As a management consultant, you analyze information to make data-driven recommendations that’ll overcome issues and improve your customer’s bottom line.
You fix problems. Reorganize teams. Reduce inefficiencies. Help move companies from red to black.
Ironically, though, you may be having difficulty accurately assessing your own company’s performance. You always put clients first, right?
It’s a classic scenario within service-based businesses. You give everything to others and then find yourself manually poring over spreadsheets, frantically chasing down documents, talking to team leads, and eventually finding – and fixing – problems.
To make things more complicated, the software you’ve purchased over the years to facilitate an array of tasks may not play well together. In fact, what you have is a tangle of disparate tools creating silos of trapped information, keeping you from the insight needed to unravel issues and grow your organization.
You wish that your sales, delivery and administration to-dos and teams were all on the same page so you can get the big picture. You wouldn’t advise clients to use this approach – so why are you doing it?
Perhaps, it’s time to mind your own business. But where do you start?
Information silos pop up when new data is created but not integrated or aggregated in a way that you can strategically leverage it across a business. This is likely to occur with tool sprawl and the problems that result when applications don’t communicate well with each other.
Technology buildup increases the likelihood of unnecessary, costly service subscriptions, as well as IT complexity and management.
It can produce tool fatigue that causes teams to use applications less, making vital project information undiscoverable, as if manually combing through data wasn’t frustrating enough.
In this scenario, your business’s transparency, productivity and profitability suffers.
On the other hand, when everyone knows what’s happening at any given time, and what’s on the horizon, they can act accordingly, raising cost efficiency, streamlining operations and enhancing the ability to compete.
In order for management consultants to stay nimble, they need real-time insight.
How do you find information silos? Begin by speaking with your team to gain a full picture of the tools you have and the blind spots that they’re creating in your consultancy.
For instance, ask your sales and business development people if the CRM tool they use for quotes can assist with finance and invoicing package at the other end of the business. If operations manage personnel, ask how and when the team receives details on the scope of new projects and deliverables.
The goal is to find the gaps that exist between tools.
If you’re manually compiling data and living on static spreadsheets, consider ways to make the process less time consuming. Also, assess if reporting is being shared with key stakeholders. If it’s not, you need a way for employees to access all the same data from a single engagement point.
You might be surprised by the blind spots you find and how they keep your team from interacting. From there, you can determine the silos that need to be broken up so everyone has the same information, in real time, to make the smartest decisions.
Luckily, you can say “goodbye” to silos with the right platform to support professional services automation (PSA), designed to help leaders leverage data, maximize resources and empower employees to accomplish more.
You’ll want to manage documents, track deliverables, check resources, plan budgets and allow teams to collaborate more effectively.
When connected to real-time insights, leaders can examine the exact status of any business area at any time.
Pre-populated timesheets can provide 24/7 reporting, and you can automate flexible billing, chart accounts, examine payables and receivables, profit and loss and more.
The result is improved visibility into employee utilization rates and availability, increased billability and decreased over-servicing. Projects are delivered on-time and within budget. Efficiency is raised and profit margins can be controlled.
With a single view, you can accurately plan resources, forecast revenue and drive profitability.
Cloud-based solutions are purpose-built to integrate easily with existing business technology, providing that “one tool to rule them all.” They deploy rapidly and eliminate IT maintenance issues, too. Also, vital to success is a user interface that’s simple and familiar, if not, employees won’t use the tools.
In short, with a single source of engagement – and fewer information silos – management consultants can mind their own business more easily and focus more on cultivating growth.