Using Fulcrum for Consulting Projects
Many of our customers are using Fulcrum for different types of consulting projects, meaning they’re delivering on projects on behalf of someone else — as a subcontractor to a prime contractor, to a city or municipality, or to another government agency. I wanted to take a moment to review some of the many advantages of the Fulcrum platform for consulting engineers, business analysts, field services companies, or software developers, and give a little background on why so many choose Fulcrum as a basis for completing their projects.
Focus on the Deliverables
In most of these scenarios, consultants find Fulcrum useful because their primary goal, and why a client has hired them, is to deliver results — reports, answers, designs, data — not to build software application. They love Fulcrum because it solves a difficult problem without requiring them to build their own tools from scratch. We all know that reinventing wheels (like building your own data collection tool) is a pretty efficient way to erode the profitability of your client projects. So Fulcrum provides an off-the-shelf solution to get to the results their clients are paying for.
Because of our scalable, usage-based plans, Fulcrum is a great sustainable solution to complete consulting projects. As your work expands, or seasonality of projects come around to the “off-season”, you can scale up or down in plan level and usage to match the level of effort happening in your project work. Sometimes project lifecycles come back around — say something like asset inventory — where it’s time to pick it back up and do the “2016 inventory review” from an archival project from two years ago. You can design Fulcrum asset survey projects to make it extremely cost-effective for your client to return to you for additional work. And because you’ve already got the workflow built out in Fulcrum, the 2016 edition of said inventory can be that much more profitable for you as the contractor.
The more you’re developing your own tools and systems using Fulcrum, your cost (and by extension your customer’s costs) for project services are reduced over time, allowing you to bring the results the customer is asking for to the table far more efficiently than your competitors. In the “lowest bidder” consulting marketplace, this competitive edge can save costs without compromising the quality of your results.
Better Interaction with Clients
Another key benefit of using Fulcrum for your services projects is the transparency, collaboration, and reporting it affords when working with your client on a project. You can use Fulcrum collaboratively with your customer, instead of using it under the hood of your project for them. Fulcrum has a suite of features that help you to deal with management-level oversight of field services work, whether you’re doing some of it yourself (in the field), or dealing with the back-office form management, data rollup, and reporting pieces of the flow. Let’s run through a few of the features our consulting customers find instrumental in providing excellent results to clients:
- Sharing - Our Data Shares functionality gives you a resource for providing your clients with easy-to-use download URLs for grabbing the latest data right from Fulcrum, without having to have a login, or the need to know anything about how to use Fulcrum. Email them a URL to a KML file and they can pop it open in Google Earth and see the data themselves.
- Rapid Response - The drag-and-drop app designer offers a ton of flexibility in designing the field data requirements. When the inevitable (and naturally, unbudgeted) change request comes down the pipe from the client, you can revise your forms on-the-fly and they’ll be automatically redistributed to field staff, with minimal overhead.
- Management Tools - Because Fulcrum has custom roles and user permissions to control who can do what, you can give your customer direct access to see work progress as it’s happening. You don’t need to limit it to monthly or quarterly status updates, they can come inside and see how things are going for themselves. Transparency is something clients love, when they can get it.
- Show, Don’t Tell - Before you even win the work with the client, when you’re showcasing what you can do, you can show them how quickly it’s going to work, rather than telling them in a proposal document or a PowerPoint slide. You can build an app in 15 minutes, bring a tablet to the proposal presentation, and show them the workflow in action. It’ll speak much louder than that Excel chart about efficiency or the Visio diagram about your process.
It’s All About Results
Being in the consulting business is all about efficiency. As a services consultant, you’re brought in to bring answers, not make software.