Project Management

What is an Operational System of Record?


We have exciting news! Today we announced in a press release that Mavenlink has emerged as a Leader in G2 Crowd’s Best Project Management Software grid. The news follows the recent announcement that Mavenlink is also ranked as a Leader in G2 Crowd’s Best Professional Services Automation Software (PSA) grid, positioning it as the only solution to be ranked as a leader in the two prominent software categories. 

Mavenlink is Your Next Operational System of Record

“Being the only Leader in both the Best Project Management Software and Best Professional Services Automation grids on G2 Crowd is proof that there has never been a solution like Mavenlink for the services industry,” said Roger Neel, CTO and Co-founder of Mavenlink. “More than a set of tools, Mavenlink offers our clients a new operational model that centers around a core operational system of record. By bridging planning, executional, collaboration, project accounting, and analysis systems in a single operating environment, our clients experience dramatically better visibility, predictability, and agility. After switching to Mavenlink, our clients are often astonished at what they can see and do to help improve their business.”

What is A System of Record?

As more systems are required to compete in today’s environment, more data is being spread across siloed systems, causing major challenges for service operations. It is becoming a requirement for business leaders to understand the implications of a disparate technology architecture. The first place to start is in identifying the key systems of record. A system of record can be understood as the authoritative data source for an organization. 

There are four key systems of record that enable a successful services ecosystem: Operational System of Record, Customer System of Record, Financial System of Record and People System of Record. The following will focus on the components that make up the operational system of record first, and then take a deeper dive into the other systems that make up the modern services tech stack.

Introducing the Operational System of Record

Undoubtedly, the single biggest systems opportunity for services organizations today is to build their technology environment around an operational system of record.

By bridging core planning, executional, project accounting, and analysis systems in a single operating environment, organizations are able to experience dramatically better visibility, predictability, and agility. This digital infrastructure also becomes the heart of the organization, and can improve processes by packaging up best practices into frameworks, guidelines, analytics, and insights required to successfully operate a fast-moving services firm today.

Another key component of this operational system of record is that it incorporates Collaborative Work Management (CWM) functionality, in addition to having traditional PSA components like resource planning, time and expense and project accounting. It is the introduction of these collaborative tools that contextualizes all the actual work and communication being done across the delivery team, including contractors and clients. CWM allows the key communication around projects to exist on one platform, creating a strategic hub for services operations. Integrating these tools into your operational system of record facilitates rapid communication with contractors and clients, and allows workers to have a one stop shop for all their collaborative needs.

The Operational System of Record Enables the Following Functionality:
  • Resource Management
  • Project Management
  • Contextualized Collaboration
  • Project Accounting
  • Real-Time Business Intelligence


Four Major Benefits of the Operational System of Record

The quickest way to digitize a services business and increase its strategic impact is to modernize day-to-day operations. The emerging model enabling today’s professional and marketing services organizations to operate with greater agility, predictability, and precision, is to unify all critical functions of services delivery into a core operational system of record.

1. Better Operational Execution

The operational system of record provides a platform to execute the entire project lifecycle, from forecasting to invoicing. With all the work in a single system, real-time data is now available to empower every person in the organization—not just management—to make informed decisions that will improve the outcome of their work. For example, a project manager can see if a project’s budget is running over and has options on how to correct the course: they can play out different resourcing scenarios to see if that will improve project margins, or put in a change order for the client to approve for additional scope that has crept in. This agility is empowering and impossible to achieve without a core operational system of record that couples detailed project planning, execution, and project financials.

2. Improved Agility

A cloud-based operational system of record ensures that every person has access to the same information (dependent on permissions), from anywhere in the world. This dramatically improves alignment and collaboration with remote employees, subcontractors and clients. Now the organization can go anywhere.

3. Elevated Financial Performance

With every project being managed as a P&L (profit and loss statement) and project financial information available in real-time, an immediate result is elevated financial performance: higher margins, optimized utilization rates, and sharpened forecasting.

4. Improved Client Satisfaction and Retention

An operational system of record improves on-time, on-budget delivery of projects, which is what clients want most. Also, some buyers will naturally gravitate towards providers they see adopting this new, more transparent, more explicit approach, given the trust it helps establish. Furthermore, inviting clients to engage in this core system also increases client engagement, alignment, and accountability in the overall success of a project.

To learn more about the operational system of record, read our most recent ebook:
Transforming the Services-Centric Tech Stack.

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