How Professional Services Automation Supports the Full Life Cycle of Client-Facing Projects

Discover how a professional services automation (PSA) platform can help services organizations better deliver on client projects and increase efficiency, insight, and customer satisfaction.

In today’s professional services market, superior customer support rules all. High competition, an ever-changing economic climate, shifting customer demands, and new remote delivery models all drive the need for a seamless customer experience. That can’t happen without a streamlined process—for everything from managing a new opportunity to resourcing, delivery, tracking, billing, and reporting on a project. 

However, many professional services firms struggle to create a centralized view of projects due to fragmented operations. Disjointed systems, inconsistent processes, and siloed teams breed inefficiency and make it challenging to connect people, projects, and financial data with day-to-day project visibility. 

Professional services firms need a holistic outlook of projects—from inception to completion—to ensure successful delivery of client initiatives and increase efficiency, insight, and customer satisfaction. 

Here’s where a professional services automation (PSA) platform comes in. In this blog, we’ll dive into what a PSA platform is and how professional services companies can benefit from using it.

What Is a PSA Platform?

Professional services automation (PSA) is a software platform that enables service delivery businesses to manage core front- and back-end business processes. A PSA platform provides professional services firms with business automation for managing tasks like new opportunities, resource management, time and expense entry, financial transactions, and more.

For a professional services organization, its people are its biggest commodity.

In order to successfully manage these tasks and better meet changing demands, a firm’s sales team, resource managers, project managers, and finance teams need a single source of truth to view and act on every type of data point. Workday Professional Services Automation (PSA) has the ability to support front, mid, and back offices by including human resources, operations, and financials all in one application. 

Workday PSA manages the entire life cycle of client-facing, billable projects by helping match the right people with the right work. The application also delivers full insight into a project and enables firms to make meaningful decisions on resource utilization, project billing, revenue recognition, time tracking, and expense management.

Let's take a look at how Workday PSA supports key elements of a project’s life cycle.

What Are the Benefits of a PSA Platform for Service Delivery Organizations?

Before a client deal is closed, sales must proactively partner with the delivery and operations management teams to ensure a successful customer transition. It’s crucial that firms are able to account for current projects in conjunction with future pipeline to accurately plan for capacity and demand. Firms must also be able to track project events and activities that have a financial impact to ensure their ability to execute projects on time and on budget. 

Workday PSA and Workday Enterprise Planning enable organizations to sync their workforce plans with their financial plans and project forecasts. Workday tracks all project transactions and activities, and can be viewed by all key stakeholders from project managers to business leaders. It also allows for flexible billing methods when it comes to how these transactions are presented on customer invoicing. By aggregating all this information, firms can efficiently manage worker utilization to best serve the interest of their clients, staff, and company. 

What Is Resource Management, and Why Is It Important? 

It’s critical for firms to be able to weigh staffing equities such as cost, profitability, experience, availability, risk, skill, certifications, project diversity, and worker preferences, to make the most informed decisions for client work. Workday PSA connects rich human capital data with current and incoming project opportunities, allowing firms to view staffing needs and project demand from a centralized intelligent resource management dashboard and take action quickly.

Professional services firms need a holistic outlook to ensure successful delivery of client projects and increased efficiency, insight, and customer satisfaction.

Each project is unique in its scope and fluidity—and agility is the lifeblood of most professional services firms. In Workday PSA, every role supporting a project has the ability to quickly pivot when a customer’s needs change. People working within operations, project management, billing and finance, and client-facing sales and delivery can all make the necessary changes for business continuity. Workday PSA also allows employees to view current assignments, upcoming opportunities, and essential information for projects based on their interests—empowering them to take ownership of their work, clients, and career. 

How Does a PSA Solution Help With Workforce Planning?

For a professional services organization, its people are its biggest commodity. In order to find the right talent for a project while delivering an engaging employee experience, firms must be able to staff contingent or full-time talent based on availability, job profile, skills, performance, interests, and more. 

Workday PSA arms recruiters, resource managers, and project managers with a comprehensive view of their current workforce and candidate pipeline. The system enables resource managers to define roles, find talent, and hire the right people, all while using machine learning to predict attrition, identify at-risk performers, and take actions to retain key resources. 

Workday Journeys also provides a personalized, meaningful employee experience—maximizing both their engagement and productivity. This allows an organization to not just source the right talent for an existing project, but also plan for long-term growth by upskilling employees for future needs based on their individual goals and interests.

How Can a PSA Solution Improve Client Budgeting and Billing?

With Workday PSA, firms can plan, execute, analyze, and manage projects and financials all in one place—eliminating silos and fostering collaboration. The tool’s ability to build budgets with granular dimensions and controls allows firms to more effectively manage project costs against budget. With all of the changes that can occur during a project’s life cycle, that combination of agility and control can be a real competitive difference. 

Properly staffing and invoicing projects is a key part of project delivery success and fostering client relationships. Professional services organizations require a robust billing tool that can support a wide range of contract types, billing terms and conditions, as well as mass ad-hoc changes that can trickle down to the invoice level. Workday PSA is flexible enough to support various customer contract renewals with different constructs and fee structures—helping meet complex contractual demands and delivering a positive customer experience. 

Takeaway: Workday PSA Enables Better People, Processes, and Technology

Workday PSA is a critical tool that enables firms to be unified, agile, and talent-centric. With Workday PSA, professional services organizations can own their entire project process in one tool, giving them insights into human capital, project performance, and profitability. The tool provides a single source of truth that dynamically connects data and unlocks real-time insights. 

Workday PSA enables professional services organizations to increase efficiency in resource utilization, project billing, revenue recognition, time tracking, and expense management. All this actionable data and analytics results in better decision making across HR, service delivery, and finance. And ultimately, it enables firms to better understand the overall direction of the business and make informed decisions on how to enter new markets, cross-sell services, and hit growth targets.

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