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WHAT IS A BUSINESS CASE FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AUTOMATION (PSA) SOFTWARE?

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Professional Services organizations are under pressure to deliver performance improvements that drive better customer experience alongside improved financial results. Services teams form an important part of driving new sales but also retaining existing customers through the quality of implementations as well as the optimization work that they undertake on behalf of customers.


Professional Services Automation (PSA) software is the platform that helps services teams to manage and improve their delivery processes including resource management, project management, financial management, revenue forecasting and recognition, time tracking, billing and expense management.


A business case will communicate the challenges faced by a services organization and the impact of these challenges on your people, your customers and your business. The business case will also describe the value of investing in a solution to support the management and growth of a services organization.


We've made it easy for you!


Take a look at our business case template, and download your own copy here to get a leg up in the process.


Consider these four elements when trying to put together a solid business case:


1. Strategic context:
  • What is the background and case for change

  • Why? Why now?

2. Challenges faced:
  • Key challenges that impact your business, your people and/or your customers

  • Economic impacts of these challenges

  • Impact to people in terms of their time, productivity and employee experience

3. Expected outcomes:
  • What outcomes do you forecast to deliver

  • What is the payback period which is by when will you realize ROI from the investment

4. Proposed vendor:
  • Why are your proposing to partner with this vendor

  • Technology fit which includes the alignment to your needs

  • Vendor’s approach to implementation and customer success

  • Relevant references and data points from the vendor on impact


HOW PROFESSIONAL SERVICES TEAMS CAN MAKE THE CASE FOR PSA SOFTWARE


Provide Context


The initial part of a business case should explain why you are looking to invest in new software. This context orientates the executive(s) signing off on your proposal to the case for change. This section can include:

  • Industry context > what is changing in our industry or what is the norm in our industry when it comes to customer success, operational efficiency and employee experience for professional services teams.

  • Company context > our goals is to create scalable and repeatable growth and the performance of our services organization will play a key part in this growth.

  • Functional context > what are the challenges that our professional services organization faces that are not supported by the manual processes or ineffective tools that are currently in place.

  • People context > how do these challenges impact our staff, their experience, productivity and our ability to develop and retain them as a result.


Precursive Business Case: Context Example

Mid-Market software company with 1000 employees


Following a review of professional services automation and project management solutions built on Force.com, Precursive has been selected as the tool of choice for our professional services team. Our 2022 strategy puts customer experience at the heart of our growth plans and we have identified the impact of Precursive based on modeling our current processes into the tool.


We forecast that we can improve time-to-launch with a corresponding impact on time-to-revenue. Accelerated revenue realization is expected to be $2.5M in H2 for our cloud business unit based on time-to-revenue, reducing from 65 calendar days to 45 days.


License costs are $80 per user/month and we will achieve payback through billing 1 additional hour per PS consultant per month alongside onboarding times being reduced by 20 days.


Precursive is a Salesforce native platform that will provide more accurate billing processes and reduce risks of work orders starting late.


Precursive was selected given the ease-of-use for our services team with both desktop and mobile functionality for task and time tracking which will reduce the admin burden for our teams providing more time back for personal development and our career pathing in services and success.


Problem Statement


In the opening of the business case, it helps to focus on the challenges associated with existing processes and systems you use currently to manage professional services delivery.


Describing your current situation could include the following:

  • Impact on customer experience caused by unproductive working.

  • Ineffective tools or manual processes used by implementation teams.

  • Gaps in tracking utilization, monitoring delays and staffing projects.

  • Inability to forecast and analyze future services demand.

  • Methods of assessing profitability of service delivery teams.

  • Lack of tooling to capture billable and non-billable time.


Precursive Business Case: Problem Statement Example

Mid-Market Computer Software Company with 2000 employees


This is a summary of issues faced by our professional services organization:


Poor Customer Experience: Project Information is not accessible; plans, updates and progress are reliant on PM communication. This lack of visibility leads to customer frustrations and issues with invoicing as bills are questioned by customers due to lack of information on milestone delivery.


Unproductive time: Administration of offline plans, circulation of project updates, chasing for progress from customers, 3rd parties and our staff about deadlines and milestones means time away from high-value activities: team development, customer engagement and selling.


Data quality: The business is unable to make better, faster decisions because of inaccurate or out-of-date data. This impact our ability to feedback to sales on capacity or white space for new business or to inform HR on when we should hire additional team members given future workload and/or skills gaps in the business.


Poor collaboration: Our sales and support teams use Salesforce but our Services team is using Netsuite which leads to a disconnect between our commercial and delivery teams and processes. This leads to delays in staffing projects at a late stage (commit) in our pipeline but also with re-prioritizing engagements. The manual effort to keep systems updated results in 40 hours of administrative effort across our operations team per month.


Inconsistent Customer Onboarding: We are manually creating project plans in MS Project for every delivery which takes a PM up to 2 hours to put together the initial plan and then share it with the customer. Our new SaaS offering provides a huge opportunity to standardize delivery leading to faster launch times and a productized services delivery.


No real-time view of resources: All resource management is currently conducted in spreadsheets and doesn’t provide a true view of our availability and capacity. Recent exit interviews with services staff have mentioned long hours and overworking as one of the issues faced. The volume of throughput is difficult for our RMs to stay on top of using manual tools for staffing. It is common to find staff over or underutilized as a result.


Benefits of implementing Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software


This section will describe the impacts that you anticipate from the investment in new software. The benefits analysis should quantify both qualitative (employee experience, your people) and quantitative (customer growth, revenue, profitability).


Companies that can successfully mature their professional services capability can drive significantly improved results as the Service Performance Insights annual PS Benchmarking report states.


Professional Services Maturity Model

The typical benefits of a Salesforce Native PSA solution like Precursive are:


Better Handovers


By bringing sales, services and customer success teams onto the same platform, Salesforce, you will close the gaps between sales and delivery into customer success. Automated notifications will inform services teams that projects are ready to be staffed. Resource managers will be able to allocate the right resources with the right skills based on the scope of work and information in the opportunity.


Higher Utilization Rates


Mobilizing services teams and planning resources more effectively will boost utilization and drive better outcomes for your team and customers. Apps like Precursive provide advanced functionality for forecasting demand for resources as well as planning and scheduling project work. Project plans and resource plans are automatically kept in synch reducing the amount of manual effort for project managers or project planning to reschedule effort if tasks or deliverables are pushed back. Precursive uses the Salesforce reporting engine meaning that you can forecast and track utilization of roles, departments and skillsets.

Example of revenue impact of a 5% increase in utilization
Example of revenue impact of a 5% increase in utilization

Faster Customer Onboarding


Seamless transitions between sales and delivery, improved collaboration between project team members and better visibility for customers during an implementation will all combine to drive faster deployments. During project delivery, issues can be resolved much quicker if you are communicating with customers in real-time, eliminating delays where a message is sitting in someone’s inbox for a while before it’s seen. Self-service portals like Precursive’s customer workspace offer customers far greater visibility into dependencies, the tasks they own, resources needed, forecast launch dates and progress against project milestones.


More Revenue


By pulling forward customer go-lives through improved delivery, most companies will see a range of revenue impacts depending on their governance and the accounting rules they follow. Some of the revenue benefits will include:


  • Faster revenue recognition when software revenue is recognized at go-live or throughout the implementation

  • Increased services revenues when services fees are invoiced based on milestones being achieved

  • Quicker license activations which can also lead to more licenses being purchased given the successful launch or initial value received by the customer.


Increased Profitability


Professional Services Automation solutions will provide a real-time view of your budgets, costs, margin and profitability at a project level and across your portfolio of engagements.


Project Managers will be able to see where projects are running off course earlier and if they are deviating from your baseline - this allows you to take corrective action in the moment but also analyze the performance of project delivery over a period of time and adjust your implementation methodology to improve profitability. More agile resource management will reduce benchtime and ensure that you are maximizing billings from your teams.


Precursive Business Case: Benefits Example

IT Consulting Firm with 150 employees


Revenue Benefits of Precursive Deployment


Below is a visual representation of current utilization of the team and associated leaked revenue identified.

Waterfall Diagram on Utilization


Fig A - This is the amount of time spent on administrative work. This can be a mix of essential work and hours spent updating things like timesheets and chasing customers.

Fig B - This is the amount of unbilled work that is being completed due to work that falls out of scope or that hasn’t been accurately tracked in timesheets. Currently at an average of $720k per annum.

Fig C - This is the unknown amount of leaked hours that may have been missed during the time an invoice is calculated and a customer’s bill is paid. Also includes hours spent chasing invoices from customers and amended incorrect orders. Unknown amount.


Impact of Precursive:

  • Reduction in unbilled hours from 7.5% to 2% - additional $528,000 in billed hours per year

  • Reduction in administrative work from 15% to 10% - assuming 2 hours per week in time saving - additional $480,000 per year in saved hours

  • Reduction in time-to-cash for additional cash flow

  • Significant revenue opportunities associated with the successful and consistent delivery of work in the mid-market


Precursive Business Case: Benefits Example


SaaS Company with 500 employees


Utilization

By enabling better management of staffing across planning, real time and actual delivery we expect to see an increase in utilization of approx. 10% - this will increase our utilization from the current 60% to 70%. This is in line with the increases seen across other organizations migrating to a PSA solution.This increase should result in an additional 495 hours of billable time being worked on projects (with zero headcount increase) with a further $57,863 of backlog revenue recognized each month with $698, 256 in the first year.


Over-run

Precursive will give us visibility into time spent on each stage of delivery, allowing for management (and early warning flags) for over run to be better controlled. Currently we have 2100 hours of overrun.

X $120 per hour (Average achieved sold price per hour for same period)

of potential additional PS upsell. With 20% of this charged to customers = $57,200 in year 1

With 30% of this time saved from over run and used on billable projects = $75,790 revenue pull through in year 1.

 

Ready to make the business case for PSA at your business? Book a demo today to see Precursive in action, and learn how PSA software can save your organisation money, boost customer retention and reduce churn.


Looking to create your own business case? Download our template here to get started.





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