Capacity Planning – Visibility into future demand for empowered decision making
At FinancialForce.com, we are a high growth company – staff, products, sales and more. It’s a great thing. But our success is creating a significant challenge for planning and staffing that not only applies to our Professional Services teams, but the whole company. Andres Gluecksmann (@aglue) at Appirio also covered this topic in “Managing a Professional Service Organization on the Cloud” inspiring this blog post! At any given moment, the current staffing and skills may not satisfy the needs of FinancialForce.com even three months from now, let alone six months or one year. How do we plan and make the best choices to hire and train? Do we know how many people we need and when? Are some large projects potentially coming up? Will resources fall off major projects and be prepared to tackle new work? What kinds of projects are filling up our pipeline? Without answers to these questions the only planning option is to make a best guess and be prepared to scramble when the deals close. It’s a good thing we use our own products. With FinancialForce PSA we are uniquely positioned to help solve this problem by sharing the same platform as Salesforce CRM Sales Cloud. In our latest release we provide the ability to look as deep as needed into your sales pipeline to calculate and see potential future resource demands. This insight will give teams better power to deliver [and delight customers] which in turn will creates opportunities for upsell or cross-sell, not to mention great references. Or on the flip side, the team can ‘reset’ customer/prospect expectations when they see skills and resources don’t match what is sold. A strength of our PSA solution has always been enterprise level robust resource management and utilization tracking. We have always had the option to add resource requests to Opportunities requesting resources by role, but we required that a specific resource be “soft-booked” on the request before the capacity calculations could include this information. We have now expanded the functionality to include the information on unheld resource requests, to forecast capacity by role and to incorporate Opportunity Close percentages in the calculations. This now means that any customer (including our own FinancialForce.com services group!) can get visibility into capacity demand by role (i.e. Project Manager, Developer) one month, one quarter, one year…as far out as the pipeline information goes. Since we account for probability, if four Opportunities require a Consultant for 80 hours each for a total of 320 hours, and each opp has a probability of 25% then the required capacity would be 80 hours representing what will actually close. Now empowered by this visibility into the future, managers can plan and make informed, smart decisions and prepare. What challenges are you facing planning for future capacity? Any good examples of successes or failures from the past?