Workday Podcast: How the Best Stay on Top in Professional Services

With fierce competition, it’s tough for any business to get to the top and stay there. Industry analyst Jeanne Urich explains how the most successful professional and business services firms do it.

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All companies want to excel, but what steps can you take to be the best? In the competitive world of professional services, figuring this out is more important than ever. Mark David, senior director of industry strategy at Workday, recently spoke with Jeanne Urich, managing director of Service Performance Insight, about how the best firms reach the top and stay there. 

SPI Research is a global research and consulting organization focused on the professional services industry. Based on her extensive research from her firm’s annual benchmark survey, Urich shared her insights about the technology and process changes professional services firms are embracing to make the biggest impact on their business. 

Listen on SoundCloud: How the Best Stay on Top in Professional Services

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Below you’ll find a few highlights from the conversation, edited for clarity. You can find our other Workday Podcasts here.

  • “If you don't have a handle on what your attrition is for your organization or your billable utilization, I would recommend that you start tracking those two things. As you might imagine, attrition in a people-based, highly skilled industry like professional services is on the rise. There's just more demand than there are people with the skills to fill those jobs. Over the past five years, we've seen attrition, both involuntary and voluntary, tick up. This stands at 13.9% on average now, but we have many clients that are experiencing over 30% attrition. If you're experiencing that kind of attrition, it's almost impossible to deliver with quality or to make any money, because it's so expensive, and it takes so long to replace valuable workers.”

  • “We recently published our first ever human capital management end user survey, which gave us some pretty startling statistics about the impact of HCM applications on a people-based business. With organizations that did not use human capital management, it took a whopping 160 days--more than half a year-- to find, recruit, and ramp a new consultant. Then when they implemented HCM, they were able to cut that time from 160 days down to 112 days.”

  • “I think that the finance and operations function within a service organization should really be leading the business. The best organizations do much more modeling around capacity planning. They're looking at sales flow through models. They're trying to do a much better job of resource sizing. They've got a pulse on the type of projects that are really profitable, and deliver a lot of value for clients.”

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