http://www.digitaljournal.com/business/q-a-automating-professional-services-process-for-growth/article/577869

Q&A: Automating professional services process for growth Special

Posted Sep 20, 2020 by Tim Sandle
To help optimize resource management so people are in the right places to drive results and better manage project performance. New tracking software can help to automate the process and free resources to focus value where it really matters.
File Photo: The Red Balloon office - an example of an open plan  Bullpen -style office
File Photo: The Red Balloon office - an example of an open plan 'Bullpen'-style office
Veronica Therese (CC BY-SA 3.0)
To help meet such business needs, Levio, a digital transformation advisory firm, has chosen Unit4's People Experience Suite. Unit4's solution will provide project insight while tracking billable hours and tracing all people-related costs for accurate planning, budgeting and forecasting.
Why does this type of software deliver for businesses? Digital Journal spoke with Andy Brockhoff, Unit4’s North American President, about how the solution is helping Levio automate its Professional Services process to aid in its ambitious growth plans.
Digital Journal: What are the main challenges faced by resource management?
Andy Brockhoff: Top concerns from business leaders right now revolve around proper workforce planning. Employees are a large cost and need to prove their effectiveness in the long-term to be worth the high expense. HR and finance teams need an integrated platform to help plan the future workforce and team requirements. Executive teams need to see their people engaged in the employee experience to make sure they have the right employees with skill sets that will help move the company forward.
Talent management is also an aspect that doesn’t get a lot of thought from vendors – companies need a platform that will allow them to check in with employees and find the effectiveness of their teams.
DJ: How can resource management be optimized?
Brockhoff: Resource management needs to be the company’s holy grail – it needs to be a tool that can be used from the CHRO to the CFO to the COO. A single, integrated system allows leaders to see all aspects of their employees work and begin to grow and manage business effectively for long-term growth. Current tech can create silos and information can get stuck in the operating systems when using multiple platforms. Unit4’s ERP provides effective management of the right resources, putting people in the best spot to move forward while reducing the hours of menial tasks. Using artificial intelligence, our solution is self-learning and is able to provide more valuable insight. We also offer Intuo, a talent management platform, that allows leaders to check in and continue up-leveling training for their employees which can help measure effectiveness.
To enable this, a people-centric ERP needs to be integrated into HR and talent applications to ensure full visibility into the key resources. Additionally, a strong FP&A tool is necessary to allow effective planning for future projects to see factors such as headcount/skill needs.
DJ: What makes the Unit4 solutions different from your competitors?
Brockhoff:Most ERPs are built to manage manufacturing and supply chains, but employees are not widgets. They need a whole platform that is purpose-built – most people don’t respond well to technology that is developed for widgets. Our model is different, Unit4 took a step back and looked at how to manage resources effectively – planning, costs – and integrated those resources into the same HR system. Many competitors try to squeeze professional services into their ERP offerings without looking at how it will impact the platform.
DJ: Where else will the technology develop?
Brockhoff:Today, companies are hiring a new generation into the workforce – one who grew up with a cellphone in hand and knows the newest and best tech systems possible from their universities. This movement has caused a consumerization of IT in the workforce, where companies are developing technology that is more user friendly and can help onboard new employees to the platform. Business leaders are also struggling to manage their newly remote teams but aren’t looking at the positives of this progression. With remote teams, you are able to have the best team on the job, not just the ones who are in the same physical locations. New technology will develop to create more specific hubs and create global resource pools for the entire company.