All around the world, over the last 18 months, all levels of society have experienced unprecedented change. While the medical fraternity has been importantly at the forefront of battling the pandemic, the business community has been adapting for survival and recovery.
We know that SMEs must be nimble in the best of times, however, in these extraordinary times, they must be equally resilient and flexible. SMEs that can turn challenges into opportunities by adopting digital technologies will be well-positioned for recovery post-pandemic. One segment of SMEs for which this is relevant is professional services organisations.
Challenges facing SMEs in the “new normal” business world?
Expect continual “hyper-disruption” in the operating environment
Pre-pandemic, business model/technology-driven disruption was already accelerating in the professional services space. The rise of platforms such as Expert360 (consulting), subscriber-based legal services are examples of how these new types of businesses forced change. Then comes along 2020 and the global pandemic. This saw the beginning (and hopefully short-lived) rise of hyper-disruption. Now, in 2021, SMEs have already lived through and should continue to expect mass disruption.
Distributed teams (“WFH”)
One area that SMEs are scrambling to understand is the “new normal” of distributed teams / Work From Home . Irrespective of the pros and cons of this new hybrid model, the facts are that teams now need to communicate and collaborate constantly and service customers remotely. People can’t just “desk drop-in” and ask that question about that project. Information flow now is via messaging apps such as Slack and through video conferencing such as Zoom. Therefore, given that many SME professional services teams are now experiencing a “communication overload” just to “keep up-to-date”, how can teams better use technology to stay aligned more efficiently with less noise?
What is PSA?
Professional Services organisations, large and small, thrive by having their team members collaborate and focusing on solving customer problems. Due to the nature of professional services, customer projects change and that means that the technology tools must accommodate constant agility.
Professional Services Automation (PSA) is a category of project management software that provides teams the ability to track key aspects of project management.
Financialforce’s PSA application provides:
- team member’s skills and certifications
- all aspect of project health including scope, financials and risk management
- manage all resourcing across projects
- time entry and expense management
- project billing
How has it helped our small consulting business?
Using PSA helps our business in several impactful ways. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, it keeps us focused on the customer by having all project-related data alongside customer data. We now have the full 360-degree view of the customer as we use Salesforce CRM and FinancialForce PSA together so that we can see all of the data we need to make sure we are focused on the right outcomes.
Secondly, PSA helps us stay organised and with our decision making. We can see our team’s availability, manage resources accordingly which then feeds back into our sales and management team as important data points on where we need to focus to drive results.
For the foreseeable future, significant disruption in the business landscape looks to be a constant. Organisational size or the number of resources available won’t always be the determining factors in survival or growth. Therefore, SMEs, can use technology such as PSA in very smart ways to help them improve efficiencies in their businesses to continue to operate and hopefully thrive in these challenging times.