Feel the FinancialForce: Consulting Firm Taps Professional Services Automation


Share on LinkedIn

What’s the best way for a company to manage its consultants or any other personnel that it frequently deploys in the field and assigns to various projects?

That was a question recently posed to Cloud Sherpas by a consulting firm. To help answer this question, the firm asked us to evaluate two approaches: Professional Services Automation (PSA) from FinancialForce and ServiceMax field service management software, both of which run on the Force.com platform from salesforce.com.

According to Cloud Sherpas manager Guillermo Osorio, the consulting firm was looking for cloud-based software to help it manage all aspects of a project, including the ability to:

  • track project influencers, budgets, milestones and schedules

  • track resource allocation

  • enter and approve timecards and expenses

  • review incoming funds based on project pipeline

  • identify billing events and invoicing dates to predict future cash flow

  • generate financial reports on projects

Why Tap Cloud-Based Professional Services Automation Software?

The consulting company was making a move toward adopting a dedicated professional services automation package to replace a hodgepodge of manual — and thus inefficient, error-prone — processes. Notably, the previous approach had been based entirely on spreadsheets maintained by headquarters staff, with consultants phoning in from the field to log their hours.

Instead of this scattered process, the company wanted to provide consultants with a Web-based — as well as smartphone-based — platform for all of their project needs. Ideally, the platform would allow the consultants to log their time and roll up all related data to give managers actionable information relating to resource allocation, project milestones and other essentials.

Stepping back for a moment, these are business requirements that many types of companies — not just consulting firms — face, especially when they’re attempting to manage:

  • Chargebacks: Allocating IT costs to different departments based on their actual usage and requirements.

  • Project capitalization: Improving project efficiency and forecasting by detailing project cost estimates, associated milestones or resource levels on a timeline, then booking required resources.

Consulting Firm Selects Professional Services Automation (PSA)

In the case of the consulting company, Cloud Sherpas first helped it identify its business requirements and then review the options it had shortlisted. Ultimately, the consulting company selected FinancialForce PSA, in part because ServiceMax is designed more for supporting field employees, such as cable company engineers, who might have five, one-hour projects in a day. But the consulting company works on projects that span days, which made PSA a better fit for its needs.

Cloud Sherpas then helped the company to rapidly implement PSA, which included making some small customizations as well as loading in information relating to about 20 different project and service types. Cloud Sherpas also reviewed the company’s existing approaches and helped them put in place more efficient ways of doing business.

Deploying Frontline Project Management Tools

Today, the consulting company has a system in place to support its approximately 200 consultants, including a workflow that allows the PSA administrator, finance manager and all of the consultants to work in PSA, whether for submitting timecards and expenses or — for managers — approving those timecards and expenses. In addition, managers can more easily manage their resources, put out requests related to new projects and benefit from the other tracking, project management and reporting capabilities offered by the cloud-based project management system; no spreadsheets required.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here