Professional Services Automation Blog

The Projector e3 Community – A Year in Review

Projecto e3 LogoIt was around this time in 2013 that we formally launched the Projector e3 program, a community initiative designed to help educate, engage, and empower users of Projector’s PSA software. Before we actually launched the program we spent a great deal of time brainstorming the best way to implement a community group that would appeal to a broad spectrum of Projector users. Knowing the “build it and they will come” strategy will only take us so far, we settled on an approach that was organic, scalable, and, most importantly, value driven. With a plan in hand, some lofty aspirations, and a desire to build a stronger connection between our clients, our users, and us, we launched the e3 program not knowing exactly what to expect.

In chatting with a few colleagues recently I was reminded that an entire year has passed since we embarked on this journey. Just like the continuous development cycle that we help so many of our clients implement, I thought it might be a good time to take a step back and reflect. So here is a quick recap of the first year of our e3 program’s success, a few of the lessons we’ve learned, and a preview of what is coming next. Continue reading »

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What to do When a Project Starts to Run Over Budget

Budget StatusWe’ve spent a lot of time on this blog discussing how professional services automation (PSA) software can help run a more successful services firm. From delivering projects more efficiently to increasing the utilization of your resources, PSA software provides a slew of tools that services firms can use to avoid project overruns and consistently deliver within budget. It is an unavoidable fact, however, that even the best professional services organization will sink a project every once and a while.

So if somewhere along the way your project lost its way, here are a few strategies that you can use to try and get things back on track. Remember, an over-budget project doesn’t necessarily mean it’s failed, yet. There may still be time to right its course. Continue reading »

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A Note of Thanks to our Customers—Projector Turns 10

Birthday-CakeIt was ten years ago, to the day, that the first version of Projector was released. And although version 1.0 of Projector looked nothing like the robust PSA solution it is today, the vision we had of designing a solution that solves real-world problems for professional services firms is as important to us now as it was day one.

We wanted to use this milestone as an opportunity to thank all of our customers for their support over the last ten years. Without your commitment, guidance, and sometimes patience, we wouldn’t be here today, nor would we be positioned so well for future.

Our success is a direct result of you. Every release of Projector contains features requested by you. Every new program we launch is designed to help you do more with Projector. And every time you call us, the person who picks up the phone is able to get you the answers you need. Continue reading »

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The True Cost of PSA Software – PSA Infographic Deconstructed: Part Five

PSA Software Price MazeOver the past few blog posts we have been examining the different aspects of how professional services automation (PSA) software can benefit a service organization. From enhancing utilization to streamlining the delivery process and ultimately improving profitability, PSA software is an essential tool for service firms. We’ve spent a significant amount of time demonstrating the effect service automation software can have on your bottom line, but we have yet to examine PSA software’s own bottom line. Let’s talk turkey.

Like many enterprise software solutions, it can be challenging to get a full understanding of the costs associated with implementing a PSA solution until you have spent a considerable amount of time reviewing a tool—prices aren’t openly published, different types of users often come with different fees, and implementation costs are hard to quantify. Today we will take a look at average subscription and implementation costs for leading PSA tools. Continue reading »

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A Close-up Portrait of the Professional Services Industry

SPI ResearchLooking at 2013 through the lens of broad, macroeconomic indicators here in the US, one might be tempted to take at least a cautiously optimistic view of the state of the world. Unemployment continued to fall to its lowest level since the financial crisis, the stock market performed better than it had since the late 90’s, and growth in developed economies finally started to catch up with emerging markets. While this broad, wide-angle view may be sufficient for some, if you’re reading this, you’re probably more interested a close-up picture of what this all means for the professional services market. This report provides that closer view and much more.

SPI’s 2014 Professional Services Benchmark Report paints a portrait of the professional services landscape—a picture much less idyllic, punctuated by remnants of battles past and portents of challenges ahead. The professional services industry saw revenue growth slow to its lowest level in five years, and nearly 15% of firms contracted rather than experiencing any growth at all. This slowing growth, driven in part by commoditization and rate erosion, was accompanied by a sharp decline in billable utilization, a spike in attrition, overcapacity in both billable staff and non-billable overhead, and a precipitous falloff in profitability. In fact, most of the key professional services metrics deteriorated—suggesting that in order to survive in 2014, professional services firms will need to reconsider strategies and refocus on efficiency and productivity. Continue reading »

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PSA Infographic Deconstructed – Part Four: Improving Delivery Efficiency

Efficiency GaugeOver the past few blog posts we’ve examined how service organizations can enhance their profitability by implementing a professional services automation (PSA) solution. We covered increasing utilization, improving project margins, and using PSA software to deliver more successful projects. Today, we’ll take a look at professional services software from an operational efficiency perspective—delivering more with less.

Because services automation software contributes to every aspect of the delivery process, it should come as little surprise that PSA solutions can help increase an organization’s delivery and revenue efficiency. From managing the supply and demand of resources to automating the billing and project accounting process, organizations that run on a professional services automation platform are able to do more, with less.

Focus on Efficiency

Services firms sometimes have a myopic focus on increasing their resource utilization—or the percentage of billable hours that employees work. Although high utilization will strengthen a firm’s bottom line in the short-term, over the long haul it can lead to employee burn out, result in high churn, and is ultimately unsustainable. To maintain healthy utilization levels, and overall profitability, service firms need to run an efficient delivery operation. The fewer non-billable or overhead hours worked, the stronger the organization’s bottom line. Continue reading »

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PSA Infographic Deconstructed – Part Three: How to Deliver More Projects Successfully

In our last blog post, we talked about how service firms can increase project profitability by implementing a professional services automation (PSA) solution. That post was squarely focused on the bottom line. Today, we’ll talk about one of the keys to achieving those bottom line results: being able to deliver more projects successfully.

Success is measured by a number of factors in addition to just the bottom line. On time delivery, quality of work and referenceability are all performance indicators that, when in line with expectations, create a feedback loop fueling growth. Each project completed broadens a team’s skill set and an organization’s capabilities. Each lesson learned helps produce more accurate and competitive proposals in the future. Each satisfied client helps validate the value in the service being offered. Continue reading »

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Introducing the Projector e3 Program

Simple Questions

“How can I learn more about what Projector can do?”

“How can I make sure we’re getting all that we can get out of the system?”

“I’m not even sure what questions to ask…I don’t know what I don’t know.”

We’re used to fielding these sorts of questions from prospects—people thinking about implementing Projector as their new Professional Services Automation solution. Every once in a while, though, we get these same questions from one of our current clients. Perhaps the people who were originally trained left. Maybe the business has changed. Or, the organization may just have started simple. Now it wants to expand its use of Projector.

Whatever the reason, we didn’t have a great answer…until now. Continue reading »

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PSA Infographic Deconstructed – Part Two: Improving Profitability

In our last blog post, we talked about how utilization and profitability were two sides of the same coin and dove a little deeper into the first side: improving utilization. Today, we’ll talk about profitability, the flip side.

For professional service firms, where knowledge is the product, maintaining healthy profit margins is nothing short of an art. It takes a lot of skill, a little bit of luck, and reliable processes and systems to ensure that your services team is running at maximum efficiency. If only one of the many factors affecting profitability falls out of sync it can have dramatic results on the bottom line—a project runs over budget and its margins shrink, key resources are over-worked leading to constant employee churn, or loose systems are employed that let billable time slip through the cracks. Continue reading »

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PSA Infographic Deconstructed – Part One: Improving Utilization

In the professional services business, utilization and profitability are two sides of the same coin. It’s quite simple to optimize one at the expense of the other, at least in the short run. Discount your rates heavily, and your utilization will soar, but to the detriment of profitability. Overwork your people without investing in training and professional development, and you’ll see great utilization today, only to see mass exodus kill profitability (and morale) next quarter. Figuring out how to optimize both at the same time is one of the real keys to running a successful services firm.

In our last blog post, “Infographic: 8 Fast Facts about Professional Services Automation“, we talked about some recent studies that showed how organizations using PSA software like Projector were able to keep their people busy and profitable at the same time. What we didn’t really talk about is how professional services management software does this, so let’s dive into the first half of that story today. Continue reading »

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