Consulting is poised for a big transformation-The Cdays when a consultant would present his/her strategy and walk away are long gone. It’s about walking along with the customer in their implementation journey and enabling them achieve tangible business outcomes. Similarly, Owner of TOP Step Consulting, Jodi Cicci’s prime focus was to provide a platform for the PS community to learn and share knowledge. This passion extends to the professional services community at large by freely contributing educational webinars, ebooks, and tips as advocates for the adoption of process efficiency and technology for achieving excellence in professional services business operations.
Thus, TOP Step offers PSA focused solutions such as Business Efficiency Assessments, Deployments, and System Extensions including integrations with ERP, CRM, HCM, and other common business operations systems.
Business Efficiency Assessments ensure technology is aligned to your business model and therefore the technology is working for you instead of changing how you do business.
Deployments follow a proven methodology of customer engagement and business modeling to ensure data capture and metrics reporting help organizations realize the investment benefits of the PSA tool.
System Extension enables workflow efficiencies within the PSA solution by adding logic to complement the vendor platform and integrations to streamline data flows among systems for accuracy and timely data processing.
TOP Step also provides Project Management Office consulting to businesses to help them deliver projects more successfully and to have more predictable project execution and management of their projects.
Multiple Roles by Jodi
Jodi Cicci began TOP Step Consulting in 2007, and has been involved with Professional Services for over 25 years. Her experiences in various PS roles from Software Developer and Operations Director to Global Project Management Director for a large Software Technology company has contributed to the unique perspective on managing a successful professional services organizations.
TOP Step Consulting has received numerous awards and industry recognition establishing the company as leaders in providing business consulting, PSA implementation, PSA administration, and consulting skills training to enable organizations to be more efficient and profitable through process and technology.
Despite the Difficulties, how TOP Step reached the Top
TOP Step started with just Jodi and within a year there was too much work coming in. The response from the customer base was overwhelming. It became quickly apparent that a “company structure with payroll, etc. would be needed sooner than expected. Her first employee hire is, in fact, still working with TOP Step Consulting today. “When you are a single person in a company, the business plan is simple. When you need to start hiring, your business plan becomes more complicated and critical is understanding how cost grows with revenue growth so plan to put one in place sooner rather than later”, says Jodi.
TOP Step earned a reputation of partnership and knowledge enablement, continuing to grow year over year and decided to expand by including the FinancialForce PSA solution, keeping the focus on the team’s expertise in Professional Services business processes and technology. In 2016 TOP Step introduced a focused Integrations and System Expansion team which supports code development, enhancing the robust platforms provided by the PSA vendors they support.
Consulting: Helping Customers at any point in their evolution
TOP Step has developed a program called STEPS, a five-phased approach, namely Strategize, Tools and Process Implementation, Educating and Training, Performance Tracking and Reporting, and Systems Management to help organizations effectively utilize their PSA software solutions.
The Strategize step includes offerings such as Business Efficiency Assessment, which helps customers align their PSA software solution to their organizational processes, and PSA Tool Selection, which assists customers in identifying their operational needs and how to evaluate software solutions to determine the best-fit for their organization.
Tools and Process Implementation offerings include deploying the NetSuite OpenAir or FinancialForce PSA solution as well as establishing a Project Management Office.
Education and training focuses on project manager training and consulting skills training.
Performance Tracking and Reporting works to help customers establish reporting metrics and measures to ensure they are gathering effective data for strategic business decisions.
Finally, Systems Management provides options for customers to have a personal help desk to answer those business and process questions within the organization.
Need of PSA
“With the movement and focus on cloud solutions and platforms, systems and products are moving faster to have better features, more options for customizations, and be more flexible in a plug-and-play method. PSA solutions need to continue to invest in their functionality and keep on top of Professional Services trends in order to stand out as a viable solution for today and the future,” shares Jodi describing criticality of Consulting.
Process to be a Successful Company Jodi’s advice for start-ups is find your niche or differentiator and leverage that in marketing and customer relationships. Don’t try to be all things to all customers – that will spread you out too thin and prevent your organization from gaining traction in any single focused market.
According to Jodi, to accomplish all at the start would have been difficult and impacted their ability to not only deliver services but to deliver quality. Quality is important to high customer satisfaction.
Plans to Expand
TOP Step Consulting is continually looking at the PSA market for trends and leading product platforms. Expansion into additional PSA vendor solutions and 3rd party Integration tools/platforms is their primary focus for the upcoming year. The PSA market continues to grow which indicates that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and that is exciting when you are a consulting organization helping customers select the right solution for them.