How to Get a 360-Degree Project View
- A 360-degree project view is the single, central source for project information.
- Professional Services Automation (PSA) software can deliver a 360 degree project view that aids project managers and stakeholders in their pursuit of resource optimization, project quality objectives and forecasted financial targets.
- The combination of a central project view and customer view provides partners, salespeople, account managers and services delivery staff with relevant and personalized business intelligence that can be used to improve project execution or identify future projects.
A 360 Degree Project View Architecture
Professional Services Automation (PSA) software is the core operational business application for professional service firms. It provides the automation, information and scale to manage concurrent projects consistently and achieve forecasted results.
The 360˚ project view is the central project profile record in the PSA application. It provides a real-time holistic view of all client and project information.
It harvests five types of project data, aggregates the data into key performance indicators and delivers the right information to the right project team member at the right time.
The five types of project data include the following:
- Firmographics are descriptive client and project attributes used to segment projects for business process design and information reporting. In most PSA systems they are captured on the project profile record. Designing and capturing the right attributes is critical for downstream project management and analysis.
However, while firmographics are a common starting point for project learning, they are relatively stagnant and not good predictors of customer behaviors or contribution to key performance measures such as revenues, costs, profits and customer lifetime value.
To better manage projects for these business purposes, it's extremely helpful to take the next steps and further append the project profile with operational, transactional, behavioral and financial data.
- Operational data is all about project execution. It includes the data, assets and artifacts that contribute to project planning, services delivery and project management. In a PSA system, it usually begins by repurposing data and assets to create new project solutioning and estimates by applying the experience and lessons learned from prior projects. Other key data include staff data used for resource optimization, variance data for risk management and contract data for governance.
- Transactional data is simply recorded transactions. It includes sale opportunities and quotes created in the CRM system, contracts and change orders created from the Content Management System (CMS), time and expense records created in the PSA software, and invoices and payments processed in the ERP system.
The key is that all project-related transactions are easily accessible from a single location (i.e., the project profile record). When the transaction processing systems are integrated, business process automation can be applied to reduce manual effort, streamline processes, ensure consistency and accelerate business process cycles.
- Behavioral data includes client behaviors, such as project co-creation, collaboration and ideation that calculate customer sentiment and feed product and services innovation. Behavioral data is captured in online project forums, portals and enterprise social networks such as Salesforce Slack or Microsoft Teams.
Professional service organizations can harvest volumes of customer and project data to improve services delivery and customer satisfaction by appending what is generally static demographic and transactional data with real-time and dynamic behavioral data. This improved customer intelligence dramatically enhances customer and project segmentation with data that more accurately predicts customer intent and satisfaction.
Several PSA systems have built in social media characteristics such as communities, ideation forums, status with updates, likes and comments, and content sharing. Social data permits service organizations to understand the sociological attributes of each customer. Knowing what each customer suggests, 'Likes', shares or comments on creates a highly specific customer social graph that can be applied for project improvement, highly specific project up-sell opportunities and increased client share and customer retention.
When integrated with the project, ideation forums and Voice of the Customer (VoC) data are particularly well suited to capture customer ideas to spur the company's product or service innovation. But to shift the data into action, it's been our experience that a dashboard is needed to surface those customer ideas with the most merit.
Customers have their preferred communication channels. Making those channels available to client project team members during the project will increase customer communication, collaboration and co-creation. Customers know what they want. If service providers capture that information, it can be harvested and converted for service innovation and improved client relationships.
- Financial data is sourced from the ERP or accounting system. At the minimum it includes project revenue and cost data that calculates essential metrics such as project profit margin, resource utilization and financial forecasts. Financial data becomes more actionable when it triggers real-time alerts and is displayed in a project dashboard.