When it comes to gauging performance in a service company, the default metrics will always be financial. Numbers can inform, but they can also distort if they are not tied to deeper organizational truths. The real question is how can a service company generate a penetrating and ongoing view of its performance as it compares to others in the real world.
At Sopris Systems, we know this firsthand and the knowledge has been hard-earned in our professional services company implementations. Benefits arrive and benefits accrue from our Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP and CRM implementation experience, but we also believe there’s real value organizations institute a comprehensive method for understanding the interplay of a business software on mission-critical platforms like the ones we provide.
For that reason, we are particularly indebted to Service Performance Insight (SPI), self-described as “a global research, consulting and training organization dedicated to helping professional service organizations (PSOs) make quantum improvements in productivity and profit.” For nearly a decade SPI has researched, benchmarked and built a maturity model to:
- Help professional services (PS) executives better understand how their organization compares to others that are both similar in size and scope of work, as well as to the broader professional services market; and,
- Provide an objective, fact-based framework for performance improvements that helps pinpoint the areas that will provide the greatest impact.
The SPI White Paper, “The Benchmark Report 2015: Becoming a Dynamic Services Firm,” is particularly instructive. Based on research among 2,000 service firms—and using 200 performance indicators—SPI believes a “holistic” view of organizations, based on how “each component of the professional services organization can both positively and negatively impact performance, cash flow and ultimately profit” can provide the best possible points of comparison with “the greatest impact.”
“Top performing PSOs must keep their eyes on many different balls simultaneously,” according to the report, “but the rewards are ample for those that can successfully balance supply and demand with quality service delivery and client delight.”
Eight years ago, SPI developed the PS Maturity ModelTM “as a strategic planning and management framework” now deployed by “over 10,000 service and project-oriented organizations.” The model rests on five Service Performance PillarsTM: leadership, client relationships, human capital alignment, service execution, and finance and operations.
We’d like to focus on the leadership pillar. The best way to become a leader in a service company is to understand how leading companies make it happen.
“The premium PS firms create unique competitive advantage and are able to command significantly higher bill rates,” according to the SPI Report. “They become known as the innovators in their markets, industries, technologies and business processes. They produce tangible results and are able to harvest the knowledge gained to do an even better job the next time. They build a culture which embodies their brand and values which further attracts prospective consultants and clients who identify with those attributes.”
Of course, that kind of leadership comes from believing down to your toes that the implementation of an integrated enterprise business solutions can be transformational and scalable: the right platform deployed and managed properly is the gift that keeps on giving to your organization.
Leadership is not automatic. According to the report: “The leader must simultaneously learn to let go and grow at the same time”—never an easy feat. But Sopris believes the rewards can be commensurate with your firm’s commitment with superior performance as the measurable outcome.
Join us at the ACEC Annual Convention to learn about best practices of leading dynamic professional services firms.