Real-time Project Visibility – A Matter of Life and Death for Professional Services Orgs

Discover how professional services firms are using real-time project analytics to improve performance and profitability.

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    Project managers need real-time visibility into project status, resource availability, to ensure projects are delivered on-time and on-budget.

    Yet – many professional services firms struggle to achieve critical goals due to fragmented solutions and data silos that block visibility into the portfolio.

    Business leaders and project managers are then forced to make sense of the findings on their own – using best practices and past experience to guide high-stakes decisions. And often, they fail to interpret that data correctly — much less put them into any type action.

    Below, we’ll go over some of the ways that professional services firms are using real-time project analytics to improve performance and profitability across the entire portfolio.

    End-to-End Project Visibility Sets the Stage for End-to-End Gains – Across the Entire Firm

    Project data must be readily available to support real-time decisions about budgeting, resource planning, billing, and crucially, achieving long-term goals.

    When all data – finance, project accounting, sales, whatever – lives in one place, business leaders and project managers can analyze profit margins and project profitability in real-time and gain more control over the revenue engine.

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    Early in the project life cycle, end-to-end visibility helps project teams define stakeholders, scope, deliverables, roles, and processes. This ensures that everyone involved understands how their contributions impact business goals and client outcomes.

    As projects get under way, live dashboards and real-time reporting tools provide insights into how things are going. Are teams on track to hit all critical milestones – and deliver the project on-time?

    If you’re using D365 Project Operations, built-in whiteboards, scheduling boards, Kanban boards, and Gantt charts present real-time project data in a compelling, visual format.

    Project managers can see what resources are available at any given moment — and quickly make decisions to improve staffing, scheduling, and utilization rates. The platform makes it easy to break projects into manageable chunks and assign tasks to the right people.

    Integration with Power BI unlocks even deeper project insights that help business leaders identify problems, patterns, and opportunities and make proactive decisions that move the needle closer to achieving core business objectives.

    Disconnected systems and poor visibility also prevent you from automating manual tasks – like invoicing, approval flows, data-entry, or accounting rules. These simple automations go a long way in protecting the integrity of your data, reinforcing compliance and governance requirements, and reducing time-spent on low-value activities.

    Leveraging advanced AI and automation can help firms achieve even more visibility into projects and processes by capturing process data that can then be used to automate and streamline processes – like billing, collections, credit risk assessments, and eventually, embrace things like predictive modeling and robotic process automation.

    You’ll need to perfect your manual process first – then slowly layer in automations – one step at a time. For example, if you’re looking to automate scheduling in D365, you’ll need to work through five different stages before achieving “fully-automated” status.

    Element, a company offering testing, inspection, and certification services built an AI platform for solving complex problems. But – the company first had to sort through tons of paper docs in order to digitize manual business processes.

    Accounts Payable Manager, Britt Grubbs spent hours mapping each step in the AP process and identifying unnecessary steps, inefficiencies, and other areas that needed to be improved or replaced. The project fizzled out – until COVID hit and the firm began evaluating potential solutions they could use with their existing Microsoft stack.

    Eventually, Element built the new platform in Azure – using a combination of Azure Cognitive Services, Azure AD, D365, and Microsoft 365. The company estimates the platform is saving them ~$300k per year in printing, productivity, and other manual tasks. The point is, visibility is an essential first step toward making any kind of improvement – analog or digital.

    Final Thoughts

    With real-time visibility into project data – along with finance, accounting, sales, and everything else, firms can proactively manage resources, revenue, and profits for every project – at every stage.

    Velosio helps professional services firms to meet the unique challenges and requirements of complex, project-based work. Our experts can help you put together a unified stack — with all of the project management and reporting tools you need for end-to-end visibility across the entire portfolio. Contact us today to learn more.