Running a professional service business efficiently isn’t just “nice to have,” it’s essential to success. Effective resource management is a cornerstone of that success. A study by McKinsey found that companies who frequently evaluate where their resources are allocated can double their value.
While it isn’t always possible to know when or how client demand will fluctuate, having a plan to manage your resources will give you peace of mind and allow you to weather whatever storm may come — be it staffing shortages, rapid growth or an uptick in project demands.
Scrambling to meet unexpected requests with limited resources is frustrating. Not only can it cause client frustration, but it can also leave your employees feeling overwhelmed.
But before we talk about how to improve your agency's resource management, what does “resource management” actually mean?
Resource management is the practice of efficiently and effectively planning and allocating the time, money, technology and people that your business has available. For most businesses, that means assigning tasks to the right people, supporting their work with the right tools and making sure they have the budget they need to successfully complete the project.
That may sound simple and straightforward, but every business has a lot of moving parts to manage. Maybe some businesses have spent so much time focused on growth that they've survived by managing their resources on the fly and without an actual plan. That system can work in the short term but will eventually lead to chaos.
When you start considering your resource management plan, there are three important questions to consider:
The first step is identifying the resources your business needs. For professional services industries, common resources will likely include technology, time and knowledge of people’s individual skill sets.
Start outlining your resource management plan by determining the following:
These questions will help you figure out the typical demands of your client work and help you outline your company’s resource needs to match.
Spend the time now to determine your resource needs so you can plan for busier seasons and explore ways to use limited resources more effectively.
Once you have started to outline your resource management plan, it’s important to start considering tools you’ll need in place to help support your business needs.
Resource management tools can do all the heavy lifting for you. Features like team scheduling can ensure that the right team members are available and scheduled for tasks based on their workload and skill sets so you can distribute tasks equally across your team. Having a tool to automatically track employee utilization gives a clear picture of which employees are taking on the bulk of the work, the type of work your team is spending the most time on and if the work being done is profitable.
Once tasks have been assigned, time tracking is key. Keeping accurate logs of time spent on project tasks is the only way to guarantee that your agency gets paid for the work your team completes and that employees are performing as efficiently as possible. Finding a tool that can automate this process ensures that the time is collected accurately and removes the burden of manually tracking from your busy employees.
Streamlined team assignments and time tracking automation— these things can be achieved with minimal effort when you have the right tools in place, and even better, when you find a single system to manage all aspects of your client work.
It’s likely your agency is already collecting data, but finding the right tool to organize that data will significantly improve your team’s ability to make successful data-driven decisions. Whether it’s determining the profitability of individual client projects, or tracking the hours and value of top performers on your team, having easy access to these insights in one centralized place is essential when forecasting and preparing for your agency’s future. So once you have this data, what do you do with it? How do you make the most out of what you now know?
Use this data to look ahead, set game plans for busy seasons, accommodate for resource shortages and troubleshoot any shortcoming. You can significantly improve your company’s profitability and increase efficiency, all while knowing you’re prepared, even in the face of a crisis. A Deloitte study found that companies with leaders who champion using data-driven decisions are 77 percent more likely to significantly exceed their business goals. They are also 59 percent more likely to derive actionable insights from the analytics they are tracking.
With a resource management plan in place, you can take the time to step back and get a bird’s-eye-view at your business. From employee time to project budgets, understanding each part of your client work is the only way to make accurate decisions when it comes to your resources.
Using a tool like Accelo provides full transparency into the inner workings of each and every project. A client work management tool like this not only provides an easy way to understand resources but also gives full visibility into every part of your client work, ensuring each project stays on track to deliver to clients as promised.
Investing the time and effort into a thorough resource management plan will set your business up for success, even when busy seasons hit. Your employees will be happier knowing project tasks are fairly distributed and your customers will be satisfied because you’ll be better prepared to meet their needs.
Take some time to step back and create a plan. Document where your resources are being spent, and what could be done to use them more effectively. Invest in a client work management platform to help streamline agency tasks like time tracking and team scheduling, ultimately saving time and providing better transparency for your business.
Tools like Accelo offer a holistic, easy-to-use way to track time and monitor resources. Try a 14-day free trial and see the impact the right tool can have for managing your agency’s resources and streamlining your business.