A guide for organizations looking to power the services project lifecycle

This guide is designed to shed light on how a PSA software solution helps services organizations achieve efficiency, while providing information required to formulate business strategy that leads to better decisions and greater profitability across the key areas of a services business.

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1

What is Professional Services Automation (PSA)?

Professional services automation is a software solution designed to help services organizations increase revenue and improve profitability within customer facing projects.

PSA Software

PSA software is comprised of a comprehensive, integrated toolset that uses real-time data and visibility to guide project initiatives, track financial KPIs, and drive continuous improvements across contract-based projects and portfolios. 

PSsoftware is designed to be a seamless conduit between CRM (which creates opportunities where business is won) and ERP (which collects and manages the revenue). It replaces the challenge of disparate tools and manual processes with integrated configurable processes, data, and analytics that lead to more informed business planning, improved financial control, and acceleraterevenue growth -  across the entire quote-to-cash lifecycle. 

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Chapter 2

Why Do Organizations Need PSA Software?

We live in a services driven world. The services sector, whether it be professional, managed, or embedded, continues to grow rapidly.

Services Automation for today's businesses

Today, services accounts for 80% of U.S. output and employment, which is up from 60% just 50 years ago. With that kind of growth comes increased pressure. These pressures center primarily on delivering high quality services projects under tight project schedules.  

Many services consultants are using spreadsheets and other manual methods to plan and manage sophisticated, customer facing projects within short timelines. This exacerbates the issue. Not only are they pressed to deliver fast, but they are using disparate tools to do the job. When having to manage a multitude of opportunity, contract, and resource activities, manual methods lead to problems like:   

  • Limited visibility into operational and financial data  
  • Inability to control costs  
  • Difficulty delivering services delivery project on time 
  • Staffing engagements with the wrong resources 

PSA software is designed specifically to take these discrepancies out of the equation. Through sophisticated capabilities in the areas of automation, forms technology, analytics, enterprise scalability and integrations, PSA software help services organizations optimize their end-to-end capabilities. This improves their overall core competencies as a services organization in the areas of: 

  • Leveraging intelligence for transparency and visibility into all stages of the quote-to-cash lifecycle 
  • Forecasting resource and billing components of sales opportunities 
  • Interactive project and resource management capabilities that ensure on budget project delivery 
  • Optimal project staffing and utilization, workload balancing and visibility into resource availability 

The points above center around powering the quote to cash lifecycle to increase productivity, specifically by automating the stages between contract proposal and revenue recognition. Service Performance Insight (SPI), in discussing how services organizations can gain more profit from their services engagements stated, “Productivity improvements are critical in professional services. As the global economy continues to hold up, organizations in every industry are having to work harder to achieve higher productivity, without adding substantial cost.   

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"We work with Changepoint SA because of their strong financial capabilities, core services automation capabilities, and their ability to implement."

- Solution Architect, Large Enterprise Computer Software Firm

 

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Chapter 3

What Kind of Organizations Benefit from PSA Software?

Organizations use PSA software to tightly manage client expectations while also delivering services projects involving a diverse set of resources typically deployed in multiple locations. In most cases, these organizations are comprised of:   

Professional Services Organizations (PSOs)

Professional services organizations (PSO) provide contract-based services for anything from business consulting and IT support to design and engineering services. PSA software gives them a single integrated view of the entire company’s financial operations, and a real-time snapshot of how they are performing against benchmarks, helping them identify areas of improvement and growth while keeping a close eye on top-line revenue. 

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Embedded Services

Embedded services organizations (ESO) operate inside technology companies to help their customers quickly realize value from purchased products. ESOs are focused on greater customer success and higher product adoption, while ensuring reasonable billable services margins. ESO utilize PSA software to work with sales to track new opportunities, attach the right services and services to projects, and track and measure success of services engagements while maintaining profitability. 

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Managed Services/IT Managed Services

Managed service providers (MSP) deliver ongoing, subscription-based IT support. Tracking smaller time increments while staying within subscription margin is key to their success. PSA software providers managed service consultants with any-device time-tracking down to the minute, providing managers and executives real-time customer and project visibility all in one place.

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Complex PPM with financials

PSA software is also a powerful PPM solution for organizations with sophisticated requirements. It helps make handling forecasting, opportunity management, multi-currency tracking, chargebacks, and more flow more seamlessly. 

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Chapter 4

Who Uses PSA Software?

Users of professional services automation software vary. It depends on the individual’s role. There are instances where consultants and finance leaders need access to PSA software for things like time entry and obtaining a financial snapshot with regards to the work teams are doing. However, in most cases, primary users of professional services software are people with day-to-day responsibilities tied to mapping services delivery with top-line revenue; they typically fall into the following categories:  


Professional Services Practice Leaders

Objective 

Gain greater financial visibility, operational effectiveness, and control to ensure consistent and profitable delivery results. 

 With its ability to provide reliable, transparent financial information to key stakeholders, PSA software leads to better decision-making credibility. 

Core Values: 

  • Revenue and cash flow management 
  • Operational efficiency and business continuity 
  • Controls and data integrity 
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Delivery Managers

Objective 

Gain real-time visibility across all engagements to drive better and more timely decisions that improve financial opportunity.   

An integrated PSA solution gives them a breadth of tools that improve processes resulting in greater data integrity and overall user adoption. 

Core Values: 

  • Project profitability, billable utilization, and margin 
  • Operational efficiency 
  • Revenue and cost management 
  • Stakeholder satisfaction 
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Resource Managers

Objective 

Exceed client expectations by getting the right skills on the right projects and delivering services on time and under budget.  

PSA software improves resource utilization, greater customer satisfaction, revenue, and profitability through real-time, resource-based assignment decision-making. 

Core Values 

  • On-time and on-budget project delivery 
  • Project status and actuals 
  • Resource staffing and utilization
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Customer Success Managers

Objective 

Gain visibility into customer health related to potential, existing, and historical customer facing services projects.   

PSA software helps customer success understand the true nature of customer relationships while providing access to financial information related to all past, present, and future work in progress (WIP).  

Core Values: 

  • Customer loyalty and retention 
  • Customer satisfaction 
  • Customer upselling opportunities 
<< Changepoint Services Automation


Services Consultants

Objective 

Knowing what has been assigned to them so they clearly understand what work they are supposed to do, and how to easily track their time. 

PSA software allows them to enter time and understand their utilization, on specific project, helping them understand the impact their work has on customer satisfaction. 

Core Values 

  • Knowing assigned work 
  • Time and expense entry, tracking and reimbursement 
  • Billable utilization 
  • Customer satisfaction
<< Changepoint Services Automation


Finance Leaders

Objective 

Gain holistic, high-level visibility into services projects and resources in order to deliver services with effective margins and optimal resource utilization.

Core Values 

  • Knowing assigned work 
  • Time and expense entry, tracking and reimbursement 
  • Billable utilization 
  • Customer satisfaction

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"At the start of COVID-19, Changepoint SA helped with rapid rescheduling of projects, and we were able to de-assign contractors to keep our internal employees busy."

- PMO Leader, Global 500 Electronics Firm

 

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Chapter 5

Changepoint Services Automation (SA)

Changepoint SA is a PSA solution for enterprise services organizations with sophisticated project management needs. Changepoint SA is totally agnostic, and not built on one CRM or ERP.  Instead, Changepoint SA integrates with any CRM and ERP solution in the marketplace, streamlining the management of the entire quote-to-cash cycle while increasing productivity, visibility, and profitability.  

How Changepoint SA Helps

Changepoint started out as a services company, developing tools that focused on enterprise project management solutions. Changepoint built software that enabled groups to better manage large and complex projects before realizing organizations were concerned with more than just that.

Over time Changepoint became a major player in the creation of the services automation category. Now, the company is a leader in PSA market, with a considerable customer base that relies on Changepoint as the seamless conduit between CRM and ERP - helping services organizations address the challenge of disparate tools and manual task-based work.

With integrated, configurable processes along with data, and analytics that work together seamlessly, Changepoint SA provides automated workflows that lead to the following business outcomes including: 

 


 

Forecast Resources and Capacity

Services delivery does not start when the contract is signed. It starts much earlier when the contract is an opportunity within an organization’s CRM. This helps services organizations do two things. It gives line of sight regarding potential services projects in the pipeline. It also helps organizations effectively forecast and plan out the requirements necessary to deliver services based on the terms of those contracts most likely to close.  

With Changepoint SA, you can analyze, track, and forecast resource, non-labor, fixed fees, and expenses tied to your services opportunities to improve sales effectiveness and ultimate service delivery. Opportunity management capabilities within Changepoint SA help drive better project margin estimation and revenue forecasts, quicker proposal turnarounds, and an overall better understanding of resources required to deliver a profitable services engagement.   

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Plan and Define Contractual Elements

One a contract is signed, precisely planning the associated contractual elements, such as resource requirements, expenses and billing methods, etc. across every services engagement is key for ensuring operational success and profitability.

Doing it right requires detailed budgeting and forecasting information that's shareable with your clients. Your internal teams will benefit too because it helps them reduce wasted effort and drive better utilization - which is where the rubber meets the road in terms of financials. Effective contract management gives services organizations the flexibility needed to tailor available resources and workstreams, setting them up to deliver profitable services projects - across various regions, groups and geographies.   

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Streamline Services Delivery Processes

Changepoint SA manages all current and future services engagements, including complex project management initiatives to gain efficiencies and discover in-depth project analytics—ensuring projects get completed on time and on budget. However, the critical component with regards to managing services projects and engagements are that it gets done in ways that empower services organizations to assess financial progress, monitor earned revenue as well as other critical indicators that influence financial performance. 

That means gaining greater efficiencies and accurate project metrics across the entire quote-to-cash lifecycle such as integrated task management, tracking and control, and process workflows. So, once a contractual opportunity is secured, methods that facilitate rigor,standardization around a profitable quote-to-cash lifecycle are firmly in place.

<< Changepoint Services Automation

 


 

Improve Resource Management and Assignment

Managing resources to ensure they are optimally utilized and do not incur large overhead costs begins with proper staffing. In fact, sometimes it speaks to doing more with less. Regardless of how it's characterized, resource management centers around a service's organization's ability to proactively manage capacity, availability, utilization and bench rates. Well run resource management capabilities will likely lead to a level of organizational maturity that delivers more revenue and higher margin, all while eliminating the need to use costly contractors to fill last minute staffing needs.   

Changepoint SA helps with all these things. It's a software solution that allows services organizations to create a competitive advantage and operational maturity through increased visibility into all services project workstreams. From there, users can view and manage their entire resource pool and assign the right ones across engagements at the right time – vastly improving critical services delivery components like utilization and realization, customer satisfaction, and profitability  

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Gain Real-time Financial Insight and Transparency 

Traditional financial management processes lack essential functionality and visibility for day-to-day management of complex engagements and project portfolios.

With PSA software, financial performance is planned in advanced and tracked daily. This helps keep your customer engagements and projects thriving, improving cash flow at every step. Through real-time financial insight and transparencysophisticated budgeting and cost allocation capabilities, multi-currency support, financial reporting and more, organizations can track hours, costs and revenue estimates at a detailed level and provide executive-level roll-up views as needed  

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Bill Time Flexibly and Accurately  

PSA enables you to easily define, automate and track all critical invoicing elements while offering flexible billing options that ensure invoicing runs smoothly. Organizations can establish their own rules around invoice scheduling and billing, time and expense, taxation, and more then access those elements anytime, anywhere – including offline mobile. Ultimately, this method of invoicing provides greater financial accuracy through real-time documentation and timely approvals that result in immediate revenue recognition. 

<< Changepoint Services Automation

"Changepoint SA provides accurate tracking our project opportunities and contracted engagements along with financial management and measuring the quality of cross-functional resource assignments."

- Application Portfolio Manager, Medium Enterprise Computer Services Firm

 

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Chapter 6

What Additional Capabilities Enhance PSA Software?

Visibility and Analytics

Changepoint’s Advanced Business Analytics provides reporting, dashboards, and analysis for smarter business decisions. Powered by IBM Watson, Changepoint Analytics increase real-time transparency and visibility into the quote-to-cash cycle through a secure platform of configurable dashboards and reports with drill-thru visibility for business-critical analytics. 

Electronic Forms 

Changepoint SA features intelligent form technology that allows you to streamline complex business processes and accelerate time-to-revenue with content automation. With Changepoint Intelligent Forms you can fully align your vital business systems to streamline the data capture of your organization’s key business metrics. They eliminate cumbersome, error-prone processes that drive productivity and accelerate time-to-revenue. 

Graphical Workflow Engine 

Changepoint SA graphical workflow engine defines and aligns end-end-to-end business processes and promotes organizational efficiency, continuity, and governance to ensure better financial results. 

Anytime, Anywhere Mobility  

Make sure your services consultants accurately and efficiently with mobile Changepoint SA mobile capabilities. Record time and expense information, online or offline, to reduce revenue leakage and ensure appropriate customer billing.  

Integration Framework 

Changepoint SA is backed by an integration framework that allows you to successfully merge data across wide ranges of systemsproviding a single source of truth without multiple logins. It is designed to meet a variety of customer requirements, with multiple integration options including: standard packaged integrations, file drops (import/export), enterprise service bus, direct database level transactions, packaged API Toolkits and Web Services API (SOAP). 

Flexible platform configuration  

Changepoint SA is built on a platform designed to help you retain business agility in a dynamic business climate, with configurability across the entire solution to address diversity of services and delivery models 

Deployment Options 

With both private cloud or on-premises deployments options, Changepoint SA ensures security, scalability, and control based on your organizational preference. 

Global Solution 

Changepoint SA is a fully-global solution that supports multiple languages, time zones, currencies, and taxation— simplifying the financial management of international engagements. 

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