The Power of Results-Driven Professional Services Automation

Author: Categories: Efficiency, Professional Services, PSA Software, Results

Here at Projector PSA we have taken a decidedly different approach to professional services automation (PSA) software. Designed by professional services executives, our solution is solely focused on helping people- and project-centric services firms run more efficiently, successfully, and profitably. This results-driven approach is apparent not only in our product, but also in our diverse service and support offerings. And it seems to work well. Over the past 10 years Projector has become the leading independent PSA solution and has consistently received the highest level of client satisfaction in the PSA software market. Something we’re fairly proud of, to be frank.

SPI Research’s latest Professional Services Benchmark has played a major role in measuring the success organizations have achieved by selecting Projector as their professional services software of choice. Each year they survey hundreds of world-class professional service organizations (PSOs) ranging from management consultancies to digital agencies to understand how the professional services market is performing.

One of the topics that SPI Research investigates is the different business software systems that organizations are using. Because PSA software is the core system that PSOs rely on to run their business, what solution a firm is using tends to have a significant impact on a firm’s success. And once they start segmenting the data by PSA software vendors the results begin to speak for themselves.

When compared to PSOs that rely on other major PSA solutions, firms that run on Projector tend to have more efficient staffing processes, deliver more projects on time and under budget, and enjoy higher employee utilization—ultimately resulting in stronger profit margins.

These advantages are driven by a chorus of design decisions throughout Projector that provide professional services firms with the visibility they need to understand exactly how their business is performing today, and project what needs to be done to continuously improve their performance in the future.

A system that is easy to get insights out of…

Every PSO that runs on a Projector has the opportunity to tailor the visibility the system provides to match the requirements of their services firm, without needing custom development.

On the surface this seems simple, and I suspect you’ll be hard-pressed to find a solution that doesn’t make the same claim. But once you start picking apart your key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll find that you think about things just a little bit differently than your peers. That’s because every PSO measure the exact same thing, differently.

Understanding this from the start is core to driving results with your PSA tool. If you have to caveat your numbers or swag your estimates, you are leaving money on the table. A lot of money.

Once you’ve got the metrics figured out it comes down to communicating the right information, to the right person, at the right time. Every person in an organization that utilizes Projector has unprecedented access to the data that is key to their role in growing business.

  • Consultants and delivery resources can quickly see their schedule, utilization performance, tasks they’re responsible for, or vacation accruals and requests.
  • Project managers are able to check on the health of their portfolio quickly and drill into problem areas highlighted by a host of KPIs including budget status, schedule performance, and mid-project profitability.
  • Delivery managers and executives have access to visually compelling dashboards that can be configured to deliver the information they need at just the right level of detail.

Projector is even able to integrate information from other business systems to provide a truly consolidated view of the health of an organization.

Results Driven PSA Software

A system that is easy to get information into…

If visibility is the what, then project planning and tracking is the how. Without good data you’ll never get good results.

To ensure completeness of information PSOs need software that is both usable and precise. These are two factors that are often pitted against one another. It’s simple to make a simple interface simple. Yup, you might have to read that sentence twice. But if you think about it, the more information you are trying to track the harder it becomes to design intuitive ways to track it.

One way in which Projector balances these two factors is by allowing organizations to choose the level at which they would like to plan, manage, deliver, and measure their projects. Whether it’s a simple ad-hoc project that just needs a few hours tracked or a complex multi-phased piece of work, Projector lets project managers decide the level of detail they need to deliver their project.

Along with a project’s plan is its schedule. Experienced service managers know that these are two related, but separate, entities. When it comes time to find the right person for a project schedulers need to balance a resource’s skills and capabilities with their capacity to deliver the work. By using a unique method of lumpy scheduling to model schedule requests Projector is able to delver higher level of precision than what most systems provide. This helps organizations to differentiate between I need Jimmy next week for one day and I need Jimmy next Tuesday. Ultimately, Projector’s scheduling tools help PSOs increase their resource utilization by significant margins when compared to their peers.

The final aspect to getting good visibility in a professional services firm is ensuring that every hour worked gets tracked. Everybody hates tracking time. Even writing that sentence made me cringe a bit. I don’t think I’ve ever met a consultant that thought tracking their time was awesome. So instead of shooting for awesome, why don’t we shoot for painless?

Projector has a few very unique aspects to its time tracking tools that help to get the job done fast and efficiently. Not only do projects automatically appear on someone’s time sheet when they’re scheduled to work on them, but they also include planned task hours for each task. Ensuring that each consultant knows what is expected of them is the first step to delivering a project on time and under budget.

In addition to streamlining the time collection process, Projector also decouples time submission from an individual timesheet. This means that every time increment is tracked, submitted, and approved independently. If time from project A gets held up in the workflow why should project B suffer just because it’s on the same timesheet? Many time tracking systems will view the timesheet as a whole because it’s easier for the developers to build, but it’s not in the best interest of the user.

Add each one of these nuanced design decisions together and a PSO will start delivering more successful projects. Each year when SPI Research asks service firms what percentage of their projects are delivered over budget, firms running on Projector have performed the best. They enjoy 15%-30% fewer projects delivered over budget when compared to their peers.

A system that supports best practices…

The first step to running a successful professional services firm is having great people. In addition to great people they also need good processes. Because Projector’s sole focus is on professional service organizations, best practices are baked in. Years of experience solving challenges unique to professional services are evident throughout the application. From flexible workflows that can be configured by business users to pre-built reports and dashboards, Projector can answer the questions executives always seem to ask.

Supporting best practices through software design is essential, but as the business landscape changes, so do the tools and processes that are used. To help ensure that organizations using Projector are able to adapt to change Projector’s e3 community maintains an ongoing conversation about how to best balance people, process, and technology to stay competitive. The Projector e3 community, whose goal is to educate, engage, and empower users of Projector, takes a unique approach to the community environment. While most software user groups are nothing but outsourced support channels, the Projector e3 community prioritizes thought leadership in addition to training and support. From round-table discussions with leading executives to detailed workshops highlighting powerful functionality, there is something for everyone.

A system that delivers results…

Projector PSA Software User Satisfaction ScoreAdd it all together—a great tool, excellent services, and world-class support—and it’s no wonder Projector consistently receives the highest user satisfaction scores in SPI Research’s annual Professional Services Maturity Benchmark. Outperforming other PSA tools’ solution satisfaction by more than 20%, Projector provides a holistic approach to professional services automation.

Focusing on results instead of flashy buzzwords or technology platforms has enabled Projector to become the PSA solution of choice for PSOs that are serious about moving their metrics. The performance advantage that organizations running on Projector enjoy has been proven out year after year in SPI Research’s annual benchmark.

But don’t take my word for it. Take a look for yourself. Complete our performance scorecard to see how your firm stacks up against the market and organizations that are run on Projector.

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