Too many assignment managers and managers in service companies still manage their employees' assignment on Excel files on a daily basis. 🤦
If, when creating a service company, the choice of Excel to manage assignment is almost natural - since it's a simple tool, mastered by most people and free of charge - it cannot be your long-term tool for assignment.
When a service company employs more than 30 people, the use of Excel is detrimental to its performance and sub-optimizes its assignment : wasted time, risk of errors, rigidities, impossible data cross-referencing... In this article, we take a closer look at all the limitations of Excel that you may not be aware of, and which are undermining your performance.
Before going back over Excel's weaknesses point by point, it's worth remembering that as a service company grows, it will structure itself and equip itself with tools to manage specific "administrative" processes: an ERP for time recording and invoicing, an HRIS for managing the HR core and leave, a CRM to support its prospecting activities and customer follow-up. These tools, which are often disconnected from each other, are also disconnected from the Excel file, even though they hold extremely valuable information for assignment. assignment is at the heart of a service company's reactor, which is why the organization and transmission of assignment data are major challenges for these companies.
Since the data impacting the assignment is split between different tools (ERP, HRIS, CRM), the direct consequence is that a lot of double entries will have to be made between these tools and the Excel file of assignment.
Here are some examples of information to be repatriated to the file at assignment:
- business opportunities, project/customer information and associated assignment requirements from the CRM;
- information on employees' entries/exits and their holidays from the HRIS;
- time entered on a project in the ERP to determine whether the project is at a loss or not and whether it is possible to extend the assignment by a few days.
The consequences of this lack of centralization and double seizures are as follows:
📈 Considerable increase in the risk of errors anddata heterogeneity between the assignment file and third-party software: naturally, the more employees to be managed, the greater the volume of double entries.
📉 Process slowdown and underperformance: beyond the very time-consuming aspect of double data entry for a manager assignment (5 hours a week on average for a service company with around 100 employees) how can we ensure that the data is up to date in the assignment file if it is not automatically centralized? Returning for each choice of assignment to its HRIS to check that the employees envisaged are not on leave during the period concerned by assignment is almost inhuman. At best it results in a significant loss of time for the manager assignment, at worst it generates scheduling conflicts for the consultants.
In addition to not being centralized, data relating to your assignment processis not updated automatically. This has several consequences:
⏱ Each modification on the assignment file (validation of a assignment, change of intervention periods, change of device ...) implies notifying the employees concerned, a very time-consuming manual intervention for managers and supervisors assignment (if it is done at all) that should be able to be automated. The time saved could be used much more efficiently on tasks with high added value: arbitration of assignment or anticipation of future training or recruitment needs for example.
🔀 A mismatch between the data from assignment and the field. For example, if a collaborator is finally available in anticipation because his project ended earlier than planned, the person in charge of assignment is notquickly informed, which under-optimizes the structure's assignment rate since the collaborator could have been staffed on another project at the same time. It is all too common to realize several weeks after the actual end of a project that the actual end date (entered in the ERP) was not in line with the theoretical end date indicated in the Excel spreadsheet of assignment.
Many service companies continue to manage the skills of their employees on the one hand and assignment on the other. Usually via CVs and skills files stored on the company server, at best on an Excel spreadsheet with the employees online and the company's skills in column, with crosses indicating whether or not the employee has the skill. This Excel lives "next to" the Excel of assignment and is rarely updated, often after the annual performance interview of the employee.
However, when it is necessary to choose the most appropriate consultant for an assignment, the ideal for a manager assignment is to be able to instantly cross-reference a maximum amount of collaborator data (availability, geographical location, seniority, CJM, skills, aspirations, etc.). In doing so, the assignment manager will improve :
- the rate of conversion of propales into missions won by proposing more relevant profiles and therefore the structure's future turnover;
- the quality of the mission delivered: positioning the most specialised employees on a given subject can only increase the value created for the client;
- thecommitment of the employees since those for whom the mission corresponds to the expectations/aspirations will, in the end, have the best chance of being mobilised on it.
Competencies must be used for the realization of projects, the development of employees and the performance of the company.
From about 30 employees upwards, Excel files tend to become cumbersome, saturated with information, or even unreadable. However, as we have pointed out, optimising assignment is above all a matter of making trade-offs, based on up-to-date data. Naturally, the more data there is, the more difficult it is to keep them up to date manually. In particular, it is impossible to know on an Excel file when the data have been updated and therefore to know if they are really updated ... A trick would be to associate to each piece of information its date of last update, for example the last date of update of the assignment information of a given project.
This solution is a first step, but it is inconceivable to believe that this can be done for all the data in assignment manually on an Excel spreadsheet.
Your information from assignment is always consolidated.
It is very common to observe service companies in which assignment is managed at the level of a department or branch by a dedicated assignment manager.
When the question of the autonomy of assignment between the departments was raised, the instruction given by the management to the various managers of assignment was clear: "for assignment, we will keep the Excel file we used to use until then. I ask you not to modify it".
Yet as the business grows, assignment becomes increasingly complex and priorities change. The initial assignment file is no longer sufficient, and assignment managers start to modify their Excel spreadsheet from assignment to fit the needs of the department (formulas, format, data organization ...). After a few months, the Excel files of assignment between all the departments differ and the reconciliation between the documents to drive the assignment macro rate of the structure and anticipate the activity becomes an ordeal for the management, or is even distorted.
On Excel, it is not possible to configure different read and edit rights, changes made by hand cannot be subjected to a validation process: a modified cell can irremediably distort the reading of the rate of assignment in the future.
This prevents a collaborative management of an Excel of assignmentIt is necessary to designate a person who will be responsible for it.
Faced with this situation, it is difficult - if not impossible - to have several assignment or managers collaborate on the same Excel file without exposing themselves to the risk of errors or version conflicts.
Everyone works on a file that is their own and that they do not share. There are two consequences to this:
assignment The circulation of information on current and future projects is blocked for employees who discover their ⛔ at the last moment and have the feeling that it is totally opaque.
🕶 Managers assignment do not have visibility into assignment other managers and therefore do not know the availability of staff in another department / BU. This sub-optimizes the company's performance because projects may be turned down at the department level due to lack of resources (which were actually available in another team). Moreover, this trend towards decompartmentalization is accentuated by the use of teleworking, which abolishes the assignmentorganizations built around a geographical logic.
assignment is the nerve centre of a service company. Here, information on employees and projects is cross-referenced. The security of the data stored on an ERP or HRIS is often cited, and the same logic should apply to the data on assignment.
Since the security of an Excel spreadsheet is weak - or even almost nil - the data stored on these types of files is exposed and unprotected. In the past, the Excel of assignment could be saved on a server dedicated to the company and accessible only in case of physical presence in the offices or via a VPN when the manager was occasionally at his client's premises or on the road. With the use of telecommuting, the Excel of assignment must be accessible simply and from anywhere and the reality is that it is often no longer protected ... A problem to which it is necessary to find an answer immediately.
We have gone through the main problems related to the use of an Excel from assignment.
Asyou can see, Excel is no longer adapted to the management of the assignment of a service company.
Before definitively taking the step, you must know that leaving an Excel of assignment is not trivial. It will be necessary to find the ideal replacement solution, to parameterize it, to connect it, to train your managers and your collaborators so that all can use it perfectly. This transition lasts on average 3 to 6 weeks.
Opt for a solution designed and dedicated to management assignment is the best way to optimize assignment in the medium to long term for an organization: optimizing the occupancy rate, saving time for assignment and managers, increasing the commitment of employees to their missions and, consequently, improving performance.
Would you like to find out more? We've got plenty of resources to help you go further.
To complement this topic, read our white paper "Gestion du assignment : 4 processus décryptés".
See also our guides, templates and checklists in the Resources tab.
See you soon at Napta!
To find out how Napta can smoothly replace your Excel from assignment, and discover all the associated benefits ask to speak with one of our experts.