Fast changing professional services businesses are increasingly reaping the benefits of agile platforms which enable rapid exchanges between different layers of their organisations. A new report shows how the booming Professional Services Automation field is transforming the industry as a whole, with Google’s innovative PSA partners such as VOGSY quickly positioning themselves to lead the market.
The rapidly shifting nature of 21st century business means that while money might still make the world go round, knowledge and information hold a greater level of currency for the economy than ever before. As the forces of digital disruption strike every industry, leadership teams are more dependent than ever before on the quick dissemination of the latest intelligence, to provide insights and analytics which can provide the edge on a growing number of competitors. In the professional services (PS) landscape, real-time information has subsequently taken center stage, as firms look not only to increase their own productivity, but that of their clients, in order to achieve higher levels of growth and profitability.
As technologically driven agility becomes a key tenet of the professional services industry, the primary mode of work has shifted to become increasingly based on virtual project teams, which can be rapidly assembled and brought up to speed in order to produce measurable business outcomes. Improved mobility and real time information are therefore important, although its potential is wasted without good management to tie it together. According to a new report from Service Performance Insight (SPI), taking a structured and standardised approach to resource management and project delivery reduces overruns and improves quality, enhancing value realisation in the process, something which new generation ERP solutions can better help provide.
Against the backdrop of quick-fire change that is transforming the face of the consulting industry, the role of professional services automation (PSA) has fast become crucial within internal operations. Competition is heating up, putting pressure on margins, clients are demanding more and more transparency and risk-sharing models, and a new generation of consultants are changing the nature of engagement staffing and career trajectories, among others. In response to these changing needs, smart technology can help firms to provide better project management, insights, collaboration between consultants on projects and alignment on financials.
Professional Services Automation
Professional Services Automation has been around for well over a decade now, yet with the rise of innovative technologies new avenues for more cost-efficient and effective solutions have rapidly opened up. PSA provides organisations with a solution to efficiently plan, sell, staff, execute and charge for work, with several PSAs tailored to the needs of project-driven businesses, such as consultancies, available on the market.
PSA helps consulting firms build in a cycle of constant improvement to their engagement portfolio and organisation. It can help firms plan, creating strategies rapidly by analysing previous projects and determining what likely capital requirements are likely to be needed, and support building a market plan relating to profit margin targets and a talent pool, enabling firms to maximise profits while adjusting pricing for continued efforts.
PSA can subsequently deliver a boost to the staffing of projects, providing project managers with insights on what kind of talent they need to staff to provide the optimal delivery. Then, the actual delivery of a project can also gain a shot in the arm, as PSA helps to build in quality checks in order to deliver work on-time and on-budget, while keeping track of time costs, before finally a professional services firm can gear the technology toward collection, monitoring invoices and analysing the financial performance of a project – feeding all this information into the start of future planning.
According to SPI’s report, PSA has proven itself in the marketplace, driving a number of key performance indicators. The researchers found that firms using PSA enjoyed a year-on-year change in growth 74% larger than firms without PSA. On top of this, PSA-leveraging companies saw their new client intake stand 40% higher than their peers, and a headcount growth 39% higher than their competitors – a major factor for growth amid heating competition for a shrinking talent pool thanks to ageing populations in the Western world. As a result, PSA also saw those using it enjoy a project margin 21% higher than those without it.
Thanks to the mounting evidence in support of the gains yielded by PSAs, there are a growing number of platforms emerging looking to tap into heightened demand. These range from large providers to small players, including the likes of ERP-giants Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.
However, these providers are facing stiff competition from challengers that are for instance building PSA functionality on Google infrastructure, which itself is eyeing to edge its way into the burgeoning market. Google Analytics and AdWords saw a revolution in the advertising industry, Google G Suite is now performing a similar feat in the world of business, and now the US tech giant is broadening its wings to facilitate IT services for project-based businesses.
Commenting on Google’s ascendency, Jeanne Urich, a Managing Director at SPI, said, “Google is well-established and admired as a leader in search and analytics. It is now positioned as a leading platform for the business application community.”
“Google is well-established and admired as a leader in search and analytics. It is now positioned as a leading platform for the business application community.”
– Service Performance Insight
While Google’s G Suite platform continues to evolve, SPI’s researchers concede that there are not many “complete” PSA platforms available on the infrastructure, yet, the white paper also contends that VOGSY has emerged as the leading PSA solution on the Google platform. As such, the study goes as far as to conclude VOGSY has become a platform executives should seriously consider in both project and services-driven organisations if they want flexibility and security at an extremely attractive cost.
Launched in late 2016, VOGSY is a mobile first PSA business platform for the professional services industry running on Google technology. The platform is targeted at mid-market players, and aims at optimising the way consulting, marketing and technology firms manage projects. By leveraging a social media interface for easy on-the-go business interactions, VOGSY’s ‘holy grail’ in development was to find a way to simplify business processes to the point where there was no longer a delay in handover between team members.
Speaking to Consultancy.uk in 2017, the chief architect of VOGSY’s UX interface, commented that while he believed the platform represents a major leap forward in how a 24/7 industry can deal with multiple workloads, as the marketplace continues to evolve, the platform will continue to innovate to remain ahead of the competition. He added, “We are constantly looking for ways to improve – we will blend our focus on feedback-driven alterations with the next trends across all levels of people interaction and digital technology to translate such usability into the needs of the modern consulting industry.”
According to the company’s CEO Mark van Leeuwen, this continued need to evolve has placed the platform as a firmly placed market leader, stating, “VOGSY is all you need to run your services business from Quote to Cash. Unlike traditional PSA solutions, we put the professional at the center of technology. VOGSY is your single source of engagement for anything you need to drive the desired outcomes for your clients and for your own business. To Google users, VOGSY is instantly recognisable. And since we leverage a lot of what Google has already taken care of, we onboard in days rather than months.”