In the world of professional services (PS), leading companies must be ready to shift tactics and adapt to the whims of a constantly changing market at a moment’s notice. Agility is the key to success in an unpredictable industry. But the technology that thousands of companies have been built on is old, outdated, and far from agile.

The growing gap between legacy professional services automation (PSA) software abilities and modern ways of doing business is holding back today’s increasingly agile workforce, leading to delays and frustration, and preventing both individuals and businesses from reaching their true potential.

The term “professional services automation” has been applied to a wide variety of software tools over the years — pretty much any solution that helps with the daily work of people-powered firms. However, with the variety and complexity of day-to-day work increasing year after year, standard PSA software is simply no longer enough.

Software solutions that are people-centric, not just project-centric, are the key to ongoing success for PS organizations. This need has given rise to Professional Services Cloud (PS Cloud) solutions — modern, vertical SaaS software that’s purpose-built for the PS industry and focuses business management on more than just financial performance and metrics.

Understanding the nature of PS Cloud software will help you make the right technology investment decision for the future of your business.

THE ELEMENTS OF A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CLOUD

A Professional Services Cloud (PS Cloud) is a modern, cloud-based solution that delivers a complete set of vertical SaaS solutions, purpose-built to increase productivity and ensure better outcomes for your teams and clients.

Professional Services Cloud solutions include everything your services-based business needs to succeed. With modules for resource management, project management, and financial management, plus built-in team collaboration, business intelligence, and easy integration with your existing tools, you can get a high-level view of current and upcoming demands and availability or drill down into specific tasks and line items — all in one place.

A companywide, holistic approach to PS processes informs how the PS Cloud is structured and used. Bringing this robust functionality together helps departments and team members stay on the same page. Plus, better alignment and shared visibility improves the handoff process across sales, resourcing, delivery, customer success, and finance teams. By enabling better resource management, more accurate forecasting, and strategic planning, a PS Cloud helps to improve your relationships with partners and customers, too.

Common Professional Services Cloud capabilities include:

  • Accounting
  • Calendar Management
  • Customer Access (e.g., through a Customer Portal)
  • Document Management
  • Invoicing, Billing
  • Project Management
  • Proposal Generation
  • Resource Management
  • Software Integrations (e.g., to a CRM)
  • Team Collaboration
  • Time and Expense Tracking

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CLOUD VS PSA: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Traditional PSA tools were developed to enhance financial management and project accounting by automating and simplifying two key tasks: invoicing and business performance tracking. This focus was useful for providing a rear-view mirror perspective of project and financial performance. But in today’s fast-paced and unpredictable market, it’s simply not enough, and leading professional services software solutions have transcended the limitations of legacy PSA approaches.

The PS Cloud emerged from the need for PS firms to take a holistic, forward-looking approach to successfully anticipate future demands, understand emerging trends, and plan resources accordingly. Where PSA solutions are designed to simplify point-in-time processes, the PS Cloud is purpose built to drive value realization at every stage of the PS lifecycle. While this type of system does provide financial insight, it’s not singularly focused on financial outcomes. It’s also focused on client outcomes, which are equally critical to long-term success. And where PSA solutions are project-centric, the PS Cloud is innately people-centric — just like your business. By putting people at the center of the data model rather than projects, a PS Cloud enables PS leaders to interrogate workforce-centric data in ways that are simply not possible with a project-centric solution.

Other highly-specialized industries, such as financial services and healthcare, have already adopted vertical SaaS technologies to get purpose-built support that meets their unique demands. The time has come for the PS Cloud to provide that same level of vertical-specific support and agility that today’s professional services companies require.

While PSA software helped organizations around the world cope with an increasingly challenging industry, the PS Cloud is helping them accelerate and thrive.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CLOUD?

Customers today expect to see value at every stage of an engagement — not just at project completion. A PS Cloud connects to your entire professional services value chain and orchestrates resource planning, service delivery, time capture, and project accounting, providing the future outlook needed to keep your skilled workforce and customer-enabling work aligned. By combining these insights with granular control, managers can understand the impact of every decision on projects, teams, and even individual team member performance.

Using a cloud-based platform lightens the burden of on-premises hardware and complex software programming by providing an out-of-the-box, online solution you can quickly pick up and implement for everyday processes. In addition, this type of system provides comprehensive support and eliminates the need for multiple disparate software solutions, which often leads to siloed data and requires continual integration work.

With a PS Cloud, you get a one-stop solution for all your data, allowing managers to analyze everything from resource performance to project progress, financial health, and more. A complete end-to-end view gives you a more robust understanding of how the company is doing — including both external and internal performance.

The result? Services organizations are empowered to improve utilization rates, profit margins, employee engagement, customer delivery and retention, and strengthen the bottom line by retaining high-value resources and customers.

WHO BENEFITS FROM PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CLOUD SOFTWARE?

With its wide-functioning capabilities, many different roles can benefit from the PS Cloud, including:

  • Resource managers and project managers: Granular control over resource assignments and project tasks gives managers abilities only possible with cutting-edge technology.
  • C-level: Top-level positions can access comprehensive reports on department performance for well-informed decisions that impact the entire organization.
  • Team members: Consultants and other services professionals in the field benefit from smooth transitions between everyday tasks and a better understanding of their own performance through utilization rates and other statistics.
  • Contractors: Freelance workers and partners benefit from clear communication channels and a better understanding of their scope of work when contracting, improving work relationships.
  • Customers: Giving your customers regular detailed updates on their in-progress projects helps them understand what’s being done for them to improve and maintain customer satisfaction.

WHY BUSINESSES NEED A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CLOUD NOW

In the last few years, the world of professional services has undergone major changes as far as what team members want and how business is done every day.

Today’s PS firms need to strategically leverage their resources when hiring becomes difficult, pulling teams together from around the world so they have the flexibility to tackle challenging customer demands. Organizations must be able to do more with less, utilizing leaner teams while also working with slimmer profit margins.

The PS Cloud is designed to help you make the most of every aspect of your business by better understanding your current performance, making critical decisions that improve even the smallest parts of your processes, and creating dependable forecasting that helps you better anticipate future demand for the best possible project staffing.

In the past, these things had to be done by either manually combining the outputs of several different applications or simply making your best guess. Neither option cuts it today — which is why the PS Cloud is here to stay.

CHOOSING A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CLOUD

The rise of the Professional Services Cloud has brought forth many different software solutions within this growing category. That means if you’ve decided to use the cloud, you’ll need to make a choice about which one is right for your organization.

Here are some things to consider when reviewing your options:

  • Is the technology actually built as a Professional Services Cloud, or is it simply being labeled to fit a trend?
  • What other companies are using this solution and are they similar to your business?
  • Does this solution fulfill all aspects of PS management, including project, resource, and financial needs?
  • Will the software be able to support any size team so issues don’t arise with company growth or departmental changes?
  • Have you received a software demo that shows you how to use this technology day-to-day, and are you comfortable with the level of skill it requires?

To choose confidently, make sure you understand not just how the software fits into the PS Cloud category, but how well it suits your precise business needs.

THE KANTATA PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CLOUD

Kantata’s vision for the future of the Professional Services Cloud is redefining the landscape of this dynamic industry. As the foremost global provider of PS technology, we’re leading the way into the cloud era with a bold vision that transcends the conventional “cost and schedule” mindset most professional services software providers share. Together, we‘re shaping a world where excellence knows no bounds — and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us.

Schedule a call with a Kantata representative today to discuss your requirements, or click on the Live Chat button below. We’re available 24/7 and look forward to answering your questions.

“Knowing where people are working, and where they will be working in the future, is essential. We can see this all through Kantata. We are actually forecasting resources based on data instead of just intuition.”

– Chris Fehring, Director of Consulting Operations, Vizient

Let’s Chat

Get the clarity, control and confidence only Kantata delivers