Note: This is an excerpt from our ebook, “Can Technology Accelerate Your Services Business?” Download the full ebook to learn more.
Even with an abundance of innovative ERP, PSA, and other project management, resource management, collaboration, and productivity tools in place—or perhaps because of these—there are gaps that exist. These gaps are often filled with manual procedures and spreadsheets, creating significant operating challenges.
Running a Business With Spreadsheets is Limiting
Existing ERP solutions and PSA solutions do not have the breadth of operational functionality required to effectively manage a services business. As a result, services organizations have been forced to turn to other systems to manage core parts of their business—namely resource planning and management, collaboration, and project execution. Thus, the data that is actually driving the business lives in disparate systems. In order to gain insights from this data, organizations have the option to either: layer an intelligence system on top of multiple, disparate systems (which gets tremendously complex and costly), or to take the more common solution and resort to spreadsheets to extract and tie data together.
Spreadsheet-based ‘solutions’ pose many critical problems. It takes constant diligence and countless hours to cobble together the information needed to grasp the levers and measures that are impacting the business. They also only reveal what has occurred (e.g. historical utilization), and by the time the information is consolidated and analyzed, it’s often too late to make a change that will improve the result of an ongoing project. Therefore, the entire operation slows as it waits for information to come together from the past in order to make important decisions for the future.
Existing Business Systems Struggle With Unique Projects
Services businesses vary hugely in terms of what they deliver to their customers and the scale on which they operate. The issue is that traditional business solutions have been specifically designed to create a consistent, standard pace of production. In services industries, clients are constantly presenting new, unique, and challenging projects. Existing tools are often not flexible enough to deliver on these custom projects at the rate the business must move.
The Plethora of Stitched Together Tools Has Created Chaos
By integrating resource planning with time and expense tracking, PSA solutions were designed to provide management visibility into resources and financials. However, the reality is, these applications offer shallow functionality and the bulk of the organization is executing and managing their work in other systems. Employees have been forced to organically adopt cloud- based tools to drive critical project management, collaboration, and communication activities. When individual employees or departments adopt their own tools out of necessity without regard to a larger solution strategy, they often remain unintegrated. This leads to data silos, a lack of communication, and more complications that arise out of what should be solutions.
Each of these point solutions can serve a role. However, too many of these systems in a stack creates chaos. It’s now more challenging to find and track critical correspondence, feedback, change orders, budgets, and more. Furthermore, jumping in and out of all of these systems is reducing productivity in the workplace. Citing research from the American Psychological Association, the Forrester Enterprise Collaborative Work Management Wave Report points out that the mental block created by this constant switching from app to app is reducing worker productivity by 40 percent.
With the speed and complexity of work today, it is increasingly challenging to operate within fragmented business environments.
The emerging issue that services teams face is that not all project delivery-related data is tracked in a single “system of record.” Getting out of siloed systems is critical: services organizations must move beyond spreadsheets if they are to thrive in the fast-paced, hyper- connected, hyper specialized world of the Service Level Economy.
Finding a Better Infrastructure for Your Software Solutions
Today’s solutions may cause new complications for businesses, but there are solutions. Learn what an Operational System of Record can do for you in our ebook, “Can Technology Accelerate Your Services Business?”