Reap the benefits of better operational efficiency for your Professional Services Organization

Posted by  Henk Onstwedder

In a fast-changing world – and ever more competitive markets – you can’t afford to ignore the “dull but important” fundamentals of your business. On their own, the administrative processes that underpin your operations won’t transform your organization into an overnight market leader, but you can make sure they boost (not hamper and dilute) the efforts of your people.

Streamlined, standardized processes and an effective, integrated approach to Professional Services ERP offer a better launchpad for your business to evolve and thrive – whatever the challenges and opportunities facing you.

Streamline and standardize

As organizations evolve, they accumulate a whole range of different admin processes and systems to deliver “business as usual”. You may operate in different countries, have subsidiaries, have been through mergers or acquisition or may simply have built up departmental operating “silos” over time. Usually, the results are not just many processes but an unnecessary variety of ways to get the same things done. This is where you can save your teams’ time and energy.

There is no need to build new processes from the ground up but there is also no advantage to having lots of different ways to do the admin for – say – opportunity management or for running a fixed-price project or a T&M project or, for that matter, project billing and reporting. Often the simplest solution is the best one, so look for the simplest, best-fit ways to work and then focus in on those to make them even better.

Give people different “flavors” by all means, but it should be possible to align around a core set of processes, KPIs and corporate reports that everyone can share and use to act as a single company.

Automate and integrate

The other aspect to consider is how “joined up” you can make your processes and your view of the business.

In its “2016 Professional Services Maturity™ Benchmark” report, SPI highlights that its “research continually points to application integration as a key enabler of superlative business performance.” But it also recognizes that “…a surprisingly high number of firms still rely on antiquated homegrown applications and spreadsheets” to manage a whole range of key business processes, including ERP, PSA, CRM, Project Management, Resource Management and Business Intelligence.

There’s really no need for PSOs to struggle with this kind of disconnected array of stand-alone software or manual systems. Today’s cloud-based approach to Professional Services ERP offers an easy, affordable route to more efficient, more consistent, more seamless processes – eliminating system gaps and overlaps; avoiding duplicate data and retyping; taking care of the low-value repetitive tasks, so your people can focus on more worthwhile activities.

And joined-up systems mean joined-up data – enabling joined-up thinking and action. With your key systems all working efficiently together and feeding into a single vision of the truth, you gain faster, clearer insights to help keep your teams better utilized and more productive and to help your decision-makers drive your business to even greater success.

Download the "No more business as usual" Whitepaper

New innovations and developments in enterprise software directly challenge the status quo for professional services organizations – it’s time to change your perspective on what is possible. Take a fresh look at the way your business works, and the ERP/PSA project and accounting tools that support it.

Henk Onstwedder

Henk Onstwedder is Global VP at Unit4 focusing on the Not for Profit and Public Services industries. He is responsible for building Unit4’s value proposition, creating and delivering on industry product roadmaps, developing the ecosystem, and leading strategic sales engagements.

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