Time is what we want most, but… what we use worst. Automation of business processes helps enhance a company’s productive output, and most importantly, curbs down an ample amount of time – the most irretrievable of losses. Professional Service Automation solution brings itself various advantages, with a significant upside being its implementation in all key business areas, from sales and HR to marketing and management. One such company, standing tall with its PSA focused solutions is TOP Step Consulting. It enables and empowers Professional Service organizations to be profitable, scalable, and efficient through change management, process enhancement, technology deployment, and skill set training with a Customer First approach.
Unparalleled PSA-Focused Solutions
TOP Step offers a hierarchy of services under its PSA centered solutions, such as Business Efficiency Assessments, Deployments, System Extensions, and Virtual Administration including integrations with ERP, CRM, HCM, and other common business operations systems. Let’s break each one of them down for further cognizance:-
- Business Efficiency Assessments ensures technology is aligned to your business model and therefore, the technology works for you instead of changing your way of doing business.
- Deployments follows a proven methodology of customer engagement and business modeling to ensure data capture and metrics reporting, thereby helping 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 flow among systems for accuracy and timely data-processing.
- Virtual Administration provides a help desk to aid with your PSA system adoption and supports your administrators, by addressing questions from the team.
In addition to these, TOP Step also provides Project Management Office consultancy to businesses, to help them deliver projects successfully and to have a more predictable project execution and management of their projects.
STEPS – A Staircase of Success
TOP Step has developed its very own program called STEPS, which is a five-phased approach; namely Strategize, Tools and Process Implementations, Educating and Training, Performance Tracking and Reporting, and Systems Management. This helps organizations to effectively utilize its PSA-based software solutions.
An Industry Veteran Focused on Improving Efficiency and Profitability
Jodi Cicci, President and CEO of TOP Step Consulting, boasts over 25 years of experience in the Professional Service circuit, wherein she helmed various roles ranging from software developer to project manager to operational director. This breadth of experience in technology services has enabled her to understand the uniqueness that each company offers and how tools and processes can radically improve the efficiency of business operations.
Jodi began TOP Step Consulting in 2007, focused primarily on improving the efficiency and profitability of professional services organizations through process improvement and technology. Since then, the company has grown under her able leadership into a globally renowned and respected consulting organization. It should come as no surprise that TOP Step has received several awards and industry recognition, thereby establishing the company as leaders in providing business consulting, PSA implementations, PSA administration and consulting skills training. Through all these, TOP Step enables an organization to be more efficient and profitable through process and technology.
The Master Degree holder in Computer Science from the Michigan Technological University, Jodi’s ultimate focus is to provide a platform for the PS community to learn and share knowledge.
Tackling Market Changes
Companies are continually on the lookout for ways to be more efficient by extracting more productivity out of fewer resources. This, in turn, leads to technology needs and repeatable processes that support predictability.
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace with cloud solutions evolving and new solutions in marketing coming up quite often. TOP Step Consulting keeps itself plugged into the PSA market by participating in leading services associations and by being involved in the PSA community through conferences and community events.
“We pride ourselves on connecting with leading PSA vendors to gain knowledge about their platform and make investments to learn key go-to-market focuses that provide differentiators among vendors. By making this investment and gaining insight, we have a solid base from which to provide information to customers and prospective customers alike about how various solutions will meet their unique business model requirements,” asserts Jodi.
PSA Tool Selection, for various firms, is a primary investment, which will support the scalability of the organization for the next decade and beyond. The company positions itself to provide firms with that support.
Staying One-Step Ahead of the Industry
Unlike its contemporaries, TOP Step Consulting focuses only on Professional Services consulting with a technology emphasis of PSA solution support or deployment. There is often the push to have boutique firms expand into a one-stop solution provider by broadening their offerings into HR, CRM, and ERP solutions, since they align so closely with PSA. On the contrary, TOP Step has maintained their focus on PSA and have instead chose the direction of finding quality partners that excel in other platforms and services. This is to provide a best of breed team approach in addition to best of breed technology. In this way, the company keeps its eyes on top of the industry trends and is able to contribute as thought leaders in the marketplace.
An Insightful Look at the Company’s Background
Back in 2005, Jodi was heavily involved with the PSA solution NetSuite OpenAir both as a customer and as an advocate. She was working as a Project Manager at Software AG and led in deploying the solution. She soon recognized an opportunity to start TOP Step Consulting as a way to assist customers to get more out of their investment with the NetSuite OpenAir platform.
During that time, only the product vendor themselves had the requisite expertise in the platform. The emerging company quickly gained notoriety in the customer base by partnering with the OpenAir vendor and worked its way up to establish both an online and in-person customer community to share information and experience. By starting as a boutique consulting firm focused on PSA and professional services consulting, TOP Step Consulting garnered a reputation of partnership and knowledge enablement, and has continued to grow each year.
In 2010, integrations became a focus to NetSuite OpenAir by introducing the NetSuite/OpenAir integration offering along with standardizing integrations to Salesforce and other systems alike. Integrations are a key part of having an efficient solution of effective time productivity and TOP Step Consulting has continued to expand relationship to partnering with integration vendors like Dell Boomi and Celigo to promote the best fit solutions to the customer base.
In 2014, the company expanded to include the FinancialForce PSA solution, keeping the focus on the team’s expertise in Professional Service business processes and technology. Two years later, TOP Step introduced a focused Integration and System Expansion team which supports code development, enhancing the robust platforms provided by the PSA vendors they supported. This year saw the company introduce yet another PSA platform to the TOP Step Consulting knowledge base – Kimble Applications.
Fighting off the Initial Struggle
The initial phase for TOP Step Consulting was both a boon and bane. Jodi was the sole member of the company, and within a year since the company formation, the response from its customer base was overwhelming. But because of this, far too much work was coming in and Jodi couldn’t handle them alone.
“It was quickly apparent that a company structure with payroll, etc. would be needed sooner than expected,” Jodi mentions.
Ronn Breaux became the very first employee at TOP Step Consulting, framing the infrastructure for a virtual company and continues to shape and grow the company alongside Jodi. “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,” Jodi points out. Amidst all the struggles, the company overcame all of it and surged ahead to climb the ladder of success.
Ronn has spent his career solving business issues and striving for operational excellence. He has worn many hats throughout his career including VP of Sales, VP of Delivery, COO and CFO, giving him insight into the many challenges of service oriented businesses both operationally and culturally. He brings a unique set of knowledge and skills to his customers for understanding the business needs as well as process and tools that can help solve efficiency challenges.
As a strategic business partner for Jodi, Ronn receives a great deal of satisfaction by providing solutions that result in improved operations and ultimately ease the stress within a company; thereby allowing them to shift their focus on the activities and people who are making a difference in their companies. His technical capabilities established and continue to grow key areas of the TOP Step from NetSuite/OpenAir integration to learning additional PSA solutions like NetSuite SRP.
Future Roadmap – Continuing to Spearhead the Industry
TOP Step’s focus in the near future will continue to be a leader in PSA technologies. It hopes to do so by staying on top of roadmaps and new features or releases from the vendor, as well as educating its existing customer base to continue to take advantage of releases to be even more efficient and productive.
TOP Step listens to its customer base; hence, a lot of its direction is driven organically by the industry, vendor products and customer requests. Its Extension Marketplace is the newest example of how the company strives to deliver excellence that can be repeatable and facilitates a winning situation for its customers.
“In the upcoming years, we will continue to focus on offerings that educate our customers and provide quick assistance that drives PSA adoption, PSA accuracy, and PSA reliability as a critical platform for their own businesses.” Jodi concludes.