More than ever, management consulting firms must better focus their efforts on managing projects for profitability — or be content doing without profits altogether, cautions a report issued recently by the Aberdeen Group.
As anyone heading up a management consulting firm could attest, the more moving parts in a business, the trickier it is to sustain an atmosphere of visibility and control.
In its Delivering Project Profitability: On Time and Under Budget report, Aberdeen researchers try to identify to what lengths specifically-tailored technology tools can help companies, including management consultancies, get a handle on this flurry of activity — and to concurrently bump them into the higher echelons of their field.
Over and above a host of sweeping external influences, not the least of which is an economy that can’t seem to decide in which direction it’s heading, today’s businesses contend with a host of very specific project pressures. Prominent among them? A fear of errors due to the impact they can have on an already bone-skinny profit margin.
As a starting point, Aberdeen nominates 4 key performance criteria to distinguish best-in-class firms.
To be considered among their ranks, companies have to deliver: 91% of their projects early or on time; 96% of their projects within budget; a 7% average overrun on those not delivered within budget; a 37% improvement in project profitability, year over year.
And if you’re clever enough to earn a berth within this elite and careful grouping, survey results show that 53% of you have made the effort to define and document project management best-in-class practices. Further, you are 57% more likely to abandon project scheduling, management, reporting and costing applications in favour of an enterprise-level solution.
Firms that exchange their desktop-bound project management tools for enterprise applications certainly capitalize on their functionality. The level of insight and accountability into operational processes that enterprise applications allow means managers can quote more accurately. This provides a greater sense of consistency in all of their business doings.
Among the likeliest enterprise-level management tools employed by best-in-class firms, Aberdeen reports an almost equal distribution among those that oversee document management, collaboration and change management.
Similarly, top-performing companies have aided their projects’ on-time and under-budget capabilities by establishing a corporate culture that encourages seamless, cross-functional collaboration.
An operation with all of its seams showing is in peril of potentially fatal acts of miscommunication. And miscommunication is never pretty.
The leaders of management consulting firms that espouse a practice of open contact are in a better position to outline expectations to their employees responsibly, says Aberdeen. Staffers from these companies, in turn, feel both equipped and empowered to achieve the common goal of delivering high-quality projects in a timely manner.
Profits, suggests the Aberdeen report, in all their pretty glory, should follow.
Read the Aberdeen report on Delivering Project Profitability: On Time and Under Budget.