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Can your services business support growth?

The services economy is a game-changer for the world of professional services. The increased demand for project and people-based services creates opportunities to add additional business models to your mix, e.g. managed services, subscription, technology-based and beyond. And while the opportunities are great, the ability to manage additional business models will become as complex as it is critical.

What are the top performing services organizations doing to tackle challenges, win business, and retain customers? What can you do to support growth, optimize resource management, billing, and reporting? Here are a few key things to consider as you build out your services-centric growth strategies.

More visibility, more predictability

Companies that improve predictability and visibility also achieve higher win rates, utilization, and services margins. When you can see and track everything that’s happening across sales, services, financials, and projects, service leaders can bring the right people to the right role. Sales teams can sell the correct scope at an ideal rate. Everyone gains transparency across billing, revenue, and pipeline to make smart and swift decisions. Ultimately, you build the right framework to support new business and drive customer satisfaction.  

Streamline the back office

When you add new services and billing models, you need a billing system that is agile enough to support them, while keeping billing cycles fast and efficient. Manual, inflexible back-office processes can only cause slow billing cycles, costly mistakes, and frustrated customers. Ideally, your back office system supports everything from the opportunity all the way through to customer renewal and revenue recognition, all on one platform – eliminating disparate systems and manual data hand-offs that are the leading cause of revenue leakage. It will also create a master customer record from which the entire business operates.

Make smarter decisions faster

Don’t wait for the monthly close or a quarterly review to make game-changing decisions for your business. Take advantage of powerful analytics and BI tools that can produce meaningful, actionable insights customized by need, role, geography, project, and more. For professional services, you will be able to forecast utilization, backlog, and capacity with spot-on accuracy, and know when to recruit, hire, train the right people based on demand and capacity. You will be able to generate reports and dashboards to help you spot customer or project trends, and closely track revenue, billing, and margin health in real-time. Identify in real-time when to capitalize on product upgrades or cross-sells, which regions to focus on, or which customers need proactive outreach to prevent them from churning.

Pricing homework

How can you tackle a new market, vertical, or industry without understanding what other services organizations are currently doing there when it comes to pricing, compensation, billing rates, and utilization? Do your homework and benchmark your strategy and viability against your future competitors. This insight and data points are a primary focus of the 2018 SPI report for Professional Services: Global Pricing, Compensation, and Utilization Benchmark.

Technology impact

It’s crucial to look at your systems and processes to ensure they can help you grow and prosper. For the services delivery world, professional services automation (PSA) solutions have become the lifeblood of many top enterprise services organizations giving them increased visibility, flexible, streamlined business processes, and unparalleled efficiencies across project delivery to billing and revenue recognition. Read first-hand how Adobe’s global services business can easily tack on new revenue streams, or how Red Hat is managing projects across 95 offices with limitless business models, both using FinancialForce PSA solutions to make it happen and with success. 

While there is no magic bullet to ensuring growth, if you apply and deliver on any or all of the above, you are well positioned for success.

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