Automation Suited to a Modern-day Sterling Cooper
Our client, a leading professional services organization, has been in business for over 20 years providing consulting and professional services to a range of Fortune 500 and technology startup clients. Their mission is to provide premier business, management and technology consulting to clients with world-class skill and the personal touch of a local firm.
Professional services firm invoicing can be surprisingly complex – clients often negotiate unique terms, projects sometimes involve one-off rates and practice partners typically review every issued invoice. Our client was spending an increasingly large amount of time each month preparing, proofing and issuing invoices. While a reduction in time was the primary driver, our client needed to maintain their central tenets to be fair to their clients and always present clear, accurate and uniform invoices to all clients. Any new system needed to utilize highly accurate enterprise data but also provide mechanisms for management and partner review.
Model and Automate
Construct the Model
Before any technical implementation, Mercury professionals analyzed existing business processes, rationalized overlap, bridged the differences between lines of businesses and formulated an updated business process. The new uniform invoice cycle is composed of six specific phases: Fiduciary Review, Budget Watch, Invoice Creation, Invoice Review and Distribute & Collect.
With the new six-phase invoice cycle and associated business rules ironed out, Mercury commenced automation utilizing the Microsoft Power Platform. Mercury utilized Microsoft Lists for business data storage and a combination of Power Automate and Power Apps for business flow automation and to power all messaging, enforce order of operations and apply business logic.
Surface the Process for Collaboration
Our client utilizes Microsoft Teams to streamline their internal collaboration and knit together their professionals, line staff and partners, making it a natural fit for new process notifications and communication. Power Automate connectors power targeted notifications to all stakeholders who can also punch into the communication thread to cover special topics without the need for synchronous meetings.
Firm consultants track their client service work in a time entry system backed by SQL Server; those details form the basis of each invoice. Mercury implemented Power Automate connectors to SQL Server and QuickBooks Online to marshal each client’s consumption data, apply business rules and push the resulting invoice content and data to the firm’s financial management system.
Microsoft 365 provides the strength of modernized content publication, robust document libraries and data lists. Modern Microsoft Lists were used in this solution to provide business data storage while Planner provided a solid base for assignment tracking and notification.
For iPhone app construction using native Swift and Cocoa coding. Full native Xcode development provides a higher level of fidelity and code tuning that hybrid solutions like Cordova cannot match. Proximity notification and mapping are two key capabilities the Shine app needed to optimize.