In the 1970s and ‘80s, materials requirements planning helped to transform the manufacturing industry.

Now, three decades later, Services resource planning (SRP) is poised to be just as transformative for software and professional services. SRP provides a consistent and comprehensive platform for services organizations to manage the entire client lifecycle, from lead to project to cash. Simply put, services organizations can't afford to ignore the potential of Service Resource Planning. Here are six reasons why:

1. Integration -- Integrating project management, resource optimization, project accounting and client management is an idea whose time has come. It is virtually impossible to provide real-time insights to all stakeholders when dozens or even hundreds of simultaneous projects are being managed on spreadsheets, email, and stand-alone systems.

2. Decision making -- Until accounting, sales, human resources, project management and field professionals all speak the same languages of planning and execution, it is impossible to make coordinated decisions that lead to better client outcomes and increased efficiencies.

3. Globalization -- MRP brought centralized and consistent controls to every step of the manufacturing process at a time when globalization was shrinking the industrial world. American, Asian and European businesses vied with one another for the same customers with the same product lines. MRP sorted the winners from the losers by giving the winners tremendous cost and efficiency advantages. This should sound familiar. The market for professional services and other knowledge-based businesses has become global, and competitive pressures are coming from all corners of the world. SRP delivers the same edge to services businesses today that manufacturers needed in order to succeed three decades ago.

4. Coordination -- In the past it was possible for many organizations to use professional services as a loss-leader to secure a larger piece of business, such as a long-term software contract. Now that the market for professional services is so competitive, this loss-leader mentality is a business-killing dead end. Becoming a profit center requires coordination, and that means SRP.

5. Growth -- Accounting and sales departments need to understand future revenue and profit opportunities, which is difficult to do when information about professional services projects and resource utilization is not readily available. SRP gives sales the information they need to understand resource availability when pitching new business, and provides accounting with the insight they need to produce more accurate forecasts and timely invoices.

6. Profitability -- The disciplines of Services Resource Planning expose the profitability of every resource and every project. That's the kind of granularity professional services organizations need in order to make competitive strategic decisions in the face of global

Software, consulting, advertising and accounting service organizations are already transforming their business with cloud SRP solutions. Here are some of the SRP success stories and take the first steps towards modernizing your own practice.

-Kimberly Odom, Director of Vertical Marketing, Software