The professional services business is incomplete without project management. A conversation on project management leads automatically to Online Professional Services Automation Software.
With many ‘so-called’ PSA Software, how do professionals differentiate the wheat from the chaff? This write-up tries to get to the key steps that every business leader and decision-maker must review if they are serious about getting that ‘perfect’ PSA Software for their enterprises.
STEP 1: EVALUATE THE BREADTH AND DEPTH OF CAPABILITIES
Living in a world of exaggeration, every Online Professional Services Automation Software vendor claims their software to be the best and perfect.
In most cases, functionalities such as scheduling, resource management, and basic financials are touted as the complete solution. But professional services professionals need additional capabilities such as:
- Leads and proposal management
- Automated proposal builder
- Business case creation with revenue forecast, cost estimation, and cashflow analysis
- Contract creation – Fixed Price, Cost Plus, Time & Material, etc.
- Project scheduling, resource management, budgets, risks, meetings, and timesheets
- Quality & defects and compliance
- Revenue recognition, payment milestones tracking, and customer invoicing.
- Collaboration portals for team, customer, and vendor
- Integration with enterprise applications such as ERPs, CRMs, HRMS, Accounting, etc.
- Mobile access
STEP 2: UNDERSTAND THE EXTENT OF CONFIGURATION VS. CUSTOMIZATION
When reviewing Online Professional Services Automation Software, technology and business decision-makers must pay a closer look at two aspects:
- The extent of configuration available
- The extent of customization needed.
To most professionals, the difference between configuration and customization may hardly be visible.
Here’s the truth – with configuration, your Professional Services Automation Software could be designed to your specific needs ‘with zero programming’; with customization, your PSA Software needs to be ‘programmed’ to your needs.
The catch is – configuration should come with ‘no incremental cost’ while customization comes with ‘high development cost’ and is difficult to maintain.
It is no wonder that many PSA Software vendors have a penchant for customization to shore up revenues and higher profit margins!
STEP 3: IS THE PSA SOFTWARE CONFIGURABLE TO MY INDUSTRY & ORGANIZATIONAL STANDARDS?
Within the broad umbrella of professional services, organizations offer a diverse set of services, each of which goes through a different life cycle.
Further, even within the same services sector, organizations have their own ‘way of working’ that is influenced by their culture, standards, project types, project management approaches (predictive, agile, hybrid – for the IT industry), business processes, templates, workflows, decision points, etc.
Very few Online Professional Services Automation Software offer the level of configuration that organizations need – instead, the software vendors expect organizations to adapt to the ways of the PSA Software.
Imagine the flexibility and the power when a highly configurable Professional Services Automation Software can ‘templatize’ your projects based on project type, project management approach, project size, business processes, etc.! The biggest beneficiaries are your employees – they feel at home as their way of working gets replicated in the chosen PSA Software.
For senior leaders, easy ‘change management’ drives faster business value creation.
STEP 4: INSIST ON A PROOF OF CONCEPT
While you seek the perfect Online Professional Services Automation Software, it is important to remember an acronym – WYSIWYG or What You See Is What You Get! IT Industry technology and business decision-makers must ensure that the PSA Software vendor is able to demonstrate what their software is capable of – using ‘your’ project information and showcasing a Proof of Concept (POC)! Depending on how the POC shapes up, you can rest assured about the probability of PSA Software success for your organization.
While seeking a POC, ensure that you offer a diversity of project-related inputs to the software vendor to assess the capability of the Professional Services Automation Software to address your multifarious requirements.
STEP 5: REVIEW THE IMPLEMENTATION & SUPPORT MODEL
The success of your PSA Software does not end with your selection; it depends a lot on the quality of the implementation model. Most organizations have sorry stories to tell – not about the PSA Software, but about how badly the implementation was managed.
It is critical that business leaders understand the implementation approach adopted by the software vendor including a phased approach that guarantees success from day one.
The initial success drives the success of subsequent phases while building the excitement and engagement of your stakeholders including the end-users. Top-class PSA Software vendors incorporate varying levels of ‘care’ at every implementation phase or final go-live.
STEP 6: ASSESS THE ‘BUSINESS VALUE’
Many Online Professional Services Automation Software implementations end up being failures because they don’t deliver business value.
Unfortunately, decision-makers take a myopic view when selecting PSA Software by focusing on the minimal cost of investment. Rather they should focus on the business value (financial and non-financial) that the organization gains –
- Improved efficiency
- Percentage first-time-right
- Enhanced data integrity
- Speed and quality of decisions made
- Increased confidence in the management while driving strategic projects.
Professional Services Automation Software features are important – if these features center around solving real business problems and delivering value from day one!
When chosen right, a best-in-class Online Professional Services Automation Software for IT companies can –
- Lay a strong foundation for a 100% digitized professional services landscape.
- Enable a single version of professional services truth.’
- Drive data-driven and resilient decisions.
- Foster customers’ and vendors’ delight.
- Pursue 1.5x to 2x business opportunities.
TouchBase Online PSA Software is designed on the above principles so that as business leaders, your energy is spent where it matters!
Want to say ‘hello’ to the future of Online Professional Services Automation Software?