A services business is highly dynamic. New projects can land all at once, existing projects get put on hold, and projects often require additional resources to hit a deadline. Without strong visibility to the pipeline of new projects, work in progress and open resource capacity, many services organizations find themselves operating between resourcing fire drill and hiring freeze knee jerks.
The unfortunate impacts of this are lower revenue, increased expense, and less profit. We believe with a few basic principles in place there is a better way.
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Just 5 years ago, I would have killed to have access to the metrics we’ve built today. At the click of button I can easily see:
- What new projects are coming and when
- What type of resource and skill mix is required for these new projects
- Billings and utilization across the entire team across whatever time period I desire
- Which accounts and projects are key drivers of our bookings and revenue
- What resources have capacity opening up when
- The total backlog of project work in flight
The world was not always like this. I have worked in many companies where it would have taken a small village to get even a few of the items above working on a real time basis. There are a few core steps that have enabled us to apply such great leverage to our business:
- Establishing a solid Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution and using it for everything it’s good at – project tracking, resource tracking, time tracking, invoicing, etc
- Maximizing the strengths of Salesforce in opportunity management and forecasting, workflow, reporting, dashboards, etc.
- Integrating PSA summary data back into Salesforce so it is highly accessible and can influence front office execution
Sound really simple and straightforward? It generally is, however, few companies invest the time in process definition, system integration and forethought around summarizing actionable data to the right audience.
Time is what a service organization sells and arguably is our most valuable asset. We recommend investing a small amount of it to put the right information front and center and it will pay you back tenfold.