There was once a time when managing a project at work was fairly straightforward.
Professional services businesses earn their revenue based primarily on two critical assets: the people and their skills. When resources are not managed properly, employees are either under-utilized or overutilized, employee churn due to burn out, projects miss deadlines, resources with sub-optimal skills are matched to projects, there is last minute frenzy to train or hire resources – all of which reduces profit margins and negatively impacts customer satisfaction.
Common Challenges with Resource Allocation and Utilization
According to a study by PMI, only 26% of firms use resource management to estimate and allocate resources at all times. This means most organizations follow some kind of manual approach which comes with inevitable challenges. A few common problems that resource and project managers face include:
- A lack of visibility into available resources: in enterprises and large project-based businesses, there are hundreds of projects running at the same time. Managers don’t have complete visibility into which resources are working on which project. As a result, they often have to exchange a ton of emails to identify the available resources and negotiate over the same resources with other project managers.
- Managing change in project scope: when clients request changes to a project, managers have to release and request resources to accommodate scope creep. Managers have to identify the right resource quickly to stick to the budget and timelines.
- Mismanaged utilization: spreadsheets are not built for resource management. While managers can build simple tables and charts to track resource utilization, the data is not real time. As a result, managers can’t make the best decisions with up-to-date information.
Optimize Resource Utilization and Allocation with Polaris PSA
Polaris PSA enables resource managers to work more proactively, make difficult decisions easily while improving project revenue and margin. With an AI-enabled resource recommendation engine and powerful collaboration workflows, Polaris PSA helps managers to select the right resource from a global pool of talent with different levels of experience. With access to accurate and up-to-date information, resource managers can work across boundaries and use data to plan more effectively and make better decisions to ensure project profitability.
Allocate the Best Resource for Every Project
Effective utilization of your resources and managing their billability is a critical lever to maximize profitability. However without real-time insights into resource availability, certifications, and individual skill sets, it can be a challenge to optimize productivity and efficiency. Once the bidding starts, our customers say that it can take 12 to 30 days just to assign resources to a project. This delay causes a huge loss of hours that could be otherwise used for increasing billability and revenue.
To overcome this challenge we’ve built SmartMatch right within Polaris PSA. Powered by advanced AI features, SmartMatch solves inefficiencies caused by the manual allocation of resources. Let me explain. SmartMatch is designed to tap into complete resource information including availability, skills, location, rate, employee type, and more – to automatically suggest the best resource for your requirement. With the unified view, business leaders can gain complete control over their resources, schedules, and costs which directly impacts profitability. These intelligent suggestions for resource managers can help them make more informed decisions about who to allocate to what projects and can reduce planning time significantly.
Optimize Resource Utilization
Resource utilization rate indicates the time a resource spends on billable tasks and is expressed in terms of percentage. For instance, an employee spending 30 hours on billable tasks in a 40-hour workweek has a utilization rate of 75 percent. To increase project profitability, managers need to constantly identify under-utilized resources and quickly move them to billable projects.
Resource managers can view global resources’ utilization and availability to determine current and future allocation levels. They can use pictorial calendars to easily spot underutilized or over-utilized resources or use dynamic charts to report on utilization by various dimensions.
Manage Your Resource Like an Asset
Professional services firms are losing a ton of money in terms of efficiency gaps and missed opportunities to drive increased resource utilization. Spreadsheets and siloed systems make it incredibly difficult to find the right resource for the right project. For instance, there will be times when a resource you had requested for your project is released earlier than planned. But without that information reflecting in your resource management tool in real time, you could unnecessarily wait or hire another resource at a higher price.
Readiness IT, a global digital transformation accelerator, was facing similar challenges when they approached us for a solution. After implementing Polaris PSA, they drastically simplified resource planning, improved staffing across their business, and improved the utilization of project resources.
“Streamlining project and resource management across IT Readiness was one of the biggest challenges for our leaders. While there were tools in place to track project time and manage resource allocation, it was very inefficient. Managers spent an exorbitant amount of time collating the information needed for analyzing how their employees spent time on projects. Polaris solved the time tracking and staffing process issues we faced with our earlier solution. The staffing workflow process in Polaris matches 100% with the process Readiness IT was looking for. Powerful reporting capabilities gives our project managers the insights they need to control the progress and execution of projects.”
Carlos Paiva, Portfolio Manager of Readiness IT Read full case study
Kickstart a Profitable Quarter with Polaris PSA
Polaris PSA helps you manage your entire resource pool across all projects cutting across data silos, driving real-time visibility into all resource data to simplify resource allocation, identify skill gaps and maximize utilization. Our unified platform helps managers to analyze resource availability by skill set to enable them to make proactive hiring or retraining decisions to meet future demand.