How Professional Services Teams Can Make a Powerful Business Case for Kimble
While analyzing expected return on investment is a necessary component of any significant buying process, simply presenting ROI in isolation doesn’t work. Before decision makers can assess the value of a new solution, they need to understand your business’s current situation and the problems you are trying to solve.
Therefore, to make an effective business case for Kimble PSA, it’s best to tell a story: describe the current state, outline the impact of doing nothing, and provide a narrative of how things will change for the better should your proposed solution be adopted. Your ROI analysis can then play a supporting role, forecasting the financial impact of implementing a new system.
Here is a guide, created for software selection teams in product-led organizations, with tips on how to create a powerful before-and-after story which presents your business case for adopting Kimble’s PSA solution.
Describe the current situation
Before you suggest the future, explain what’s happening today
In the opening of your before-and-after story, set the scene, focusing on the existing systems, tools, and processes currently used to manage service delivery in your organization. You’ll describe the challenges and issues later, but first of all, you should make sure that your decision makers understand what systems are under consideration for replacement or upgrade.
The description of your current situation could include:
- Systems and tools that are used by sales and scoping teams to collaborate on project proposals.
- Methods used to staff projects, track utilization, monitor project delays and overruns.
- Process for assessing the impact of change orders and associated approval processes.
- Tools used for capturing billable time, non-billable time and expenses against projects.
- Methods used to assess profitability of your service delivery team.
- Description of the period close process and what controls exist to ensure billing accuracy and completeness.
- Forecasting methods used to assess future services demand.
Describe the consequences of no change
Explain the impact of doing nothing
Now you can drill-down into the operational issues, challenges and inefficiencies that your current systems create. Give decision makers your assessment of the likely outcomes should your organization decide to defer a decision to implement Kimble PSA and make no changes.
Some examples of the concrete impact of simply retaining your existing services systems could include:
- Delays in the sales cycle due to unavailability of implementation resources.
- Low customer satisfaction ratings resulting from projects that start late.
- Continuing to incur unacceptable levels of unbillable time.
- Month-end panic as expected delivery dates are missed and projects keep getting pushed into future periods.
- Delayed and disputed billing due to late time cards and out-of-policy expenses.
In addition, emphasize the larger scale impacts that deciding not to invest in Kimble would have on the business. For example, without new technology, back office and operations headcount will struggle to support future growth in services business. There may be holdups in investment decisions due to unreliable project delivery forecasting and you’ll suffer from competitive disadvantage by not having the ability to provide self-service portals to your customers and sub-contractors.
Describe the benefits of implementing Kimble PSA
Provide a narrative of how your business will change for the better
Having covered the before state, it’s now time to focus on how you plan to make improvements and look at life after a successful PSA implementation. Describe the processes you are looking to improve and the Kimble features that will help you achieve the key goals of your proposed project.
Here are some examples of Kimble solution benefits you might use to build a business case for your services organization:
CLOSE COLLABORATION BETWEEN SALES AND SERVICE DRIVES CUSTOMER SUCCESS:
Kimble will provide a single, trusted platform to manage deal scoping, deliver projects and track financials, which will improve outcomes and build stronger customer relationships. Project delivery performance will be improved as the bidding process will include a detailed understanding of deal margin before projects are undertaken, deals can be structured to take account of risks identified in the sales cycle, and projects are much more likely to meet delivery timescales agreed with your customers.
HIGHER CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND QUICKER TIME TO VALUE:
Kimble will enable better client collaboration throughout the life of an engagement, significantly improving the likelihood of the project being delivered in line with customer expectations. During the delivery of the project, customer communication can take place in real-time, quickly resolving issues as they arise. Clients will have self-service access to a secure web portal to track and collaborate on project progress, and approve time, expenses, and change orders.
COMPLETE VISIBILITY THROUGHOUT PROJECT LIFECYCLE AND ACROSS ALL PROJECTS:
Kimble will provide visibility to project status, projected margin, and progress against planned milestones throughout the project lifecycle. Managers will receive timely alerts to tackle issues on their projects as they arise, and the impact of this guidance will be seen not only on those specific projects but also across the whole project portfolio.
PREDICTABILITY OF SERVICE PERFORMANCE:
Kimble will provide the framework needed to build a predictable service delivery operation. Your services team will get the ability to see demand earlier, soft book resources before a deal is closed, and accurately track remaining effort during project delivery. Timely, consistent period closing will create the conditions necessary for confident forecasting. With this better understanding of future demand, your organization will be able to make more informed decisions on new service offerings, staffing levels and future hiring.
ABILITY TO QUICKLY CREATE AND TRACK NEW SERVICE OFFERINGS:
Kimble will provide the tools required to identify the need for new packaged service offerings and then track their performance. Through detailed monitoring of their adoption and associated profitability, you’ll quickly identify what packages are working well and those that should be discontinued, providing the insight your services team needs to refine and manage service packages accordingly.
SERVICES ORGANIZATION SCALABILITY:
As a services business evolves, so does the complexity of operation: it gets more complicated to capture the time people work and the expenses they incur, send out bills promptly, forecast demand, manage resources, recruit people with the right skills at the right time, and deliver projects on time and on budget. Kimble will enable automation of these resource management activities while implementing best practice processes that will enable your services team to scale predictably and efficiently.
IMPROVED RESOURCE UTILIZATION:
The Kimble system includes resource management and resource planning tools that will provide a clear view of availability and scheduling of resources across practices, geographies and skills. Resource planning and automated scheduling tools will guide resource managers to find the best fit for a particular project activity to create the most efficient scenario for resource allocation and utilization. Kimble will also monitor over-utilization of your resources, helping to retain top talent and avoid the high costs and associated delays of finding a replacement.
CONSISTENT AND TIMELY PERIOD CLOSE PROCESSES:
Kimble will provide clear visibility to the status of period closing activities and will guide your operations team on the priority actions required to consistently close periods accurately and on time. Establishing a repeatable cadence at period close provides the foundation to create a forward-looking services team and forecasting accuracy your entire organization can rely on.
Kimble will enable your services organization to scale without a corresponding increase in administrative overhead through automation of previously manual activities such as billing and invoicing, revenue recognition, and reconciliations. The back office will be able to manage higher volumes of clients serviced, project delivery resources, and number of invoices generated without adding headcount.
TIMELY, ACCURATE BILLING REDUCES CUSTOMER DISPUTES AND IMPROVES CASH FLOW::
Automated bill preparation will improve cash flow by reducing the number of customer disputes. Systematic application of company policies in engagement scoping, change order management and monitoring of drawdown against purchase orders will help the services organization achieve their financial targets and reduce the risk of payment delays.
SYSTEMATIC ENFORCEMENT OF CONTRACT TERMS MINIMIZES REVENUE LEAKAGE:
Kimble will ensure client contract terms and approval policies are enforced for each engagement to prevent booking of time and expenses that subsequently cannot be re-billed. Similarly, managers will have the control to prevent time and expense entry against assignments that have been put on hold. A clear process will be provided to handle the assessment and authorization of project work performed before commercial terms have been signed off by the customer.
Document expected results
Use ROI metrics to support your argument
Now that your decision makers understand how you intend to improve the operation and performance of your services organization, you can use traditional ROI metrics to give guidance on the expected financial impact of your recommended solution.
Use your ROI analysis to provide relevant supporting financial metrics to the benefits you’ve described earlier. Some suggested sample outcomes are shown below. Focus on the key objectives for your PSA implementation including the relevant metrics from your own ROI.
*Your results will vary, figures used are for illustrative purposes only.
Services revenue increase of 8%
Annual hiring costs reduced by $250k
Services revenue increase of $750k
Operations time saved per year 850 hours
Finance time saved per year 900 hours
Expense leakage annual reduction $250k
Stakeholder confidence 100% improved
Final Thoughts & Next Steps
Without an understanding of the current state, any presentation of ROI metrics is likely to fall on deaf ears, so the key to presenting an effective business case is to provide a narrative that describes the current challenges, outlines the likely impact of doing nothing, and explains what life will be like following the successful implementation of a new solution.
It’s likely that you are investing in a new tool with the ultimate hope of building stronger customer relationships and a sustainable business. While this article helps you make a business case to the decision makers of your organization, the next step is understanding your customers. PS teams within product companies often face similar challenges that stand in the way of efficiently delivering value to your customers. To learn more, check out our eBook, Five Steps To Getting Customers Successful Sooner, which highlights the common roadblocks faced by Professional Services teams.