In the services industry, success begins with on-time and on-budget project delivery. However, process and operation complexities affect an organization’s capability to deliver projects on time and within budget. The data available is mostly disconnected. And new market, business and customer demands further accentuate the problem. Managers and leaders spend the majority of their time collecting data that is not accurate.
To deliver projects on time/within budget, to make informed decisions, reduce friction, and to gain real-time insights into key business metrics that delight and drive growth, organizations need to move faster and become more agile. Accelerated technology adoption is a significant driver and enabler of business growth. And current disruptions have only strengthened the widespread belief that the cloud isn’t some future desire—it’s a critical and urgent directive at the heart of any professional services organization.
Cloud is the foundation for continuous business agility and growth. It enables services organizations to react quickly to shifting conditions, leverage data, and attain greater productivity. Cloud technology builds a resilient business; therefore, embracing the cloud today will be vital to staying competitive tomorrow, as it will enable services organizations with real-time visibility into metrics that matter.
How Will You Be Different?
To gain a competitive advantage, services organizations need to be able to service at high speeds, while ensuring stability and security throughout the organization. Services organizations need to leverage the cloud to modernize their current technology and reinvent the entire ecosystem – driving innovation, customer satisfaction and improvement in the bottom line, while becoming more resilient, agile, and disaster-proof.
But remember, a rushed migration without a transparent approach can cost an organization more, leaving current legacy systems stacking up expenditure at a shocking rate. This is the reason why a lot of services organizations have not attained the desired results from their cloud initiatives. Therefore, cloud-adopting services organizations need to follow the correct method to boost the full value of the cloud and accelerate their transformation journey. In addition, organizations should obtain accurate insights from their business data to plan better, take corrective action quickly, and provide significant outcomes sooner and more effectively than the competition.
Where to Start?
Being prepared to pivot and act to everything that appears as a possibility will not just happen by waiting or being inactive. Professional services organizations can future-proof their businesses against the next surge of disruption by starting with an accelerated digital transformation roadmap. Implementing technology platforms that unify the operations and processes in an organization allows them to reach the current level that customers are setting.
Professional services organizations need to provide their employees with modern and innovative tools and build the digital capabilities to enable them to compete in today’s uncertain future and gain the upper hand. A system that cannot handle, monitor and offer real-time visibility will be more of an obstacle than an absolute benefit.
The lack of an unconnected ecosystem results in:
- Absence of intelligent processes
- Bundles of rigorous manual work
- Zero quicker-time-to-value
- Inaccurate billing with no agility
- Overdue quote-to-invoice processes
Agile organizations are better equipped for the future. Therefore, they should take a holistic view of their customers’ needs throughout the value flow, from the initial requirement to the final delivery. They should invest in a solution that drives more value from data. This approach will create a single source of truth that will enable more informed decision-making. Connected, real-time data also helps services organizations enhance their workforce to boost productivity and benefit from new opportunities swiftly.
How to Lead?
Modernization needs to be carefully thought out. Long-term processes should be based on a definite purpose. The correct approach should consider where a professional services organization is headed and why.
One of the biggest challenges of professional services organizations is to enhance resource utilization. Unfortunately, time data is captured and collected across multiple legacy and homegrown systems, making it complicated to access and use. Incorrect time data and a lack of transparency lead to increased project expenses and delayed billing mistakes. Therefore, a services organization should first prioritize implementing a centralized, enterprise-wide view of employee time.
According to Aberdeen, 65% of organizations are prioritizing implementing a unified and centralized global time tracking platform. Cloud-based time-tracking is key to thriving in a digital workplace to gain real-time visibility into project data.
A modern cloud-based time-tracking platform can transform and enable services organizations to monitor real-time project visibility, maximize resource utilization, view project budget and costs to ensure on-time and budget project delivery. With a unified, global time tracking platform, services organizations can gain an integrated ecosystem with plug-n-play integrations to multiple ERP, CRM, HCM and project management systems. An intelligent system also offers built-in compliance capabilities that enable services organizations to submit payroll for their global employees and be compliant with a global pay rule library across various jurisdictions across the globe.
A Case in Point!
A leading IT enterprise, which is a featured Fortune 500 company, wanted to digitize and transform its ecosystem. With a fragmented siloed ecosystem and multiple legacy systems, they wanted to move to cloud solutions and begin their digital transformation journey.
Therefore, the large IT Enterprise had four business challenges to solve to accelerate their business growth and be future-ready:
- Decrease the technical debt and unify time tracking into a single global platform
- Streamline and modernize billing with accurate project time data
- Enhance employee experience and productivity with a modern, mobile interface
- Reduce the cost of managing and monitoring compliance
To execute the vision of one company, one platform, they first tackled their time-tracking systems and unified them into a single global platform. Key objectives that were the basis of this decision were real-time visibility into projects, time, compliance and resource management with accelerated operational excellence and profitability across the services organization.
This approach to their digital journey set the stage and cleared the path to implement an ERP standardization program in the future. It dramatically improved the quality of data, and enabled better managed billing and profitability for the global business. Their global workforce also gained a modern user interface that can be accessed anytime, anywhere to capture their project time, and shift from manual-based to automated project time tracking. The new platform also paved the way for AI/ML processes that provided the large IT enterprise with better insights into their existing business practices for enhanced reliability. Implementing an out-of-the-box platform offered considerable savings in terms of time and cost.
What Will You Gain?
Business processes based on legacy manual technology create tailbacks. Furthermore, manual processes neither scale nor are flexible as per employees’ or organizations’ requirements. Breaking free from siloed legacy systems and leveraging a modern, scalable time-tracking platform gives organizations an upper hand in their digital transformation journey.
Therefore, transforming services organizations to operate digitally helps them become more receptive to innovations and trends in the existing market. This is because their data is no longer getting siloed. The system acts as a reliable, single source of truth for the time data needed for effective project management and optimal processes.
Organizations will also gain:
- Access to the modern, mobile interface for enhanced and connected employee experience
- Real-time data for timesheets, invoicing, resource availability, project metrics, and forecasting
- Real-time visibility into project progress and the ability to accurately estimate time to complete the remaining work
- Ability to precisely track project time, fueled by intelligent workflows to speed up profitability and decrease overheads
- Access to centralized dashboards to visualize project time tracking, resource workload and availability, and more
- Access to pre-built connectors and seamless integration services to connect with current CRM, HCM, project management, accounting, ERP, and more systems
- Robust validations for accurate timesheets and payroll to ensure correct wage distribution every time
A cloud-first time-tracking software enables employers to determine a baseline for time spent per project, which they can then attach to other key performance indicators such as quality of work or amount of work completed. For non-office employees, it is essential to measure their output relative to their work hours.
Don’t Build Solutions. Buy Them!
Building a completely customized platform may sound tempting, but the stress of on-time delivery and resource unavailability can make it a cumbersome and lengthy process. By the time the platform is ready, the company goals and financials may have changed significantly, and it could be too late to make any adjustments.
And if the system is not able to adapt to the changing needs of the business, then an organization will have to keep building new systems or keep updating the existing one every few cycles. This will result in a continuous investment of resources, efforts, and cost. In contrast, a vendor will provide the required updates and maintenance services as per the latest requirements for a pre-built platform.
Therefore, strategic planning is no longer an annual occurrence. As disruption reshapes the business landscape, organizations need to learn to pivot and adapt faster. This will be critical in the future as technology continues to evolve customer expectations and demands.
Want to learn more about why should professional services organizations switch to a more strategic digital acceleration? Read our eBook.