I recall having a conversation many years back with a professional services (PS) leader based in the Netherlands about resource management. He held a strong belief that resource management, or staffing, was better and more efficient when controlled locally or within the geography (or GEO). He was very adamant that staffing managing consultants, contractors, and project managers on billable projects was more effectively accomplished if they were controlled by the professional service organization that resided within the GEO. His justifications were that the GEO was most familiar with the skill sets and the availability of the resources, prior customer engagements/projects, and which resources were better suited with being deployed to customers, as some had very good standing relations with them.

While he had some valid points and justifications, I had a very different view of resource management, which I will share with you now. It's my opinion that moving to a global or central environment for managing staffing needs on billable projects would provide more scalability, efficiency, increase overall utilization, and potentially help to reduce mean-time to delivery. To further explain, here are some thoughts on the challenges and benefits on resource management based on a local/GEO model compared to a global/centralized model.

Challenges With the Local/GEO Resource Management Model

Based on the conversation I had with the aforementioned PS leader on the justification or reasoning for support of the local resource management model, I want to go over some of the challenges and issues I've found with the local resource management model.

Scale

When it comes to deploying on billable projects, you're limited to only the available resources within that GEO/local infrastructure. Because of these limited options, you may also be faced with the unfortunate reality of needing to add even more responsibilities to those in the field when they should realistically be focusing on delivery and overall management of a PS practice. Between limited resource availability depending on the GEO and the need to stretch your workforce thin to maintain your current level of operation, it's incredibly hard to scale to meet resourcing demands as your business grows. 

Days to Source

By limiting yourself to only resources within the GEO, the potential of delaying start dates on engagements/projects and increase the meantime to delivery is increased due to the lack of available resources or skill sets.

Productivity (Utilization)

When the GEO is operating on all cylinders and bookings and projects are flowing consistently, this doesn’t impact utilization or productivity. However, when bookings are low and the backlog of projects are all but non-existent, then the resources within the GEO sit idle on the bench, impacting utilization.

All of these points will impact an organization’s profit or loss, revenue, and costs. They delay revenue attainment and recognition, add cost if the organization needs to add a dedicated individual for resource management, and it potentially creates a "hero" culture where a select few are relied upon to carry the majority of the burden.

The Benefits of Global/Centralized Resource Management

Now, let’s take the challenges of the GEO resource management model and see how they become benefits within a global/centralized resource management model.

Scale

No longer are there limitations on resources. By moving to a centralized/global "ecosystem", a bigger pool of resources becomes available. It expands the availability and capability to deliver on projects that require specific skill sets that may have not been available within a specific GEO.

A centralized/global resource management team takes the burden of PS leaders to schedule and deploy resources, which takes away the cost of adding headcount within the GEO to have dedicated individual to manage resources.

Days to Source

Because the global/centralized model draws from an ecosystem of global resources, coordinators can view the availability of resources around the globe and not be limited to a GEO where talent and availability are sparse. This allows for projects to be staffed and deployed more readily and quickly because you’re not waiting for resources and skill sets to be available.

Productivity (Utilization)

In the global model, idle or bench time of resources becomes less of concern or challenge if one GEO is lacking in bookings. Other GEOs within the global PS organization can draw upon those resources to be deployed on active/billable projects and engagements.  

More Companies Are Seeking Global Resources Rather Than Just Local

The global/centralized resource management model allows professional services organizations to be more nimble, productive, and flexible by utilizing a global ecosystem of resources that are not limited to a GEO or local region.

To further illustrate this point, here’s a chart from a TSIA benchmarking study from 2010 to 2015 showing a trend of companies, including PS organizations, implementing a global resource management model. As you can see below, in 2010, 43% had a local/GEO model, but in 2015 that percentage decreased to just 27%. In that same time period, the global/centralized model goes from 25% in 2010 to 39% in 2015.

delivery resource management approach  

(Click image to enlarge.)
Central/global resource management models are on the rise since 2010.

As the data shows, organizations are implementing global/centralized resource management infrastructures in resource deployment and staffing. As the economy becomes more and more global, organizations need to think more globally when it comes to resource management.

Here's another interesting data point on resource management models and to further supplant the case on reevaluating the local/GEO model from the 2015 PS Benchmarking Study.

days to source resource management models  

It takes significantly less time to find available resources when not limited to a specific GEO.

This chart shows the average "days to source" for finding and assigning available resources to be deployed on projects. As you can see, it takes about 35 days on average to source in the local/GEO model compared to about 10 days in the global/centralized model (a 3 to 1 ratio).

Based on the data and the benefits outlined, the recommendation for PS organizations that operate globally is to build and deploy a global/centralized resource management model is strongly encouraged. This model of resourcing provides PS organizations to be more nimble, responsive, flexible, and productive, and helps to provide faster revenue attainment/recognition.

 
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