The Next Generation of Project Planning for Professional Services

By Alex D’Aquila, Product Manager – Tenrox

Hi everyone! I’m Alex D’Aquila, one of the product managers of Tenrox by Upland, and today I’m here to talk to you about one of the most anticipated features: the Upland Project Planner. I’ve been involved with this project since its inception and I’m super excited to finally be able to talk to you about it.

Before we get into the details, let’s go back to the early 2000′s when times were different: laptops were slowly transitioning into a mainstream product, WiFi became a thing and 3G mobile Internet was barely available. Project managers needed a way to visit a project site (because virtual meetings were not big yet) and make changes to their project plans right on the spot.

This is when Tenrox introduced the Tenrox Project Planner (TPP), a desktop application that allowed project plans to be created on your local computer and then uploaded into the Tenrox Portal when an Internet connection was re-established. TPP gave project managers a GANTT-based project planner, allowed you to schedule your project plans based on the availability of your Tenrox resources, capture actuals in the Portal to have those updates reflect in your plan, and effectively gave you a one-stop-shop for all your project setup.

tppnewlogo

The Tenrox Project Planner as it is today

Back to present day: the world and its work environment have changed. Offline synchronizing is now a thing of the past since there is typically Internet availability everywhere you go, even at 35,000 feet on a plane! Furthermore, with the range of devices and operating systems on the market, having a Windows-only tool prevents a set of users from being able to perform their work. This is where the Upland Project Planner comes in.

The Upland Project Planner is being designed to work right through your web browser with no plugins or installations needed. You can access your project plans anywhere that you have access to the Tenrox Portal. We’re also building the Upland Project Planner from the ground up and rethinking each and every single concept that exists to evaluate whether it makes sense in today’s ecosystem and finding ways to address today’s market needs.

What’s more is we are excited to be leveraging the expertise of other products in the Upland family as part of our development. EclipsePPM, one of the sister products of Tenrox that is used for project and portfolio management implementations, has built a robust scheduling engine for GANTT charts that is currently in use in their product. We are using the core of that engine for the scheduling portion and applying the Tenrox-specific business cases to ensure the functionality is ideal to the Tenrox product. This means that we can provide you a stable engine full of scheduling features in a short turnaround time.

We’re hard at work designing and developing the Upland Project Planner and we’re looking forward to showing you our headway. In the near future we’ll be scheduling a webinar so that we can give you insight into the current progress and gather your feedback so we can iterate as part of our process. Sometimes we think we have it right and it’s with your comments and pointers that we go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate some of our decisions.

Let me take the opportunity in closing to introduce Stefan Kresse, the Tenrox Product Manager responsible for the new Project Planner. That’s it for me today! Stay tuned for more news of upcoming development!

About the Author: Alex D’Aquila is a Product Manager for Tenrox at Upland Software. Alex joined the Tenrox team in 2009 as a Quality Assurance specialist. His technical knowledge as well as an understanding of business scenarios enabled him to complete a successful transition to the consulting world in 2011 as a Solution and Implementation Consultant. Since then, Alex has joined Upland’s Product Management team as a Product Manager for the Tenrox product line. His expertise in Tenrox’s integration points has made him the Subject Matter Expert for CRM, accounting, project planning and mobile. Alex’s attention to detail and a user-first focus allows him to design product functionality that simplifies usability and increases user adoption.

 

Customer Driven Innovation Highlighted in Latest Version of Upland’s Professional Services Automation Application (PSA)

 Upland’s Tenrox features new project status reporting module and simplified recurring billing processes

AUSTIN, Texas (July 15, 2015) – Upland Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: UPLD), a leader in cloud-based Enterprise Work Management applications, today announced that the latest version of its Tenrox professional services automation (PSA) and time and expense tracking application is now available. This latest edition was fueled by customer driven innovation, which includes two new modules – Project Status Reporting and Product Central – to extend the already robust and comprehensive capabilities of Upland’s Tenrox.

“The latest enhancements to Upland’s Tenrox PSA application provide our customers with even greater flexibility and productivity,” said Kevin Sequeira, Upland Software’s general manager and director of product management for the Tenrox line of business. “This product release was centered on a customer driven innovation model that subsequently resulted in the strengthening of our customer engagement and application delivery processes.”
Tenrox’s new and enhanced capabilities include:

Project Status Reporting (PSR) Module: The new PSR module allows project and portfolio managers to easily track the status of their projects through configurable forms and key performance indicators (KPIs). Updates are time stamped and powerful analytics let users see how projects are trending in order to make more informed decisions.

Product Central Module: The new Product Central Module creates easy billing of recurring entries, allowing finance and billing teams to quickly invoice and recognize revenue. The ability to define billing rules and forecast the quantity of items to bill ensures there is no revenue leakage due to unbilled entries.

Analytics: The addition of a new visualization layer allows users to create visually appealing reports, and the addition of new views allows a more comprehensive dataset on which reports can be built.

The Financial Planner: Enhancements include a new forecast rate engine and additional configurable options on the user interface.

Integrations: Updated partner integrations include SAGE ERP 300 2014, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015, Microsoft CRM Online 2015 and Microsoft Project 2013.

For more information on the latest version of Tenrox, attend the highlights webinar on July 20, 2015 or go to tenrox.com/en/solutions/Tenrox2015-R1.htm. Tenrox is available directly from Upland, and in Australasia and neighboring territories through UXC Eclipse.

About Upland Software
Upland (Nasdaq: UPLD) is a leading provider of cloud-based Enterprise Work Management software. Our family of applications connects people through technology, automates the flow of work and brings visibility to all aspects of the organization. With more than 1,600 customers around the globe, and over 225,000 users, Upland helps teams in IT, marketing, finance, professional services and process excellence run their operations smoothly, adapt to change quickly and achieve better results every day. To learn more, visit www.uplandsoftware.com.

About Tenrox
The Tenrox workflow-driven, cloud application is designed to meet the challenges of managing globally dispersed services organizations and project workforces. It automates project initiation, resource management, time and expense, and reporting and analytics to enable customers to improve the management of billable projects from pipeline to close. Tenrox offers configurable cost and billing rules, including chargeback or invoicing, with certified integrations to all major CRM and accounting systems. Organizations worldwide, including Abbot Vascular, Autodesk, Estee Lauder, Eaton, General Electric and JDA Software, trust the Tenrox product to meet their requirements in the areas of Professional Services Automation (PSA) and time and expense tracking. Tenrox is part of the Upland Software family of cloud-based enterprise work management applications. For more information, visit www.tenrox.com.

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The Top 3 Things Service Organizations Need to Understand

By Kevin Sequeira, General Manager and Director of Product Management – Tenrox

Copied for a recent blog featured on the Concur App of the Week Spotlight

Customer Success Is Your Most Effective Tool

As software as a service (SaaS) becomes the norm, the ability to differentiate on unique abilities is becoming less relevant. Implementations are becoming simpler and independent of geographic locations, requiring service organizations to stand apart in other ways. Clients no longer have to remain with a service provider because it is too difficult to move, so you need to create an environment where those clients want to remain with you. The obvious solution is to focus on customer service, but this too is evolving – to the discipline of customer success.

Customer success management takes the concept of customer service to a new level – enabling the clients to fully leverage the solutions that you have provided them. While technical implementation is simpler, the challenge of ensuring effective, client wide adoption is just as significant as ever, and service organizations that can facilitate adoption will forge strong bonds with their clients. That in turn will drive repeat business through ongoing licensing and support as well as expansion into new initiatives.

Revenue Only Matters When It’s Realized

Winning and maintaining clients is only part of the story, and for many organizations it’s not the most difficult. We all have war stories when it comes to billing challenges, and yet many service organizations still have challenges when it comes to determining billable milestones and issuing invoices. Often the problems stem from unclear statements of work and payment schedules that leave too much room for interpretation when it comes to determining when interim invoices should be issued. Service organizations must work to improve their negotiations and documentation to ensure that both parties clearly understand the interim milestones along with the deliverables and payments that accompany them.

Even when that clarity does exist, many service organizations still struggle with delays in issuing invoices, which of course results in delays to payments. This costs real money that directly impacts the bottom line and may cause significant cash flow issues. Internal processes and systems must be effective enough to trigger invoices as soon as milestones are achieved – the work is done, the client has signed off, and now it’s time to get paid.

Service Organizations Need an Integrated Suite of Technology Services

Professional Service Automation (PSA) software has had far slower adoption rates than comparable tools in other industries, in part because growing organizations feel that they can’t afford the tool, preferring to stick to their standalone, often Excel based, processes and tools. These are a major cause of the errors and costs referred to above and in many cases are costing way more in ‘hidden’ costs than is needed to invest in a tool suite.

Without an integrated suite, employees are working in a series of technology and process silos, and this is reducing efficiency and effectiveness. Work ends up being managed using the wrong tools – spreadsheets and sticky notes and the output of that work is not visible beyond the people immediately doing the work. To try and improve visibility at higher levels, more manual work is undertaken, duplicating effort and introducing more problems.

Fortunately, Tenrox and its integration with Concur can help. Tenrox helps professional service organizations (PSO’s) improve their customer success management, recognize revenue faster and integrate their suite of services with one solution designed for the professional service industry. Integrating Tenrox with Concur allows service organizations to capture travel expenses and combine them with time costs as well as other projects expenses inside Tenrox for faster and more accurate client billing.

 

About the Author: Kevin Sequeira is the General Manager and Director of Product Management at Tenrox. Kevin has been in the frontlines of the PSA space for 10+ years and is responsible for the Tenrox & timesheet.com product lines at Upland. He also has the pleasure of managing a team of talented product owners and drives product direction & vision in his role as the Tenrox Product Manager.

 

Upland to Integrate Its Tenrox Professional Services Automation Application with Intacct’s Cloud ERP Software

AUSTIN, Texas (May 29, 2015) – Upland Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: UPLD), a leader in cloud-based Enterprise Work Management applications, today announced that it has entered into a partnership with Intacct, a provider of best-in-class cloud ERP software, to integrate Upland’s Tenrox professional services automation application (PSA) with Intacct. The partnership between Upland and Intacct will give Intacct customers the ability to leverage an integrated PSA application that streamlines service delivery, resource management, tracking and billing.

“The integration of Upland’s Tenrox with Intacct is a winning combination for joint customers,” said Kevin Sequeira, Upland Software’s general manager and director of product management for the Tenrox line of business. “This adds a best-in-class cloud ERP application to Upland’s list of standard integrations requested by our Tenrox customers.”

Called the Tenrox PSA – Intacct Integration, the cloud-based connection provides users optimal flexibility to handle financial information through seamless communication between the two applications. The integration diminishes manual overhead involved in re-entering information in different products by sending data, specifically invoices and payable batches, from Tenrox to Intacct, including:

  • Mapping of accounts, customers and employees between the two systems
  • Exporting invoices from Tenrox into Intacct
  • Exporting payable batches from Tenrox into Intacct
  • Leverage Intacct’s reports and dashboards for true profit and loss by project or by client

“Managing the finances for a services-based business can be tough, especially with a globally dispersed workforce,” said Scott Lumish, VP of Business Development at Intacct. “The integration of Intacct cloud ERP software and Tenrox PSA will help joint customers streamline processes across the entire project lifecycle – from sales to delivery to cash.”

The Tenrox PSA – Intacct Integration will be available in the fall of 2015 from the Tenrox App Center.

About Upland Software
Upland (Nasdaq: UPLD) is a leading provider of cloud-based Enterprise Work Management software.  Our family of applications connects people through technology, automates the flow of work and brings visibility to all aspects of the organization. With more than 1,600 customers around the globe, and over 225,000 users, Upland helps teams in IT, marketing, finance, professional services and process excellence run their operations smoothly, adapt to change quickly and achieve better results every day. To learn more, visit www.uplandsoftware.com.

About Tenrox
The Tenrox workflow-driven, cloud application is designed to meet the challenges of managing globally dispersed services organizations and project workforces. It automates project initiation, resource management, time and expense, and reporting and analytics to enable customers to improve the management of billable projects from pipeline to close. Tenrox offers configurable cost and billing rules, including chargeback or invoicing, with certified integrations to all major CRM and accounting systems. Organizations worldwide, including Abbot Vascular, Autodesk, Estee Lauder, Eaton, General Electric and JDA Software, trust the Tenrox product to meet their requirements in the areas of Professional Services Automation (PSA) and time and expense tracking. Tenrox is part of the Upland Software family of cloud-based enterprise work management applications. For more information, visit www.tenrox.com.

About Intacct

Intacct is a leading provider of best-in-class cloud ERP software. Bringing cloud computing to finance and accounting, Intacct’s award-winning applications are the preferred financial applications for AICPA business solutions. In use by more than 8,500 organizations from startups to public companies, Intacct is designed to improve company performance and make finance more productive. Hundreds of leading CPA firms and Value Added Resellers also offer Intacct to their clients. The Intacct system includes accounting, cash management, purchasing, vendor management, financial consolidation, revenue recognition, project accounting, fund accounting, inventory management, and financial reporting applications, all delivered over the Internet via cloud computing. Intacct is headquartered in San Jose, California. For more information, please visit www.intacct.com or call 877-437-7765.

 

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Using Industry Data to Set Business Goals

By Mounir Hilal – Senior Vice President of Global Services & Customer Success at Upland Software

goals

The daily demands of running a large global professional services group within an even larger customer success organization at Upland Software can make it difficult to stand back and plan for future growth. Fortunately, I have had the benefit of consulting with thousands of professional services organizations (PSO’s) for more than a decade and I have seen how important it is to set strategic goals and execute on those goals in order to have a solid plan to succeed.

As a starting point, understanding your organization’s current position is critical. But what about industry data? How can you bring it into a successful goal setting process?

There are many sources to pull from when looking for industry data, including primary research firms like Gartner and Forrester, as well as boutique firms that focus on the professional services market, such as PSVillage and SPI Research. The advantages of using data from boutique firms that focus on a specific industry is they tend to publish benchmarks and surveys that give you actual peer comparisons, so you can see how you stack up to others, including what to measure for improvement and the gaps/opportunities in your own organization. Additionally, these reports can be an excellent source of trends and challenges facing professional service firms, as well as strategic directions to consider.

For an example, let’s consider the latest SPI Research Benchmark. SPI provides very relevant insights for what is trending for PSOs in 2015:

  • Steady growth: Annual revenue growth (10%), headcount increases (8.1%), a slight increase in size of the deal pipeline and backlog delivered steady, consistent and manageable growth
  • Productivity improvements: Nearly all professional services organizations experienced significant improvement in revenue per consultant ($197K v. $193K) and revenue per employee ($167K v. $155K) due to moderate increases in billable utilization (71% v. 70%) and the percentage of the workforce that was billable (75.1% v. 71.2%)
  • Talent management the top challenge: Firms struggled to find and develop the talent they needed to sustain their growth. Attrition rose for the fifth year in a row to 8.9% versus 8.3% last year and will likely continue to rise as consulting demand outstrips supply
  • Sales effectiveness still difficult but improving: Although perennially cited as a top challenge, sales metrics improved with larger sales pipelines, shorter sales cycles and larger project backlogs, adding up to more firms reaching their revenue targets
  • Profits up: Embedded service organizations (software, SaaS and hardware) delivered exceptionally strong performance with net contribution margin increasing to 19 percent from 15.4 percent in 2013. Profits grew in all vertical markets and all geographies. Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) posted the best geographic profit progression from 12.7 percent in 2013 to 15.5 percent in 2014

When you reflect on these data points, how do you measure up? Are you on track, ahead of the pack or have more work to do?

To learn more, including which organizations SPI considers the Best-of-the-Best, click here to get a copy of the entire SPI Benchmark with our compliments. And, if we can offer our expertise and further discuss how Upland helps organizations establish and implement improvements using our Tenrox Professional Services Automation (PSA) software, reach out to us at info@uplandsoftware.com.

Free Professional Services Industry reports available on Tenrox.com:

About the Author: Mounir Hilal leads the Upland Customer Success organization, which is focused on driving adoption, value realization, retention and loyalty for its customers. With more than a decade of professional services experience, Mounir has extensive knowledge in enterprise software design, development and deployment processes, as well as business consulting and project management. In addition, he specializes areas of in operational control, compliance and business process optimization.  

 

 

Let’s Agree Before We Fly

By Brendan Holland – Implementation Consultant at Upland Software – March 16, 2015

iStock_000012763332Small

We spend a lot of time thinking about how to approve expense reports.  Usually, the money has already changed hands, so we are not really approving the expenditure, but rather, who should pay.  Does this seem a little backwards?  Perhaps this should be agreed before the travel reservations are made.

Tenrox offers a solution through the “Work Process” module. The work process module allows us to create a workflow for pre-approving expense reports.  There are as many ways to configure this workflow as there are Tenrox partners, but here is one that I particularly liked.

  1. Plan: When planning to travel, the traveller defines the basics of the travel – where, when, how long, requirements, etc.
  2. Estimate: The traveller, or travel coordinator finds estimates for the trip – airfare, hotel, ground transport, meals, per diems, etc.
  3. Communicate: traveler summarizes the travel estimates in a workflow request.
  4. Agree: The project manager approves the request, perhaps attaching pre-approval from the client.   The project manager may include special requests – which task to use for expense tracking, budget, contingency plans, what is billable to the client.
  5. Book it: Once, approved, travel is booked.  On approval, traveler notes the request # from the pre-approval.
  6. Report: The traveler then creates the expense report, with the pre-approval request number.
  7. Reconcile: For expense report approval, the approver simply compares the pre-approval request with the actual expense report.

 What have we gained? 

  • We are less likely to find ourselves absorbing the cost of an inappropriate expenditure.
  • The client is less likely to be surprized.
  • A documentation trail solidifies our agreement, before the travel is booked.
  • Expense report is streamlined and more rapid, as the pre-approval process has overcome the most time consuming obstacles for approval.
  • A clear estimate of upcoming costs in the project, which can easily be entered into the financial planner.

About the Author: Brendan Holland is an Implementation Consultant at Upland Software with over 10 years’ experience implementing project management and medical software.  

 

 

Time Tracking: Trimming Off the Fat

By Timothy Ho – Implementation Consultant at Upland Software - March 9, 2015

efficiency

One of the most common challenges Tenrox clients face is deciding how much detail they should bring into the Tenrox application project activity time tracking. When we ask clients for a list of generic activities they perform on any given project, the list can be in the hundreds and sometimes thousands! We usually follow up with the question “do you really need all of these?” and the most popular response usually sounds something like “No, I really want to simplify this list. It’s gotten out of hand over the last few years!” This is the perfect time to simplify. After accumulating so many different activities (many are redundant or obsolete), implementing the Tenrox Timesheet module gives customers the chance to trim those unnecessary activities that were probably doing two things:

  1. Bogging down the Timesheet user with too many detailed tasks
  2. Complicating the reports used by upper management.

So start the trimming!

About the Author: Timothy Ho is an implementation consultant with 5+ years of experience in consulting. He has worked with hundreds Tenrox clients from various industries to implement the Tenrox application including integrations with CRM, accounting, and payroll systems.  His key focus is to understand client business requirements to configure Tenrox PSA to meet those needs.

Agreed, Estimated, Actual and Bewildered: The Financial Planner

By Brendan Holland – Implementation Consultant at Upland Software – March 2, 2015

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When managing a project’s budget we often find ourselves balancing three factors:

  • What we have agreed with the client
  • What we have actually done
  • Our estimate of what remains to be done

How can Tenrox help balance these factors?

Agreed

In Tenrox, there is flexibility in what the project budget actually means.  Often, we define the project budget as what has been agreed with the client.  However, the Tenrox budget can be divided into two “snapshots”.  The first snapshot is called “Baseline”, the second “Current”.  This allows us to define the baseline budget as the “As Sold” or “Original” budget.  The Current budget usually represents any changes to the budget that have been approved.

Estimated

Our estimate for the future labor of project can come from the Tenrox work plan. The financial planner can multiply hours on the work plan by each user’s forecast cost and billing rate.

We may also choose to manually enter forecast non-labour costs and revenue in the financial planner.

Actual

The financial planner also allows us to view actual non-labour costs and revenue of various types.

As with forecasts, we may drill down to cost or revenue by site, by group, or by charge.

Bringing it all together – EAC

Estimate at Completion (EAC) can be calculated as [actuals from last month and earlier] + [forecasts for this month and beyond].  The financial planner shows a “Grand Total” for EAC at project end, or a running total of a particular period.

  • The financial planner allows the user to see actuals along with estimates for cost and revenue of various types.
  • On the financial Planner, we may also the financial planner allows the user to view the budget (agreed) along with the financial planner (actual and estimated).
  • This brings the Agreed, Estimates and Actuals to one convenient view!

blog budget summary

About the Author: Brendan Holland is an Implementation Consultant at Upland Software with over 10 years’ experience implementing project management and medical software.  

 

 

Upland’s Tenrox Customer Pariveda Solutions Achieves Top 5 Percent Rating in SPI’s 2015 Professional Services Maturity™ Benchmark

AUSTIN, Texas (February 24, 2015) – Upland Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: UPLD), a leader in cloud-based Enterprise Work Management applications, today announced that Pariveda Solutions, a customer of Upland’s Tenrox Professional Services Automation (PSA) software, has been rated in the top five percent of professional services organizations in Service Performance Insight’s (SPI) 2015 Professional Services Maturity™ Benchmark. Pariveda Solutions is a leading technology consulting firm delivering strategic services and technology solutions.

According to SPI’s 2015 benchmark, Pariveda is a “Best-of-the-Best” by excelling in all five service performance dimensions – Leadership, Client Relationships, Human Capital Alignment, Service Execution and Finance, and Operations. Pariveda’s solutions include custom application development in areas such as cloud computing, business intelligence, mobility, portal and enterprise content management, and customer relationship management.

“We congratulate Pariveda for ranking in the top five percent of SPI’s 2015 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark,” said Kevin Sequeira, Upland Software’s general manager and director of product management for the Tenrox line of business. “It is exciting to see an Upland customer that is successfully leveraging our Tenrox Professional Services Automation software be recognized as one of the best professional services companies.”

Pariveda has been a customer of Upland’s Tenrox PSA software for over ten years, leveraging Tenrox to help scale and manage its rapidly growing business. With more than 400 users in nine offices across the U.S., Tenrox provides the Pariveda management team with the ability to review and analyze critical business data, including forecasting revenue and managing time, expenses and resources.

The Top 11 firms in SPI’s 2015 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark outperformed their peers and the benchmark average with significantly higher profit, larger projects and more satisfied clients:

Best-of-the-Best Professional Services Organizations Comparison

Measurement Top 11 Firms All Others Average Advantage
EBITDA 25.2% 12.2% 106%
Year over year revenue growth 14.4% 9.7% 48%
Average revenue per project $252K $185K 36%
Annual revenue per employee $216K $163K 32%
Projects delivered on-time 87.7% 77.8% 13%
Reference clients 79.2% 73.4% 8%

SPI, Pariveda and Upland will host a live webinar on April 7, 2015 at 11 a.m. ET to discuss SPI’s 2015 benchmark and what made Pariveda one of the “Best-of-the-Best.” Register for the webinar at info.tenrox.com/WBN-2015-04-07-SPI-Research-and-Pariveda-Webinar. For a complimentary copy of SPI’s 2015 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark, go to info.tenrox.com/WC-2015-SPI-Research-Benchmark.“We are honored to be named a Best-of-the-Best services organization,” said Kerry Stover, chief operating officer of Pariveda Solutions. “Throughout Pariveda, our employees seek to deliver exceptional services that provide the highest value to our clients. This recognition reflects on how that same focus is brought to all aspects of our business, from developing our people to reach their fullest potential to managing client relationships. Upland’s Tenrox is core among systems used to achieve our maximum performance.”

About Upland Software
Upland (Nasdaq: UPLD) is a leading provider of cloud-based Enterprise Work Management software. Our family of applications connects people through technology, automates the flow of work and brings visibility to all aspects of the organization. With more than 1,200 enterprise customers around the globe, and over 200,000 users, Upland helps teams in IT, marketing, finance, professional services and process excellence run their operations smoothly, adapt to change quickly and achieve better results every day. To learn more, visit www.uplandsoftware.com.

About Tenrox
The Tenrox workflow-driven, cloud application is designed to meet the challenges of managing globally dispersed services organizations and project workforces. It automates project initiation, resource management, time and expense, and reporting and analytics to enable customers to improve the management of billable projects from pipeline to close. The Tenrox application offers configurable cost and billing rules, including chargeback or invoicing, with certified integrations to all major CRM and accounting systems. Organizations worldwide, including Abbot Vascular, Autodesk, Estee Lauder, Eaton, General Electric and JDA Software trust the Tenrox application to meet their requirements in the areas of Professional Services Automation (PSA) and time and expense tracking. Tenrox is part of the Upland Software family of cloud-based Enterprise Work Management applications. For more information, visit www.tenrox.com.

Forward-looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are subject to substantial risks, uncertainties and assumptions. If such risks or uncertainties materialize or such assumptions prove incorrect, the results of Upland’s Tenrox application could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including any statements concerning expected performance associated with Upland’s Tenrox application; anticipated operational and financial benefits from Upland’s Tenrox application; any statements of expectation or belief; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include issues relating to the performance of a third party caused by forces outside of the control of Upland; changes in the economy, technological and competitive factors, and other risks that are described in Upland’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2014, filed with the SEC on December 22, 2014. Additional information will also be set forth in Upland’s future quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, annual reports on Form 10-K and other filings that Upland makes with the SEC. Except as required by law, Upland assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements publicly, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.

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The Top 7 Things Service Organizations Need to Understand in 2015

By Kevin Sequeira, Tenrox General Manager and Director of Product Management, Upland Software - February 9, 2015

First Appeared in PSVillage Pulse. It’s easy to start a year by saying the upcoming period represents the start of a new era, a time of dramatic change, and to suggest organizational success or failure hinges on the decisions you make in the coming months.  Some years might be like that, but 2015 isn’t one of them.  Success in 2015 isn’t going to come from a single dramatic shift, rather it is going to be about evolving on multiple fronts, succeeding by improving multiple areas of your professional services organization, or failing because of your inability to do so.  That’s good news and bad news – good because all of those trends you are seeing will continue, bad because what you have done so far won’t be enough to remain competitive.

So how do you succeed in this environment?  The key is still to differentiate yourself from the competition, but if everyone is competing on the same points – customer service, effectiveness, efficiency, etc, differentiation has to be in how you deliver those areas.  In this paper we look at what you need to understand to set yourself apart while focusing on the same things as everyone else!

Customer Success Is Your Most Effective Tool

As software as a service (SaaS) becomes the norm, the ability to differentiate on unique abilities is becoming less relevant.  Implementations are becoming simpler and independent of geographic locations, requiring service organizations to stand apart in other ways.  Clients no longer have to remain with a service provider because it is too difficult to move, so you need to create an environment where those clients want to remain with you.  The obvious solution is to focus on customer service, but this too is evolving – to the discipline of customer success.

Customer success management takes the concept of customer service to a new level – enabling your clients to fully leverage the solutions that you have provided them.  While technical implementation is simpler, the challenge of ensuring effective, client wide adoption is just as significant as ever, and service organizations that can facilitate adoption will forge strong bonds with their clients.  That in turn will drive repeat business through ongoing licensing and support as well as expansion into new initiatives.

Your Existing Customers Are Under-Utilized
Customer success management also helps you leverage those strong bonds with your clients, but only if you know how to do so.  Service organizations need to do a better job of utilizing their client base when looking for ways to improve.  What are your organization’s strengths and opportunities?  What sets you apart from your competitors?  You have ideas about those things, but so do your clients, and their ideas may not align with yours.  Understanding how you are perceived, and how clients feel you should grow and evolve will improve the quality of your own plans, and ultimately drive success.  Those clients are also your lowest cost sales channel – they need to be nurtured and listened to!

Revenue Only Matters When It’s Realized
Winning and maintaining clients is only part of the story, and for many organizations it’s not the most difficult.  We all have war stories when it comes to billing challenges, and yet many service organizations still have challenges when it comes to determining billable milestones and issuing invoices.  Often the problems stem from unclear statements of work and payment schedules that leave too much room for interpretation when it comes to determining when interim invoices should be issued.  Service organizations must work to improve their negotiations and documentation to ensure that both parties clearly understand the interim milestones along with the deliverables and payments that accompany them.

Even when that clarity does exist, many service organizations still struggle with delays in issuing invoices, which of course results in delays to payments.  This costs real money that directly impacts the bottom line and may cause significant cash flow issues.  Internal processes and systems must be effective enough to trigger invoices as soon as milestones are achieved – you’ve done the work, the client has signed off, and now it’s time to get paid.

Competitiveness Is Driven By Internal Effectiveness
Service organizations spend a lot of time focusing on utilization rates for their employees – making sure that they are billable for enough of their working hours to allow the company to achieve its goals.  However, that’s only one element of profitability.  Every sales, marketing, estimation, scoping, process, etc. mistake dries additional direct and indirect costs, and those costs go straight to the bottom line.  Top line revenue growth is tremendously important, but it is far less efficient at driving bottom line improvement than cost reduction, and yet many service organizations fail to build an environment focused on learning from, and eliminating, mistakes.  That either reduces margins, drives higher prices, or both, and that reduces competitiveness.

You Need That Tool Suite You Think Is Too Expensive
Professional Service Automation (PSA) software has had far slower adoption rates than comparable tools in other industries, in part because growing organizations feel that they can’t afford the tool, preferring to stick to their standalone, often Excel based, processes and tools.  These are a major cause of the errors and costs referred to above and in many cases are costing way more in ‘hidden’ costs than is needed to invest in a tool suite.

Without an integrated suite your employees are working in a series of technology and process silos, and this is reducing your efficiency and effectiveness.  Work ends up being managed using the wrong tools – spreadsheets and sticky notes and the output of that work is not visible beyond the people immediately doing the work.  To try and improve visibility at higher levels, more manual work is undertaken, duplicating effort and introducing more problems.  With the right tool your entire organization can work together, using the right tools for the job, and with clear visibility (in real time) to what is going on, and that in turn drives better decision making.

Resource Management Must Be Integral To Everything
Enterprise resource management is becoming one of those trends that everyone wants to be a part of.  However, very few organizations understand what it really means, or how to deliver it.  Successful resource management puts people at the center of everything – defining goals and objectives around the capability and capacity that you have and building that capability and capacity to drive greater achievements.  Resource management has to be a process that engages with your employees, that makes them a part of what is happening and considers their needs and ambitions.

Modern resource management is more than a process or an approach; it is a fundamental shift in culture that an organization has to ‘live’.  It must be applied consistently, and it must be a part of every organizational area.  For service organizations it needs to recognize how resourcing needs tie together and it requires an understanding of how resource needs are driven by the organization.  That may be as simple as more sales people driving the need for more implementation consultants, or it may be the more subtle shift in skills required by an evolution from customer service to customer success.

You Can Plan Your Projects, In Fact You Must
Service organizations frequently suggest that project portfolio planning is difficult because projects are driven by customer needs and you can’t know those needs months and quarters in advance.  While that may be true at an individual initiative execution level, it is certainly not true when it comes to planning.  One of the first things that you do to prepare for the next period is develop your sales plan, and that will identify the expected volume of work that your organization will see.  It will also help to provide parameters around the type of work, the level of complexity and the timing of that work – and that’s high level planning.

As we saw in the resource management section above that should consider the skills and number of people that you have to perform the work and can drive recruiting and training activities where needed.  These items require significant lead time and unless you plan to have the right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time then you are driving costs and risks into your organization.

Summing It Up
As I said at the outset, there is nothing inherently ‘new’ here, 2015 will see the same priorities that you are already familiar with.  However, differentiation in these areas is becoming increasingly difficult for organizations and that allows those that can succeed to stand further apart from their competition.  If you can demonstrate a meaningful ability to help your clients deliver success, if you can learn from those clients, and you can improve your internal operations you will succeed this year.  You will also build a tremendous foundation for 2016 and beyond

About the Author: Kevin is the General Manager and Director of Product Management at Tenrox. Kevin has been in the frontlines of the PSA space for 10+ years and is responsible for the Tenrox & timesheet.com product lines at Upland. He also has the pleasure of managing a team of talented product owners and drives product direction & vision in his role as the Tenrox Product Manager.