Project Pulse for Executive Management

Managing a profitable services business is a challenging endeavor, and one that requires that all customer lifecycle business functions are operating at peak efficiency and have tightly integrated processes that all contribute to successful delivery of customer services. Many companies still rely on manual processes and spreadsheets to support their business, which lead to multiple problems that affect cost of operations, hinder quality of service and are an obstacle to creating and maintaining strong customer relationships.

Executives need visibility into key operational and financial data to make informed decisions about performance and future investments.  Leading Fortune 500 corporations are consolidating applications on cloud-based platforms to increase agility, lower costs and provide enhanced visibility.  Project Pulse has been specifically designed to take advantage of the market-leading capabilities of Salesforce.com: a solution that can be uniquely tailored to your business policies and processes and that supports your best practices and competitive advantages.  Being a native Salesforce.com solution, all key information about customers, sales, marketing, service delivery, financials, billing and invoicing is in one database, providing powerful business intelligence capabilities, eliminating integration costs and avoiding the lack of flexibility and agility of non-homogeneous systems.

Project Pulse provides powerful capabilities to integrate your key business functions and automate labor intensive manual processes.  Let’s explore how Project Pulse can supercharge your business to new levels of productivity and profitability.

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Quoting Profitable Service Engagements

The first challenge to be addressed is ensuring quoted projects are going to result in profitable business. Too often, the sales process relies upon rule of thumb and previous experience when quoting new opportunities. Each new deal has unique requirements and constraints that must be accounted for when planning an engagement.

Account reps typically do not have the technical experience to make valid decisions about how much a project will cost to implement, how long it will take to deliver and when the company has the capacity to start the project. Surprisingly, we find many companies still operate with this model. Without having proper tools and processes in place, too often we find:

  • Projects are underestimated regarding cost to deliver, resulting in undue pressure on the project team which impacts service quality and leads to inadequate testing and shortcuts.
  • Understanding of customer requirements are incomplete and stored in various locations resulting in missing customer expectations, rework, loss of revenue and uncomfortable discussions with the customer to obtain change orders.
  • Commitments regarding project start date cannot be met. This sets a bad precedent with the customer, and now they will be scrutinizing the project with much greater attention making service delivery more challenging.
  • The project schedule is unrealistic. If projects cannot be delivered on schedule, finishing the project with a reference-able customer is not likely.

Project Pulse has been specifically designed to collect all of the necessary information during the sales process to ensure that customer commitments are met, and that project quotes will result in profitable business. For those companies with a high volume of business, Project Pulse has built-in automations, enabling the Sales team to create projects from the Opportunity and significantly reduce the time required to create quotes and provide answers to those critical questions needed to close new business.

Resource Capacity & Utilization

Maximizing Resource Utilization and Profitability

Operating a profitable services business starts with ensuring your resources are fully utilized and the right resources with the proper skill sets and experience are assigned appropriately. Without having a system to provide this information, profitability and delivery of services will suffer from a number of situations, including:

  • Project start date slippage
  • Missed deadlines and project delays
  • Underutilized resources resulting in increased operating costs and reduced profitability
  • Overutilized resources resulting in scheduling conflicts leading to project delays, schedule slips and unhappy customers
  • Resources lacking the skill set to complete assigned work resulting in loss of service quality, rework and increased management overhead
  • Surges in business volume and lacking the necessary level of resources to support the sales pipeline

It goes without saying that unless this critical business function is operating at peak efficiency, the business will suffer from a multitude of problems and the likelihood of successful delivery of projects diminishes and revenue suffers. In the service business, reputation is everything and a key component to securing new business from existing and new customers.

Project Pulse has powerful resource management capabilities unmatched in the industry. This capability supports day to day activities such a project staffing but also provides executive management views into resource utilization at the enterprise level.  Forecasted capacity or actual utilization can be dynamically rolled up by role, region, division, project type or any other user-defined categorization making it easy for executive management to have an enterprise view of capacity or efficiency.  No other PSA solution provides this capability, and is another example of the power of this solution to add real value to your operations and business intelligence.

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Increasing Quality and Lowering Cost of Operations

Many of our customers have hundreds of projects in-flight each month. With manual processes, it becomes extremely difficult to manage this volume of projects and ensure quality of service delivery. We need tool support that provides critical KPI indicators to illuminate how well the service delivery process is performing and provide advance notice of projects that are not meeting expectations. Project managers and executives need a highly efficient way to view project performance and they need this in real-time without having to wait for weekly reports that are subjective in nature.

Project Pulse provides powerful KPI indicators that continuously compare what we estimated and budgeted to what is actually occurring with respect to logged hours, cost, revenue, net revenue and margins. With our powerful filtering capabilities, hundreds or thousands of projects can be instantly filtered to show those projects not meeting expectations.  These indicators allow our project managers to focus on taking action to correct underperforming projects before they become a problem that results in missing customer expectations and lower profitability.

Project collaboration is key to ensuring all project staff members understand current status and are aware of key decisioning and objectives. Project Pulse has integrated Salesforce’s social media Chatter functionality through the application and is an excellent solution to addressing the problem of disconnected teams.

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Automation of Manual Processes

Many of the customers we speak with still use manual processes to compile financial information and produce the necessary reporting for:

  • Revenue Forecasting
  • Revenue Recognition (IRS Reporting)
  • Billing Charge Generation
  • Invoicing & Payment Processing
  • Expense Reimbursement
  • Vendor Invoicing & Payments

These processes are very labor intensive and financial performance information is only available after month-end close. Project Pulse automates all of these processes and does so in real-time, giving executive management unprecedented views into the financial health of their business.

These processes are frequently performed more than once due to missing data (ie: time or expense entries), producing inaccurate calculations of financial metrics and resulting in billing and financial reporting errors.  Project Pulse provides the capability to recompute previous financial periods when time or expenses are added to a previous period.  Automation of these processes produces a huge ROI, greatly increases visibility to key operational data and makes your business more agile and efficient.

When the month-end close process completes, the revenue period financial record can be locked, which prevents the underlying time, expense and task %Complete values to be changed for that period.

In addition, Project Pulse provide 6 different revenue models from which to choose, making it easy to match the payment terms negotiated with the customer.

Many of our customer create projects based on the sale pipeline for projects likely to close and for some future start date.  Project Pulse will provide advance notice of the resource capacity to satisfy the pipeline and drive hiring decisions.  It will also calculate estimated hours, cost, revenue and margin for each month of the project, making the complex process of revenue forecasting automated and very easy.

Project managers should have visibility to and be managing projects to cost and revenue targets.  If this information is only available after the month-end close financial processes complete, then they are lacking the proper information to ensure projects are profitable and returning the projected margins.  Project Pulse provides over 100 financial metrics that are continuously recomputed giving project managers unprecedented visibility into their project financial status.

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Management Dashboards for Informed Decisioning

Executives lack visibility into timely information about how well the business is performing.  In many cases, this information is only available after month-end close, limiting their ability to evaluate, make decisions and take corrective action when necessary.

Project Pulse provides management real-time visibility into the operational and financial health of the business.  These metrics are continuously calculated by the system, increasing productivity of your project managers and eliminating subjective judgements as to how well your projects are performing.  As part of your implementation, we will create your dashboards tailored to present key operating information which reduces the time spent reviewing reports and enables executive management to focus on leading the company.