Kimble has announced general availability of the latest version of its PSA solution, Summer 18. It has extended its resource management capabilities claiming that it is first to bring “intelligent resourcing” to the market.
Summer 18 introduces several enhancements that will enable professional services firms to optimise their resource scheduling. Optimising resource scheduling leads to increased utilisation, a key performance indicator for professional services according to SPI Research. Resourcing is as important to professional services as Lean is to manufacturing.
Randy Mysliviec, Managing Director of the Resource Management Institute commented: “While many factors affect project performance and profitability, none are more than influential than resource management. Recent RMI research shows that project-based consulting businesses have a big opportunity to improve project outcomes by removing inhibitors to effective resourcing. … The RMI applauds Kimble’s continued investment in addressing the mission-critical resource management needs of the industry.”
Kimble has also delivered several other improvements with this version including support for processes to assist compliance with the upcoming GDPR legislation.
The devil is in the detail
With this release Kimble allows resource managers to cope with the details that challenge them every week. New features include the ability to include pauses in projects that temporarily release resources to other tasks and projects. It has also introduced a priority enhancement that allows resource managers to pin certain days or tasks to a schedule. Where critical client meetings occur that rely on external resources this is important. It ensures that certain tasks are set for a specific resource, or rather more set than other allocations.
The intelligence element now built into Kimble provides a prioritized list of best match resources against tasks. It helps to ensure that the right person, with the right skill is matched against a task at the right time.
Kimble has also introduced the concept of micro scheduling. Start and end times are allocated on scheduled days. These will also appear in the Salesforce calendar. For multinational firms a time zone can also be specified. This was just one of the features that was very received by the recent user group event in Boston.
Another was the introduction of more visibility for over utilised consultants. Kimble has, if reluctantly but to the excitement of is users, added visibility on the number of hours a consultant is over utilised. This is important as it means that resource managers can see whether a consultant is used for only 9 hours or 16 hours and how big an issue it is. The Kimble approach is not to show this detail everywhere but to flag issues through either a red or amber alert that determines the severity of the issue and its impact on a consultant, project or program.
Other improvements with Summer 18
Vacation management is also improved. There is greater visibility of vacation commitments including not just their booked vacation time but also their remaining allocation. Support for bulk vacation transfers is added and the ability to handle year end vacation processes. It now supports the transfer of remaining vacation allowances to future years for example.
For services firms adopting Agile methodologies the new Work Items elements support the use of sprints within organisations. Resource managers can allocate story points to Work items. These are then used to build a Sprint. If a task contains too many story points it can spill over into the next Sprint.
There are also enhancements to the Kimble Customer Community. This allows the customers of the professional service firm to call off pieces of work from a framework assignment. These requests flow through to resource plans so that resource managers are able to ensure that the right resources are in place in time.
There are also features to support GDPR compliance. These incude the ability to put an end date against resource. Thus when data is now longer required for compliance reasons it can be removed or anonymised. There is also support for features such as “right to be forgotten”, “subject access requests”, and “consent for contact”.
What does this mean
Sean Hoban, founder and CEO of Kimble commented: “Kimble PSA has been leading the market in resource planning capabilities for some time. This is chiefly because it’s so tightly embedded with CRM, particularly Salesforce. Published research from Aberdeen Group shows that combining CRM with PSA increases utilization rates by 12 percentage points, on average. The addition of intelligent resourcing, puts our product even further ahead of the competition. Our customers will reap the benefits in the form of higher utilization and profitability.”
The user group enthusiastically welcomed these new features at the recent user conference. With Mysliviec’s endorsement of their direction Kimble will hope to persuade other professional services firms to adopt what they believe is a one of the leaders in the PSA space, a belief that the recent G2 Grid for PSA confirmed.
Resource management is the key battleground for PSA firms. Mavenlink recently introduced Full-Cycle resource management and FinancialForce introduced improvements to resourcing in its Spring 18 release.