Transforming how businesses do work with distributed teams, contractors and clients.
Mavenlink enables organizations of any size to successfully manage and scale their people, projects, and profits. Consulting firms, creative agencies, and professional services teams across the globe are running their businesses more efficiently and more elegantly with Mavenlink.
The world of work is changing. Businesses now operate in a networked economy where their teams, clients, and competitors can span the globe. For agile organizations, this brings enormous opportunity. But those that cannot adapt will get left behind.
To survive and succeed in a networked economy, businesses must change both how they work and where they work. Yet today, most businesses manage projects the same way they did 10 years ago: cluttered inboxes, cumbersome spreadsheets, expensive legacy software, and repetitive tasks that their teams struggle with every day.
Mavenlink believes that businesses of all sizes deserve better, by building a single workplace where teams, contractors, and clients can conduct business. The result is a new kind of software that transforms the way people and organizations do work.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Project management software helps managers control their costs and hit deadlines. It helps people deliver the projects they commit to. It even helps them track whether or not they’ve been paid on time and in the right amount. Project management software has many high-level bucket features. These can include:
- Team Collaboration
- User Dashboard
- File Sharing
- Calendar Share
- Mobile App
- Access Permissions
- Project Management
- Task Management
- Task Assignment and Scheduling
- Project Plan templates
- Schedule Management
- Gantt Charts
- Project Accounting
- Time and Expense Tracking
- Budgeted Projects and Tasks
- Invoicing and Online Payments
- Rate Cards
- Resource Management
- Hard and Soft Resource Allocation
- Resource Scheduling
- Resource Shaping
- Business Intelligence
- Data Export
- Real Time Analytics
- Expert Build Reports
- Custom Reporting
- Trend Analysis and Forecasting
Common project management software you might use or have heard of include Gantt charts. A methodology example would be SCRUM management style. Today’s tools go beyond charts and SCRUM, though.
What are the Advantages of Project Management Software
Project managers need specific tools to manage and deliver their projects on time. Traditional project management software helps these managers perform functions including managing project scope, cost, and resources. Modern collaboration software offers even more tools.
These tools help reduce wasted time, such as time spent looking for files or data and time spent manually updating schedules and timetables. They need tools to share files, communicate in real time, and ensure all team players are working on one page. Some tools reduce redundancy — they consolidate systems, so that information exists in only one place. And they also avoid file redundancies, which can contribute to what some call a “versioning nightmare.” In addition to mitigating the number of differing files around, project management software also ensures teams use one method to track time, tasks, expenses, other budgeting items such as invoices, and more. Having one systems allows teams to work creatively within a given framework.
Moreover, with the onset of cloud-based project management software, organizations no longer have to work in a single physical location. They can easily work as a team while dispersed across geographies, while retaining the same access, updates, and collaboration levels. Software as a service (SaaS) project management solutions facilitate teamwork — and thus project delivery, client satisfaction, and repeat business.
Finally, software automates your processes and provides a central hub to manage resources, tasks, schedules, projects, and communication. All this information living in one system gives you a huge opportunity to run progress reports — whether daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Today’s advanced systems can offer real-time progress reports, so you can easily visualize and share information related to project health. This not only gives you insight into where you can adjust your resources to make smarter project-delivery decisions; it also enables you to give detailed, transparent responses to stakeholder questions.
RESOURCE PLANNING SOFTWARE
Software tools help companies effectively plan resources. Software has included everything from spreadsheets and homegrown applications to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products. Spreadsheets require manual data updates, so teams who start on spreadsheets tend to look for more powerful software later on. More powerful software may include collaboration, information-sharing, reporting, and utilization tools that become bulky and time-consuming in spreadsheets. Spreadsheet updates also include greater risk of human error, redundant work, file overwrites, multiple versioning, and more. Some companies build proprietary solutions to plan resources. These are great for teams who want exact control over resource-planning preferences. However, they come with some downsides. Proprietary solutions may cost more to maintain, as well as to build custom integrations with other software solutions. After development, homegrown applications must be maintained, enhanced, hosted, and eventually replaced. Many creative and professional services organizations are not equipped or inclined to build software themselves. For them, a COTS solution may be best. COTS resource planning software is widely available in many forms. It can be traditional software (i.e., installed locally or hosted on a server) or it can be subscription based (often referred to as Software as a Service or SaaS) and live in the cloud. SaaS resource planning software is growing in popularity for several reasons, including lower upfront costs, less maintenance, and regular software updates.
Common resource planning software capabilities include these:
- Resource Planning (by individual or role)
- Resource Scheduling (at the project or task level)
- Utilization Reporting
- Resource Availability Forecasting
- Resource Auditing
- Resource Discovery
Who Uses Resource Planning Software?
Companies of all sizes do resource planning. This includes anyone managing a team of employees, contractors, or a combination thereof. When you need talented individuals to come together as a team to complete tasks, you can benefit from resource planning software.
For very small companies, resource planning can be accomplished without software through regular team meetings and by using a whiteboard. Once companies reach a certain size, more formal tools are required to avoid resource shortages and maintain utilization.
For creative and professional services businesses, resource planning software becomes valuable once the team reaches 15-20 people. At this size, maintaining high utilization and margins becomes difficult to juggle without technology. Many firms initially use homegrown solutions like spreadsheets before adopting a more integrated solution.
The benefits of resource planning software correlate with company size. Since larger organizations have more resources to manage and clients to satisfy, the impact of improved forecasting and allocation are magnified. Larger companies are also often more metric-driven, and may be expected to maintain specific utilization and financial targets. Companies focused on improving billability and profit margins stand to benefit most from a professional resource planning solution.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AUTOMATION SOFTWARE
PSA applications help professional services providers manage client engagements throughout the project lifecycle. A project starts when a sales opportunity is created, the deal is closed, and resources are allocated to deliver the work. The cycle nears completion when invoices are issued and cash is collected.
PSA software establishes a consistent process for planning, managing, and measuring the performance of each project throughout its lifecycle. By centralizing business processes and data, services can be delivered more predictably, and repetitive manual processes streamlined or automated. It is analogous to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and PSA is sometimes referred to as ERP for services organizations.
Common PSA capabilities include the following:
- Billing, Invoicing
- Calendar Management
- Client Access (e.g., through a Client Portal)
- Team Collaboration
- Document Management
- Project Management
- Proposal Generation
- Resource Management
- Software Integrations (e.g., to a CRM)
- Time and Expense Tracking
What are the Advantages of PSAs
The central benefit of PSA software is enabling people who are responsible for business performance to manage and measure service delivery at scale. Reporting features enable account and resource managers to identify trends and allocate staff to match demand. Executives can see where the business is performing well and where there are opportunities to improve certain areas.
Effective PSA applications help organizations do three things:
- Easily Manage Projects (e.g., by reducing spreadsheet time)
- Optimize Resource Use (e.g., by improving utilization rates)
- Drive Stronger Margins (e.g., through greater reporting and visibility)