Delivering profitable App Advisory Services starts with understanding the services that you could be offering to your clients. We think there are 5 key areas of service provision:

  • Fact finding or Digital Discovery – Your lead assessment tool
  • Systems Review / Process mapping / Scoping – Understanding your clients processes and requirements
  • App research & evaluation – Discovering and documenting apps that may fit the requirements, analysing, and recommending apps to use
  • Implementation – Planning, testing, training, and using the apps
  • Support – Helping clients with using apps

Fact finding or Digital Discovery

This is where you identify initial information about your client’s processes, people and technology. It is a tool that helps you initially assess leads. You’ll use this to drive the discussion with your client or prospect around what the next steps are and the services you can offer to help solve their problems.

You need enough information to be able to generate a reasonably accurate quote, and you need the client to be providing you with this information, structured in written format. Don’t become a scribe for them, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time. 

We are supporting members with driving conversations by offering fact-finding/digital discovery templates. Check out our Knowledge Base.

Scoping (Systems Review / Process mapping) + Planning

Systems Review

In some cases where the client or prospect is already using software then a good place to start can be to conduct a review of the software to ascertain whether the setup could be improved to meet the requirements.

This could include providing a review of existing software, such as Xero or QuickBooks, or integrated software.

Process Mapping

Take the problems identified during the fact find and look at the processes they relate to in detail. You might be looking at a specific sub-section of a process, or a complete end-to-end process (i.e. tell me what happens from initial enquiry through to job completing and payment).

At every stage of the process you’re asking 

  • What is happening? Including things like what software is being used, what are the key data inputs and data outputs. 
  • Why is it happening?
  • Who is managing and involved in the process?
  • How long does the process take?

Once you’ve got all the stages down you’ll have a clear picture that anyone in the organisation can understand about the process, and it’s going to highlight to you where the time and money is being spent, where there is data duplication, and where there is value creation. 

What also comes out of the process mapping activity is the essential functional requirements that any software you might implement would need to meet. This is valuable in directing the research and evaluation stages. 

We are supporting members with guidance on how to offer process mapping services, and can also provide process mapping services. Read our 3-part blog series on process mapping.

Planning

At this stage you also need to be planning what needs to happen next to move the business closer towards their goals and providing an outline of:

  • Proposed actions
  • Who will be responsible
  • Estimated cost (upper and lower estimates are useful here in managing risk of scope creep and inaccurate estimates)
  • Timeline

App Research & Evaluation

Once you have complete functional requirements for software and an understanding of the budget you can begin researching apps. 

Research is a valuable service, but it can often be difficult to understand if and when you should charge. Read our suggested approach to this

Through our App Stack Builder, we’re giving you the tools you need to identify potential apps to research yourself. 

Through our helpdesk support we can help with identifying apps that meet the functional requirements for you to investigate further.  

Once your research is complete you then need to evaluate the options and make a recommendation to your clients. Our App Stack Reporting tool will help you to present an end-product for your research that delivers value to the client. 

App Implementation

Implementing apps can be a complex business. 

At the outset of any implementation you need to consider whether you have the skills, experience, and resources available to offer implementation yourself, or whether you need to recommend a professional 3rd party implementer. 

Typical project stages might include: 

  • Project plan
  • Setup 
  • Migration of data
  • Data review
  • Testing in non-live environment
  • Staff training
  • Testing in live environment

You should also plan in reviews at each stage of the implementation to make sure the project is on track and the business case still applies.

App Support

Providing support for apps can provide monthly recurring revenue and also increase the ‘stickiness’ of a client (if you get it right). 

If the client is expecting support from you then these are some key considerations when you’re thinking about offering the service.

  • Ensure staff are trained and can get support themselves
  • Assign support responsibility
  • Set client expectations
  • Monitor quality and satisfaction

If the client is expecting support from you then these are some key considerations when you’re thinking about offering the service.

  • Ensure staff are trained and can get support themselves
  • Assign support responsibility
  • Set client expectations
  • Monitor quality and satisfaction

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