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It’s well-established that professional services organizations (PSOs) need cloud-based project management software to support teams, satisfy customers, achieve business objectives, and drive profitability. However, knowing what software to adopt – and what to avoid – is a much more challenging task.

That’s because at first glance, many solutions seem “PSO-friendly.” However, if you browse forums, communities and discussion threads — or just talk with experienced PSO project managers who have survived more than a few failed implementations — the story is quite different.

The truth is, many cloud-based project management solutions that claim to be “designed for PSOs” simply aren’t. But by the time this is discovered, it’s too late: teams are bogged down, customers are frustrated, and profit margins have eroded or disappeared.

7 Features that PSOs Need from project management software

Naturally, the best way for PSOs to avoid a very costly case of buyer’s remorse is by doing their homework, and becoming a less-than-transparent vendor’s worst nightmare: an informed customer! In this light, here are the seven essential features that PSOs should demand of any cloud-based project management software worthy of their consideration:

  1. Metrics & KPIs: The software must allow PSOs to constantly monitor and measure a suite of metrics and KPIs, including (but not limited to) billable utilization, percentage of billable resources, average project size, on-time rates, on-budget rates, extension rates, cost per resource, bid-to-win ratio, and the list goes on.
  1. 360 Degree Visibility: The software must enable PSOs to leverage real-time 360-degree visibility that encompasses all of the following: portfolio visibility, process visibility, resource visibility, stakeholder visibility, change request visibility, and performance data visibility.
  1. Customization: The software must empower PSOs to build customized workflows that accelerate customer approvals, streamline processes, integrate systems, and drive collaboration between cross-functional teams (e.g. sales, finance, service delivery, customer success, etc.). Furthermore, the UI itself must be customizable to accommodate end user information management and access needs, custom fields, and so on.
  1. Resource Management: The software must support PSOs in managing and controlling three core aspects of resource management: allocation to maximize profitability and productivity; analysis to proactively determine the impact of change requests; and communications to keep resources informed of schedule and workload adjustments.
  1. External Collaboration: The software must help PSOs keep customers in the loop by giving them on-demand access to projects, files, conversations and requests, and collaborating in designated discussion threads that automatically align in-context to the work or project that is being delivered.
  1. Integration: The software must allow PSOs to integrate out-of-the-box with legacy systems, build custom integrations, and add apps for a variety of segments and use cases.
  1. Expert Support: The software must be backed by experts who are committed to delivering responsive support for feature requests, end user training, customizations, and more.
The Bottom Line

Verifying that project management software delivers all of the above is the smartest, simplest and safest way to ensure that a solution is truly “designed for PSOs”, and that choosing it will be continuously rewarding – instead of almost instantly regrettable.

Clarizen: Built for PSOs

Clarizen’s award-winning cloud-based project management software is trusted by leading PSOs worldwide. To learn more, take a product tour today.

Roni Feldsher
Roni Feldsher joined Clarizen in 2011 and leads the Americas Enterprise customer success team. He and his team are focused on helping Clarizen's customers gain the most value possible and maximize user adoption of the solution. Before joining Clarizen, Roni held software engineering and professional services positions at a financial risk management software startup and was instrumental in the company's rapid growth and acquisition by Harland Financial Solutions. Roni holds a B.S. in Information Systems engineering and is a graduate of the Technion Institute Advanced Project Management course.