Even people who love their jobs want
to avoid unnecessary work. Standing out in the professional world takes vertical
thinking and innovation, but when employees are spending the majority of their
time on manual, repetitive tasks, there’s very little room left for creativity
and big ideas. However, professional services teams that utilize automation enjoy
Not only are they able to strip away the
nonsense from their day-to-day work, but that newfound productivity gives them
the breathing room to follow through with ideas on a broader scale. An
inventive and forward-thinking workforce comes up with the ideas that differentiate
and streamline to save the business money. The automation itself also
contributes to a cost savings as unnecessary errors are taken out of the
equation and replaced by reliable, scalable business models.
Automation in helping professional services teams save time and money, and inevitably work smarter. How a professional services company approaches automation depends on its goals, budgets, and other internal factors. Let's look at the ways professional services automation can save time & money and how teams can think about putting automation to use for them.
Automation to Save Time & Money
Every business must scale, evolve, and adapt; and how easily they’re able to do that defines their competitive advantage. Here are a few ways professional services teams are maximizing the ROI of automation.
Minimizing Administrative Work
Professional services automation cuts
out unnecessary data entry and automates time-consuming administrative
processes. Project planning and scheduling, document filing, and time tracking/billing
are just a few examples of how automation can be applied.
Benefits of administrative automation
are found in team productivity, overall data accuracy, and cost savings. This
is because automated workflows are following defined rules around how the data
is created and stored, and where it is used.
Administrators are able to access the
information they need where and when they need it. The data is reliable and
easy to digitally duplicate or manipulate for other purposes, making it both
convenient and cost-efficient for the business.
Making Remote Work Smarter
Not all industries can offer work-from-home
for employees. But, the professional services industry is particularly suited to
this new way of working. That makes it attractive to new talent. At the same
time, it means that organizations that were once fully in-person or hybrid must
refresh standards and expectations around work and productivity.
Automating business processes and IT can
simplify that transition to remote work. For example, intelligent time-tracking
can improve the employee experience. Automation can also help remote employees maximize
productivity while making it easier for managers to track key metrics around
Reducing Customer Friction
Clients want two main things:
personalization and simplicity. Automation facilitates both, which ultimately
leads to better customer experiences and more profitable customer lifetime
value. That’s because organizations can build cross-sell and upsell models
using automation that triggers outreach based on behaviors, lifecycle, or other
It is more expensive and time
consuming to acquire new customers than sell to existing ones, and automation
cuts down on that friction for professional services teams. It’s also great for
managing support channels and communication pathways so clients have multiple
options for how to contact you and get routed to the right person to help.
Reliable Audit Trails
Professional services automation tracks
and documents every process and transaction, from client complaints to employee
reviews, resource distribution, and even project wins. This creates a reliable
audit trail from which team can learn. It gives them the data points to easily duplicate
what works so they can effortlessly apply the processes that are most successful
Multi-Dimensional Data Views &
Real-time reports lead to educated decision-making
across professional services organizations. The analytics pulled out of automated
systems guides smarter planning and investments that lead to more profitable
outcomes. Data can be segmented and reported on at various levels to build a multi-dimensional
viewpoint of the business and its operations.
How to Approach Professional Services
There are a few ways you can get
started with professional services automation. A lot of the decision-making
around those options has to do with the technical assets your company already possesses.
The Integration Route...
For example, most professional services teams these days use a CRM solution. If you have a CRM that’s working for you, you may want to up your automation game by integrating it with supporting applications. An integration between the CRM and a marketing solution would allow marketing to segment lists more easily and sales to see important touchpoints for customers and prospects in their pipeline. Automated reports could be populated from the data shared between them.
Integrating the CRM with time
tracking software or an ERP system might also be good options. It all depends
on your automation goals – what would be most helpful to streamline and automate
right now, and how do you envision that automation supporting your business growth
in the future?
The PSA Route...
Another option would be purchasing a
PSA (professional services automation) software. PSA software typically enables
time and expense tracking, resource allocation, billing and invoicing, project
management, and CRM. However, there are many types of PSA software you can
acquire and what they actually do can vary. Some of them are more focused on
project collaboration, others on operations. Many still require integration
with supporting systems to take full advantage of features.
The No Code Route...
One other automation strategy that has the business world buzzing is the use of no code software. No code software enables professional services teams to automate processes and workflows and build customer facing applications with no programming knowledge.
It can be a powerful ally for
sustainable automation because it is able to pull in data from your existing
systems (be it a CRM, CX solution, ERP, PSA, etc.) to initiate machine learning
and automation quickly. These automations can happen so fast because IT isn’t
as heavily involved. The everyday team members in sales, marketing, and services
are driving the automations themselves with visual, drag-and-drop builders.
Whether you are looking to acquire software, integrate what you already have, or accelerate automation using no code, it’s important to be strategic about your plans. A consulting partner can look at your existing software mix and compare it to your vision to help you determine the right path.