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Learning from The Best: how top-performing PSOs embrace technology and focus on employment brand

Posted by  Henk Jan Onstwedder

The top five percent of professional services organizations (PSOs) are embracing technology and investing in their employees to create a more transparent, collaborative and continuous learning culture, says a new benchmarking report.

The 12th annual Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report (PSMB) predicts growth will continue for the professional services (PS) sector in 2019 — although turbulence lies ahead — after overall year-over-year net profit reached a record high of 18.5 percent.

The 2019 report — which compares service execution metrics between The Best (the top five percent) and The Rest — finds that the top-performers are investing more in their people (with benefits, training and pay) and they're doing it by embracing technology.

“Talent is a primary focus and hot topic for all service firms,” says the report by Service Performance Insight (SPI), a third-party research firm. “In an increasingly competitive talent market, top-performing firms are becoming laser-focused on their employment brand. Organizations are embracing technology to help reinvent the workplace with knowledge-sharing, team-building, transparency and collaboration at the core of their continuous learning cultures.”

“SPI Research sees a new millennial workforce, nursed on technology and instant global communication, take charge.”

The 2019 PSMB report says that, when comparing The Best with The Rest, more employees would recommend their firm as a great place to work; they receive higher levels of training investment and are more likely to understand and take advantage of career advancement opportunities.

“Each top firm emphasized the importance of culture,” says the report. “Culture goes way beyond establishing a mission statement — it must be unique and inspiring to attract the type of consultants and clients the firm can best serve.”

On a scale of 1-5, more staff at The Best firms would recommend their company to friends and family than The Rest (4.83 versus 4.39). The Best organizations provide more guaranteed training days per employee (12.7 versus 8.6). They have a shorter time lag for new employees to become productive (57 days versus 59) and higher employee billable utilization (75 percent versus 69 percent).

Part of the secret to the success of these star performers, says the study, is a reliance on professional services automation (PSA) software.

“They credit their PSA with improving resource, project management, time and expense capture and billing, leading to higher levels of billable utilization and on-time project completion.”

Learn from The Best and compare with The Rest

PSMB 2019 allows your organization to gauge its process ‘maturity’ against the top-performing firms as well as against similar organizations in terms of vertical market, size, business type and geographical location.

Download the 2019 PSMB report for free.                                      


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Henk Jan Onstwedder

Henk Jan is an experienced executive in the software business, who has worked in the ERP market for 25 years. Prior to joining Unit4 in 2016, he held a range of line-management roles in the software industry, covering sales, delivery and general management. Henk Jan is heading Unit4’s department for Professional Services Organisations, creating and delivering on industry product roadmaps, developing the ecosystem, and leading strategic sales engagements.