Guest Blog: Professional Services Leaders Say Goodbye to Old School Tech Approach
Joe Longo is Vice President of PSVillage, one of the largest, most influential community of Technology Professional Services practitioners. Joe has 15 years experience as a VP of services organizations in hightech, working for technology vendors delivering enterprise solutions to major account customers. You will find Joe often speaking and writing about best practices for professional service organizations. Services Innovation There’s never been a better time for services leaders to innovate through the adoption of technology. Not too long ago, services organizations were running on desktop documents and email, typically, MS Word, Excel and Outlook. Everything from project management, to time & expense reporting was done with these basic tools. Today, thanks to cloud-based platforms, energetic, creative entrepreneurs are offering simple but powerful tools to automate the core business functions of your services organization. Here are just a few examples of the functions I have in mind, for which one or more SaaS offerings are available: – Issue Tracking and Management – Development Process Collaboration – Product Defect Reporting (external) – Bug Reporting (internal) – Knowledge Bases – Project Management and cross-team collaboration – Analytics – Social Networking for businesses – And, of course, Time & Expense reporting For anyone setting up a services organization, or looking to adopt more innovation, there’s really no excuse for staying with Excel and email for these functions. The benefits for moving off these are: less noise, more information, high data quality. Agreed, some software vendors have offered similar solutions in the past, but they were deployed on-premise, requiring installation and configuration (dreaded professional services), plus constant care and feeding in the way of patches and upgrades. By “innovation”, I am referring to the new breed of self-service applications that require nothing more than a credit card to enable a cloud-based capability. These solutions require little configuration and grow with your needs. One down-side is that many offerings are just point solutions lacking any integration or data sharing, and require individual credentials (repeated individual log-ins). I predict that the major vendors will do what FinancialForce.com has done, and expand their current offerings to provide those integration and data sharing capabilities over time. It’s only natural that this consolidation will occur, especially if the point solutions attract enough customers. The larger software vendors will naturally move in to grow their business, but they’ll need to remain competitive. That’s not a good sign for the individual providers, who may lose their market niche. But for services professionals, the trend is to move away from complex, expensive enterprise apps and over to easy-to-use, simple-to-manage, scalable cloud apps that allow us to focus on their core services business. Time will tell. For other views and industry perspectives from Joe, visit www.psvillage.com.