BI for Professional Services: Service Delivery Excellence
Professional services firms are increasingly focused on service delivery excellence to increase client satisfaction, achieve competitive differentiation and grow margins. Business intelligence can help firms excel at service delivery by providing broader visibility and deeper insight across the full project lifecycle – from project setup, planning, and staffing through execution, and billing.
BI helps different people quickly and easily answer questions about the business. For example;
- What’s my total work in progress (WIP) and invoiced amount outstanding by department, client and project?
- Which projects, groups or clients are negatively affecting days sales outstanding?
- What is the amount of write-offs by project, group or client?
- Have we optimally used sub-contractors?
- Is selling, general and administrative expenses growing faster than revenue and if so why?
- How much is my unbilled WIP?
- How much is invoiced but not collected?
- How long does it take (and how much does it cost) to generate new invoices?
- How many time and expense sheets are missing and whose are they?
- Have we fully deployed internal resources?
- Is the project on budget and on time?
- Is the project profitable?
- Will there be any write-offs or giveaways?
- Are we utilizing the firm’s knowledge base?
- Is the client satisfied?
- Who has the right skills for the project?
- What are they currently working on?
- How many people do we need today? In 30 days? In 60 days?
BI helps firms answer these questions by integrating data from multiple sources and centralizing it for decision making, which increases trust in, and agreement about decisions made based on the data. And it can simplify access and make it easier for people to use and understand data. Some examples of the wide range of financial and operating metrics that BI can help firms monitor and manage to achieve service delivery excellence include;
- Gross margin
- Operating margin
- Days sales outstanding
- Revenue and profit per resource
- Revenue and profit by client
- Revenue and profit by practice or service line
- Write-offs and givebacks
- Client satisfaction
- Cost of sales
- Time sheet accuracy
- Billing rate realization
Project management metrics
- Project profitability
- Issue tracking
- Client satisfaction
- Milestones hit or late
- Resource utilization
- Number of days not assigned by resource
- Skills in demand
- Forecast for skills
The benefits of Service Deliver Excellence include;
- Lower operational costs and higher margins
- Decreased revenue leakage
- Fewer write-offs and givebacks
- Higher resource utilization
- Faster payments
- Greater client satisfaction
For a real customer example see the following;