GeneralTools

The Future Of Professional Services Is Powered By AI Technology

Forecast takes a radically new approach to project management with a tool that’s tailored for project managers working in professional services, and powered by artificial intelligence.

We know from our own experience that managing projects in a digital agency can be complex. You need detailed planning and resource management to avoid expensive resources being under-utilized, but you don’t want such a complex system that it kills innovation and creativity in your company. In Forecast we have solved this dilemma with an integrated system driven by powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Forecast is an easy and efficient tool for tracking and visualizing your projects, resources and budgets. It uses your historical project data to help you better understand your current work and enables predictability and transparency by connecting people, projects and profits.

Because Forecast is not a one size fits all product, it can be quickly tailored to provide the functionality you need, without needing to juggle data within 3-5 different systems. Think of Forecast sitting between Trello’s simplicity – with powerful features like resource management and business insights – and with the power, but without many unnecessary features of more technical project management tools like JIRA and Mavenlink.

AI is our secret to creating a simple yet powerful tool for project managers in the professional service industry. We know you need your projects to be profitable and on time, but you also need to stop killing the innovation and creativity in your team with technical tools that will alienate all your team members. In Forecast, the use of AI allows us to keep the interface fun and simple while improving the estimates in your projects and reducing risk.

Read on to learn more about the powerful features in Forecast, and why they are simpler to use than ever.

Forecast project management software - resource planning

Forecast – Intelligent resource planning and resource scheduling

The Simple Way To Connect Your People, Projects And Clients

Making sure that your projects are profitable, that every team member has enough to work on (but not too much) and your client knows what’s going on can daunting and labour intensive. In many agencies, managing this often requires constant switching between 3-5 different project management tools that are not well connected. In many agencies, these connections are sometimes even ‘glued’ together through a collection of cryptic spreadsheets. This creates a lot of extra admin work for PM’s that’s not really adding any real value.

Instead, imagine being able to connect all your existing data from different software products, in real-time, into one single place to get a full 360-degree view of your business, without having to eliminate or switch any of them or any process. A system so flexible and easy, that nothing is more than a few clicks away.

Forecast was built to do exactly that, run your business efficiently by connecting to the products you like, augmenting what they can’t, and giving you a full understanding of your business  – from a birds-eye view down to individual projects, people, tasks and time entries.

With a full-lifecycle approach to project and resource management, Forecast helps their clients make assignments, move people around and determine where people should be deployed across a wide variety of projects based on their skills and roles.

Forecast targets professional services companies such as digital and marketing agencies, management consultancies and creative software development teams. Often these companies have their talent spread across the globe, making resource allocation a big headache. Forecast gives project managers the tools to plan, budget, allocate and track resources across complex projects.

Proposals And Work Plans Powered By AI

Ever experienced a project that was way under-budget from the beginning but everyone thought it was possible to make it? Imagine having an AI automatically learn from the way your company operates so it could help you adjust your project estimates, budgets and work plans so you didn’t have to worry about scope explosion and could help you quickly find the right people to work on the right things.

Whenever you start planning, estimating and completing work, the Forecast AI will start adapting to the way you work, helping you to continually improve and become better. Forecast is able to help you estimate work better, alert you if it’s detecting a risk of delay, forecast your margins and actual delivery dates. When predicting which tasks that are likely to be delayed it easily lets you mitigate the risk, re-prioritizing the plan or changing the allocation of resources. Predictions like this let you be more proactive in your project management practice and will reduce the need for firefighting significantly. All of this helps you to improve your business and profits automatically, just by doing what you already do.

This means that you can plan ahead with projects built on clear deadlines & milestones. Deliver on time, and ship on time. Your clients will love you (more than they already do).

Managing Projects And Clients

Managing all the moving parts of a project, a team and incoming missiles from the client can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. A lot of products are not built specifically to cater to professional services companies but are more generic, so they “in theory” fit everyone. Since agency and professional services work is more specialized and the focus revolves around the specific projects and clients it’s often necessary to have multiple tools and or spreadsheets to satisfy the needs and to be able to deliver properly. This leads to wasted time spent juggling different products and entering the same data over and over again, meaning more room for errors and making decisions that are not based on facts.

In Forecast you’re provided with all the necessary tools, like resource scheduling, work scoping, change requests, rates, time and integrations to make your business run smoothly in an interface that’s easy to work with, without being too technical. This means that you can plan your projects, schedule your people and make sure the client gets timely billed while being able to see the status of ongoing work without you having to spend time manually sending them status reports every week.

Forecast project management software - Workflow

Forecast – Takes the simplicity of a Trello style Kanban workflow, and adds AI

Know What Your Team Members Work On (Prioritization And Collaboration)

Getting the whole team to collaborate can be a challenge, business and creatives don’t like technical products, IT don’t like simple products, so why not try something that everyone will like. Forecast is simple enough for your whole team to use, and powerful enough to support multiple huge projects with shifting priorities, deadlines and people. Collaboration is simple by using mentions and hashtags like you’re used to from social media, you’re able to filter and quickly call a team member’s attention to work.

The upcoming work lists all the work for a single team member in prioritized order, so they don’t have to wonder what would be smartest thing to complete first. Use the visual workflow to move work through your own process and quickly see wireframes and other files on each task. By using roles and skills on people and work the Forecast AI is able to match everything together to make a coherent plan for you. It can even detect when optimizations are possible and suggest what to do. If you’re constantly lacking skills and it’s becoming a bottleneck, you’ll also be able to see it and take the necessary action. This makes for a very smooth way of working, with the added benefits of having everything in one single place.

Forecast project management software - Insights

Forecast – Provides insights that help you understand your business

Understanding Your Business (Utilization And Profits)

When you don’t have the full overview of what people are actually working on and what they should be working on you’re essentially navigating your business in the dark. Sure you have the spreadsheet that gets updated on a bi-weekly basis by an office assistant, but can you actually trust that data and what if something critical happened right after updating and you’re now making an important business decision from stale data?

You should be empowered to know how things are progressing and what the key numbers are at all times, not only after a few hours of spreadsheet gymnastics. What if billable and non-billable time automatically got synced to your accounting system so you could make sure billing was up to date? There’d be so much more time to work on the fun stuff. And if your team members haven’t updated their timesheets by Friday afternoon, then Forecast will gently remind them via email, Slack or whatever communication platform you already use.

Sharing The Love (And Project Status)

Imagine not having to spend hours each week collating status reports manually to send to a client and what happens when the project is massively updated 5 minutes after you sent the status report? Send it again or wait until next week or month to update the client? What if you could simply build a real-time report on the exact data you want to showcase your client with just a few clicks and no code or manual work?

Maybe even a status report that is constantly updated so you don’t have to get those phone calls Thursday night asking if everything is progressing according to plan. Bring all your client communication to one place, the place where it matters, around the actual data. Give little or total transparency, empower collaboration, reduce mistakes and manual work. The client is able to comment and approve directly on the relevant things so you, and they, can be up to speed at all times. If you’re working closely together you can even put a live dashboard on a monitor to keep track of what’s going on in real-time.

Stop Managing Projects In The Dark And Get On The Bright Side Of Life

If managing multiple projects and people are causing you issues and daily headaches, you need to check out Forecast. It comes with a free 14 day trial (no credit card required) with full access to all the features that can radically change the way you manage projects, people and clients.

If you’re a small, medium or large agency or consultancy that needs to anticipate demand, hire people with the right skills and juggle work assignments across multiple projects and multiple clients around the world Forecast will give you a holistic view on how to execute.

Are you ready to try something radically different that can transform your professional services company? Forecast enables you to have full control, more predictability and improved profits by connecting your business into one single, beautiful and easy-to-use platform.

This post was made possible thanks to the kind support of Forecast.

Dennis Kayser

Dennis Kayser

Dennis Kayser is certified Project Manager, agile coach and the CEO of Forecast. He has been responsible for numerous small and large digital projects and has a deep understanding of tech and a passion for making the complex simple. Before founding Forecast, Dennis worked as a management consultant for IBM with a focus on cloud computing and e-commerce. Dennis has a degree in Computer Science and Business from the University of Copenhagen.

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