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Services Ops Podcast Episode 1: Intro to Services Operations

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Best Practices


In the inaugural episode of The Services Ops Podcast, Mahesh Baxi, Co-Founder and CEO of Provus, and Chris Souza, Head of Marketing at Provus, will unravel the complexities of The Quote-to-Cash Process. They’ll discuss specific solutions to common barriers professional services leaders face when their organizations have accessible yet unrealized profits.

Meet your contributors


Your hosts


Chris comes from a marketing and operations leadership background, orchestrating the design and implementation of systems that generate marketing insights while directing the functions that guide them. He fell in love with, “the concept of marrying business strategy with the people you have, with the technology, with the individual needs you have for your customers, and making it all work. It’s wildly complex and very fun.”

Over his 30-year journey in the quote-to-cash domain, Mahesh has built and led professional services organizations to transform their services process by guiding their data organization strategy to optimize margins and maximize revenue. These are the complex processes that make or break an organization’s data pipeline, and a company’s performance in everything from sales to service delivery and project management to accounting hinges on the alignment of people, processes, and technologies across the sales cycle. An organized sales cycle relies on accurate data and internal collaboration. However, most service organizations still entrust their profits to spreadsheets.

Not only is it cumbersome to codify and update endless versions of the same spreadsheets that resemble the original in name alone, but manual practices can take so long that sales managers and service leaders have reported reductions in their time-to-offer ranging “from 15-30 minutes to 2-3 weeks” (depending on the opportunity’s complexity) as a direct result of implementing Services CPQ software.

Mahesh has first-hand experience with these limitations:

“I was running my entire business on Excel spreadsheets, word documents, and email approvals. We were [applying product CPQ components and logic to services enterprises], and we were barely scratching the surface of the complexities we were seeing in enterprises. And yet there were foundational differences in terms of how product CPQ would work versus how the services CPQ would work, and that led us to start Provus.”

The simplest solution is not always the best.


Dirty data jeopardizes customer experience


Static and siloed data architecture works well enough for businesses with simple, standardized, physical products or subscriptions, but the same approach cannot yield the same customer satisfaction when selling professional services.

Chris tells us that services-based customer journeys contain “extreme variables; the services you’re delivering have to be entirely aligned upfront. Operations is not one department’s responsibility. It’s everybody’s role to make sure that a business is running smoothly and is healthy, even if ‘Operations’ is not in your title.” Opaque, incomplete information creates friction within professional services organizations, and customers can sense it.

There are abundant resources available for product-based operations to align everyone in their quote-to-cash process, but the interdepartmental alignment within professional services organizations requires personalized approaches that consider their unique challenges and existing data architecture.

Poor data hygiene has tangible symptoms. From margin erosion to subpar customer experiences and internal arguments, the consequences of disjointed processes are profound. Misalignment jeopardizes customer success, so relying on fragmented processes and manual tools only invites trouble.

Mahesh asks the audience. “How many Professional Services Leaders would raise their hands if I asked them if they thought it was possible to have generated more revenue from the same number of deals? Would they agree that capturing two or three percent more margin on their last deal would be meaningful?”

In candid reflection, Mahesh sheds light on the pressures Professional Services Leaders face in rapidly growing companies by month’s or quarter’s end. This pressure creates a frenzy of activity, leading people to rush through deals, often missing opportunities to sell additional services, ultimately eroding margins and customer experience while exacerbating the cycle of inefficiency.

Everyone wants to maximize revenue, but unlike products, services don’t offer as much wiggle room between the margins. However, structured data and automation open the door to one of the most transformational activities available today. Provus Services Quoting is purpose-built from recognizing the fundamental differences between product and service offerings and the implicit challenges we’ve seen countless organizations struggle to fix manually.


AI for professional services teams


AI is the most exponential technology humanity has ever had, and first adopters are already reaping the competitive advantages. The sooner we rethink our processes, the faster we can align our people and processes for the future. But everything has a price. To benefit from AI, Professional Services Leaders must holistically analyze their processes and meaningfully organize the resulting data so that whatever data pipeline they build compliments their organization’s unique circumstances.

AI-enabled sale processes:

  • Minimize clerical errors
  • Produce insight from data
  • Accelerate the quote-to-cash process
  • Maximize revenue
  • Optimize margins
  • Improve customer experience

As communication evolved from fax machines to DocuSign, business is moving from Excel to AI and automation. Companies that don’t structure their data and ignore exponential trends will be outpaced by their competition.

We designed the Provus Services CPQ Platform for interdepartmental harmony with a comprehensive, end-to-end solution that seamlessly integrates with most existing CRM and PSA systems, such as our official partners, Salesforce and Oracle Netsuite.


Wisdom for Professional Services Leaders


Our podcast is designed to leave professional services leaders with strategic perspectives and tangible practices to implement immediately.

Mahesh offers nuggets of strategic advice for Professional Services Leaders:

“First ask yourself if you are acquiring and organizing data in a meaningful way.

Second, check the data and see if the insights you’ve acquired from your data contribute to positive transformations. Has the business matured?

And third, be a courageous leader and a visionary. Don’t be afraid to question and critique existing systems because that only stops your business from evolving and growing. Remember that every role contributes to successful business operations, regardless of title.”

Chris answers the question, “How do I meaningfully acquire and organize my data?”

“Look across your organization and see who’s part of services operations, in title or not. Do you talk to them all the time? What do they care about? What are they in charge of? Map it out.

And if you are responsible for parts of services operations, and you recognize there’s somebody in the organization that you don’t know very well, or you don’t know at all, reach out to them.

Start making that connection, because very soon you’re gonna be required to speak to them because it’s time to start optimizing your people, processes and technology.”

Thank you for watching our first episode! Follow The Services Ops Podcast on Youtube and Spotify so you don’t miss our next episode.


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