Operating and scaling a professional services company is incredibly challenging. Every element of the business is in constant motion, and cash seems to fly out the door faster than it comes in. In addition, managing the queue of projects, scheduling employees, monitoring sales, and business development are all essential for your organization’s growth.
As there is no one-size-fits-all platform to operate our unique businesses, we all use a collection of management tools that work best for our use cases. Each of these tools provide some type of analytics, usually a combination of reports and dashboards. The problem is that each of these tools report on one facet of your operations, whether that’s accounting, sales, project management, time tracking, or attendance.
Given the fast pace our businesses move, it’s a daunting, if not impossible task
to keep on top of the overall operational health of the organization. Let’s face it,
as good as each tool may be, we simply don’t have time to sift through a dozen
browser tabs of dashboards and reports, much less attempt to mentally map that
data into something meaningful. You simply reach a point where you are flying by
the seat of your pants and you can’t scale.
In 2017, we added Business Intelligence (BI) to our professional services lineup.
While we had plenty of experience with the technical building blocks in the cloud
although we hadn’t had the luxury of aggregating our data sources to get better
analytics on the business. We had been using an increasing number of SaaS
software solutions since 2010, and let me tell you, we were like kids in a candy
store, brimming with ideas around what we could now do with this data.
There were two areas of the business that were the greatest concern of ours,
employee productivity, and the financial health of the company. In the years prior
to using BI, we were aggregating data exports from our accounting system, our
employee attendance records, and our time tracking and invoicing system. To be
frank, it was a pain in the ass and it was done very sporadically. None-the-less it was
very enlightening to discover why our revenue generation was very sporadic at that
As a small organization, things tend to be a little less formal and it takes time to
build up the proper management processes as well as systems to monitor and
enforce policies. Not to say our employees were doing anything bad, we’re just
aware that clock is always running and at some level every minute is an opportunity
to bleed money.
As you probably know, your annual revenue per employee is a function of :
((Annual Working Hours – PTO/Holidays) * % Billable Hours) * Average Hourly Rate
((2080 Hours – 21 Days Off) * 75% Billable Hours) * $150 = $215,100 or $17,925/mo
Your numbers are probably similar, and likely variable based on a number of factors.
As you also know, maintaining a consistent flow of new business coming in, and
keeping your team busy and operating at peak capacity is a constant battle. When
you hit those seasonal lull periods, your employees are billing less hours. While you
can generate monthly billable hour reports from your time tracking software, this
alone does not provide details such as true labor cost per hour of revenue, average
billable rate per employee, percentage of billable vs. paid hours, percentage of
tracked time, and other factors.
As an example :
Our first project was centered around this area of the business, and the result was an employee productivity dashboard we released to all of our employees. This serves as a feedback loop to each member of our team, giving them access to their own performance metrics and allvowing them to proactively work toward reaching their monthly goals. Without this information, they simply don’t know their individual contribution to the company until after the fact. At that point it’s too late to course correct when necessary.
If you like what you read here, the Cloud Brigade team offers expert Machine Learning as well as Big Data services to help your organization with its insights. We look forward to hearing from you.
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