Managing an IT Services business involves the simultaneous pursuit of several key ambitions, each of which presents unique challenges. To succeed, companies need to find ways to:
Grow revenue and profits
Connect your growth strategy with your project practices to win more profitable business
Guarantee project success
Deliver complex projects within tight timescales, in scope, and within budget
Provide superior service
Exceed expectations with more focused, informed, agile and responsive teams
Few industries have seen such prodigious growth and upheaval in the last few years as the information technology sector - a trend that has created countless opportunities for IT service providers, and an equal number of challenges.
IT companies are always looking for ways to enhance their service quality, deliver vital new projects within tight timescales, generate actionable business insights and ultimately grow their profits and revenue in a competitive marketplace. This can be difficult to achieve, but with the help of the latest technology advances in professional services automation/project services automation, such as the Unit4 PSA Suite and broader enterprise software such as Unit4 Business World firms can remain at the cutting edge and continue to reap significant rewards from their industry's explosive growth.
What challenges do IT Services businesses face?
Overall, the IT sector has seen sharp upward growth for decades, but it can often be difficult for individual companies to capitalize on the opportunities it presents.
A range of factors can get in the way:
- The work of IT services providers is inherently complex, and may involve multiple teams and stakeholders.
- Shifting regulations and legislation – e.g. GDPR – can have major knock-on effects for working practices and customer requirements.
- Constant, rapid change in the status quo, means companies need to be lean, agile and responsive, in order to thrive.
As a result, many IT firms are harnessing the latest technology to improve project coordination and planning, and to maximize productivity by streamlining manual admin tasks.
Key IT Services industry trends
Unit4 can offer a range of solutions to help IT companies transform their efficiency and respond positively to the latest trends reshaping their industry:
Successful IT companies keep investing in new ideas and looking for fresh ways to revamp or expand their service offerings to better meet the needs of the client. In the IT industry, few businesses remain content to develop a single product or service and stick to it; the push for innovation and diversification is constant, and is felt by smaller companies just as much as it is by multinationals like Microsoft and Google.
A strong project management system is key to achieving this kind of expansion, enabling business leaders to gain full visibility over the progress of a range of development efforts, assign appropriate resources and make sure the necessary deadlines are being met.
Win more business
Unit4 software can offer all of these features, providing a holistic solution for managing finances, people and projects. It helps IT companies to greatly improve their agility, giving them a vital edge over their rivals and helping them stay a step ahead of the market trends.
Change comes in many forms, from revolutionary developments such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things to ever-more complex compliance requirements around data security and privacy. The IT Services rulebook, is being constantly rewritten and businesses are always having to update their working approach to keep pace.
It’s crucial for managers to have effective project visibility and control, in order to keep the business agile and responsive to change, while staying ever-vigilant on compliance and risk management.
Smarter project management software is a must for navigating through these issues successfully.
Execute profitable projects
Using Unit4's solutions, managers can see what’s happening for every client and employee, as well as all the opportunities for efficiency that come with that. And managing via a centralized, secure and consistently-applied solution, helps reinforce data stewardship efforts and protects the business from being harmed by fragmented, siloed systems.
Many organizations have been affected by a skills gap in recent times, but the IT sector has been one of the industries that has been impacted most acutely, with businesses finding it difficult to hire and retain staff with the talent and expertise needed to support their ambitious plans for growth.
This is always going to be a challenge in a marketplace where the focus is on flexible, technically-skilled work, with staff constantly expected to develop new ideas, take on unforeseen responsibilities and fuel the forward momentum of the business from within.
So, proper utilization of staff resources is essential for IT companies, making Unit4's user-friendly and intuitive planning tools an ideal fit.
Staff more effectively
Unit4 solutions provide 360-degree visibility of staff availability for every project, allowing billable hours, costs and resources to be logged, while responding automatically to changing requirements and time zone differences. Moreover, they can also play a key role in helping IT firms to attract and retain the services of the most talented workers, keeping each person moving forward and able to deliver the skills that the business needs.
One of the consequences of IT being such an innovation-led market is the fact that IT service providers often find themselves having to speculate to accumulate.
The world's largest tech companies spend billions each year on research and development, often at times when businesses in other fields are cutting back, because growth in this sector is difficult to achieve without a pipeline of new offerings to stimulate fresh interest.
However, these investments in R&D need to be balanced against the short-term profitability needs of the organization, which is why those in charge of accounting at IT companies need to have clear oversight when it comes to billing and finances.
Bill with precision
Unit4 offers a variety of solutions to help with this, with tools to help companies generate financial statements, produce detailed budget reports, manage invoicing and retain a direct overview of their bank balances and cash flows at all times. This provides IT firms with everything they need to strike the right balance between future investments and immediate financial needs.
Helping IT services providers at every level
One of the most important benefits of Unit4's holistic project services automation solutions is the way they are able to deliver value across all levels of an organization. Here's how every part of your IT business can benefit:
Executives and Managers
Unit4 solutions make it easier to oversee the company's strategic direction.
Leaders and decision makers will get a clearer picture of the status and progress across the company, allowing them to make informed decisions about which projects to prioritize and where new opportunities might arise.
Unit4 solutions make it easier to budget, report and forecast more accurately, helping the finance team to drive strong profit margins while making funds available for essential research investments.
Unit4 solutions deliver better visibility over the end-to-end management of complex processes, making it easier for project leaders to allocate the right staff to each role and make optimal use of their time, while delivering results within budget and on time.
Unit4 solutions help companies to maintain and match the right skills to current and future projects. As well as ensuring the most suitable staff can be allocated for their skill set, HR teams can track the progress of all staff members and provide training and support as and when it is needed, aiding their efforts to improve recruitment and retention in a competitive hiring market.
Unit4 solutions help reduce the time taken up by complex bureaucracy and manual form-filling, enabling IT workers to apply themselves fully to their core roles and responsibilities, without manual admin processes hindering their productivity.