SQALE, It’s with great honor that we welcome you into Klient’s ecosystem. A special kudos for overperforming during your Klient-University class, you were great!
You’ve mastered Klient’s Performance Path in no time and with ease. The 5 days we’ve spent with you Erica, Michiel and Hans were just delightful!
We have no doubts that you will succeed in streamlining, growing and evolving your business!
Please, let’s all welcome SQALE to the Klient ecosystem!
Time is money, especially for consulting firms.
This means that project management isn’t just a way to track what is or is not completed; it is also the best way to make sure resources are being used strategically, that output is maximized, and that progress is in line with projections and commitments.
In a consulting company, project management can help improve profitability and productivity by improving timeline and budget management, maximizing resources, optimizing processes, and ensuring consistent and timely deliverables.
Here are some of the best project management tips for achieving best-in-class consulting services:
Scope Thoroughly And Specifically
If there’s one thing that every consultant dreads, it’s a mid-project change in scope. One of the biggest threats to a project’s profitability is when the scope changes partway through a project and timelines and budgets get thrown out of whack.
Taking the time to truly understand a project and include a detailed scope of work in the contract can help to prevent the scope of work expanding without compensation. It gives you the opportunity to create change orders—including an updated budget—if a client comes back with additional changes not included in the initial scope of work.
But scoping a project should be equally as important in terms of your project management. Being specific about what is included in each stage of a project will enable your employees to do exactly what is required—no more, no less—for a more controlled output. Being specific about project scope within your team means you’re ensuring additional resources aren’t being used where they won’t result in actual productive business impact.
Don’t Start From Scratch When It Isn’t Necessary
Efficiency is key to productivity and profitability. Most consulting companies have aspects of their deliverables that are repeats in whole or in part of products already completed for other clients. Whether this is templates of documents, programming code, presentations, or other projects, it can be highly productive to prevent redundancy in your consulting company. This allows you to produce similar output with decreased input.
A helpful tip is to make it part of your project management process to identify what aspects of completed tasks may be reusable, and to have these items readily accessible to your team. It can also be helpful to tag tasks in your project management software or Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution that can be completed using one of these reusable documents.
Regularly Update The Client And Check-In On Their Satisfaction
Don’t initiate a project and then fail to check in until the deadline is approaching. Healthy project management requires regular check-ins to make sure the project is developing on time, on budget and most importantly, to the customer’s satisfaction.
A good tip is to identify which points of the project have the highest risk of throwing the project off course and the earliest points you’d be able to detect these threats, and to set—at minimum—check-ins at these points. It can also be helpful for consultants to choose a PSA solution that allows you to see at a glance the health of your current projects. A tool with surveying capability to routinely request client feedback and gauge their satisfaction level is an added bonus as well.
Keep Everything In One Central Location
Our next project management tip for consultants is to keep everything in a central location. Many consultants have fallen into the trap of using multiple file management systems including multiple messaging platforms (such as email, chat, or Slack) as well as CRMs to track conversations, DropBox and/or Google Drive to store documents, different file versions unintentionally saved on multiple devices, and so on. This can lead to confusion, inconsistency, and lost productivity.
Instead, part of your project management process should include managing documents, revisions, client feedback, customer information, and communication in a central location. A robust PSA solution like Klient Software can manage your entire services business on one platform. And by integrating with your existing CRM, ERP, and other applications, you can ensure that all of your processes are in sync.
Learn From Past Successes And Failures
The final, and perhaps most important part of your project management strategy should be a project debrief at the completion of every project. This debrief will help you and the rest of your company to understand what went well, what went wrong, and what processes can be improved in the future.
If you managed your project effectively, you should have analytics that show the progress of task completion, information about when budget was used and whether it was in line with projections, resource use compared to projections, and reports from any risks or changes that may have manipulated output. A PSA solution can be especially helpful in making sure you have this data available at the completion of a project.
The information from each debrief should then be compared to previous reports. Is there a part of your projects that your company predictably underbids? Resources that aren’t being used efficiently or that aren’t being given enough time to complete tasks? Steps of the process that tend to go slower or faster than expected? Analyze your data, adjust processes accordingly, and repeat what is working well.
Fast Growing Software & Services Companies Continue to Select Klient for Professional Services Automation
Klient Software, a leading provider of professional services automation software, today announced explosive momentum as organizations globally continue to select and deploy Klient PSA.
Leading organizations continue to select Klient’s unified suite for professional services automation built 100% native on Salesforce with new customers including:
Increasing Competitor Replacements
In addition to recent customer wins, Klient continues to replace competitor solutions in an increasing number of opportunities. Recent replacements include multiple Financial Force customers including:
- Netsuite OpenAir
Debut of Klient PSA for Intacct
Klient also announced the general availability of Klient PSA for Intacct, combining sophisticated Project Management, Resource Planning, Time & Expense, and Project Billing with Intacct’s market leading Financial Management & Accounting Solution saving professional services firms significant time & effort, improving data integrity, and increasing alignment between delivery and finance teams.
Launch of Major New Enhancements
Klient is also unveiling major enhancements & new innovations to their Professional Services Automation (PSA) Suite with new functionality spanning Project Management, Proposals, Resource Planning, Time & Expense, Billing, and Pre-Built Integrations.
Buying software isn’t easy. Out of all the different types of digital products, software is one of the most important digital purchases you can make.
In the last 10 years, we’ve seen an explosion of cloud-based and software-as-a-service companies. Many are well-designed, easy-to-use like ringless voicemail and have strong marketing and sales teams working to accelerate their growth. In this environment, how do you know which software products are right for your company?
Here’s the ultimate checklist to select the best PSA for your business:
1. Does the Software Solve a Problem or Provide a New Competitive Advantage?
It happens to the best of us. You go to a trade show, see a flashy software demo, and get caught up in the excitement of a bunch of new features. Before you know it, a sales rep is signing you up for a long-term contract. Before you sign the paperwork or pull out your credit card, stop to ask yourself: does this software fix a problem I’m facing or give me a new competitive advantage? Or am I just buying something because it’s “new”?
To justify a purchase, a software product should provide an obvious benefit to your company or an upgrade over what you’re using today.
2. Is the Software Designed for a Business Like Mine?
Most software companies design products to help a wide variety of businesses. It makes sense. That way they can maximize their revenue by selling their product to a variety of industries. That’s good for companies that make software. But it can be a problem for you because you’ll often be considering a product that wasn’t really designed to work within a business like yours. At Klient Software, we make a project management tool that’s specifically designed for consulting and professional services organizations, especially those using Salesforce for their CRM. By focusing our efforts on a narrow group of companies, we’re able to make software that’s better suited to their needs. Whatever your business needs, look for software companies that are focused on your industry or your type of business.
That’s where you’ll get the best value for your purchase.
3. Does the Software Work Well with Our Other Software?
As more software goes into the cloud, you have to ask, “Does this integrate with the services I already have and pay for?”
For our part, we’ve chosen to build our software on the Salesforce platform, in part to get the best integration possible with the most number of other services.
4. Is the Software Stable?
Cloud software runs on servers. Some cloud companies have their own servers and their own hosting environments. Others rent space in third-party server farms. In our case, we chose to build software on the Salesforce platform, which is one of the most stable cloud platforms in the world today. As long as Salesforce is up and running, our software will be up and running too. If you’re working with a company that has chosen another path for it’s servers, just make sure you know where those servers are and how stable they have proven to be.
No amount of flashy features will make up for a system that’s constantly down when you need it.
5. How Difficult Is the Software to Learn?
Every tool has a learning curve. But it helps if the software you’re buying is relatively easy to learn. It’s even better if it shares a familiar interface. This is another reason we chose to use the Salesforce platform. Our software looks and feels familiar to anyone who’s used Salesforce CRM, which makes our software easier to learn than some other project management tools.
Another thing to look for is training courses or materials that are available for your team members after purchase.
6. Is It Compatible With Our Existing Hardware?
Tech specs matter. Some software requires specific hardware for it to work. 100% cloud software makes this process easier, since all you need is a web browser to access the software. All updates and maintenance happen as part of your subscription. That means you won’t have to buy additional hardware just to buy the software. Remember to consider mobile access.
If your team is remote or travels often, you may need to ensure they have access to this new software from their mobile devices.
7. Is It Within Our Budget?
Finally, after you’ve ensured everything else is in place, consider the price. Remember to look at more than just cost. Will this software make you more efficient or more profitable? If so, then it’s more of a cash flow question than a true cost question. But even still, if you have to convince your boss or a purchase committee to fund the purchase, it’s good to have cost and expected return on investment numbers to present to them.
Now That You Have Your Checklist In Hand…
Buy the right PSA software for your company and you’ll become a hero, helping everyone get more done and make more money in the process. But make a poor decision and you’ll be stuck with a product that makes everyone’s life more difficult. Or at the least, you’ll be stuck paying for a product no one uses. Keep these steps in mind the next time you’re looking at a new piece of software.
And if you’re looking to become a professional services automation super hero, take a look at Klient PSA 😉