Why ERP UX & Industry Depth Can Help Set Your Professional Services Firm Apart
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Recently, I spent a long-haul flight with an inoperative entertainment system, forcing me, for what felt like a good part of 10 hours, to stare into a blank screen. Needless to say, it left me questioning my experience with that particular company. I can feel a collective eye roll, for we can all relate to feeling something similar. Why? Because our user experience matters.
Back in the office looking at the entirety of my team’s project positions with clients spread globally, I got to thinking about how, we must not underestimate the importance of user experience. Our customers are demanding interactions that are immediate, personal, and efficient and user friendly and we need to stay agile to the needs of the client. To add to this mix, is machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics. And whilst many are still in the early phases of applying these technologies, it is important that we provide a platform to support those technologies, for customers on an aggressive innovation track, looking to improve user experience and delivery of projects.
We at Deltek have been refining our own solutions for over 40 years. We have millions of users globally and user experience certainly drives our adoption but that hasn’t been sufficient for us. Beyond this, it is our industry depth that has been our key differentiator, allowing our customers to execute on their business processes, based on their behaviours and roles and more recently, individual desires to seize technological opportunities such as artificial intelligence or machine learning within the professional services industry. Of course this means our solutions are not right for everyone, for example manufacturing firms, but this makes us much more integral, because they are built to blend seamlessly into project based, professional service firms.
And we are continuously exploring this relationship between industry expertise and user experience to deliver solutions that are intuitive, ergonomic, and dynamic and integrate into a single view on laptops, mobiles and in the Cloud solely with the project based professional service firm in mind.
Professional Services Trends Report 2018
I have had the opportunity to reflect on some typical engagements with professional services clients where we have implemented in partnership to ensure Deltek’s solutions enhance their user experience and meet their goals.
Do any of their requirements look familiar to your own people and processes?
CFO, Global Engineering Firm, 3000+ Employees
The CFO that does an immense amount of travel. They believe in the importance of solutions that are compatible with the organisational mind-set and culture. They occupy a role that demands a strong focus on cost control, strategy advice, and ruthless control of cash flow, backlog, forecasting and integrating information across business units. Month-end closing is a particularly important time with a need for mobile reporting. They are typically;
✓ Running on tight margins, needing to know exactly what the financial health of divisions across markets and countries are experiencing at any given moment.
✓ Driving important decisions across the business, therefore requiring real time data visualisation with one database one system one view of the truth.
✓ Relying on the solution to drill down on reports by country and division in seconds, in an integrated data environment, whilst often sitting in an airport lounge.
Consultant, Advisory Firm, 2000+ Employees
The consultant that may have previously viewed timesheet submissions as time consuming and a necessary evil. Now desires a system that allows them to complete these with ease because it is a part of their role that is monitored closely. They are equally looking for unmatched breadth and depth of expertise from their CRM system for efficiency and insight.
✓ The ability to submit a time sheet with one click and raise a draft invoice immediately thereby reducing days of sales outstanding and increasing the firms working capital.
✓ Providing managers with accuracy of information and giving their team, the ease and simplicity to execute essential commercial project tasks quickly, and orient their time toward the client.
✓ A CRM solution that provides the efficiency and insight to lead with intelligence and alignment during their periods of growth. Thereby, enabling them to identify sales leads and advise on bid strategies, knowing what to bid and how to cost it.
Project Manager, Global Agency, 800+ Employees
The project manager who is trying to fulfil numerous projects running at any one time and facing many constraints within those projects. Requiring a solution that provides the team with deep integration into business pressures as well as opportunities.
✓ Often on site with a customer the entire day and needs to chase the team for 6 or 7 deliverables and get a change order through the system, the solution needs to be proactive and allow them to initiate control, and charge appropriately for their next move in a very complex environment.
✓ Required to be forward thinking, with a myopic understanding of costs and estimate to complete, with workflows that are intuitive and built for the business.
✓ Benefiting from a single integrated system that supports real time data visualisation and transparency, company-wide.
In light of these reflections, I see huge opportunities for clients who value the importance of a unique user experience, that’s incorporating industry best practice and, we are not even close to where we can get. I continue to have positive engagements with the people I have described above and their leadership teams who now, more than ever, see the importance of user experience to achieve true business value.
For Deltek it is imperative that we understand the industry in which we operate, otherwise we are not connecting with our clients to permeate deeply into their business, their pressures and strategies. We therefore remain focussed on providing solutions for project based businesses that match their unique business models, drive efficiency and generate strong growth. It’s up to our clients to seize opportunities, we simply give them the platform and ease of solutions to do so. Because, unlike others, we can’t afford to have clients questioning their experience with us, and that’s something we are very proud of.
2018 Industry Report
Professional Services Trend Report
- Agency Workflow
- Architecture and Engineering Firms
- Business Intelligence
- Change Management
- Cloud ERP
- Consulting Firms
- Financial Management
- Job Costing
- Legal Sector
- Marketing and PR Agencies
- Professional Services Automation
- Professional Services Industry
- Project Management
- Resource Planning
- Talent Management
- Time and Expenses
- Traffic Management