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Learning from The Best — how the top performing PSOs deliver service excellence every time

Posted by  Martijn van der Hoeden

The survey’s top 5 percent of professional services organizations (PSOs) credit their service success to a “reliance” on business software, according to a new benchmarking report.

The 11th annual Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report (PSMB) says 2017 was the “best year ever” for global PS industry, and it’s “poised for another record year” in 2018.

Executives from around the globe told authors of 2018 PSMB their secret weapon in delivering productive, profitable and consistently high-quality projects was simple: ‘we rely on a professional services automation (PSA) application’.

According to this year’s report by third-party research company, Service Performance Insight (SPI) PSOs say they are able to optimise resource utilization, bill with absolute precision and execute profitable projects because of their PSA software.

High levels of quality, productivity, and profitability

“Because every leader relies on a PSA application they can build and reinforce project delivery standards which result in precision execution and high levels of quality, productivity, and profitability,” says the SPI report, which compares service execution metrics between the top 5 percent (The Best) and The Rest.

“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. The leaders are able to staff projects faster because most of them rely on a commercial PSA application.”

Standardized methodologies

It adds that this year’s Best were “uniform” in their commitment to developing standardized methodologies, which lead them to deliver more projects on-time, fewer project overruns, and fewer project cancellations.

Three quarters of The Best used a standardized delivery methodology, compared to just over two thirds (69 percent) of The Rest. The Best delivered nine out of ten (90 percent) projects on-time compared to The Rest (79 percent), with an average project overrun of only 5 percent for The Best versus 8 percent for The Rest.

The Best also achieved a much higher project margin for time and materials (50 percent) and fixed price projects (52 percent), compared to The Rest, which achieved 31 percent project margins for both. “They make more money on both time and materials and fixed price projects; but they also excel in the judicious use of subcontractors, only using the best outside resources while ensuring they make margin on them,” says the 2018 PSMB report.

“High-quality service execution is what really sets top performing PSOs apart. They are highly disciplined in all facets of service execution.”

The Best also focused on measuring quality and client satisfaction, says SPI, with most estimates, proposals and changes going through a rigorous evaluation to ensure proper risk management and margin analysis.

“Because the Best firms deploy the best consultants and effectively use a PSA application to exceed client expectations, every facet of their projects is more profitable.”

Get the inside track

2018 PSMB allows you to gauge your own organization's process ‘maturity’ against the top-performing firms as well as against similar organizations in terms of vertical market, size, business type and geographical location.

Read the report summary, or articles around some of the other service performance pillars: client relationships, human capital alignment, and finance & operations.

Download the 2018 PSMB report for free.

Martijn van der Hoeden

As Founder of the PSA Suite and Global Head of the PSO Center of Excellence, Martijn van der Hoeden drives to provide the Professional Services Organizations to improve their performances and maximize their organizations efficiency with the Unit4 PSA Suite.