In the past, professional services organizations (PSOs) have used conventional professional services automation (PSA) solutions to address specific revenue-generating functional areas such as invoicing and timesheet compliance. However, as they grow many PSOs are discovering that their technological infrastructure limits their capacity to optimize the project delivery processes and meet customer success goals. As highlighted by Service Performance Insight’s 2020 Professional Services Maturity™ Benchmark report:
Most PSOs consider themselves leaders and they probably are in one or more areas. To continue to remain relevant in this competitive and fragmented market, they must have unique and specific capabilities that set them apart. However, as with most organizations as they scale, inefficiencies and blind spots start to appear, threatening to derail growth and undermine productivity.
Some of these so-called blind spots include:
- Outdated and misconfigured workflows that slow down innovation and delivery.
- Multiple silos across the organization, which result in information being lost or repeated.
- Chronic project delays during customer onboarding.
- Lack of visibility and insight into when delivery teams can afford to “go the extra mile” with a customer – and when it is necessary to reign things in to protect margins.
- Processes that get buried in spreadsheets, which makes them inaccessible to management teams who need to make decisions or have difficult conversations with clients about issues like increasing rates, extending deadlines, changing scope of work, and so on.
- Lack of collaboration during projects, which leads to delays and sometimes even unwelcome surprises for customers and delivery teams.
- Inability to detect trends across customers that could turn into new innovative work.
- Uncertainty whether rates reflect what it actually costs to do the work and meet margin goals.
- Lack of clarity whether staff is engaged and contributing to the success of organization, or if they feel exhausted and alienated.
To eliminate these threats to profitability and customer success, PSOs need to permanently establish and continuously evolve a connected customer journey that will help them achieve a new level of operational excellence that is measurable, reportable, and repeatable. A next-generation PSA solution will provide:
- Total visibility that integrates and connects internal stakeholders, external stakeholders, and other technology systems in the environment, so that all customer facing teams have access to a complete and detailed view – in real time – of the customer experience across the full project lifecycle.
- Effective collaboration that enables customers and other external stakeholders to constantly know what is going on, and add meaningful and valuable input.
- Configuration at macro and micro levels, which effectively balances project governance and controls with workflow automations that support each individual team.
- Analytics that are accessed through real-time dashboards and flexible reports, and which generate an accurate evaluation of customer, project, portfolio and business health metrics.
- Comprehensive resource management to optimize all resources at full capacity – and not over or under commit – and also maximize profitability and productivity by determining the impact and business rationale of change requests, all while keeping team members informed of all schedule and workload adjustments.
The Bottom Line
When PSOs implement a technology infrastructure that is anchored by a next-generation PSA solution – one that creates and fosters a connected customer journey – and amplify it with the right strategies, integrations and processes, they not only increase productivity across all customer-facing teams, but they also enhance the customer experience, generate better business outcomes, and improve customer lifetime value. In simpler terms, instead of struggling, they thrive.