Intense economic pressure in this tight market has forced companies to reinvent their offerings and optimize their operations—many with the help of cutting-edge software solutions. The professional services industry has had to evolve to offer more tailored software solutions that maximize the value of these existing software investments. It is no longer sufficient or acceptable to allow the software to become obsolete or to overspend on upgrades that are not being used.

To prevent mission-critical software from becoming outdated, companies are adopting a new approach—the Professional Services Subscription Model—which promotes continuous support. This dedication to adoption and value creation is ​​essential to ensuring that the technical tools that are wealth’s biggest drivers are optimized to their fullest potential.

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Planview’s professional services subscription model offer customers more predictable, scalable, and cost-effective approaches to professional services.
Planview’s professional services subscription model offer customers more predictable, scalable, and cost-effective approaches to professional services.

The innovative flexibility of this value-driven approach enables customers to achieve desired business outcomes by proactively ensuring customers are organizationally ready to realize value from technology solutions.

What are Professional Services Subscriptions?

Professional services subscriptions are a bundle of service delivery elements that cover a wide range of functions necessary for offering continuous support customized to each customer’s unique needs. By providing a comprehensive range of services, customers can achieve their goals without risking unforeseen expenses, resource limitations, or waste from miscalculations.

One-time software implementation methods have been insufficiently stagnant and categorically fail to meet modern standards for customization and optimization. Subscription services have presented an alternative that is custom by design, which explains why it has become the dominant method for helping customers optimize and develop the value of their technological investments.

Professional services subscription models offer customers more predictable, scalable, and cost-effective approaches to professional services. Professional services are simply following the same trajectory of software which also transitioned from perpetual licensing to subscription-based models for delivering more customizable services.

The key aspects of professional services that make it such a successful model include:

  • Resource Optimization: Data-driven insights and built-in analytics are used to make budgeting more predictable with better resource engagement.
  • Flexibility: The highly customizable nature of subscription services allows for the flexibility to adapt to a volatile market and rapidly changing consumer trends without having to pay for unnecessary services.
  • Continuous Support: Ongoing support is necessary to provide maintenance updates that ensure all aspects of business are functioning optimally at any given time.
  • Customer Satisfaction: A focus on customer satisfaction and maintaining successful long-term relationships with them.

Planview’s Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution offers various subscription services to help customers access the full potential of their software investments. These services are designed to cater to each customer’s unique requirements through ongoing support. Planview is expertly equipped to assist with providing professional services such as:

  • Adoption Strategies and Support: This service provides ongoing assistance to drive continued optimization and adoption of Planview’s software solution. The right support is also essential for organizations adopting a professional services subscription model. Planview’s guidance allows customers to use their software more effectively to achieve their goals.
  • Analytics Assurance: Planview offers an Analytics Assurance service that provides businesses with the analytical and developmental support required to improve organizational visibility and enable data-driven decision-making. This service helps customers make informed decisions based on their software’s built-in analytics.
  • Administration Augmentation: This Planview service delivers hands-on configuration, monitoring, and maintenance of the customer’s software environment. By taking care of these arduous administrative tasks, customers can focus on their core business activities and macro goals instead.
  • Education Service Plans: These plan options grant unlimited access to flexible learning systems that are on-demand such as Planview’s own personal Learning Center resource. This service empowers customers to boost their knowledge of available solutions in order to choose the best option for improving their employee efficiency and business value.

Read next: Guide to Professional Services Revenue Recognition

For customers, two types of offerings are important to understand. There are operational offerings that are vital to keeping the business running effectively on a day-to-day basis. Then there are strategic offerings critical for the business to grow, innovate, and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Businesses must find a balance between the two to ensure both immediate operational efficiency and long-term strategic success.

By combining operational and strategic offerings, the Professional Services Subscription Model ensures that customers receive ongoing support and guidance specifically tailored to their unique business needs. This comprehensive approach empowers organizations to optimize their software investments and achieve lasting success.

What are the Benefits of Subscription Business Models?

The subscription business model offers numerous advantages for both service providers and customers. At its core the professional services subscription model can make companies more resilient and agile by giving them the tools they need to succeed.

Some of the other advantages of subscription models include:

  • Outcome Focused—Subscription models emphasize clearly defined actions or tasks with an assigned value so customers can make informed purchases that align with their needs and goals. This clarity ensures that the customer understands the benefits they should expect to receive and that service providers deliver on their promises.
  • Flexible and Scalable—The customizable nature of subscription models uniquely positions companies to manage their peak demand periods more effectively by being able to rapidly scale services up or down as needed.
  • Predictable and Reliable—The constant presence of the support team with subscription services helps insulate the business from risks and surprises such as staff attrition, shifting priorities, or acquisition integration.
  • Financial Accessibility—The flexibility of subscription services also supports more effective cost management and helps companies reduce wasting resources on payroll for full-time positions or freeing up those employees to work toward other business objectives.
  • Expert Resources—Customers using subscription services will always have access to expert industry advisors with intimate knowledge of the domain and platform from day one.

Considerations When Rolling Out Subscription Services

When implementing professional services subscription models, it is important to keep the following considerations in mind to help make the transition seamless for providers and customers alike:

  • Align Offerings with Customer Needs: Ensure that your subscription services address the specific pain points and requirements of your target audience. This requires a close working approach to gain insight into the company culture to be able to act in their best interests and service their needs.
  • Establish Clear Pricing Terms: Develop transparent pricing structures and terms of service that customers can easily understand and compare with alternative options. This should help them know what to expect in exchange for what they pay and reduce any misunderstandings from overpromising or underdelivering.
  • Provide Excellent Customer Support: Invest in responsive and knowledgeable customer support to address any issues or concerns that arise during the subscription period.
  • Continuously Improve and Evolve: Regularly review and update your subscription offerings to keep pace with industry trends and customer feedback.
  • Monitor and Measure Success: Track key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the effectiveness of your subscription services and make data-driven decisions for improvement.

By carefully considering these factors, businesses can develop and implement subscription services that deliver lasting value to their customers and drive long-term growth.

This process can be a drastic change for many companies, but being the business that makes it easier for customers will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the long-term success of that business partnership.

How Does the Right Subscription Model Serve Your Customers?

Selecting the right professional services subscription model is essential to meeting your customers’ needs and fostering long-term relationships. A well-designed subscription model should:

  • Address Critical Needs and Challenges: Subscription services should be tailored to address the specific pain points customers are facing. For example, managed services can help insulate customers from staff turnover or promotion, while analytics services provide consistent and steady outcomes based on business demand.
  • Offer Advisory Services: Advisory services can help customers tackle organizational and process challenges that hinder adoption and value realization. By providing expert guidance, your subscription services can facilitate smoother transitions and more effective use of your platform.
  • Deliver Seamless Integration: The right subscription model should include integration services that enable customers to easily connect your solution with their existing systems, thereby reducing the burden on their internal teams.
  • Provide Continuous Learning Opportunities: Enablement and learning offerings ensure that platform users stay up-to-date on best practices and helps them maximize the benefits of your solution.
  • Adapt to Changing Customer Needs: A successful subscription model should be flexible and adaptable so you can easily adjust your offerings as customer requirements evolve over time.

Read next: Integrating PSA Systems for Your Professional Services Organization

Designing subscription offerings that directly address the specific needs of your customer base can create lasting value and foster strong, mutually beneficial relationships.

The 7 Steps to Creating Your Professional Services Subscription Model

Creating a successful model requires careful planning and execution. Follow this 7-step checklist to develop your successful offering:

Step 1: Learn the desired outcome

Start by establishing what the customer’s desired outcome is to create an action plan for how to add value in a way they will appreciate and understand. Understanding the end goal your service will help customers see the value you bring to them when objectives are clearly defined and met. This insight will inform your financial model and pricing strategy.

Step 2: Solicit customer input

Use a variety of methods to invite feedback such as hosting focus groups, sending follow-up e-mails, SMS or live chat surveys, analyzing sales calls, and conducting interviews to gather input on potential service offerings.

Step 3: Consult your internal services team

Identify repeating patterns and customer requests observed by team members who work directly with clients. This valuable input can reveal service gaps that helps shape your offerings to better align with the needs of the client. This step is often skipped, but the ideas derived from the intimate working relationships of working with customers on a daily basis are essential.

Step 4: Define the financial model

Decide whether your professional services subscription model will have a set term, if it will be short-term or long-term, and whether it we be renewable. Ensuring that the structure allows for recognition as recurring revenue will be important—a critical distinction for SaaS organizations. Another quality to determine during this stage is if the financial model will be consumption-based.

Step 5: Clarify entitlements

Clearly outline what is included in the subscription and what is not to avoid any ambiguity that could lead to customer confusion.

Step 6: Establish a feedback loop

Be prepared to pivot as you receive feedback on your offering. Use this information to refine and improve your subscription services.

Step 7: Implement organizational change management

Develop a strategy with a clear mission statement to introduce the subscription model to internal stakeholders and customers. Ensure your sales team understands how to position and sell the offering and work with sales management to incorporate the subscription into quota retirement.

Following this checklist will position you to create a successful subscription model that addresses customer needs, delivers value, and contributes to the long-term success of your business.

The Future of Professional Services Subscription Models: Embracing Change

As the professional services industry continues to evolve, several key trends are being shaped by shifting client expectations, technological advancements, and the increasing need for adaptability.

The professional services industry is experiencing a major shift with professional services subscription models playing a central role in shaping its future.

By recognizing and adapting to these trends service providers can create more client-focused offerings.

Employing the latest technology to bolster your capabilities is easier than ever with adaptive subscription plans that are designed to help your business stay competitive even in this unpredictably volatile market.

Discover how Planview PSA’s solution can help you reduce operational costs and streamline your organization’s services delivery.