To ensure that consulting assignments with clients are successful, every business consulting company must closely manage various aspects of the assignment. Some of the key aspects include:
- Storing and sharing up to date documents with all consultants involved in the assignment, as well as with the client
- Proving visibility to the internal and client team members of the dates and times for all planned activities and meetings
- Plan and track the progress of all projects and tasks, and communicate progress updates to the relevant stakeholders
- Generate consultant time-sheets and materials usage reports for billing purposes
It is essential that documents are stored in a central location, which is accessible by all the consultants assigned to working with the client, as well as by the relevant client staff. Document repositories which are available via a cloud service are the most convenient as they are accessible by both internal and client staff, and these services usually offer customisable access permissions to ensure the appropriate levels of document control and confidentiality are in place. The Bitrix24.Drive provides a cloud storage space where access rights can be set at a drive, folder or file level for internal and extranet users, as well as the ability to integrate with external services like Google Drive and One Drive.
It stands to reason that meetings with clients need to be scheduled and confirmed. Also, it is important that key meetings are visible to not only all of the consultants engaging with a particular client, but also with the client’s representatives who are attending the meeting. By booking these meetings on one central platform ensures that any changes to scheduled meetings and/or venues are available immediately to ALL attendees. It is also important that meeting details like the list of attendees, location of the meeting venue and the meeting duration are saved for record keeping and billing purposes. The cloud-based Bitrix24 personal, group and company calendars are available centrally to internal and extranet users alike. The calendars are integrated to the platform’s CRM and Project/Task management features ensuring key events are linked to clients and all related meeting tasks are tracked respectively.
The majority of consulting engagements are conducted on a project basis, where defined tasks must be completed by agreed due dates and where agreed deliverables must be achieved by certain milestones. It is necessary to regularly monitor the percentage completion of the projects or tasks against the agreed plan and communicate the progress to all of the key stakeholders. The Bitrix24 Tasks can be linked projects or parent tasks, assigned to people as the responsible, participating or observing party, linked to specific clients in the CRM, and have the actual time take to complete versus the planned time to complete recorded.
Processing the time and materials used for consulting assignments needs to done using accurate and up to date information, so that client invoices are raised timeously and without errors. It is best to capture the consulting time and resources allocated to each client in a central ‘system’, which provides some automation to aggregate the time and costs by each consultant or each client contract. It is also critical that the actual time and resources allocated to a client’s account are reconciled against the originally quoted and planned time and resources. Bitrix24 has the capability collate the consultants’ billable consulting hours from work time reports and the products sold as materials during the engagement, and raise client invoices which are linked to the original quote.
Regardless of the size of the consulting company or the industry that it services, consulting businesses will be in the best position to deliver on their customer service and contract profit objectives with Bitrix24.