How Your Professional Services Firm Stacks Up Against the Competition

Delays have consequences, as professional services firms know all too well. Delivering projects on time is an important KPI that separates leading firms from their less profitable competitors. According to survey data from Service Performance Insight (SPI), a global research and consulting organization, the top 20 percent of firms had an on-time delivery of 86.1 percent; the rest of the firms averaged 72.9 percent. Better references from satisfied clients were a critical differentiator, too (77.8 percent for the top 20 percent of firms compared to 65.7 percent for the rest).

In a recent webinar, “Best in Class KPIs: Benchmarking Your Professional Services Business,” Jeanne Urich, managing director of SPI, shared these statistics and other compelling data from her company’s 2019 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark. For example, she discussed other KPIs where leading firms excelled, including better business development, larger pipelines, more deals, and bigger projects, which tend to have higher yields. She focused on metrics for the largest 137 firms and discussed trends and insights for the planning-to-profit business cycle.

To complement the data from her survey, Urich talked on the webinar to Colin Brennan, executive vice president, HCM and financial management solutions, Alight (a Workday deployment partner). Brennan offered insights into the strategies and challenges he and his teams have faced, and he explained how technology has helped improve KPIs at Alight, a professional services firm with more than 10,000 employees and approximately 3,000 clients.

The webinar also covered:

  • Top metrics to improve a firm’s engagement margins
  • Best practices from the 2019 Best-of-the-Best firms
  • The impacts of technology in improving performance

Brennan explained that Alight’s digital transformation, which provided more visibility into financial and people data, enabled the firm to understand profitability at a granular level. Previously, it was a challenge to get an accurate view into profitability at a business level, much less at the project level. Now managers can compare actuals to estimates, and drill down into different pieces of a project to determine how a team may be tracking against budget. Getting data in real time, said Brennan, and getting better projections has been critical, too.

Brennan emphasized that technology alone isn’t sufficient for true transformation. He explained that Alight’s leadership team needed to spend time with managers to set expectations, not only about the new data that was available, but what new things the managers could do with it and what decisions it should drive. With digital transformation, he said, change management is always a key ingredient.

Watch the webinar for more metrics from the 2019 Professional Services Maturity™ Benchmark and Alight’s digital transformation.