Professional Service Strategies that Win: Executive View of the Cloud

This report focuses on how cloud infrastructures are being used by sales and marketing, finance, and operations in professional service organizations (PSOs). It outlines the benefits of using a cloud infrastructure to manage enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other enterprise systems. With the right solutions in place, globally dispersed project teams have unlimited accessibility to secure and reliable information.

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View from the Cloud: An Overview

For professional services organizations (PSOs) around the globe, the service landscape is changing, with localization becoming a mandatory requirement for success. So much so, that in some cases “corporate headquarters” is simply “that place you send packages to.” More and more PSOs are relying on functionally rich mobile technologies, virtual operations, work-from-home staffing models, and remote outsourcing of work.

At the center of this shift is the notion of cloud computing, which allows for a collaborative platform that unifies disparate teams and decentralized information under a single umbrella. There are varying definitions of cloud computing, but cloud computing in its most basic form is a means to leverage the Internet as a standardized technology platform linking and sharing Web-based solutions, platforms, and infrastructures across multiple environments.

Clients as well as PSOs have welcomed the shift to cloud computing. No more waiting by fax machines or traveling to off-site meetings for information: customers now demand high-quality delivery of service, rapid response times, and real-time access to project information to track costs, issues, and progress.

This report focuses on how cloud infrastructures are being used by sales and marketing, finance, and operations in PSOs, for both internal and external stakeholders. It will also outline the benefits of using a cloud infrastructure to manage enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other enterprise systems.

With these enterprise solutions in place, and with a fully supported and operational cloud infrastructure, globally dispersed project teams have unlimited accessibility to information—and the knowledge that their information is as secure and reliable as if it were locked in a desk at the head office.

It’s All About Accessibility

Demands have increased on project teams to provide more immediate and meaningful contact with customers and information. This means that project teams are moving away from the concept of the traditional office, and working either on-site at customer locations or on the road. In both cases, connectivity to accurate and collaborative project information is still critical.

Immediate access to the customer equates to high-quality delivery of professional services. More and more PSOs are entrusting their work to low-cost knowledge workers and independent contractors in a dropped-cost work environment supported and connected by e-mail, Web applications, and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technologies. What’s common to all these services? Accessibility through cloud infrastructures.

PSOs have become more and more reliant on cost-efficient means to deliver solutions, and are decreasing staffing and administrative costs by outsourcing and providing work-from-home capability for staff. But it has also become increasingly important for PSOs to provide all their project teams with the ability to communicate and collaborate in a secure environment with internal stakeholders and customers. Organizations that fail to do so will fail to deliver quality services, and will suffer the consequences of unsatisfied clients and lost opportunities for future business.

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