To gain greater insights into existing in-house skills, look for validated data sources relating to employees, projects, learnings, and courses that showcase workers’ skills—advancements in digital credentialing can make the process of gathering and maintaining this data easier.
Global Resource Management and Staffing
The challenge. If you hold a leadership position at a professional services firm, you’ve probably put names on a whiteboard, or in a spreadsheet, to assign workers to projects. You may have found you don’t have complete insight into the right people for some jobs and their availability, or even what projects should have priority.
The solution. Get your resourcing process online and integrated into your HR, financial, and planning systems. This gives you a fuller view of availability (including project assignments, paid time off, leave, and global holidays), project requirements, and the specific skills of your workers. This will create tremendous potential for resource forecasting, digital matching solutions, and talent optimization.
Client and Project Profitability Tracking
The challenge. Business success depends on having a clear understanding of profitability across service lines, customers, and regions. A key missing component of profitability analysis for professional services businesses is project-level profitability. Historically, project profitability has been disconnected from financial planning and reporting processes. When project managers use spreadsheets or local project execution solutions for project financial tracking, others lack the operational insights they need to understand the drivers of business performance. This hinders assessment of profitable engagements and customers.
The solution. Make tracking project profitability standard practice, and an important KPI. Incorporate it as a key component of your professional services automation (PSA) process. Once established in a connected PSA system, you can track costs and revenue in real time, as transactions happen. (Think time, expenses, payroll, and contractor invoices that drive both revenue and cost calculations.) Such a system allows you to bubble up project-level financial data into planning and increase real-time metrics visibility for each service line.
Billing and Revenue Management
The challenge. It’s difficult for many firms to have visibility into their end-to-end, contract-to-cash processes. Symptoms of manual and disconnected monetization processes include one-off contracts, spreadsheet-based pricing, invoice confusion, revenue leakage, and lengthy close processes. Firms may also lack the agility required to develop innovative new service offerings.
The solution. Digital monetization offers immense opportunity, but it needs to be holistic and agile, which are fundamental benefits of cloud-based technology solutions. You should also minimize the number of touchpoints and solutions; for example, focus on customer-facing (CRM/CPQ), operational (PSA), and financial processes, and reduce touch-points around a primary process owner (such as the project owner or billing specialist). Once you have a more streamlined contract-to-cash process, the opportunity to innovate and support new revenue streams becomes easier. This also represents a significant opportunity to drive new business models.
Successful professional services firms can do many things right, from delivering projects on time to maintaining high client satisfaction rates. One reason firms get high marks on such KPIs is that they have the technology in place to support automation, data-driven insights, and better decision making.
Digitizing key processes across an organization makes it more agile and streamlined, freeing up your talent to focus less on manual tasks and more on meaningful work that propels the business forward.