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 an advantage.

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.

Using 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.

professional services automation benefits

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 their work.

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 data points.

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 and profitable.

Multi-Dimensional Data Views & Reports

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 Automation

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.

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