A connected services organization is one in which systems, data, work, people, and customers are integrated and aligned, in order to establish a critical link in the organizational chain that joins customer and solution value.
The journey towards becoming a connected services organization is a continuum that captures and tracks progression from traditional, focused on generating profit as a singular business unit (weakest link), to a connected business unit operating as a strategic enabler for the organization (unbreakable link).
In this blog, we address the seven key benefits of becoming a fully connected services organization and explore how vision and commitment enables organizations to embrace new ways of working, operate at the accelerated speed of business, and adapt to evolving business models. These benefits include:
- Optimized resource management
- Enhanced customer experiences
- Improved revenue
- Increased billable utilization
- Higher customer retention
- Greater profitability
- Upgraded employee experience
Optimized Resource Management
Connected services organizations have the capacity to go beyond merely seeing who is doing what, and can drill deep to reveal how resource assignments align with financial objectives. For example, different hypothetical scenarios can be run to verify that current resource capacity across multiple regions or organizations will meet anticipated demand — and if this is not the case, then the recruiting pipeline can be restarted or accelerated accordingly. Optimized resource management is critical for delivering customer success and protecting profit margins.
Enhanced Customer Experiences
Connected services organizations understand that today’s customers demand value to be delivered faster, and in smaller iterations. As such, they have the capacity to work in an Agile manner, and as necessary tweak or re-invent business processes that replace complexity with simplicity — and ultimately improve customer experiences.
Connected services organizations have a clear, accurate view of opportunities to improve planning — which ultimately increases revenue. A tight integration between PSA and ERP software is critical here, as it ensures the smooth flow of information necessary to get revenue recognition right (note that this can be configured as an end-to-end process with PSA, or an ecosystem with ERP running the revenue recognition).
At the same time, connected services organizations know — rather than guess — what their customers need, which ensures that time and expenses are accurately and promptly tracked against both contracted and forecasted amounts. They also establish heightened governance for time and expense administration, which drives fluidity, sound business operations, and compliance with prevailing public account standards (e.g. ASC606 and IFRS15).
Increased Billable Utilization
Connected services organizations have the tools to maximize billable resource utilization across engagements when assessing demand and capacity vs. resource skill sets and competencies. Indeed, for many organizations that achieve connected services maturity, the capacity to view the whole lifecycle to avoid bottlenecks and prevent gaps in billable work is the most valuable and transformative benefit. A robust PSA solution plays a pivotal role in this improvement. As noted by Service Performance Insight:
“[PSA solutions] continue to drive significant operational performance benefits, yielding higher revenue and profit for professional services organizations…PSA solutions help match the right resources, with the right skills at the right time to the right projects. PSA solutions yield several core benefits to PSOs, but most executives only need to look to the relative 11% (from 68.1% to 75.3%) increase in billable utilization as a primary reason to select PSA. (parenthesis in original)”
Higher Customer Retention
Connected services organizations improve customer retention — which is essential in the professional services sector — by ensuring that engagements are suitably staffed by the right professionals, at the right time. Furthermore, connected services organizations have the tools and workflows to continuously monitor and optimize customer experience.
Connected services organizations leverage gains made by improving resource management, customer experience, revenue, billable utilization, and customer retention in order to achieve a balance between long term customer value, success, and experience and profitability. In other words: they are a high growth and a highly profitable enterprise — not one instead of the other.
Upgraded Employee Experience
The consulting advisory website Consulting.us notes that employees in the professional services sector face higher rates of burnout than most other jobs. This is driven by excessively heavy workloads (often exceeding 80+ hours per week), extremely tight deadlines, and hectic travel schedules (obviously this was dialed back in 2020 and 2021, but has since ramped back-up to pre-pandemic levels).
Connected services organizations have the technologies and tools to simplify and automate complex service delivery — which is at the heart of all digital transformation efforts — in a manner that improves employee engagement and satisfaction. People spend less time on tedious low-value tasks and re-work, and more time on achieving high value priorities. Naturally, employees who are happier and more engaged are also more productive and efficient!
It’s Not Just About Technology — it’s Also About Culture
As we wrap up, it is important to note that the journey towards becoming a mature, optimized connected services organization is not a technological step. It is also a cultural evolution. As the Technology and Services Industry Association (TSIA) highlight in its newest book, Digital Hesitation: Why B2B Companies are Not Reaching their Full Potential:
The fundamental challenge for companies on the digital transformation journey is the fact that it’s hard. Very hard…It requires a cultural shift for the leaders of every line of business (LoB) and every supporting business function to align on a common set of goals and objectives. It requires a fundamental understanding that, even though not apparent, every aspect of a business has the potential to impact all other aspects of the business.
Considering this, leaders are advised to approach becoming a connected services organization as a change management initiative. As such, success is heavily dependent on communicating openly and often with employees, and providing them with the practical support they need to embrace vs. resist change.
Discover More Resources For Your Connected Services Journey
The world of work is changing. Connected services organizations are reaping all of the rewards described above — and leading the way, setting the pace, and shaping the future.
Go deeper into the dynamics of evolving into a connected services organization in our NEW Connected Services eBook (coming soon!) you will learn more about all of the benefits and advantages described above and get advice on best practices moving forward from a traditional services model.
ON-DEMAND PRESENTATION: Are You a Connected Services Organization?
In this on-demand presentation session (originally delivered live at TSIA: Interact Spring 2022) by Planview’s Director of Product Management, Dave Blumhorst, learn what it means to be a connected services organization, why it is important, and a few steps you can take to make confident connections.
Click here to watch the presentation
BUYER’S GUIDE: Professional Services Automation
Our Professional Services Automation Buyer’s Guide breaks down what to focus on for a best-fit Professional Services Solution, while also helping you discover key features to maximize your output and business outcomes!
Click here to download the PSA Buyer’s Guide.