- Deep Value
Put simply, Top Line Performance is the level of output produced by your workforce. In the Deep Value Economy, where profit margins are squeezed and competition is ever-increasing, a higher level of output will enable your firm to generate greater revenue.
Utilising a project-focussed approach will help your professional services firm to mitigate distractions and instead concentrate on generating value for your client.
The essence of a project-focussed approach is straightforward; after identifying the desired output, any effort exerted by your firm needs to be put through the test of these three questions:
A project-focussed approach such as this will allow you to better manage your actions, directing them towards driving the desired outcomes.
One simple action to ensure that your firm maintains a project-focussed approach is by ensuring that all reporting and associated processes are automated, rather than manual.
It is also important to check that all reporting being undertaken is actually required and adds value to the project. Often referred to as ‘beige tape’, manually reporting for reporting’s sake, or continuing with a process because “it’s the way it’s always been done”, can drain your resources and distract your team from the outcomes essential to the business.
A professional services firm should instead be aiming for efficient, effective, low-cost oversight of their project, rather than cumbersome manual reporting. By using automated reporting techniques and setting up parameters within which the project is to operate, your team can maintain their focus on the desired outcomes and provide deeper value for the client.
As we mentioned in Information Management, having as much client data and information as possible is essential to ensuring you can tailor your professional service to meet their needs. However, the longer you have the data without using it, the more costly it can become to understand it as the project progresses.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you allow your teams to access this client data and information as quickly as possible. This will enable your firm to better understand your client’s needs from the outset; not only will your team then be able to ‘hit the ground running’ with the client’s work request, but your firm and the client will be able to more efficiently work together due to the common knowledge of their needs and work environment.
In line with ensuring your team has quick access to relevant information, it is important to ensure all new information is handled immediately and appropriately.
New information about a client could have a drastic impact on the scope of work, or effect the work which has already been undertaken; therefore, any delay in accessing and disseminating this information will have a tangible impact on the final outcome of the project, as well as causing a financial hit to the bottom line.
Critical to the success of any data analysis is the ability to communicate your findings with fellow team members, management and the client.
However, this can be made difficult if data is inconsistent, due to the build-up of ‘data silos’ with different datasets of the same base data.
If the data being used by different stakeholders is conflicting, your project can become paralysed by data rather than being informed by it, which will result in lengthy delays and heightened frustration.
This is why it is important to have what is known as one ‘central version of the truth’. A central version of the truth is a single view of the data that everyone involved agrees is the real, trusted version. It is about consolidating and aligning all data to ensure consistency in reporting, as well as having a single version of the key metrics used by your firm and the client throughout the project.
It is also imperative this central version of the truth is able to be accessed regardless of location; if a team member can’t access the resource they require, or is hindered by inconsistent data, then the whole project can have the brakes applied until this is rectified.
By eliminating data silos and ensuring all people have access to the relevant central version of the truth, professional services firms will be able to spend less time on understanding and explaining facts and figures, and instead concentrate on generating greater returns for the client and themselves.
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