Doug Tilley joined FinancialForce over a year ago to help lead our PSA (Professional Services Automation) business. Coming from a Services Operations Director role, Doug understands firsthand the problems PSOs (Professional Services Organizations) encounter. I took the opportunity to speak with him about these challenges in today’s Q&A.
1. What new challenges do PSOs face today?
With technology today, we see more remote and mobile PSOs. This allows the workforce to be engaged in many simultaneous projects. As a result, it’s even more important to properly staff resources in order to maximize productivity and customer satisfaction.
2. What state are PSOs typically in when they begin evaluating PSA solutions?
Large or small, we see a lot of commonalities. For most, there are no systems in place or they have several, disparate systems cobbled together. There tends to be a heavy reliance on spreadsheets. There is no scalability and no real-time data to drive decisions. Management feels like they’ve lost control of their business. Altogether, these results drive PSOs to seek a PSA solution.
3. What are some of the results of not having real-time, accurate information?
Projects can go off the rails. Management may not find out that a project is at-risk until after the fact when it’s too late. With real-time, forward-looking data, management can immediately be aware of at-risk projects and take corrective action. Was there scope creep? Are there inefficiencies? Are the right resources staffed? Is the customer disengaged? By identifying any issues well in advance, management can mitigate risk.
4. What advice can you give organizations that are making a move to a PSA solution?
As an organization, make sure you have the conversation that you’re ready to change some processes. It’s impossible to replicate manual processes and spreadsheets in an automated, architected system. You must keep your eye on the prize, which is a single repository of information, real-time data that you can turn into information and the ability to see your business in a single view. A Professional Services Automation solution is not always going to do things exactly how you do them today. The important thing is the end result, not necessarily how you got there. Dismiss the notion of “This is how we’ve always done it.” The benefits of wrapping your arms around your business far outweigh the sacrifice of adapting to some new processes.
Secondly, think about a phased rollout around functionality. With change and new systems, user adoption is critical, so think about a crawl-walk-run approach and introduce more features and functionality over time rather than one big bang.
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