Projects: Knowledge Services
Providing knowledge-based service projects to your clients presents the same unique challenges no matter what industry you are in, and that determines what you need in a business system.
What challenges do you face?
Knowledge Services companies service their clients with specialized knowledge or expertise. Traditional knowledge work companies include professional services organizations, accounting firms, architecture, engineering & environmental services, management consulting, research firms and IT services. The work is generally white collar in nature and your single most important resource is your employees.
Knowledge Services deal with many market pressures, including multiple regulations and policies, tighter budgets and faster timelines. To be competitive and remain profitable in this global business environment, you must monitor key performance drivers, deploy innovative business models and continually improve your service offerings.
Traditional Knowledge Services Industries
Unify Your Project Business
Microsoft and ADEACA built a comprehensive end-to-end business system for knowledge-based service companies. This Unified Project Solution synthesizes all professional service project functions inside the ERP, including project control, purchasing, human resources and finance as well as billable hours and budget administration. This level of integration enables newly optimized and automated process control, creating extraordinary efficiencies and insight for knowledge service companies.
Better Estimation & Change Management
Being a Knowledge Services company, it is likely that 90 percent or more of your costs are your employees – talent. Your services estimates are likely contained in a project plan and now needs to be translated into a budget, considering not only the hours and days required to complete the job but also the fact that talent wage structures may vary greatly and individual resources may not be identified at this stage.
Also, you must ensure that sufficient talent capacity is available to undertake the contract or contract extension to provide an accurate estimate and to time-phase your budget and payment plan for accurate cash flow and Earned Value Analysis.
Managing scope changes poses another challenge. Many times, scope creep occurs without proper change management controls. This leads to talent working on out-of-scope deliverables which is later rejected by the client because no contract extension was agreed upon.
Budgeting in ADEACA ONE
ADEACA ONE automatically aligns financial and operational plans to easily produce accurate estimates and accommodate scope changes for your clients. Integrated project planning, resource scheduling and talent management provide enterprise-wide visibility into your projects.
- Scheduling, resourcing and project management in one solution
- Automatically assume time-phased labor estimates directly from the schedule
- Integrated estimation, budget and change management
- Centralized talent and rate management
Integrated Talent Resource Management
As a Knowledge Service company, your single most important asset is your employees. You want to make sure the talent you employ is optimally utilized. The higher the talent utilization, the more profitable the enterprise is, as long as capacity is not exceeded, which leads to delays, unhappy clients, unhappy employees and extensive mitigation costs.
You challenge is to do more with less, maintaining high resource utilization with confidence. To do this, you need a single view of talent utilization so you can balance resources at a department and company level while tracking talent based on department, pay grade, service line, location, skills, certificates, education, and more. Furthermore, you need to be able to manage intra-company resource loans among projects and departments, setting and tracking utilization targets.
Maximize Talent Utilization with ADEACA ONE
ADEACA ONE is part of your ERP and HRM system, enabling real-time resource management within the project portfolio. Better align resources with project needs, instantly understand talent consumption, and optimize resource utilization by lowering uncertainty and risk in project scheduling.
- Apply an unlimited number of attributes to resources, presenting a clear picture of workers’ expertise and fit
- Maintain cost and sales rates by pay grade
- Project resources are directly integrated with your ERP’s HRM system
- Manage capacity by role, resource and department
- Manage resource loans across the enterprise
- Staff projects through project manager, resource manager, or by talent themselves
Centralized Talent Scheduling & Capacity Management
For service projects, an accurate project plan ensures the appropriate availability of talent, identifying early the current and future constraints within the project and across all the portfolio. You must balance high levels of resource utilization without exceeding capacity and leaving room for scheduled slack to absorb everyday disruptions without exceeding deadlines.
The most common cause of project delay is lack of available talent. Your need a solid framework to avoid, or detect and resolve resource conflicts (i.e. double booking) in real-time and to evaluate capacity implications of even slight adjustments of the project timeline.
ADEACA ONE Centralizes the Project Plan
With ADEACA ONE talent resource pools and the project schedule are centralized in the ERP, allowing the project plan to shift in real-time so it remains dynamically updated. This architecture ensures alignment not only across individual projects but across your entire portfolio of projects.
- Central capacity pool supports accurate and realistic project schedules
- Enterprise-wide automatic or manual capacity leveling
- Plan at the resource or resource group level
- Real-time detection of staffing conflicts
Enhanced Time and Expense Management
One of the biggest challenges for service companies is accurately tracking resource time and expenses. Managing the intricacies of project assignments among a large portfolio of projects within a large enterprise is increasingly difficult. Therefore, it is crucial to be able to implement and govern that process with confidence.
You must ensure that time and expenses are posted to the right projects and that talent is always working off a current list of approved project assignments. Providing a system for collaboration between the project manager and utilized talent is vital to the success of any project.
Integrated Time and Expense Management in ADEACA ONE
With ADEACA ONE time and expense management is built in to the system. Assignments, actual work, status updates, issue management and time tracking are all incorporated into a systemized process that ensures transparency and visibility across the company.
- Timesheet and expense reports fully integrated with project schedule and assigned tasks
- Real-time communication between WBS and timesheets
- Talent is automatically notified of new assignments in their workspace
- Assignments are listed and reported against in timesheet for error-free data entry
- Time cannot be posted to closed tasks
More in your Month-End Process
Knowledge work can take weeks or months to complete. Therefore, periodic assessments of progress, budget burn-rate, Estimate at Completion (EAC), risk and issues become a critical process in predicting the future success or failure of the project.
You need real-time tracking of costs and commitments from timesheets, expense reports and vendor invoices. Analyzing project costs and commitments against budgets and remaining work estimates enables you to align your financial predictions with the current project plan and identify variances before they materialize so you can take corrective action.
Monthly risk reviews and mandatory check lists ensures company guidelines are consistently enforced for each engagement, providing standardization of the month-end process across the enterprise to produce reliable and comparable performance metrics.
The Improved Month-End with ADEACA ONE
ADEACA ONE joins costs and commitments with budgets and estimates, enabling controllers to deduce critical performance metrics, such as completion degrees, budget variances and margin at completion. Variances are instantly identified with real-time data tracked against a multilevel cost breakdown structure.
- Real-time reporting of committed costs from timesheets and expense reports
- Automatically compute estimate at completion for labor from remaining work estimates in the schedule
- Apply costing metrics directly to revenue recognition and earned value analytics
- Ensure a smooth P&L by accruing revenue based on real progress
- Periodic risk assessments and formalized check list drives corporate compliance and governance
Knowledge Service Project Success Stories
Real-time operations for knowledge service project companies is possible, and as leaders in their industries our customers prove it every day.
KPMG Switzerland lacked real-time insight into project performance, which put the company at risk. It searched the market for one integrated solution that could deliver financial, human resource and project management together. After thorough evaluations, it chose ADEACA + Microsoft to deliver on this promise.
“The most important thing is that P&L owners, managing directors, and executives are able to make decisions with real-time data. That is a key differentiator for our business.”