What’s in store for the next generation automation systems
by Fernando Corso, senior director of professional services, Tribridge
For growing services organizations, implementing a professional services automation solution is a critical milestone needed to efficiently coordinate resources and link sales efforts with delivery.
Professional Services Organizations: Look in the Mirror, What Do You See? discusses the evolution of maturity models for service organizations. Integrating or expanding enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and professional services automation solutions typically marks an organization’s evolution from a start-up to an advanced, well-run organization.
Today, professional services automation solutions are no longer a competitive differentiator, but a must-have if you want to be able to play with the big dogs.
In fact, the 2016 SPI Maturity Benchmark reports that 79.8 percent of services organizations have a PSA that handles traditional process flows including project onboarding, resource management, project management, mobility and time/expense.
These solutions also offer:
- Team portals for internal and external collaboration.
- Document management and workflow.
- Features to define risk, impact and track events through the project lifecycle.
- Detailed service billing.
- Mobility features.
- Dashboards and analytics.
The bells and whistles of next generation solutions
These solutions have valuable features that help services organizations increase productivity and improve visibility. However, project and management teams are now demanding additional capabilities in order to keep pace.
In the next generation, expect to see the following.
- Shared resource pools. Most services organizations that provide support to customers have their own process for managing support requests as seen in information technology services, consulting and engineering firms. While the processes and systems could be different, a significant percentage of companies share resources between the project delivery and support/field services organizations.
For the longest time, resource pools for project and field service were separate. This created a problem for resource managers who wanted to manage overall utilization. New professional services automation solutions should be able to support shared resource pools to overcome these difficulties.
- Project portfolio management. Many enterprise project portfolio management solutions are available. For large enterprises with internal and external projects, a solution outside of the PSA solution might make more sense. For most services organizations though, the ability to manage consolidated groups of projects is critical and should be inherent to their solution.
- Vertical focus. Within the services organization landscape, different industries have their own nomenclature and specific challenges. For instance, the work breakdown structure for an information technology consulting organization is different from a material intensive project plan for a construction company or a matter for a legal firm.
Expect the larger and more advanced applications to provide industry specific layers to leverage extensive platforms. You can also expect professional services automation solutions to integrate tighter with ERP and CRM solutions or, in some cases, be incorporated into one larger services resource planning application that can support an entire services business.
Just like the anticipation that is created before the latest version of your favorite phone, car or gaming system is released, professional services firms look forward to news about how soon these new features will be available. It’s clear that to stay competitive today, organizations need to understand the advantages of new technology and make investments that will better serve their customers and their team.
Whether your organization is looking into a professional services automation solution or needs guidance on how to navigate the new solutions coming on the market, Tribridge can help. Contact us to discuss your needs.