There was once a time when managing a project at work was fairly straightforward.
It’s safe to say that it’s been a tough year for doing business. Maintaining an organized revenue stream and ensuring a steady cash flow has never exactly been a walk in the park, but as the pandemic continues to ravage the economy, business leaders have been tirelessly investigating how they can remain profitable while ensuring that their employees stay safe.
Sitting down and defining exactly what’s been impeding profitability is a great start. But we know your time is precious – which is why we went ahead and did it for you. We asked over 150 services and project-based business leaders from across the globe to name the greatest challenges they faced in managing a remote workforce, and detail them below. Read on and learn how some of the greatest obstacles to success can be reinvented as unique openings for positive change:
Forecasting, future project bids, and resourcing issues
Anticipating potential hiccups and missteps is key in generating accurate revenue forecasts and in overall project preparation. Poor planning can send all of this spiraling in the wrong direction, towards over-budget and under-performing delivery. This also ties into effective resource utilization – a project can’t succeed without the right resources working on it, but knowing who is available with the right skillset must be vetted ahead of time, or team members end up benched, stretched too thin, or matched with the wrong project for their expertise.
Only when supervisors and executives have 100% visibility into resource time – and that means both billable and non-billable – can they begin to enable effective resource management. Investing in a solution that can offer advanced analytics, reporting, and dashboards will be key in visualizing availability, time off, and more. These same metrics enable an understanding of historical trends and real-time billable target progress to streamline business performance with improved forecasting and budgeting.
Manual processes causing timesheet and billing/payroll errors
Businesses still relying on manual processes often find themselves split between the numerous information silos created when multiple, disparate systems for time capture clash. Inconsistent metrics, inflexible timesheets, ad-hoc solutions, and more are further complicated by an unprecedented mass of newly remote workers clogging unprepared ecosystems with delayed inputs, access complications, and legacy infrastructure issues. This inaccurate time data directly affects pay and billing processes for the worse with unhappy customers down the line.
Embracing intelligent, cloud-based and mobile-enabled project time tracking solutions will play an important role here. Businesses should expect cloud delivery models to continue dominating the mainstream as companies continue to expand remote work alternatives and accelerate automation. Today’s organizations require scalability, near-constant uptime, and redundancy as the world continues to evolve at lightning speed – and the cloud can deliver that security. Mobile capabilities allow instant visibility into remote and deskless employee productivity, and facilitate rapid decision-making by capturing real-time data.
Tracking remote and WFH employee project time is a challenge
Effectively keeping track of remote employee time has long been a point of contention by those hesitant to allow it, despite its popularity – but now, they don’t have a choice. Forced into a telecommuting nightmare, many unprepared businesses suddenly lacked the transparency, context, and collaboration that an in-person workspace provided. Limited or inadequate communication between team members and supervisors risks misunderstandings and setbacks without real-time insight and input that directly tie into all other project metrics like costing, productivity, profits and more.
Deliberate and intentional communication between sales, finance and delivery teams is vital when it comes to meeting the client’s requirements and ensuring everyone stays on the same page as information rolls in. Enabling a more standardized process by using intelligent workflows and shared metrics can help managers set expectations and enhance consistency across an organization, ultimately creating a more holistic, collaborative approach across the board.
No real-time insight of budget vs. actuals for costs and billing
It happens – sometimes projects go over budget or miss a key deadline. As soon as a supervisor sees the warning signs, they can work to turn things around. Without real-time visibility into these red flags, however, it can quickly become too late to fix. Repeated circumstances like this result in numerous problems such as increased costs, reduced margins and lost profitability.
When something happens, managers need to know right away. An all-inclusive solution will provide on-the-minute estimates vs. actuals tracking so that managers can make proactive – not reactive – decisions, set estimates for costs, hours, and billing, and measure performance in real-time so nothing under their watch can spin out of control. With a solution that enables real-time project status, supervisors can create task hierarchies, define budgets and timelines in minutes, and get instant information on time, cost and billing performance against budgets.
Edging out the competition and enhancing profitability are difficult enough without a global health crisis underpinning every resolution, but don’t lose hope just yet. Armed with the knowledge of the greatest challenges businesses face today – and more importantly, how to overcome them – grants you a clear strategic advantage. With an investment into the right cloud and mobile-enabled project time tracking solutions, business leaders can face these project and business challenges with strategy instead of panic and ultimately see them for what they really are: opportunities.