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Professional Services and Support
Professional Services and Support
Professional services address very specific needs, such as public relations, portfolio management, software engineering, etc. They are provided by specialized individuals, companies, or departments within a company.
Even though support may be considered a part of the professional services business area, a distinction has to be made between the two. Support usually refers to technical support, which is a special type of professional service requiring highly qualified technicians who have experience providing assistance with technology products. While consultants who provide professional services usually charge clients for each project and the amount of time spent for it, support teams are usually paid a monthly or yearly fee.
Selection of a professional services and support provider is based mainly on reputation (or credibility) and price. Usually, companies or individuals with more experience and knowledge will charge higher prices, and be expected to deliver higher quality services.
Here are some of the challenges professional services and support providers are facing:
Reputation and credibility are very hard to build, and even harder to maintain.
Know-how is not only the sum of the competencies of all employees, but also the accumulated knowledge that the company creates and manages.
Clients' needs can be extremely complex, and determining the right course of action for a particular client is not an easy task.
Since professional service is a project-based activity, projects need to be managed comprehensively in order to avoid failures or important delays.
Capturing the time spent, and managing expenses for each project can be difficult. Because consultants charge their clients per hour or per day, and some expenses are covered by the client, it can be tough to clearly identify who is responsible for specific expenses.
Making sure the right resources are available, scheduled, and assigned for the right project is also difficult. Because each stage or task of a project is linked to other stages or tasks, delays or poor resource allocation can jeopardize the entire project.
It can be challenging to track project costs and expenses, accounting, and resource allocation for projects where the client operates at multiple remote locations.
These challenges can be addressed by the use of business software solutions, such as
project portfolio management for professional services automation (PPM for PSA);
enterprise resource planning (ERP) for services; and
customer care and billing (CC&B).
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