In the services sector, the success of a project is heavily dependent on your ability to deliver what you’ve promised, when you’ve promised it. In today’s market, any overruns are at the consultants own cost and highly damaging to the project’s ability to deliver a profit.

With this in mind, we consider the support a professional services automation (PSA) solution can offer companies experiencing pressure in delivering on their commitments.

Genuine project control
Powerful project management functionality can underpin your drive to improve quality, the right IT supporting you in delivering results that exceed your clients’ expectations. Having full insight into everything that’s going on within a single customer assignment is key. You can ensure time and expense conditions are carefully monitored, and that any action needing to be taken can be done in time. Finding out things aren’t going according to plan when it’s too late to do anything doesn’t help anyone – least of all your customer.

Combining and inter-linking CRM, HRM, project and resource planning, time registration and all financial processes, PSA solutions’ embedded tools make any intelligence quick and easy to access. Complete information allows decisions to be made based on everything from customer details to previous project histories, plans, current utilization of consultants and payment history to date.

Detailed reporting
To make the right choices on the work you pursue, you need to know how your utilization and cashflow are looking now, in the short term and further into the future. Companies cannot afford to take on work when the resources required for success are not in place.

PSA solutions are able to deliver detailed metrics on time and expense performance against budget, on scheduling and utilization, and on company performance in terms of revenue, costs and gross margins. The right solution will make ‘real time’ business intelligence a reality, giving you access to the details of what’s going on company-wide with one click. Without this, it’s very hard to make promises with confidence that they can be fulfilled.

The insight to make good decisions in the appropriate timeframe is also essential for ongoing projects. If too many costs are being attached, or if the time budget is being overrun, action needs to be taken promptly to protect the margin. Dashboard’s in particular make it easy to stay on top of progress, clearly displaying actual vs. forecasted revenue and analysis of your resource utilization.

Capture and re-use
Harvesting and then benefitting from business intelligence around past performance is also essential to progress. Having the data on hand to effectively negotiate new work is the key to avoiding prior mistakes and genuinely benefitting from what you’ve learned in the past. Is what the customer is asking for realistic? Do similar projects from the past suggest your thinking is accurate? Projects that won’t deliver results to the business are best avoided.

Knowledge protection
All project plans and proposals need to be archived and easily tracked and traced, allowing them to positively influence future plans and make it simple to establish best practices for efficiency and performance. With employees continually coming and going, it’s important that their experiences don’t leave the company with them.

PSA solutions enable all the relevant details from every project you undertake to be recorded and interlinked with the personnel involved for simple follow up. With all previous work available for analysis in the planning phases of projects, your chances of delivering on time and on budget to a satisfied customer are much improved. And satisfied customers come back.