A few years ago, Sweden was in the headlines for experimenting with a six-hour workday.
Large engineering services firms with a global, distributed workforce often deal with disparate systems, inefficient manual processes, and complex inter-department communications, resulting in inconsistent service delivery that directly affects their profits. Organizations that have recognized these inefficiencies usually turn towards traditional professional services automation (PSA) solutions to streamline project bids, resource and project management, project financials, business intelligence, and collaboration. But traditional solutions come with their own disadvantages. Without mobile and cloud-based functionality, and other features, they lag behind more robust options.
Why Traditional PSA Solutions Don’t Work
Typically, engineering and IT services businesses turn to point solutions and traditional PSA software for streamlining their business processes. But the disadvantage that comes with these solutions is that they are siloed, inflexible, and not scalable. Also, the traditional solutions come with limited features and are not designed to help professional services organizations (such as engineering and IT) manage projects, skilled human resource utilization, costs, billing, and revenues all in one place. Disparate systems mean distributed data that is not up to date and inaccurate.
A comprehensive PSA software for engineering companies provides powerful functions related to project management, resource management, time tracking, finance and billing, team collaboration, and reporting — all within a single data platform. Since the data is centralized and synced, business leaders can quickly get insights into billable and non-billable utilization, actual vs. planned revenue, cost, profit, project margins, and more that help them make strategic business decisions.
Mobile and Cloud-based PSA for Engineering Services
With remote teams becoming the new normal, engineering businesses need a mobile and cloud-based PSA to drive their business to success. Choosing a PSA that allows your employees to work from anywhere while adapting to business growth and constantly changing needs is key to successful implementation. Regardless of the complexity of your business or your existing tech ecosystem, a cloud-based PSA software will help you streamline your processes by providing a single source of truth for all of your project and time data. Here’s how our PSA solution, Polaris, can meet your engineering firm’s needs.
Accurate Project Estimates and Planning
Did you know that inaccurate cost estimates derail 28 percent of all projects? Factors such as partial requirements gathering, inadequate communication, changing project objectives and business priorities, resource dependency, etc., influence the project estimation. With an increasing number of projects suffering from scope creep, project managers and business leaders need real-time visibility into human resource cost and availability, materials cost, software cost, and many other fixed and variable expenses to make sure every project they take is profitable.
A cloud-based PSA like Polaris lets project managers and other stakeholders account for all costs, timelines, and resource needs while bidding for a project. By using a combination of historical data and current requirements, project managers can bid and select engineering projects intelligently. Polaris enables you to set up complex work breakdown structures to allow managers to estimate accurate costs, margins, and billing information. Project financial modeling capabilities help you to simulate cost, margin, price, and profitability scenarios for proposals by accounting for all relevant metrics. You get total visibility into your true costs and billing rates.
Enhanced Project Delivery Even with Field-based Resources
A company with a large global workforce that involves field engineers and remote employees working from across the world needs an easy way to manage projects. A PSA solution with mobile capabilities allows project managers to monitor on-field service operations in an efficient and optimized way while giving employees the flexibility to update their tasks. For instance, field engineers and field service technicians can share attachments and add comments to provide granular details about their timesheet entries from anywhere, at any time.
Polaris’ mobile capabilities empower your engineering team to manage project time, expenses, costs, and other metrics accurately, even when they are mobile. Managers and employees get real-time notifications and updates on the project progress and tasks that need their immediate attention to help them stay on top of their work — eliminating unnecessary delays and enabling them to make proactive decisions straightaway.
Effective Resource Management
Engineering projects are both short and long term. As such, strategically shifting highly-skilled resources from one project to another is critical. In fact, according to RTM consulting, a 5 percent utilization equates to $1 million for every 100 employees. But professional services organizations do not consistently manage utilization levels well. This results in a huge missed opportunity as the value-creation gap between dynamic reallocator and drowsy reallocators is staggering.
When you use a cloud-based PSA solution like Polaris, resource management becomes a breeze. Polaris customers achieve, on average, a 5–10 percent increase in resource utilization and a six times increase in resource planning horizons. With real-time visibility into available resources and their skillset and intelligent resource recommendation from SmartMatch, resource managers can proactively respond to resource requests coming their way. Resource managers get complete visibility into their global resource pool to determine their current and future allocation levels. The graphical calendar and Gantt chart allows managers to easily identify underutilized or overutilized resources dynamically.
Real-time Visibility into Billing and Other Metrics
Business leaders need to stay informed about what is going on in their engineering business and make the best decisions. However, having only a historical picture or delayed information will not help them make proactive decisions. They need real-time insights and dynamic reporting capabilities to price better, predict potential bottlenecks, course-correct projects, manage resources, and streamline billing to maximize profits and revenues.
Advanced analytics in Polaris give real-time visibility into all your business metrics — profits, margins, revenues, and more, helping our customers reduce revenue leakages by 10 percent. All project costs and billing data is readily available for billing and revenue recognition. Role-based MissionControl gives the bigger picture into the underlying project, resource, costs, and billing data to help leaders make proactive decisions. With the ability to configure and schedule reports, Polaris can fulfill your organization’s reporting needs. Leverage advanced API for BI and prebuilt Tableau, PowerBI, and Google BigQuery connectors to meet specific analytics needs.
See Polaris in Action
Now that you have seen why your engineering business needs a mobile and cloud-based PSA solution, jump into a quick live demo to see how Polaris can drive more results with less hassle. Get a short, 15-minute demo and free trial to understand how you can leverage Polaris’ capabilities to fast track your business growth.