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Learning from The Best in 2019 — how the top performing PSOs deliver consistent service excellence

Posted by  Henk Jan Onstwedder

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 12th annual Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report (PSMB), by third-party research company, Service Performance Insight (SPI), 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.

Executives from the leading PSOs from around the world told authors of 2019 PSMB they “rely on” a commercial professional services automation (PSA) application.

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 five 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.”

Committed to 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 (73 percent) of The Best used a standardized delivery methodology, compared to just over two thirds (66 percent) of The Rest. The Best delivered almost nine out of ten (88 percent percent) projects on-time compared to The Rest (76 percent), with an average project overrun of only five percent for The Best versus nine percent for The Rest.

The Best also achieved a much higher project margin for time and materials projects (50 percent) and fixed price projects (51percent), compared to The Rest, which achieved 34 and 33 percent project margins respectively. “They make a lot 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 2019 PSMB report.

“High-quality service execution is what really sets top-performing PSOs apart. They tend to be 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 are more profitable.”

Get the inside track

2019 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.

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 responsible for building Unit4’s Public Services and Not for Profit global value proposition, creating and delivering on industry product roadmaps, developing the ecosystem, and leading strategic sales engagements.