The 5 Biggest Resource Management Challenges At Your Agency: Overcome or Fall Behind
Now more than ever, agencies need to be at the top of their game to be profitable and scale their success. The shifting realities of the professional services industry don’t make that an easy task. When given the best tools, working your way past the following five challenges is more than possible.
1. Low to Negative Margins
The professional services industry relies on client relationships. The multiple rounds of concept, production, and delivery your agency produces for clients has real, tangible value. Sometimes it’s important to take on specific campaigns as an investment into the client relationship, but all too often agencies’ retainers and fixed prices result in low to negative margins. Fulfilling client campaign needs is a must. And so is keeping a better handle on projects in real time.
Detailed business intelligence and data, connected project management and resource planning, scenario planning, and automated resource recommendations are just a few of the tools that are game changers when it comes to increasing margins.
2. Balancing Freelance Work
The modern workforce is made up of a combination of full-time employees and freelancers. In many cases, freelance workers are a key part of agencies’ success. Not only do they support overflow during surges, but they also can provide the best talent for a key area of expertise for a limited period of time. But as you well know, manual management of a freelance workforce can be tedious and error-prone, and it’s difficult to estimate when and how much you’ll need their services. Even moderate overages really impact the bottom line.
It all comes back to visibility and effective resource forecasting. Tools like Mavenlink Insights and Master Planning deliver real-time data about the impact of staffing decisions while also allowing you to see all your resources in one place. Balancing staffing requirements will quickly becoming a challenge of the past.
3. Lackluster Time-Tracking
Let’s face it: no one likes entering time. Tracking down creatives at the end of the month to get billed time is even less appealing. Emailing excel sheets back and forth, sending time submission request after request, and double checking input accuracy wastes time and underutilizes the skills of resource managers. But accurately understanding the time invested into each project not only ensures employees aren’t overloaded, but it increases the accuracy of future project estimates.
Time-tracking insights take pressure off managers to personally collect and store all day-to-day billable and non-billable entered time about employees, which is crucial in understanding how valuable and well-utilized each employee truly is. Today’s professional services tools not only track time, but they provide detailed visibility into your talent pool and resource utilization.
4. Ineffective Resource Forecasting
From organic opportunities within existing clients to new business, the continuous stream of work can feel overwhelming for a resource manager. There’s always a need to recast teams, add new resources, and forecast upcoming projects anywhere from 30 days to three months out. When balancing uncertain future workloads, sometimes senior employees end up assigned to projects that require much less experience or valuable time is lost when someone isn’t hired in time.
Mavenlink Team Builder allows you to explore all staffing possibilities, a must have for the modern resource manager. Any professional services solution you utilize should provide clear visibility into your demand profile which shapes how you forecast effectively. Your demand is integral to the success of your future supply.
5. Over and Under Utilization
Utilization is so much more than an operational metric. It indicates where support is needed, whose time is being undervalued, and which team members are at risk for burn-out. Inefficient tools result in utilization rates far surpassing 100% for senior resources. Successful client relationships are built from expertise and consistency. That isn’t possible when you lose your most valuable talent. It’s especially frustrating when it’s an easy fix.
The best utilization tools provide a clear and accurate overview of all resources, their productivity, and future capacities and capabilities. Real time data makes it possible to balance staffing requirements and skill expectations at scale. The days of burn-out are history.
Overwhelmed by these challenges? Mavenlink can change that.
Mavenlink’s resource-centric tools were designed with deep domain expertise and evolving understanding of the specific challenges your agency faces. With Master Planning, Insights, Gantt functionality, and more, Mavenlink helps you do what you do best, only better.