With an office in downtown Sydney, it’s now easier than ever for those in Australia/New Zealand to get in touch with us to talk about FinancialForce PSA. Professional Services Automation is being used by global companies such as Perceptive Software (Lexmark), Akamai Technologies, and Pactera. Not only that, two of our PSA clients, NetSmart & Nextara, landed in the top 5% of services companies globally, landing a spot in SPI Research’s “Best of the Best” Maturity Benchmark 2015 report.
What do we know about PSA locally? Apart from being the “PSA Guy” for 4 years at a previous company, my past roles in IT services companies included delivering, project managing or selling consulting services to customers. The #1 ongoing challenge for every delivery project then (as now) was “collaboration.” You may be familiar with recurring questions such as “Who is available to work on the project?“, “Where are we up to on the project?“, or the ever important regular question of “Where are the missing time-sheets!?“
Tracking project phases, tasks, milestones, and people at previous companies without PSA usually was accentuated by that monthly scramble to get everyone’s time sheets and project milestone completions in so billing could be completed for the month. Client billing and invoices were often tabulated using that most ubiquitous of Business Intelligence tools; Microsoft Excel, and then manually entered into a simple accounting package that sat on the Professional Services Manager’s laptop. “Collaboration” meant a regular series of phone calls, emails and lengthy weekly meetings between key project stakeholders, engagement managers and the Professional Services Manager.
Sound familiar? Well, many are familiar with this, but don’t be discouraged. In the words of a colleague: “You are not Robinson Crusoe.” You are not alone and would not be the first company we have heard that story from.
Even companies that have adopted some sort of Cloud/SaaS solution are still struggling with disparate systems with what we like to term FrankenCloud. This is often a result of simply moving the existing business problems to the Cloud, as in the typical business whiteboard example you see here.
When we talk to people in consulting services companies about “collaboration” we talk about the single source of truth, dashboards and the car dashboard analogy.
Those that drive are likely familiar with their car’s dashboard and 2-3 key things; Speed, Fuel and perhaps one or other warning lights. Modern cars being produced today have all sorts of dashboard features, from pings that let you know an occupant doesn’t have their seatbelt, to advanced collision systems and lane departure warnings. Generally not everyone may want or need all of these features, but as technology develops and consumers appreciate the value, these features start to become standard.
Before vehicles had full functioning dashboards you had to do physical checks. As a teenager growing up in New Zealand, my mother had an early model Fiat 500, the “Bambina,” and it had only a fuel warning light, not a needle gauge like every modern car now has. It was always “best practice” when borrowing Mums’ car to pop the bonnet, remove the fuel cap and check the fuel level with a wooden ruler. More than once I had long walks to the petrol station with a fuel can, but only once (That I recall) did I forget to top up the fuel before returning the “Bambina” to my mother (the less said about that the better).
Let’s take that analogy into your professional services organisation. Maybe today you are having to “measure the fuel with a ruler,” or in your case run analysis reports on spreadsheets or some other Business Intelligence (BI) tool to try and get a view of how your projects and your business are performing. Often BI tools are used “after the fact” in businesses today due to the lack of visibility into the ERP system, or even worse; no ERP.
When we talk about FinancialForce PSA we are talking about a single source of truth accessible across your business that your staff can easily follow and contribute to from their choice of mobile technology to ask and answer those all-important services questions in real-time, not well after the fact. Just access from a desktop, laptop, tablet, SmartPhone or even a SmartWatch.
Essentially any web browser or Smart device will do. This is not just for entering time-sheets or entering/updating project tasks and milestones. FinancialForce PSA leverages the power of Salesforce to manage your people, customers, projects and financials in one integrated services management application. This means that everyone can have access to the right information, including Salesforce Chatter, to help connect and share information securely – all in real time.
The key to FinancialForce PSA is real time. Knowing that the right people are either working on or are available for a project can be as crucial as knowing what time or milestones are available to be billed to the customer. Why manage by exception reports when you can have a dashboard?
Having a unified solution on the Salesforce platform with real time project accounting analytics is one of the key reasons why Sydney-based Global Red selected FinancialForce PSA and Financial Management. Global company Pactera recently rolled out FinancialForce PSA across its North American and Australian operations to replace their previous FrankenCloud applications, and Brendan Connolly recently spoke at the Sydney Salesforce User Group on how FinancialForce PSA gave the Australian Pactera sales team and executives real time status into their projects, something everyone had been struggling with before.
So perhaps it is time that you stopped “measuring the fuel with a ruler” and looked at ways to get a dashboard view of your services business?
Read how companies such as NetSmart and Nextara achieved “Best of the best” status using FinancialForce PSA in the SPI 2015 Professional Services Maturity™ Benchmark report
Contact us at FinancialForce.com in Australia.