The dramatic expansion of the service industry in the last decade has led many project- and service-oriented organizations (PSORGs) to try applying traditional ERPs, originally developed for the manufacturing and distribution sectors, outside of their conventional homes.
This has sometimes resulted in the enterprise running powerful and expensive ERP systems for the accounting or HR departments, while leaving the revenue-producing parts of the organization - such as professional services - to mechanize themselves in a haphazard manner with spreadsheets and paper, or to attempt such mechanization by building an in-house system.
This can lead to increasing back-office costs while front-line groups (the ones generating the revenue) suffer from an almost complete lack of productivity and mechanization tools. Essentially, these organizations have put themselves in a position in which the back-office functions and systems are driving the front-line, revenue-producing part of the organization - not an optimal situation.
But help has arrived in the form of software applications designed for organizations whose work is project-based and human-resource intensive. Professional Services Automation (PSA) software provides the tools, techniques, and technology that enable PSORGs to manage personnel, resources, projects, and clients.
Unique Requirements of PSORGs
Much like manufacturing or distribution companies, project- and service-oriented organizations have their own unique business processes. If software applications are to be implemented in order to streamline such processes, then the functionality these applications adopt must focus on the project lifecycle.
Some of the unique requirements for PSORGs are dictated by whether their projects are for cost centres (non-billable and based on budgets) or profit centres. Many IT departments are engaged in internal software development, engineering, R&D, and product design, and only serve internal clients. The projects and services implemented for these internal clients are based on corporate budgetary constraints and are non-billable work. Some PSORGs perform work for external clients, and usually perform their billing based on various rating algorithms.
Regardless of whether the work is being done for internal or external clients, the focal point is on implementing the project or service. As such, several questions need to be addressed. How can organizations:
Manage to deliver projects on time and within budget?Ensure that proper resources are in place to deliver such projects?Effectively report on project information in real time?Ensure that project information is accessible at all times by anyone?Ensure that employees focus on core responsibilities rather than administrative tasks?Efficiently manage the lifecycle of a service or project engagement?Streamline their key service or project processes for greater productivity?