There’s no doubt about it: 2020 has been a banner year for change. With the pandemic driving a dramatic shift in everything from attitudes on remote work to top technologies, professional services automation software has seen unprecedented innovation as organizations pivot to maintain financial stability while ensuring streamlined services delivery.
With mere months to go until 2021, everyone is eagerly anticipating what the coming year could have in store — and that includes services business leaders with big decisions to make.
Embracing a PSA Evolution
Those big decisions come with big questions. How have today’s PSA solutions risen up to meet the challenges of an industry in constant flux?
It’s a multifaceted process. Today’s professional services firms often lack the capacity to capture real-time, accurate data across projects, resources, costs, and billing. Instead, the data is spread across multiple systems, and different teams may be obtaining metrics independently from one another. As a result, businesses grapple with numerous information silos and data inaccuracies that risk serious issues down the pipeline. Rectifying this is no easy task.
Forward-thinking PSA solutions will unify an organization’s processes, not divide them. Services firms require a scalable solution that brings together data from all operations and metrics on a common platform — one that can support every function, employee type, and location across geographies. The good news is that PSA software is evolving and these improvements can be a boon to your service delivery.
So how can these advancing professional services automation platforms help services organizations deliver in 2021? Take a look.
Top PSAs Drive Harmony Across Business Groups
Without a single source of truth, businesses struggle with fragmented data sources and multiple, inconsistent methodologies for each metric. What might make sense for one team doesn’t necessarily work for another, and the big picture winds up lost in the confusion. This gives rise to disagreements and ultimately sows chaos within the organization.
Enabling a centralized, scalable, single source of truth for time across an entire business should be a fundamental characteristic in any product, especially one where project-based metrics play such a critical role. A PSA solution with the option to select metrics centered around shared data by role can enable harmonious decision-making across teams, leadership, and stakeholders.
The Best PSAs Make Smart, AI-Driven Decisions
But collecting all the data is only the first step. Even with all the information available for processing, the sheer volume generated across projects, resources, and groups can quickly become overwhelming. Just consolidating the data can take days — reviewing all the data even longer. By the end, this resource-intensive process can take a full army of analysts and require more time than any business can comfortably spare.
But, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. The most evolved PSA software is self-driving — an intelligent product designed to truly enable growth and seamless operation in professional services firms. Like a self-driving car, a self-driving PSA liberates the user by taking the wheel, detecting obstructions, and safely redirecting everything in the right direction. The best PSA software is capable of identifying these exceptions or concerns and bringing them to a business leader’s attention right away, helping them to ensure projects, resources, and finances stay on track.
Evolved PSAs Manage Resources Intelligently
Services businesses earn their revenue based primarily on two critical assets: the people and their skills. Effectively utilizing these resources and managing their billability is a key lever within the industry. This can be a challenge when services firms lack insight into resource availability, certifications, and individual skill sets. Once the bidding has begun, it can take 12 to 30 days just to assign resources onto a project — a huge loss of hours that could be otherwise used for increasing billability and revenue.
It’s time for the “A” in PSA to shine. The top PSA solutions are evolving to enable better resourcing with automated, comprehensive data analysis on resource availability, skill, and more. 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.
Professional Services Automation Software Eliminates Revenue Leakages
Revenue leakages happen, and that’s the hard truth. There are many reasons for this, including errors around time capture, project delays, process delays, and more. But the consequences are very real — businesses can lose 5 to 10 percent of revenue directly if the situation isn’t handled properly; and without carefully reassessing the why and how, it will only keep happening.
The only way to stop the cycle is to enable real-time visibility into WIP, billed, available-to-bill, and outstanding costs using a top PSA software product. Today’s clients aren’t generally looking to reshape their workflows around a services firm’s typical routine — they want a tailor-made contract that can blend in seamlessly with their own processes, rates, and billing plans.
Equally valuable in supporting these processes is the inclusion of modern, mobile-first capabilities that empower resources to submit time and expense entries from anywhere, any time, on any device. Instant alerts and notifications from a PSA solution will also encourage timely submission for processing and head off any billing errors.
Top PSA Software Performs Revenue and Price Optimization
Among the most common issues services firms encounter is the pricing of resources as they are bidding. There is often little to no data supporting these decisions, other than resource salaries, but those aren’t the only costs that need to be factored in. At this point, the project is already set up for failure, as a whopping 80 percent of project profits will be determined at bidding.
Pricing future projects, building intelligent time estimates, and allocating resources effectively all rely on a system’s ability to manage, organize, and visualize both current and historical project hours, costs, and billing data. A PSA solution cannot be considered truly evolved before an organization can achieve 100 percent visibility into projects, resources, financials, and planning. Again, having access to accurate metrics and the means to analyze them is fundamental to the modernization of PSA software. Accounting for all direct and indirect costs alongside critical metrics like utilization and margins is key in facilitating effective forecasting and stopping revenue leakage for good.
The Future of PSA Is Now
If you’re ready to enhance your service delivery with a PSA solution that can meet all of the needs above, Replicon’s Polaris PSA will generate real-time insights to help you keep a finger on the pulse of your services organization’s every development.
Polaris is a new approach to professional services automation — the first self-driving PSA. It’s the first solution that makes it easier for organizations to make tough business decisions by doing the heavy lifting — analyzing real-time data and recommending the best possible choices for business leaders and project managers to decide from. With a shared common data platform, Polaris eliminates the uncertainty and delivers true harmony to services businesses ready to streamline processes from end to end.