Superpower training: seeing into the future to hit targets

Posted by  Bas van Woudenberg

Superpower training: seeing into the future to hit targets

The top service-based organizations have attained the superpower of visibility into the future. With the help of a heroic duo, they are executing more projects with faster staffing, longer durations and greater profit so they can hit revenue and margin targets. Let’s take a look into the future to see how they’re doing it.

Compared with five years ago, project managers at professional services organizations (PSOs) as a whole are now able to run more projects simultaneously. On average, each project has a higher price, longer duration, faster staffing times (and more staff) with more projects delivered on-time.

These metrics, which came from independent industry benchmarking developed over 11 years*, paint a picture of organizational brilliance. The market leaders are growing faster, earning more revenue and reaping higher profits than the competition. To find out how these people- and project-centered businesses are doing it, we need to take a trip into the future...a future which could be yours.


The first thing to note is this futuristic reality is that technology now puts people, not machines, at the heart of the matter by making everything user-friendly, intuitive and connected.

This duo of tools, professional services automation (PSA) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), empower organizations with greater visibility and control over their project plan, schedule, cost, and budget. The best-performing project-based businesses see mastery over these tools as a strategic imperative to expand globally, drive market growth and future-proof themselves.

They are wise to do so, as they’re competing in a business climate driven by technology, disruption, and skilled talent shortages. Luckily, this powerful pairing of PSA and ERP affords them insight and foresight which helps them execute profitable projects by hitting revenue and margin targets.

1] The standardized future

According to industry analysis,* the best-performing PSOs (the top five percent) are able to staff projects faster and execute more projects on-time, with fewer project overruns and fewer project cancellations.

In this new standardized future, this could be your organization. The secret to living this future is repeatable processes, project templates, and standardized methodologies.

Enter, one half of our duo: PSA. Market-leaders credit PSA use with improving resource and project management, time and expense capture and billing, plus higher levels of billable utilization. Not bad.

2] The PSA-ubiquitous future

In this reality, PSA use has grown beyond expectations.

Almost all key project metrics improve with PSA adoption, according to industry analysis, from year-over-year change in revenue and headcount to employee billable utilization and average project staffing time.

Again, this is the current reality of the best-performing service businesses, but it could be your future.

3] Looking to the future

PSA and ERP solutions allow us to look at the horizon and chart a course.

With up-to-the-minute data and role-based dashboards to track, capture and forecast, managers at all levels are gifted real-time visibility and analysis of business performance metrics so they can conduct root cause analysis and take action on the fly.

Looking to the future, planning becomes a collaborative, cross-functional process which transforms decision-making from tactical to strategic, and management from reactive to proactive.

4] Future efficiency

In this automated future, your organization can look forward to revenue and profit increases, faster growth and an all-round efficiency boost.

This is the business-critical case for automation: your organization will win more business, optimize resource utilization, execute profitable projects and bill with precision.

An alternate future

In this future, project management becomes a dream. Your organization will run more projects, staff them faster and watch revenues climb higher.

That’s one future anyway. Or, you could stick with what you’ve got. But, as Henry Ford famously said: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

If you want to learn about an alternate future, download the e-guide: Execute profitable projects to hit revenue and margin targets

Read about the other service performance pillars: talent, clients, and finance.

Read more about the finance service performance pillar in the PSMB 2018 report.

*Source: 11th annual Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report 2018, by third-party research firm, Service Performance Insight.

Bas van Woudenberg

Bas van Woudenberg is a professional services sector veteran, aiming to support organizations to improve utilization rates, customer satisfaction, and financial results. Bas is also the director of the Unit4 PSO Center of Excellence.