Regardless of the services you provide — be it a consulting firm, law firm, digital marketing agency, or a SaaS company servicing external customers — profitability depends on delivering projects on time, under budget, and turning more billable time into revenue. To achieve this, teams and organizations in the professional services world require systems that enable collaboration, expedite the completion of quality work, and automate workflows so they can focus more on delivering exceptional service. All this while researching and pitching new business.
To continue producing quality work, many look to project management (PM) or professional services automation (PSA) software to help them automate their workflows and administrative tasks, and prevent going over their contracted hours. But there’s a common misconception that PM or PSA software can answer the call. Neither one matches the capabilities of a collaborative work management (CWM) solution and here’s why:
- PM software lacks functionality tailored to the unique needs of service businesses, making it difficult to operate your business in a PM tool. To compensate, they end up doing work in other tools as well and wasting time.
- PSA software is mainly geared towards management who need to run the business instead of providing an environment for teams to get work done. As a result, team members work in a variety of different software tools, making it hard for managers to see updates on client work and wasting time asking for updates from their team.
CWM software comes equipped with the automation features managers require to track billing, create reports, and get status updates while team members collaborate in a central hub to produce work on time and under budget.
Download the free “The Definitive Buyer’s Guide to CWM Solutions for Service Delivery Teams” eBook and see why CWM solutions are the ideal solution to add to your tech stack. The guide covers:
- The 15 most common use cases.
- The 15 essential features that professional services need.
- The checklist you should follow when evaluating CWM platforms.
“The Definitive Buyer’s Guide to CWM Solutions for Service Delivery Teams” is for internal and external professional services teams. Whether you’re servicing existing customers or performing new business outreach, a CWM solution can be your organization’s exclusive system of record to track all work progress.
In-house professional services team
Working closely with clients and customers means you have a direct line of communication into what work they need at all times. It’s not atypical, however, when you’re fielding new work requests, or internal departments like marketing and customer success, project critical pieces of required information like who needs to be involved, correct approvers, assets, and project deadlines are missing, resulting in lost time. Having a streamlined and standardized intake process to organize work requests, identify key stakeholders (that associates effort to the right campaigns) and any supporting assets will make your — and your team’s lives — better.
The same problem exists when fielding new work requests from your sales team. Receiving requests is a hassle because they often arrive piecemeal: a combination of Slack messages, emails, and one-off meetings. Juggling all of these intake methods isn’t efficient because there’s no centralized hub to track incoming requests. Plus, if your customer or clients work in Salesforce, do you have an automated process to create projects when the status of the deal changes to Closed Won?
Having a centralized intake process makes a monumental difference because it feeds into a pre-configured workflow to get projects up and running quickly. For example, organized folders such as initiation, planning, delivery, and project closeout. Ideally, each folder is customizable to your team’s workflow, and the template will enable you to assign tasks to individuals, track performance with Gantt charts, capture time spent with a timelog, and review project progress with customizable dashboards. Anything less and your team will lose valuable hours chasing down tasks, assets, and approvals in multiple channels, not logging time efficiently, and struggling to track progress.
External professional services organizations
Statements of work (SOW) often come into play when these organizations receive external requests from current clients because this document outlines what’s required, how much budget the client has, the timeline, etc. Clients typically have dedicated account managers who handle their requests, so account managers help field these requests to the appropriate team. Account managers will also reach out to current clients to pitch new projects and secure more revenue, or do new business outreach in the hopes of becoming that client's exclusive service provider. In both cases, without a centralized hub to document all new business outreach, Closed Won opportunities, and project progress, you’ll struggle to keep everything organized.
When growth, long-term success, and profitability depends on delivering exceptional service on time and closing new business, external organizations can’t afford to not have a centralized hub to track everything and collaborate with clients.
How CWM solutions meet the needs of all professional services teams
In addition to the 15 most common use cases and definitive checklist, our new buyer’s guide for professional services teams highlights the following features and attributes:
- Single source of truth: Not dealing with multiple, disparate technologies tracking work requests, updates, and progress.
- Automated project intake system: Built-in dynamic request forms that route projects to the correct team member so that all the information is given upfront to kick off a project. This functionality is critical for professional services teams who often get tasked with repeatable projects, so automating this process saves teams time and streamlines the workflow.
- Out-of-the-box professional services templates: Ready-made templates enable you and your team to kick-start projects faster, collaborate and accelerate asset approvals, etc. Without formalized templates, you’ll spend too much time on administrative tasks instead of focusing on revenue-generating deliverables.
- Team and project resource management: Team workload charts let you see who’s overloaded and who has the capacity to take on more projects, saving you unnecessary overtime and keeping your projects on track while allowing you to address your team’s backlog. Resource planning tools for project managers are also necessary so these individuals have an easy way to estimate project resources and required skill sets while being able to request staff from team managers. If resource conflicts occur, project managers will see resource distribution across the entire portfolio of clients to reallocate resources for higher priority or more urgent client projects.
- Client sharing and collaboration: Gantt charts, file sharing, the @mention functionality, interactive proofing features that accelerate approvals, and customizable, shared calendars are all mandatory because they allow everyone to communicate and see updates instantly. CWMs enable you to selectively share progress on deliverables and project status with internal teams and external clients while ensuring that sensitive client data stays private.
- Automated workflows: CWMs can apply simple rules to automate commonly used actions and eliminate manual efforts, allowing you to streamline processes, reduce errors, and scale faster. Set up triggers and actions and let the CWM system take care of the rest.
- Integrations: Your entire tech work should work in harmony, passing key data back-and-forth so you can see performance insights and make informed decisions about optimizing the work and/or campaigns. Make sure your CWM connects with cloud and on-premises enterprise applications and syncs with thousands more using universal connectors to apps with accessible APIs.
- Plus, eight more features ...
Download the buyer’s guide here
Services-based companies thrive when they dedicate the majority of their time to client work and revenue-generating activities. Work that isn’t client-focused or generating revenue is detrimental for the bottom line. For additional information, check out the Forrester Wave Q4 report where Wrike was named a leader in collaborative work management for the third straight year.
Download “The Definitive Buyer’s Guide to CWM Solutions for Service Delivery Teams” today.