The Technology Service Industry Association recently recognized FinancialForce PSA, introduced in 2010, as the world’s most widely used professional services automation (PSA) tool. The application was also singled out for delivering the "highest overall satisfaction" in the PSA category on the G2 Crowd software review site.
With more than over 500 customers, "demand continues to accelerate," said Lori Ellsworth, general manager of Professional Services Automation for FinancialForce, as professional services organizations see improvements in both customer satisfaction and their own bottom line results.
Building on that tool's success, FinancialForce this week introduced a social project management application for professional services organizations (PSOs) built on the Salesforce Community Cloud. The new app, called FinancialForce Professional Services Communities, includes new features enabled by Salesforce's Lightning and Salesforce1 development platforms.
Ellsworth said the software provides PSOs with a single, unified platform centered on core customer data to manage projects, people and finance. The aim is to break down communication barriers between PSOs and their customers, partners and subcontractors, and to offer real-time visibility into projects.
PSOs often have hundreds, if not thousands, of projects going on simultaneously, Ellsworth said, and they tend to use tools like email and spreadsheets to manage them, which makes collaboration cumbersome and time consuming. Because of this, services professionals often spend more time on tedious tasks than on strategic work.
"An organization can better compete and grow because it will now have improved visibility and control over projects completed by this new workforce," she said. "It also empowers teams to focus on strategic, impactful work rather than administrative work like back-and-forth emails on status updates and back documentation."
As the central hub for all interactions and associated data, FinancialForce Professional Services Communities allows project leaders to determine who is available and when, and also enables partners and subcontractors to enter their time and expenses straight into the system. In addition, a filing component facilitates sharing, storage and management of project-related files and versioning functionalities keep all parties on top of changes and updates to documents.
PSOs can customize FinancialForce Professional Services Communities with their own brand elements to deliver a consistent brand experience for their clients. The software also offers built-in real-time collaboration capabilities via Salesforce's Chatter, which makes it easy to connect with other employees, customers and partners without leaving the application.
Using a Salesforce1 mobile application, users can access and update project information from their mobile devices, making it easy for professional services pros to work while on the road.
Project teams can also establish access rights based on roles so that a given party can access only the information they need, a valuable feature for teams that include part-timers, freelancers and contractors in addition to full-time employees.
Available now, the software is already is already being used by some early adopter customers, including USDM, a professional services firm that serves the life sciences industry.
Professional Services Communities will help USDM create a more personalized, transparent and collaborative experience with its clients and also better manage and communicate with its partners, said Jim Murray, the company's chief technology officer, in a statement.
"Communities help bring together disparate pockets of data and insight to help us better serve our customers, provide real-time updates to projects, exceed their expectations, to build a stronger, long term relationship," he said. "What's more, it opens up a new marketing channel on which we can share information about new services to customers. This new platform will be integral to helping us grow our business."
In addition to PSA solutions, FinancialForce also offers financial management and human capital management offerings. Founded in 2009, the company is backed by Salesforce Ventures, Technology Crossover Ventures, Advent International and UNIT4.