If your company is like most growing professional services organizations, you’re keenly aware of the juggling act that takes place when quoting new business opportunities. You want to quote the optimal timing (start date and completion date) and the right price to suit your profitability targets, but you aren’t 100% confident that the people you need for the project will be available when you need them. Perhaps they’re currently working on multiple projects plus two that are running beyond their projected completion dates or maybe they need some downtime and just booked vacations in far-off lands. Or have other work commitments not related to projects at all.
These types of information blind spots can make quoting a deal extremely challenging.
As your organization grows, the systems and processes you used successfully in the past will struggle to scale with you when you have multiple people quoting projects. You can no longer trust that spreadsheets, Google Docs, or even your project management tool will capture your resource data in real time and give you a complete picture for smart quoting.
Unified PSM Systems
A unified project service management (PSM) system brings together the real-time information you need regarding resource availability, Gantt-style project planning, cost estimations, and forecasting so you can provide quotes that align with your current cost and capacity restraints. Because a unified PSM system shares data from each person’s calendar with the Gantt-driven project parameters, anyone with system access can book your team members into projects without accidentally over-booking anyone. Imagine being able to define roles, assign hourly costs, estimate schedules around holidays and key people’s downtime/vacations, and more ─ all from a single screen.
Each team member can enter the system to view how they should be prioritizing work, which is far more efficient than receiving ad hoc email requests confirming availability or providing a ‘heads up’ that someone is being committed to a new potential project. Moreover, employees’ job satisfaction rates rise because they gain predictability in their personal work planning routine and lose the feeling of being randomly tossed from project to project.
A unified PSM system offers additional benefits to project quoting via integrations with ERP and accounting systems. Now you can combine historical knowledge regarding ‘projected-vs-actual costs’ for similar projects that were recently completed with the time and resources those projects required, both planned and actual. This helps you avoid the common mistake of aggressively quoting a project and eventually having to ‘eat’ costs to deliver as promised.
Another benefit of having calendar data and project-related data in one system is the opportunity to analyze detail-level results so management can improve the business. You can see which of your people provide the most business value in terms of billable hours, or completing tasks in a timely fashion, for example. And you can gain insight into taking control of costs and managing budgets as you plan future projects.
Avoid Quoting Fits
If your organization has been scrambling to pull together the relevant data you need to quote a deal accurately and profitably, particularly when it comes to resource availability, now is the time to consider a unified PSM system that incorporates Gantt planning and web-based calendaring. Both you and your staff will enjoy an always-accessible resource that keeps everyone on the same page regarding project requirements and expectations. In the end, you’ll optimize quote value and raise profits, all while improving employees’ job satisfaction rates.
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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.