Becoming a leader in the professional services field requires adaptability. Learning from today’s high-performing services businesses and tailoring their winning strategies to your own unique challenges and goals is key. Mavenlink’s 2018 State of the Services Economy Report surveyed 576 executives from different service-centric industries to better understand how businesses both succeed and fail in today’s market. High-performing services organizations, those who reported achieving 91-100% of targets in project delivery, project budget, forecasted revenue, and forecasted margins, were specifically identified and analyzed.
According to our research, there are several distinct factors that separate leaders in the professional services industry from the rest.
Best Practices of Professional Services Leaders
Our research revealed that high-performing services businesses all adopted technology at a higher rate, matured their collaborative processes further, and more effectively leveraged liquid workforces than other businesses in the industry.
Regarding their technological adoption, 98% of high-performers utilize a centralized resource management function to help solve increasing complexities, such as forecasting staffing needs based on incoming project demands. These new forms of technology also help leaders specifically focus on effective collaboration. More than 90% utilize project dashboards, have the ability to contextualize conversations regarding project tasks, and have created a single digital collaboration environment for clients and subcontractors. Less than 50% of all other non-leader organizations use these processes.
These collaborative processes and advanced software solutions allow high-performing businesses to make the most of their contractors. Nearly all high-performers forecast staffing based on sales pipeline, use role-based soft allocation of resources, and build scenarios to estimate staffing needs. Most high-performers prioritize external talent networks and leverage them regularly to complete projects.
What Systems Do Leaders Use?
More complex processes and a flexible workforce mean that service leaders depend on more effective software solutions. Specifically, Mavenlink research shows that high performers are more likely to have implemented process-supporting software than other organizations. There are three types of solutions that high performers were more than twice as likely to have in place than other businesses: Professional Services Automation (PSA) (2.5x), Human Capital Management (2.1x), and Business Intelligence and Analytics (2.1x).
These three types of software help ease the burden of time-consuming processes while more effectively managing resources. Together, they help drive business innovation and consistently meet ever-escalating client demands.
Results of Best Practices
High performers within the professional services industry have noted considerable differences from other businesses in three key business metrics, with between 93% and 95% seeing improvements in margins, utilization, and revenue from 2017 to 2018. Only 61% to 67% of all other services providers saw improvements in these areas.
Leaders are also less concerned with common business challenges experienced in the industry, including margins, revenue, and client satisfaction. These financial and performance improvements illustrate the positive effects of leaders diligently enhancing their processes across the board to stay at the top of their industries.
These are just a few of the opportunities and strategies possible for services businesses looking to improve profits and eliminate challenges. With the right advancements, an organization can join leaders at the top of their industry.
Learn more insights in our State of the Services Economy 2018 Report