Professional Services Firms

Driving successful client engagements requires you to remain competitive. Being competitive in a market where talent is scares requires you to focus on client loyalty and driving a long term relationship with your customers.

The SPI Research (link here) team, in the 2016 report focus their findings that project based firms have five key initiatives to drive a successful business:

  1. Leadership – Vision, Strategy and Culture
  2. Client Relationships
  3. Human Capital Alignment
  4. Service Execution
  5. Finance and Operations

Microsoft using its Dynamics 365 platform has invested heavily in improving the services firms use of technologies to deliver on most of the points described above: Client Relationships, Service Execution, and Finance and Operations.

Intelligent Client Enagements

Key Account Management

Firms designate specific clients or prospects as “key accounts.” These can be current clients that are important revenue sources (or have high revenue potential) or prospects that are viewed as strategic. These can be tied to particular industries or geographies as well. Typically, there is a key account management process or client team that owns the interactions with these accounts across multiple partners or service lines, ensuring positive relationship growth. Housing key account planning in CRM allows firms to better manage clients holistically. Oftentimes, we see multiple partners from different service lines (tax, audit, etc.) who all maintain relationships with different contacts and referral partners at the client, but there is no “single view” of the client and no visibility as to what the customer is using the firm for and/or what areas are opportunistic. This leads to potentially competing or confusing bids for partners of the same firm.

Marketing

Firms will do a lot of traditional marketing that requires lists, including email blasts, mailings, and a variety of events for acquiring business (often educational seminars).  One major collaboration point between service lines and Marketing is in creating event and other campaign marketing lists. This can be a huge pain point for the different practices because it is oftentimes manual and challenging to track which practice added which contacts to which list. The key is making marketing lists easy to generate and easy to update, whether you’re sending invitations or thought leadership

Project planning

Make it easy for your sales and project managers to collaborate on estimates using templates. For professional services automation, this app also links to Microsoft Project, with its scheduling and management strength, to improve your project planning from estimation to completion. Some features include:

  • Interactive Gantt for project lets you visualize the plan, dependencies and timelines
  • Search and filter to avoid information overload
  • Drill down to individual resource schedules and hard book assignments
  • Centralized resource request to optimize project delivery and make sure the right talent is on the right task

Service Execution

Resource scheduling

Unify resourcing and scheduling, so your managers assign the best consultants to each project based on their skills, availability, and interest. This optimizes your resources across project service, customer service, and field service—and increases your consultants’ job satisfaction.

Project Management

With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Projects capabilities you are able to manage the complete project lifecycle, supporting the budgets and reduce project risks. Having a comprehensive tool that integrates with Microsoft Projects and enable your team members to manage their tasks, enter time and submit expenses in a single platform will allow you to reduce the SDO – Sales Days outstanding and better understand project risks before they occur. Some of the capabilities include:

  • Give managers personalized views of their projects
  • Automate robust workflows to match complex projects
  • Leverage project templates to ensure a repeatable experience for customers
  • Assign resources to a project, or at task level, with detailed WBS support

Manage Time & Expenses

Sales days outstanding and your profit is impacted by your invoicing frequencies. Time and expense entry are the most cumbersome yet the most important task your team members need to do on a regular basis.

On the Go: Empower your teams wherever they work — keep them connected to the heartbeat of the company and their projects.

  • Enter timecards and expenses or approve
  • Support for all mobile devices
  • Easily upload snapshots of expense receipts