By Mark E. Engelberg, TimeLinx –
From supply chain verticals to mom-and-pop stores, the pandemic impact has been a reliable constant across the spectrum of news media and industry blogs.
While tourism and hospitality were the poster boys of Covid-crisis headlines, the impact on professional and field services remained overlooked in the mainstream by comparison. With external contract services being among the first costs to be restrained during a squeeze, it should be no surprise that professional services organizations (PSOs) took a heavy hit.
With a seeming reduction in COVID cases, it’s time for Professional Service Organizations (PSOs) to dust off and hit back by applying some familiar lessons of strategic agility and resilience.
Here are a few insights for PSOs eager to accelerate away from the crisis and lean into new opportunities.
Flexibility Can Sometimes Beat Planning
Strategy is indispensable, but it can get you in trouble. Often, strategy is taught in business schools as a set of decisions about where to compete and how to win. These decisions and choices make up a strategic plan rolled out over three to five years, often without review and refresh.
When strategy fails
However, during a crisis, rigid strategic planning can risk locking organizations into a narrow path toward risk. Now that the Covid-crisis seems to be easing, PSOs must be cautious of getting the wheels back in motion using pre-Covid strategies that may set them on a course that fails to factor in market changes.
Empowerment Can Be More Effective than Hierarchy
Any organization is only as strong as its weakest link. It may be an under-performing sales department or a flawed project lifecycle hampered by disconnected workflows.
A hierarchy, for example, is most vulnerable at the top. Professional Service organizations that become overly reliant on managerial delegation can experience sudden performance loss when key managers leave, particularly in field teams that depend on task schedules and updates being manually communicated to them.
Embedding best practice
Empowerment, on the other hand, brings a key advantage over hierarchy.
When you empower field teams for greater independence, best-practice and diligence—critical for both client delivery and project profitability—is spread across teams instead of being administered centrally. If a service manager leaves, is replaced, or is promoted, the best-practice knowledge and behavior remain embedded among field service personnel.
Automate field-team profitability and best practice
Want to improve field-service agility and independence?
Put TimeLinx SmartMobile in the hands of your field teams and they’ll be empowered to remotely integrate project and service records back to your CRM database while automatically capturing key tasks and profitability data on the fly.
Speed Often Beats Perfection
During a crisis, opportunities appear and vanish quickly. This was a lesson many organizations learned during the COVID crisis as first-mover advantages were swept up by those able to get creative and turn risk and adversity into innovative marketing incentives and profit. While the smart ones found opportunities, the perfectionists sat in the boardroom or on Zoom having emergency-planning meeting after emergency-planning meeting.
We’re not advocating recklessness, though ‘speed over perfection’ is a lesson that Professional Service Organizations can carry forward out of the Covid-crisis.
Those that do will likely achieve an improved project win rate and revenue improvement as markets start scaling back up the adoption of external service contractors.
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TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.