Professional Services firms are navigating rapid changes in client expectations and delivery models. Demand planning software will be crucial to remain agile and meet these challenges.

Having visibility of what’s coming next quarter or next month will not only help you be better prepared to meet client expectations, but also put the business in a future-ready state. The right demand planning software will help you analyze your long-term business needs and align your strategy to build a thriving business. It helps businesses strike a balance between sufficient resource inventory and future client demands. Keeping excess resources freezes the working capital and increases the cost of resources, as well as the risk of them becoming obsolete. Poor planning, on the other hand, can cause the company delays and client dissatisfaction.

A modern artificial intelligence demand planning software will not only tell you what’s coming down the road but also offer predictive analytics to help you make better decisions. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities will tell you the health of the pipe and show you what’s probable. Armed with this information, you can take proactive action, instead of being a passive consumer of information.

Why Professional Services firms need Demand planning software?

Professional Services firms rely heavily on their consultants to deliver value to the clients. Since capable people are hard to find and retain, it becomes important to ensure efficient allocation of these scarce resources to available projects. Misallocation means missed timelines, overshooting of budgets, overutilization of some resources that leads to burn out while others have idle time, lower project profitability, and most importantly, clients who feel let down.

Businesses with some of the best talent in the industry can also face such difficult situations, just because they don’t have the right demand planning software. However, firms with the right processes and systems in place are able to deliver better results with limited resources and challenge some of the bigger, better funded firms.

How are they able to do this?

When you know what deals are in the backlog, which deals in the pipe have a good chance of closing and by when, AND if this information is readily available for project delivery and Human Resources teams, then the right people are recruited based on upcoming project needs. The best people with the right skillsets are allocated to the best-fit projects, ensuring that the work allocation is more equitable to avoid burn outs. With this system in place, you can be assured of project profitability and the cashflows you need to fund a new cycle of growth.

What are the benefits of demand planning Software?

There are multiple benefits of having a demand planning software. Some of these are:

  • Build efficiency by anticipating future resource needs with demand forecasts
  • Break down silos by facilitating inter-departmental communication and collaboration
  • Improve project planning and profit margins with the right project staffing strategy
  • Ensure all teams take data-driven decisions in resource and finance management
  • Spot market trends early and take proactive action
  • Leverage advanced tech like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Reduce time in gathering and analyzing demand data with automated processes
  • Hire the right talent and design better project staffing processes to reduce burnout and low utilization
  • Deliver projects more efficiently with the best fit consultants and increase client satisfaction
  • Improve employee satisfaction by aligning projects to their skill sets, which will help them deliver their best work and grow
  • Ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget by getting the staffing process right
  • Reduce cost of operations with right project staffing strategies and by reducing employee turnover
  • Predict the financial health of the business and manage budgets more efficiently

There are many solutions available in the market that can help you gain the above-mentioned benefits. The challenge for most businesses is to find the software that works for their industry and meets their unique needs.

One solution that Professional Services firms will find useful as a demand planning software is Microsoft Dynamics 365.

How Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps you with demand planning?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a robust solution that brings together Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)Client Relationship Management (CRM), and Human Capital Management (HCM) functionality. Its modular design allows you to choose what you want and only pay for what you use. The demand planning capabilities of this software can help you reduce risk and create new opportunities for growth.

The solution can collect historic data and uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to learn from the past and make forecasts. The advantage of this software is that you can plug-in multiple sources of data, which includes familiar data storing tools like Microsoft Excel, and build a rich prediction model to make more accurate decisions.

What happens in the backend is that the solution creates multiple experiments and studies the different scenarios based on the prediction models. Based on this analysis, the solution makes recommendations for you to consider.

If you have specific forecasting needs, the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be amplified with custom-built applications on the Microsoft Power Platform that can be seamlessly integrated. So, you will get powerful dashboards that will not only display the information but also visualize the data with interactive features to help you understand the numbers easily.

Some of the forecasting options you have in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and custom applications built on Power Platform include:

  • Forecast for specific service/offering type
  • Forecast for different industry/client groups based on criteria you specify, like countries or regions
  • Forecast for specific marketing campaigns or projects?
  • Forecast based on past trends and consider any seasonality in demand and one-time demand spikes or slumps in past due to unexpected events
  • Forecast analysis performed offline on Excel can be integrated to the system later has been helping Professional Services businesses become more efficient by using automated solutions like demand planning software to become more efficient and deliver on client expectations. If you want to learn more about best-fit solutions that are helping businesses in your industry, schedule a no-obligation call and our consultants will explain the options that will suit your specific needs.