Project-based businesses are under more pressure than ever to turn profits from inside cleverly organized and efficiently managed operations. All due to:
-The hammering effects of the economy.
-A diminishing pool of effective human resources.
-Complex new challenges in managing both customer-facing and back-office processes.
-An increasingly global level of stand-up competition.
This breed of professional faces a steep imperative, given the call to cover all the bases, including:
-Effectively scheduling resources
-Managing and reporting against project delivery and control costs.
-Administering the bidding and estimating process.
-Assessing all projects’ revenue potential.
-Managing customer expectations and satisfaction.
This is a tall order for any business. And agency and PR firms, spinning their magic from modest home bases to towering office buildings, are far from exempt.
The Aberdeen Group, a Boston-based business research firm, recently undertook a research initiative to explore the extent to which technology might help these companies achieve the tighter control over their organizations that would result in leaner operations and deeper profits.
Specifically, Delivering Project Profitability: On Time and Under Budget, looks at the extent to which the added visibility and control afforded by enterprise-level project management tools can directly impact the profitability of projects—and the businesses that rely on them for growth and profit.
Herewith, the top five most useful of their findings for companies engaged in the delivery of public relations, advertising and marketing services:
1. Adopt Appropriate Applications
To achieve the best-in-class status Aberdeen holds up as gold standard, wherein companies must implement project scheduling, project management and reporting, and project costing enterprise applications. “Optimized decision-making can only be achieved by providing critical and accurate project management data across the enterprise in the proper context,” states the Aberdeen report.
2. Free Your Applications from the Desktop
And implement a more comprehensive enterprise-level solution. By elevating project-management solutions beyond the confines of the lowly desktop, managers can enjoy unprecedented control, with improved visibility, enhanced growth and increased profitability.
3. Provide a Practical means of Easy Visibility
Into projects as they progress, both for their material evolution and their cost status, for stakeholders at all levels of the organization (including those at its height who might be reluctant to get mired in details). “This level of visibility”, says the Aberdeen report, “better equips companies to proactively contain their budgets and schedules. What’s more, it shines a critical light on the potential causes of poor performance”.
4. Research, Define and Document
A regime of project management best practices—and implement them throughout your organization. “This important last step”, says Aberdeen, “is alarmingly absent in too many companies”.
5. Facilitate Collaboration
For those firms whose operations feature the built-in means for different personnel clusters to work in tandem (with communication, conferencing and management tasks). This is particularly important if they’re physically far flung members of the same project team, in order to put them in the optimal position for making intelligent project decisions.