Unit4 PSA: Driving the People Experience
Unit4 PSA’s ecosystem of powerful teams and partnerships are perfectly aligned to make for an exceptional people experience that drives customer success for Professional Services, so you can offer a better way to work that makes for a better place to work.
From Magneto quotes to the value of authenticity, speaking to Manav Singh, General Manager and Scaleup Leader for Unit4 PSA, is anything but boring. The man has an intense passion for what he does, and it’s apparent from the moment you meet him and is reflected in everything he does. It’s what fuses and fuels Professional Services Automation (PSA), bringing their people and their partners together, empowered and focused on a collective goal, a cohesive ecosystem designed to optimise success.
Whatever your business objectives, Unit4 PSA can help.
The secret to Unit4 PSA’s success is that Singh himself remains married to a winning framework rooted in the belief in his people and the strategic alignment of business partners. It’s old-school thoughts done in a new age way, with heart, passion, and conviction. And his customers are better for it.Unit4 PSA, helping you pivot, strengthen, and amplify
To achieve operational excellence, you must address the following four key areas: Executing profitable projects, optimising resource utilisation, billing with precision, and winning more business. Unit4 PSA gets you there, despite our ever-changing world.
Practices built for the future create an environment that allows their people to focus on what matters most – delivering customer value. By leveraging technology, companies can remove non-value-add administrative tasks and streamline workflows, and empower their people, providing all the information employees need to be successful at their fingertips.
Remote-work and a global pandemic pose epic challenges, but Singh and his “team of teams” are up to the task. Engineered for flawless execution and customer success, Singh sticks to old principles, but like vinyl records, and hipster trends, he has made the old new again by understanding and leveraging their true value.
A unified platform focused on optimising front-end operations with automated setups, seamless data flow and integrations, and built-in intelligence ensures that practices are focused on delivering value to customers timely and profitably. With a clear view of current operations, practices plan for the future by making sure they have the right resources and strategic customers. All this within a simplified IT landscape.
Built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Power platform, Unit4’s PSA Practice Management is a full end-to-end solution built for professional services to standardise work, from sales, automation to onboarding your customer, project management, expenses, invoicing, financial transactions, and human competence management.
Singh explains, “We help practices manage their end-to-end process from the point an opportunity presents itself until the point that they invoice the end customer. We cover everything from managing an opportunity, creating projects, staffing people, measuring utilisation, booking time, managing expenses, approvals, and so forth, all the way until invoicing the end customer.
“All of that in a single solution that is built on Microsoft technology which has its own advantage of making sure that we don't have any legacy technology. Being ERP independent also has the added benefit of delivering faster time to value. That is, essentially, what we offer. But, in actuality, we’re in the business of pivot, strengthen, and amplify. We help your business pivot. We will strengthen what you already have, and we will help you amplify your business as you've never seen before.”
Team of Teams
“The magic is in the combination of a clear goal, energised and empowered people, and creating a safe space where it's okay to make mistakes. I think that’s what fuels a productive and effective organisation. And from there, you amplify and scale,” says Singh.
“When it comes to decision-making, a traditional team gums itself up, creating a choke point. And at the pace at which the world moves today, what you need is a ‘team of teams’, a segregated autonomous unit. You give these teams the autonomy to make decisions and execute on visions. If you do that right, then the only factor you need to bind these teams together is a common goal.”
Unit4 PSA enables practices to realise the power of this construct. With its Smart Cloud Collaboration, Unit4 PSA delivers a single solution leveraging Microsoft Power Platform with seamless integration to O365, Power BI and Azure toolsets – making information and intelligence available to all fringes of a practice and empowering individuals to make the right decisions at the right time.
As Singh says, “There needs to be a common-sense of consciousness. Everyone needs to understand what the aim is so that day-to-day, they can make the right decisions and ultimately get you to your goal. This engrains a sense of agility, and an ability to pivot and react to changing conditions dynamically, and delivering a resilience that a traditional way of working does not give you.”ITK: In The Know Solutions Group
With operations in 22 countries, Unit4 PSA has established a rich global partner network. ITK stands as a shining example of the relationships that turn this network into an ecosystem of winning collaborative partnerships.
“Our partners are very important to us, and ITK is a great example of a very successful partnership that we highly value. They are very true to their name and bring a bounty of industry practice that make them not just a technology partner but a trusted advisor. That’s really where their experience shines.
“We have a very close collaboration with our partners, ITK being one of our key ones, and we are always on the same page in terms of how we are addressing the market, what can we do for them, and how we can make them more successful.
“So that relationship really works very, very closely. The interesting thing is that all our partners are not just software partners; they’re users. ITK is an IT services firm, and they use PSA to manage their own practice. So they’re not only advocates for us but can showcase the value that PSA brings. They can speak to some of the challenges that they faced and how we helped them to manoeuvre them.”
When it comes to selecting partners and ensuring mutually beneficial relationships, Singh prefers quality over quantity. “Otherwise, you spread yourself out too thin, and you’re not able to provide them with the right level of focus and attention that they need, and it really doesn’t help you to mutually grow. So our philosophy is to focus on the right partners.
“This means that we're going to have fewer partners, but the partners that we are going to have will be equally invested in our vision as we are. This allows us to throw all of our weight behind those select partners and make sure they are successful, and together, we’ll drive market penetration and make them the face of the region.
“You have 120% of our support, and we will make you successful. In return, all we ask is that you be as equally invested as we are in delivering on the vision we have for the business and the product.” It’s a nice, intimate circle of partners, backed by the right people, empowered for success.Advantage: Transforming the Way You Work
Advantage stands as another example of a carefully selected partner. Singh shares his thoughts on why they were selected and the value they bring. “As an established player in the world of Dynamics for over 20 years, Advantage has helped to provide Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs) with the resources and intelligence required to make informed, timely and strategic decisions to help their business prosper. As one of the only Microsoft Gold Partners providing CRM, ERP, and IT Managed Services all under one roof, they really can help to transform your business.”
“Adding Unit4 into the mix only strengthens their offering. As project managers themselves, they understand the complexities and issues that your team may face on a day-to-day basis and can offer a deeper understanding of the ways to solve your pain points.”
“Our partners are our lifeline, and Advantage is a perfect example of how our product can enhance their offering. Advantage brings a wealth of industry knowledge and technical expertise across a variety of technologies and overlaying Unit4 PSA on top of all that brings it all together in a seamless way. They really are true to their name and are giving businesses across the UK the 'Advantage Edge'.
“We work very closely with all our partners and felt Advantage were ideally placed to help us strengthen our proposition in the UK market, and we really are on the same page in addressing the market, what we can do for our potential customers and how we can give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
“So that relationship really works very well and very closely together. The key thing with Advantage, and indeed all of our partners, is that they are users of the product, they aren't just talking the talk, they are walking the walk, which means any issue you are likely to face has already been seen, addressed and a solution found."
Justin Bown, the Sales Director at Advantage concurs with this view. "It really is a gamechanger for us internally as it has significantly helped to reduce costs and time with our projects. And from our customers perspective, it really helps to bring all of those disparate systems together under one roof."
Hunger. Persistence. Authenticity.
Unit4 PSA has created a team that is passionate and aligned towards a common goal – enabling next-generation practices to thrive in the new business reality. But it’s not done yet. Unit4 holds fast to the belief that improvements are never done, and business should never remain static and continues to move at the speed in which today’s challenging business environment requires.
The other key component of a successful “team of teams” is ensuring they consist of the right people with an alignment on personal goals and expectations.
In order to clearly communicate goals, Singh says his construct consists of three areas, “First, I give them a crystal clear picture of what we want the end state of the business to be. How big do we want to grow? What regions do we want to capture? What customers do we want to target? And how are we going to get them?” All components of a standard business plan, Singh points out, but the difference is in the clarity and execution.
With an unrelenting focus on the end goal, and teams of teams all pointing towards the bullseye, Singh then sets a schedule, prioritises, and measures the efficacy of solutions. Those that are considered to be successful are amplified. Those that aren’t are scrapped before moving on to the next idea. It’s a systematic, quantified process that allows them to arrive at the best possible solution— A perhaps simple yet powerful concept that optimises outcomes.
“I want them to be hungry and to do things because they want to do them, not because I told them to. So, let’s mutually agree on what’s important for you and for the company, and let’s consider that the floor because there is no ceiling.
“The second thing I ask for is persistence. Nobody comes to work to fail. Nobody will drive to their office and say, you know what, today I'm going to do a poor job and aim to fail at what I do. However, things will rarely work out the way you want them to. There will always be problems, either you don't have the right people, or you don't have the right budget, or you have a global pandemic. There are a gazillion things that could happen. You have to keep persisting and not let the challenges bog you down.”
“If you're using half your concentration to look normal, then you're only half paying attention to whatever else you're doing.” — Erik Lehnsherr
Cringing at the analogy, Singh references a quote from Erik Lehnsherr, otherwise known as Magneto, from the X-Men comics. Despite its perceived “cringyness”, however, it’s perfectly apropos to his thoughts on the importance of authenticity.
“The third thing I ask from an individual is for them to be genuine. Bring me your unfiltered self because you cannot unleash your true self or your true potential if you’re expending your energies on hiding your innate inner traits. I’ll show up a hundred per cent, and I want you to show up a hundred per cent with me,” Singh says.
“The world is not static. It’s dynamic, and as things change, you must be able to pivot. To avoid becoming extinct, your business must evolve at pace with the changes. You must redesign your business models to meet the challenges of the day, that’s what teams of teams is for, and that’s what Unit4 PSA is for.”