Using Einstein to Maximize the Value Your Services Business Provides

Using Einstein to Maximize the Value Your Services Business Provides

Using Einstein to Maximize the Value Your Services Business Provides

As a services business, providing value to your clients is a top priority. One way to do this is to utilize a tool like FinancialForce PSA, which runs on the Salesforce platform. This gives you a connected view of your business from lead to delivery to billing. Awesome, so that’s it, right?

What if your data could tell you more about your business than standard reports? What if you could learn about trends in your data and see which of your currents projects may be at risk of going over-budget before it happens? You could get ahead of your services business and drive client success! 

Sounds like a job for an expensive Data Scientist… Or Salesforce Einstein! Did you know that Salesforce has a tool that uses AI to analyze trends in your data, make predictions, and help you understand your business better? The possibilities are endless. Salesforce can help you answer questions that you never knew it could answer, such as:

How can I maximize utilization of my resources?

Einstein Discovery allows you to pick an attribute such as utilization, analyze your data, and then tell give you suggestions on how to maximize it! Imagine finding that perfect balance between long- and short-term engagements that leads to your ideal utilization for your resources!

How can I tell how my client is feeling about our work?

Einstein Sentiment can analyze the emails your client sends you and ascribe a positive, negative, or neutral feeling to it. You could use that data to identify potential issues and risks earlier and address them before they impact your delivery to the client!

How could I tell if a project is at risk of going off-track?

Einstein Prediction Builder can assign a value score to help you understand the probability of a certain event happening, such as passing the end date or going over budget. You can then quickly see where your biggest risks are, and allocate resources to ensure you deliver on-time and under-budget!

These are just a few ways that Salesforce Einstein enhance your services business and provide better value to your clients. It can also help avoid costly risks and keep budget down, which will provide value to your business as well! It’s a win for all.

Is Einstein Right For You?

To see if Einstein is right for you, let’s chat!

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What does it take to be a great Consultant - With Stephanie Picardi

What does it actually take to be a great Consultant?

Being a good Consultant doesn't mean chasing prestige.

What does it take to be a great Consultant?

Every year prominent business schools release waves of new graduates into the workforce, each of them hungry to put their knowledge to good use…and make a name for themself. Many will choose to pursue consulting, as, to some, the title of Consultant implies prestige. In reality, there’s no power in a title— reputation is something that you earn through excellence. A great Consultant must have the right attitude and display steadfast expertise if they’re going to earn (and maintain) the trust of the businesses they partner with.

Execute every time

Curiosity is key. Being able to see the challenges that your client is facing (and have the foresight to predict the challenges that they’ll need to tackle in the future) certainly requires a high level of skill. But you also need the ability to execute every time— to operationalize the recommendations that you’re making. Understanding the proper balance between innovation and reality takes a levelheaded, ego-free disposition, and expertise in the solutions that you’re providing. For example, if you work with software, your recommendations must always be the right fit. Whatever systems and processes you create for your client must not only serve them where they are— they must enable them to do more.

It’s your duty to keep focused on your objective

Do you know to stay on track? Building lasting relationships with your client means helping them navigate the changing landscape of their journey. Whether it’s acquisition, going public, or a structural re-org, it’s your duty to keep focused on your objective. As such, it’s vital that you know how to keep a project from derailing. Seeing your partner through the bumps along the way means knowing how to create and execute solutions, but it also requires a high level of emotional intelligence. Being a source of support in trying times requires a level head and a good heart— in equal measure.

Obtain and deliver new skills

You just have to like it. Technical ability means nothing if you don’t enjoy the conversation. When you’re passionate about what you do, it isn’t something that you turn off. A great Consultant can’t help but think about improving their craft. They find ways to repurpose what they’ve learned from their engagements, and are always seeking to obtain and deliver new skills as they move forward.

Great Consultants don’t play a singular role.

In the end, great consultants are the ones who recognize that their personal success is measured by the success of their partners. Sure, you have to possess a sales mindset and be a business operation expert, but you also need to be able to see outside of that domain. Knowing how your decisions affect operations up and downstream is only the beginning. Are you being helpful beyond of the scope of your own project? Consulting means forming a partnership, and as any business owner will tell you, that means wearing a lot of hats. A great Consultant wants to show up however they can— because when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.


Why MDA Needed an ERP and Why It Chose VFP Consulting: An Interview with Michael Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer at the Muscular Dystrophy Association

Why MDA Needed an ERP and Why It Chose VFP Consulting: An Interview with Michael Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer at the Muscular Dystrophy Association

I don’t give recommendations easily. But I can for
VFP – I appreciate that they are more than a software
implementation company, and have become my
partners in a massive transformation in the

way we use technology to make a difference.

MICHAEL KENNEDY, EVP & CFO,
MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY ASSOCIATION.

Mike Kennedy carved out an hour to talk to me in the middle of this year’s Dreamforce to share his vision: Evolve the way the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a nonprofit with a 64-year history, leverages technology to become a streamlined data-driven organization.

With a passion to make a difference and the drive to see it through, Mike has set in motion a clear innovative technology strategy aimed at providing best-in-class integrated technology solutions that further the MDA mission and drive increased fundraising.

With strategic and tactical help from VFP Consulting, the Salesforce/FinancialForce platforms will allow MDA to achieve two important milestones:

  • Reduced administrative overhead and the creation of a centralized service center executing more effectively within a unified technology
  • A way to provide constituents with additional opportunities to engage with the organization by implementing new channels and improving existing channels

These changes will be the backbone of MDA’s future and will empower tens of thousands of volunteers and staff in 84 offices across the country.

Kim: What is the business problem that VFP Consulting is helping you solve?

Michael Kennedy: The problem is twofold. In the beginning, MDA had antiquated and disparate front and backend systems. Once the extent of the problem was identified with VFP Consulting’s help, we chose FinancialForce to be the single end-to-end processing platform.

With VFP Consulting building the foundations of the technology architecture, we started the strategic thinking around moving MDA’s existing 60-plus systems into a single Salesforce-managed platform that will drive our fundraising and mission initiatives.

Kim: What other technologies is VFP working with to help you realize your vision?

Michael Kennedy: The front-end of fundraising will be driven by Salesforce partner platforms such as Donor Drive, One Cause, and Marketing Cloud, and MDA Care Centers and Summer Camps will have custom-designed Salesforce registries.  All of these programs will be supported by the FinancialForce platform implemented by VFP.

Kim: What aspect of the FinancialForce implementation will help you most in your job as CFO?

Michael Kennedy: Every organization needs reliable, timely and relevant financial information to help guide its goals. This is what FinancialForce can bring to MDA. In addition, it is important to me that MDA maximizes the mission impact of every dollar we raise. With FinancialForce end-to-end processing capabilities, we not only get superior financial information but we also achieve a streamlined process providing significant savings. VFP was able to quickly grasp these two critical requirements and help us build a successful platform.

Kim: What will a successful implementation look like to you?

Michael Kennedy: VFP has done a wonderful job in putting the FinancialForce implementation on a fast track. It was just too important to the organization to not have a state-of-the-art technology platform. For me, a successful implementation brings me the three key aspects every CFO wants to have:

  • House in order: processing systems deliver efficiencies and financial information can be relied upon
  • Relevant and timely financial reporting: a simple dashboard both for finance department overview as well as for front-end executives to understand where they stand
  • Influence: the right information will influence decision-making and allow my colleagues to achieve their goals

When the implementation is done, I’ll be able to look at financials and say, “Here is where we are struggling,” and make real-time recommendations based on accurate and timely data.  If we can access financials and metrics easily and see how things are connected, then MDA will be able to help more people more efficiently than ever before.

Shifting the organization to a single Salesforce/FinancialForce platform will allow us to become a more connected, efficient team. It will facilitate collaboration that just isn’t possible with our old systems.

Kim: From your experience, are the needs of nonprofits different than those of for-profit companies?

Michael Kennedy: Clearly, the end goals are different. For-profit companies are trying to satisfy the financial returns of shareholders, whereas nonprofits are delivering on a defined mission of help and support. Coming from a background as a CFO in both worlds, I can see so many similarities between how each gets to its end goal. Finance teams are relied upon to provide timely and relevant information of an organization’s activities. In addition, it’s just as important for a nonprofit to make sure that the maximum amount of every dollar raised gets to the intended mission. We have the same responsibility to our donors that a for-profit has to its shareholders.  Both for-profit and nonprofits need executive and financial leadership. Having the right technology in place, and insight, is critical in delivering that leadership.

Kim: You mention “insight.” What kind of insight will help MDA fulfill its mission?

Michael Kennedy: We are a large nonprofit organization operating in 84 offices with more than 600 employees and volunteers. Having timely insight into all those activities is critical to the management team to drive our mission and fundraising efforts in an efficient and coordinated fashion. It will answer a lot of questions: Are we doing things in a consistent way? Are we concentrating on the right things, working in the right areas? Where are we raising funds? Why do some regions outperform others? Are we maximizing our connections with our supporters and families? I have never looked at the CFO role as simply a policeman or the generator of data. Compliance and accurate reporting is important but being able to influence the organization is the bigger goal for finance. I come in every day ready to challenge how we do things and how we can become more efficient, never losing sight that each dollar saved goes to helping our community of individuals with neuromuscular diseases. Having the right technology platform is key to being able to achieve that.

Kim: What does the future of MDA look like with the help of this platform?

Michael Kennedy: MDA is about innovations in care and science for individuals with neuromuscular diseases. We are constantly evolving as an organization as new treatments are discovered to help these individuals. With a state-of-the-art technology architecture, we will be well positioned to support how we deliver on this evolving mission.

Kim: What’s it like working with VFP? How do they compare to other partners you’ve worked with?

Michael Kennedy: I give a lot of credit to Paul and Stephanie for building a team of professionals that provides clients with thought leadership and timely product delivery. VFP is recognized as a specialist in this field. I don’t give away recommendations easily, but I can with VFP. I trust their knowledge of business processes and I trust their dedication to what we are trying to achieve. They put business process first, then they zero in on a solution. Without that kind of active partnership and knowledge there would be a lot of wasted trial and error.

Kim: What do you see as the value of working with the VFP Consulting team?

Michael Kennedy: When I first met Stephanie and Paul, I was clear about what I wanted. I said,

“I’m not looking for an implementation service; I’m looking for a partner who can help me think this through and implement it.”

The advantage of working with VFP is that they see the bigger picture. They own it with you. I could only do this with a team that takes the time to understand our processes and how to improve them. The VFP team brings a valuable element to what we are trying to accomplish.

 

Coming soon: In Part 2 of the MDA story we’ll talk to Paul Rees, co-Founder of VFP, about the process of implementation, lessons learned and the all-important go-live on Dec. 1, 2018.