How a Shared Common Data Platform for Project Management Can Create Harmony Across Business Teams
Today, professional services firms use some combination of ERP, CRM, HRIS, PPM, or other software along with their PSA solution. These systems serve different purposes, host different and overlapping data, and often don’t talk to each other enough. This creates data silos that lead to several roadblocks in regular business operations and hinder business leaders from making informed decisions. Let’s take a look at how these silos negatively impact your organization.
The Problems with Disparate Systems
For any business to work like a well-oiled machine, there needs to be seamless communication between the teams. The sales team needs real-time insights into resource availability to promise delivery timelines and provide fixed pricing to clients. Project managers need visibility into the sales pipeline to plan for upcoming projects and ensure profitable delivery. The finance team needs live inputs into project progress to bill clients accurately, compare budget vs. actuals, and ensure positive cash flow. Business leaders need a comprehensive view into end-to-end business processes to make informed decisions quickly.
But, with siloed systems, business-critical information becomes restricted to one team or department. And because information doesn’t flow seamlessly between departments, decision-making discussions become arguments, well-planned budgets turn into cost overruns, and successful deliveries become project delays. When the systems you use don’t talk to one another you might focus on the project but won’t understand its impact on the business as a whole (which can then undermine your planning for hiring, financial forecasting, and more). Or you could focus only on the balance sheet, revenue leakage, and profitability and lose sight of granular project management elements like costs, schedules, and resource availability that contribute to the revenue. The disparate systems you use perpetuate the divide, negatively impacting the overall business.
Polaris PSA Restores Clarity, Brings Harmony
When we created Polaris PSA, our goal was to provide a holistic PSA solution that brings harmony to day-to-day business operations. The self-driving PSA platform serves as the single source of truth for all your organization’s project, resource, and finance data, giving complete real-time visibility into all key metrics across practices or client projects.
Polaris PSA acts as a robust shared common data platform that tightly integrates with various systems and tools that different teams use to create a single source of truth for all project, resource, and finance-related data. It automatically harvests data from external tools and synchronizes information in real time to enable teams to work with up-to-date and complete data.
With Polaris PSA in place, you can streamline communication between all of your business units and function efficiently. Here’s a glimpse of how different teams can benefit from using a shared data platform for project management:
Sales and Project Delivery Teams
Polaris PSA connects with the CRM software you use to enable early conversation between the sales and project delivery teams. With the shared data, the sales team will have all the information they need to ensure that they set realistic expectations with clients and not commit to unacceptable contract terms — leading to scope creep and exposing the project to unwanted risks. A study by Project Management Institute notes that nearly 50 percent of projects experience scope creep, and only 57 percent finish within budget while only 51 percent are finished on schedule.
As soon as an opportunity reaches the closure stage of the sales pipeline, a project is automatically created in Polaris PSA and all the related information is pulled into the PSA. This helps project managers to request the required resources early. During the execution of a project, the SmartBeats feature in Polaris constantly collects data from users and systems they use, such as Slack, Jira, Asana, Microsoft Teams, and more, to create a common shared data platform that’s always up to date and 100 percent accurate. This gives project managers complete visibility into work done, remaining work, and estimates to complete the work, helping them identify early warning signs of projects going off-track and make rapid decisions to keep projects within budget and on time.
Project Delivery and Resource Management Teams
Polaris PSA allows businesses to manage projects and resources in one place, helping you deliver multiple projects with the same resource pool. A unified platform to manage projects and resources helps project managers to better understand the availability of resources with high-demand skills, cost, and profitability by projects or by clients. Resource managers can leverage a centralized skill and certification repository to initiate up-skilling/re-skilling, hiring, or subcontracting of resources to ensure there are no project completion delays due to staffing inefficiencies.
Project Delivery and Accounting Teams
Polaris PSA lets you capture project time the way you want, account for every piece of work done, and invoice accurately. SmartBudget, the AI-enabled financial modeling engine, predicts business metrics based on rates under consideration to meet revenue expectations even before the project kicks off. As the projects reach certain milestones, accurate billing information is automatically pushed into the accounting software you use to enable your accounting team to manage cash flows with a clear view of WIP, billed, available-to-bill, and outstanding amounts. Any pre-agreed contract terms get modeled into rates and bill plans automatically, eliminating confusion and a ton of back-and-forth communications between the project delivery and accounting teams.
Project Management and Business Leadership Teams
Polaris PSA comes with an advanced analytics dashboard — MissionControl — to provide a holistic view of all the business metrics you need to make informed decisions. MissionControl provides a comprehensive real-time view of the pulse of the business for leaders focused on practices, clients, projects, resources, or finances. The dashboard can be customized to a specific business role, including project managers, resource managers, finance teams, practice managers, and client managers, yet operates off a common shared data platform with accurate and consistent data. The integrated dashboard breaks the data silos, helping business leaders understand what’s happening with every project and operate in harmony across groups.
To be able to streamline communication between all of your business units and function efficiently as a company, you need a shared data platform that feeds consistent and accurate information to different departments. The free flow of information across business functions enables faster decision-making and helps to achieve strategic business goals. Harvard research shows businesses that overcome silos achieve higher margins, inspire greater client loyalty, and gain a competitive edge.
If you’d like to learn more about how Polaris PSA can help break down silos in your organization and establish a common data platform, sign up for a personalized demo.