Types of management software for professional services
The global professional services market is projected to grow to $8.08 trillion by 2022. Even now, these organizations rely on software solutions to make them more efficient, more profitable, and more attractive to clients.
When it comes to professional services, there is no shortage of moving parts. The complexity of processes like resource planning, client management, and billing illustrates the need for powerful professional services software.
Organizations need to track and optimize employee utilization and streamline processes through automation. An all-in-one solution that addresses these business needs can make companies more productive and profitable.
What are some different types of management software for professional services?
Professional services software is not a “one size fits all” solution. Different-sized companies across industries will have varying business needs to address. This is why some management software solutions will specialize in business intelligence and sales features, while other software will specialize in features like time tracking and resource management.
Some types of management software and their key features include:
ERP (Enterprise resource planning)
- Supply chain management
- Business intelligence
- Sales management
PSA (Professional services automation)
- Time and expense tracking
- Resource management
- Project management
CWM (Collaborative work management)
- File storage and management
- Resource management
- Task management
In this section, you’ll learn more about different types of PS software, how they help businesses, and how Wrike’s project software combines these features to create a comprehensive, flexible, and robust package for organizations.
What is PSA software?
For professional services organizations, on-time and on-budget project delivery is the mission. Getting there is all about incorporating software that uses automation to increase visibility, eliminate inefficiencies, and track progress from start to finish. This is where PSA (professional services automation) software can help.
Some important features of PSA software include time tracking, project reporting and analytics, and resource management.
While many teams still use spreadsheets and shared documents to track progress on certain tasks, flexible PSA software is likely a better option. Manually updating spreadsheets, switching between software solutions, and spending time on repetitive tasks are time-wasting endeavors.
What is PSA software used for?
PSA software is designed to streamline processes for professional services teams, allowing them to focus on more important tasks instead. A 2018 Clio Legal Trends Report found that attorneys had an average utilization rate of 30%. That’s 2.4 hours a day in a 40-hour workweek spent on billable work. According to the report, the rest of their time was spent on activities like “recording and summarizing time entries”, “transferring information between software”, and “organizing physical and electronic workspaces”.
Automating simple administrative tasks like “summarizing time entries” can ensure workers have the bandwidth to focus on client-facing activities. Wrike’s 2019 “Professional Services Work Benchmark” report revealed that 22% of respondents believed they could do 50% more work per week if administrative tasks like billing were automated.
Wrike’s time tracking tool allows employees to mark when they begin a task and when they finish it. This information is then summarized automatically in one centralized location, which minimizes time-consuming activities like constantly switching between apps and manually calculating hours. Users are also prevented from changing historical time logs, which preserves the integrity of the data collected.
Being able to follow billable hours also allows firms to track employee utilization and gain insights on billable vs. non-billable activity. They can also use the data to gauge whether there is too much, too little, or the right amount of client work.
Detailed project reporting and analytics also provide insights that can help simplify client reporting. Generating detailed and data-driven reports in Wrike means less time spent digging around for the information clients depend on.
ERP (enterprise resource planning) software helps organizations by enabling them to manage the many moving parts of their business operations. Oftentimes, businesses need an end-to-end solution that addresses their financial, operational, and resource management requirements.
ERP software is designed to act as a supply chain management tool, CRM tool, accounting and billing tool, sales tool, and business intelligence tool — all in one. But this comes at a price.
ERP software can be expensive, making it an out-of-reach solution for smaller and growing businesses. According to ERPfocus, it can cost between $7,143 - $8,542 per user for small, mid-size, and large businesses to implement ERP systems.
On the other hand, ERP software is beneficial because it integrates the most important activities within a professional services organization. A 2019 report from Softwarepath revealed that 34.4% of services organizations used an ERP system, citing a need to “manage a large workforce to accommodate goods or services required.”
What are the different types of ERP?
On-premise and cloud-based are the main types of ERP systems. Like its name suggests, on-premise solutions are based locally, usually in the physical office and controlled directly by internal IT, while cloud-based ERP software is stored in the cloud.
Software Advice highlights the differences in pricing for the types of ERP. While cloud-based ERP software is usually priced on a monthly basis, on-premise is typically priced as a one-time perpetual licence, significantly raising its initial investment cost.
As previously mentioned, the cost of ERP software can be a significant barrier, making it more suitable for organizations with the financial resources required to invest in a powerful and pricey end-to-end business process management system.
Resource Management Tools
For professional services organizations, good resource management is at the heart of project success. Optimizing this process requires a great deal of top down visibility. Resource management tools are crucial in providing clarity around workload, roles and responsibility, and availability.
Without a good resource management software solution, project activities that should be efficient and simple to manage suddenly become time-consuming and prone to human error.
What are the challenges of resource management?
Lack of visibility is a substantial challenge when it comes to resource management. When it is unclear which resources are available for present and future projects, processes like capacity planning and demand management are made exponentially more difficult.
Without strategic and mindful resource management, employees may also become overutilized, which can lead to burnout.
Managing resources can be even more complicated when the work arrives on short notice. In Wrike’s 2018 State of Creative Teams report, 35% of respondents said they received ad-hoc requests at least once a week, while a further 22% said they received these types of requests several times a week. While not ideal, this is often unavoidable. One challenge for resource managers is ensuring an efficient intake process.
Wrike request forms allow managers to easily manage cross-departmental requests. This eliminates vague verbal or email requests and time-consuming meetings that can eat into otherwise productive work hours.
How do resource management tools help professional services teams?
An effective resource management tool will address the previously mentioned pain points while building transparency and accountability into team workflows. With Wrike’s resource management tools, PS teams can:
Take on more client work by effortlessly re-prioritizing tasks
Project managers can easily reschedule and reprioritize admin or non-client facing tasks to make more time for billable client work. Assignees get real-time updates that keep them informed about any changes to their workloads.
Balance workloads and reduce benchtime
Inevitably, some team members will have too much work while others have too little. Project managers can be strategic in their resource management by easing overburdened employees and assessing which team members have the bandwidth to take on more duties.
Improve clarity around roles and responsibilities
The project wheels can quickly fall off when those involved are unsure of their roles and responsibilities. In Wrike, each team member can view their workload, deadlines, and update their tasks as they move through the project life cycle.
Identify skills or resource shortages
Resource managers aren’t just looking at the resources that are available now. Capacity planning in project management helps organizations assess what skills they will need for future initiatives. Without insight into current resource availability, firms cannot effectively plan for future projects.
Project and portfolio success often hinges on the right resources being available for the right projects. A resource management tool can help organizations make strategic project, hiring, and budget decisions which can, ultimately, help grow the business.
Wrike for professional services
In order to be competitive and, more importantly, profitable, professional services organizations need work management solutions that anticipate their needs. Wrike does that — and more.
What is Wrike for professional services software?
With Wrike, businesses get an intuitive and comprehensive software solution that merges key ERP, PSA, and CWM software features.
With Wrike, users gain access to:
- Advanced analytics
- Project portfolio management
- Resource management
- Time tracking
- CRM integration
- Onboarding templates
- Quickbooks integration
- Wrike Proof and more
Boosting profit margins and meeting client expectations requires visibility at every stage of the project life cycle. A cloud-based software solution like Wrike bridges the gap by offering task management, resource management, business intelligence, time and expense tracking features, and collaborative tools — all in one tool.
This level of visibility allows organizations to make strategic, data-driven decisions while also empowering their teams to do efficient and collaborative work.
Reduce project delivery time
Automate and templatize repetitive tasks to cut down on time-consuming and inefficient admin processes. Users can speed up project delivery and collaborate better and faster with centralized communication features. Plus, real-time updates ensure team members are always in the loop.
Inefficient review and approvals processes are also a huge time-wasting endeavor with 40% of creative teams saying approvals were not completed in time. Wrike Proof streamlines approvals so teams can collaborate and quickly incorporate feedback.
Optimize resource allocation
Adjust team workloads with easy to use, drag-and-drop resource allocation. Manage ad-hoc requests, and make strategic resource management decisions for short and long-term initiatives.
Optimize resources so teams can spend time on billable client work instead of drawn-out admin work. Additionally, project reports and analytics mean more strategic decisions for stronger outcomes.
When it comes to robust, easy-to-use, affordable project software, it’s clear that Wrike is the winning choice. With Wrike, users can collaborate with ease and manage processes from resource management to billing, and more.
Find out what 2.3 million users already know about Wrike’s flexible and intuitive work management features.