integrate your enterprise finance system with your professional services tool so that your teams can book time and charge for their work without having to leave the system they use every day. There is no need for them to submit invoicing information to Finance outside of the system if both solutions join up behind the scenes.

Immense time savings come from not having to duplicate information into multiple systems. You’ve got an efficient data flow because colleagues are using the system they know best to do their planned work. The data is passed across to the finance tools without them having to do anything extra. Project work generates a lot of performance information, and you can push this from your professional services tool or financial management tool into an analytics engine like PowerSteering. This can really speed up access to crucial information on profitability and forecasting.

3. Payroll Integration

Your team want to be paid, right? Of course! Calculating salaries each month can also be a time consuming task. You might have people on unpaid leave, on secondment to a different department which means their time needs to be paid for from a different cost center, or some other scenario that means you need a lot of data to accurately work out pay. And even if your payroll is the same each month, having the enterprise payroll system connected to a knowledge-enabled professional services tool, you can save time. When a new member of staff joins the business, their details and rates can be automatically passed across to the PS software. They can start chargeable work straightaway.

You can also keep more accurate records for time off and ensure that benefits are paid appropriately. Finally, expense management becomes easier when your professional services tool integrates with the payroll system. All the relevant expenses incurred within the course of a team member’s work can be quickly and accurately transferred to payroll to be paid.

How to Make Integrations Work

You know you need integrations, but there are just so many systems. Without some planning and input from your technical teams, your software infrastructure could start to look like a bowl of spaghetti. System integration of any sort works best when it’s planned from the beginning. Think about what you want to connect up first.

Next, consider how the connections will work, and what data needs to flow between systems in order to give you a seamless experience as a user. Which system holds the ‘master record’? When there’s a data conflict between two systems, which one is ‘right’? A streamlined and efficient business needs streamlined and efficient architecture. Point-to-point connectors do work, but they can be hard to manage when you’ve got a lot of them — it doesn’t take too long before the virtual pipes and wires holding your IT systems together start to look like that bowl of spaghetti.

It’s better to get a platform-agnostic connector layer like Dell Boomi. You keep everything neat and secure, and you can set rules that apply to the whole infrastructure. The Boomi library of standard connectors makes it straightforward to set up integrations that deliver the right information to the right system at the right time.

Integrations are an essential part of making your services organization work smoothly. Get these three main connections set up in a smart way, and you’ll be on the road to better productivity.

For more information about how you can make better business decisions with a connected PSA, watch this webinar.

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