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Using Workday Adaptive Planning for Professional Services Forecasting

For the professional business services industry, the ability to reliably forecast and plan for different scenarios is becoming increasingly essential. Professional services forecasting allows leaders in the field to deliver better experiences for clients, find new ways to reduce operational costs, and better chart a profitable path forward in uncertain times. Accurate, timely forecasting is dependent on both collecting and centralizing data and having a system that can take that raw data and use machine learning to create accurate models.

Workday Adaptive Planning is a forecasting tool that allows companies in the professional services industry to leverage their data, whether they use Workday or other tools, and use it to create powerful insights. This article will look at why professional business service companies need to adopt a forecasting tool and how Workday Adaptive Planning can help organizations to chart a course to success.

The Need for Better Forecasting Tools

The professional business services space is anticipated to grow to $5.43 trillion globally in 2021, up from $5.03 in 2020 (The Business Research Company’s Professional Services Industry Report). Like many industries, organizations in the professional business services field saw projects put on hold and fewer opportunities to drive new business as customers scrambled to react to the COVID-19 pandemic. As organizations slowly come out of the pandemic, professional services organizations are seeing more opportunities for growth.

At the same time, those in the professional services industry should also be looking for new ways to increase operational efficiency. This can be especially challenging, however, given how rapidly changing the global environment is. While many organizations are bringing employees back to the office in some capacity, the rise of COVID-19 variants can potentially prompt those organizations to either postpone or reverse course on these initiatives.

With constant change and uncertainty being the new normal, professional service firms need to develop plans for different contingencies as well as look for more agile ways of operating. Doing so requires access to accurate, real-time data and advanced professional services forecasting tools that allow organizations to anticipate different scenarios and plan accordingly, as well as find new opportunities to maximize resource allocations and reduce expenses.

Professional Services Forecasting

Companies in the professional and business services space need to develop revenue plans based on factors such as project duration, billable hours, and pay structures like percentage of completion. This level of complexity has traditionally made forecasting more difficult for professional services than other industries.

Workday Adaptive Planning reduces this complexity by automating processes such as revenue recognition and data integration, allowing professional and business service organizations to create different models based on their goals. These models help organizations to determine the best path to growth by:

  • Making it easy to run various “what-if” scenarios based on a wide range of factors, allowing teams to test hypotheses. Having this capability is important in today’s rapidly changing landscape, in which organizations are constantly looking to improve existing lines of business while also establishing new lines.
  • Integrating with different systems, such as the organization’s HCM, financial management platform, CRM, and more. This gives organizations the ability to forecast different aspects of the business, not just finance.
  • Allowing organizations to better use their existing workforce and determine their hiring needs. Many organizations in the professional services space face constant changes, resulting in the increased need for certain skillsets. When change happens, organizations need to quickly determine how many employees have the new skillsets required and how many more are needed to meet demand. Workday Adaptive Planning lets professional service organizations easily run gap and utilization analyses, as well as determine what skills the organization needs to either hire or reskill for.
  • Allowing different stakeholders to create forecasts, so if a project lead wants to run a scenario, they can do so. Managers at different levels can also set up their own dashboards, giving them greater insight into performance and allowing them to see where they stand against their goals.

Ultimately, Workday Adaptive Planning can lead to better project profitability and give professional business firms the agility they need to better serve their clients. To learn more about how Collaborative Solutions can help your company to deploy and use Workday Adaptive Planning, contact us today.

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