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STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE SERVICES MATURITY IN YOUR ORGANIZATION

Benchmarking, and by association knocking, the maturity of a Professional Services function is something that is synonymous with success. If an organization can boast highly mature services delivery across a range of grading criteria, then it is almost guaranteed that strong, sustainable operating processes, and in turn revenue, aren’t far behind. All PS teams should be examining its operations continuously to see how they can be made more efficient - essentially how they can rise through the ranks to increased levels of maturity. 


But where to start? Well, as if by design, that’s exactly what this article will explore today, as we examine the various strategies PS leaders can implement, and strategies to adopt, that push you in the right direction on the road to becoming a more mature professional services function. 


Take a look at the strategies below, and jump to the ones you’re most interested in:


WHAT IS PROFESSIONAL SERVICES MATURITY?


To simplify this - the maturity of professional services is their overall ability for an organization to hit its targets due to its services output. To make this more digestible conceptually, exploring maturity through five key areas, namely vision, commercial, resource management, services execution, and finance/operations is an intelligent way to view and break down the core areas for services delivery. While some of these concepts can be more mature than others in an organization, on the whole, it is unlikely for there to be an extreme variance from one to the other, with more mature processes paired with a core strategy that has the hallmarks of good practice. 


A mature professional services function frequently demonstrates proficiency in managing projects, allocating resources, maintaining high service quality, meeting client expectations, and achieving business objectives.


Yet businesses at almost all levels of maturity can look ahead and set goals around improving maturity (have we said maturity enough?). Below outlines some of the strategies leading services executives recommend and employ to improve services delivery. 


AUTOMATION


This is a crucial strategy for enhancing service maturity within an organization. By automating repetitive and manual tasks, you can significantly improve efficiency, reduce errors, and build upon the overall quality of services. Implementing automation tools and technologies allows your team to focus on more strategic and complex aspects of service delivery.


We’ve transitioned that to a fully digital model, so we no longer print and distribute everything online. That's all driven by technology. That's all managing data, content management systems, publishing websites. And how has that changed CRU as a business, it has improved our efficiency massively.

Will Blake

Chief Technical Officer, CRU


Why is this important?


Increased Efficiency


Automation reduces the time and effort required for repetitive tasks, allowing your team to focus on more strategic and customer centric activities, thereby increasing overall productivity. 


Error Reduction


Automated processes significantly decrease the likelihood of human errors, leading to higher accuracy in service delivery and minimizing the risk of costly mistakes. A report by Smartsheet, 66% of respondents cited eliminating human error as one of the key issues automation can help to solve, and its vital that this problem is solved. The IT Governance Institute estimated that in the UK alone, there is an estimated that $125 billion due to human error.


Cost Savings


By automating routine tasks, organizations can realize cost savings associated with reduced labor hours, decreased error-related expenses, and improved resource allocation.


Improved Scalability


Automated processes can easily scale to accommodate growing workloads and demands without a proportional increase in manual effort, ensuring seamless business growth. If those tasked with gaining that elusive Services Recurring Revenue, this can be key.


Improved Service Quality


With the reduction of manual intervention, service quality is enhanced by ensuring consistency, minimizing errors, and expediting responses. This leads to higher customer satisfaction and improved reputation in the market. By streamlining processes and leveraging data insights, automated systems optimize resource allocation and facilitate continuous improvement, further enhancing the overall quality of services delivered.


Key Considerations for Automation:


1. Identify Repetitive Tasks: Conduct a thorough analysis of your service processes to identify tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming. These are prime candidates for automation.


2. Select Appropriate Tools: Choose automation tools that align with your organization's needs and existing technology stack. Consider factors such as scalability, cost (versus savings), ease of integration, and the ability to adapt to changing requirements.


3. Workflow Optimization: Streamline workflows before implementing automation. Identify bottlenecks and unnecessary steps to ensure that the automated processes are efficient and effective.


4. Training and Change Management: Provide adequate training for your team to adapt to the new automated processes. Address any concerns or resistance through effective change management strategies.


5. Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and update automated processes to ensure they remain aligned with evolving business objectives and industry best practices.



REPEATABLE PROCESSES/STANDARDIZATION


Establishing repeatability and standardization in service delivery processes is essential for achieving consistency and reliability. This approach not only enhances the quality of services but also facilitates easier scalability and the onboarding of new team members.


Companies release products but the delivery methodology for those products is a step divorced product development where PS teams try to engineer a repeatable process but not knowing whether the product even lends itself to standardized delivery in the first place.

Jonathan Corrie

CEO, Precursive


Why is this important?


Consistent Service Delivery 


Standardized processes ensure a consistent approach to service delivery, reducing variations and ensuring that customers receive a uniform and reliable experience.


Efficient Onboarding


New team members can quickly grasp and adopt standardized processes, leading to faster onboarding and integration into the organization.


Better Resource Allocation


Standardization allows for more effective resource allocation, as teams can anticipate workloads and requirements based on established processes, leading to improved efficiency.


Easier Monitoring and Reporting


Standardized processes facilitate better monitoring of key performance indicators, making it easier to track and report on the success and efficiency of service delivery.


Enhanced Agility


While standardization provides consistency, it also creates a foundation for agile adaptation. Organizations can more easily implement changes or improvements while maintaining a structured framework.


Key considerations for Repeatability/Standardization:


1. Document Processes: Clearly document and communicate standardized processes across the organization. This documentation serves as a reference point for all team members and ensures consistency in service delivery.


2. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Establish KPIs to measure the success of standardized processes. This includes metrics such as response times, resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores.


3. Continuous Training: Conduct regular training sessions to reinforce standardized procedures. Ensure that all team members are well-versed in the defined processes and are aware of any updates or changes.


4. Feedback Loops: Implement feedback mechanisms to gather insights from team members and customers. Use this feedback to refine and improve standardized processes continuously.


5. Automation Integration: Integrate automation where applicable to enforce standardization. Automation helps minimize human errors and ensures that processes are consistently followed.


FOCUS ON CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT


Continuous improvement is a BIG PART of service maturity, enabling organizations to adapt, evolve, and excel in delivering exceptional services over time. By fostering a culture of continuous improvement, organizations can proactively identify opportunities for enhancement, refine processes, and stay ahead of changing customer needs and market dynamics.


Why is this important?


Driving Innovation


Continuous improvement encourages innovation by challenging existing processes and seeking new ways to deliver value to customers. It fosters a mindset of exploration and experimentation, driving organizations to push boundaries and explore novel approaches.


Adaptability to Change


In today's fast-paced business landscape, change is inevitable. Continuous improvement equips organizations with the agility to adapt swiftly to evolving market trends, technological advancements, and customer preferences, ensuring relevance and competitiveness in the long run.


Sustained Growth


By consistently refining processes and optimizing performance, organizations can sustainably grow their service maturity levels. Continuous improvement fosters incremental advancements that cumulatively lead to significant enhancements in efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction.


Employee Engagement and Empowerment


Engaging employees in the continuous improvement process empowers them to take ownership of their work and contribute ideas for enhancement. It cultivates a sense of ownership, pride, and commitment among team members, fostering a collaborative environment conducive to innovation and excellence.


Steps to Implement Continuous Improvement:


1. Establish a Feedback Culture: Encourage open communication channels where employees feel comfortable providing feedback and suggesting improvements. Actively seek input from all levels of the organization, fostering a culture of transparency and collaboration.


2. Regular Performance Reviews: Conduct regular performance reviews to assess the effectiveness of processes and identify areas for improvement. Analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) to pinpoint strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for enhancement.


3. Cross-Functional Collaboration: Facilitate cross-functional collaboration by bringing together teams from different departments or disciplines to brainstorm ideas and share best practices. Harness diverse perspectives and expertise to drive innovation and problem-solving.


4. Experimentation and Learning: Encourage a culture of experimentation and learning, where employees are empowered to test new ideas and learn from both successes and failures. Create a safe environment where taking calculated risks is encouraged and celebrated.


5. Celebrate Successes: Recognize and celebrate achievements resulting from continuous improvement efforts. Acknowledge individual and team contributions, reinforcing a culture of excellence and incentivizing ongoing engagement in the improvement process.



IMPLEMENTING A PSA SOFTWARE


Professional Services Automation (PSA) software is a powerful tool for organizations looking to enhance service maturity. This software consolidates various aspects of service delivery, including project management, resource allocation, and customer relationship management.


Why is this important?


Centralized Information


PSA software consolidates project management, resource allocation, and customer relationship data in one central platform, providing a holistic view of operations.


Improved Collaboration


PSA tools enhance collaboration among team members by providing a centralized space for communication, document sharing, and project updates, leading to better teamwork.


Enhanced Visibility


Real-time insights into project statuses, resource utilization, and customer interactions allow for better decision-making and more informed strategic planning.


Streamlined Processes


PSA software streamlines and automates various aspects of service delivery, reducing manual effort, minimizing errors, and optimizing workflows for increased efficiency.


Customer Satisfaction


With improved project management and communication, PSA software contributes to higher customer satisfaction by ensuring timely and transparent delivery of services.


Scalability and Growth


PSA tools are designed to accommodate growing business needs, making them scalable solutions that can evolve alongside the organization, supporting expansion and diversification.


Key considerations for Implementing PSA Software:


1. Assessment: Conduct a thorough assessment of your organization's specific needs and requirements. Identify areas where a PSA solution can streamline operations and improve overall service delivery.


2. Vendor Evaluation: Research and evaluate different PSA software vendors. Consider factors such as features, scalability, user-friendliness, and integration capabilities with existing systems.


3. Customization: Choose a PSA solution that allows for customization to align with your unique business processes. Tailor the software to meet the specific requirements of your organization.


4. User Training: Provide comprehensive training to your team on using the PSA software effectively. Ensure that all relevant stakeholders understand how to leverage the features to optimize service delivery.


5. Integration with Existing Systems: Seamless integration with existing tools and systems is crucial. Ensure that the PSA software integrates well with your organization's project management, CRM, and other essential systems.


6. Monitoring and Optimization: Regularly monitor the usage and performance of the PSA software. Collect feedback from users and identify opportunities for optimization or additional training to maximize the benefits of the system.


If you're looking for a powerful PSA solution to kickstart your maturity journey, look no further than Precursive. Our PSA software uses the Salesforce reporting engine to forecast and track revenue and margin, allowing you to have greater control when it comes to delivery in order to boost profitability. Take a look below at how Precursive helps with your professional services delivery:


  • Project Management: Improve your services delivery to improve margins and improve the client experience you provide

  • Resource Planning: Mobilize people with the right skills and eliminate capacity crunches to improve time-to-value

  • Revenue Management: Simplify tracking time and optimize billable utilization for accurate billing to your customers


Project Margin in Precursive
Project Margin in Precursive

 

WHAT NEXT?


As orgnizations embark on their journey towards service maturity, it's essential to consider key factors such as assessing needs, selecting appropriate tools, providing adequate training, and continuously monitoring and optimizing processes. With the right strategies and tools in place, businesses can elevate their service maturity levels, positioning themselves for long-term success and competitiveness in the market.


Looking for more? Take a look at our other pieces on professional services maturity so you can understand the wider topic and have a better idea of how to improve your own from the ground up.


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