Appirio Professional Service Essentials On


San Mateo, CA based Appirio provides strategy, implementation and education services along with its core On-Demand applications that help enterprises accelerate their adoption of cloud based applications. Founded in 2006, Appirio is one of the fastest growing Google and partners and has over 2000 customers in a number of vertical industries.

One of key product focus areas at Appirio is Services Management and the company rolled out its Professional Services Essentials solution at’s Dreamforce 08 conference.


PS Essentials helps companies automate most of the key tasks in a Professional Services firm such as staffing, resource management and contractor utilization. PS Essentials is one of a growing number of applications that Salesforce partners have built on the platform. According to Salesforce, to date over 800 ISV applications have been built and deployed on

appirio3; like competing PAAS platforms, offers a number of benefits to firms who are building and deploying enterprise applications. A few of the benefits that Salesforce touts for include faster time to deployment, no maintenance, built in internationalization, compliance audit trails and mobile access api’s.


I recently had a chance to discuss Appiro Professional Service Essentials with Ryan Nichols, Appirio’s VP of Product Management and Marketing:

OnDemand Beat – “What is Appirio PS Essentials?”

Ryan Nichols – “A new on-demand Professional Service Automation solution built on that helps services teams in any industry put the right people on the right projects for successful delivery to internal and external customers, all for 25-50% of the total cost of traditional PSA systems.”

OnDemand Beat – “What core functionality is built into PS Essentials that benefits Professional Services Firms?”

Ryan Nichols – “PS Essentials allows you to manage your people, customers, projects and transactions in an integrated application, built on PS Essentials helps you manage…

  • people from “Hire to Retire”: Featuring an employee skills matrix, team roster, and resource resume (+ optional recruiting) to ensure effective deployment of your most important resource
  • customers from “Lead to Re-Order”: Featuring enhancements to native Salesforce account and opportunity management and reporting to ensure coordinated approach to a customer between sales and service
  • projects from “Scope to Delivery”: Featuring resource planning / staffing and project reporting to ensure tight execution of project operatins
  • transactions from “Order to Cash”: Featuring basic time and expense entry and financial reporting to ensure transparency into your services business.”

OnDemand Beat – “What types of Professional Services Firms are the target market for PS Essentials?”

Ryan Nichols – “We’ve designed PS Essentials to work for services firms of multiple sizes in multiple industries. In particular, we’re initially targeting firms with services teams with 100 people or more and whose sales function might use Salesforce CRM for sales force automation.”

OnDemand Beat – “What were the key benefits to Appirio of building PS Essentials on”

Ryan Nichols – ” Some of the key benefits that we have experienced include…

  • Speed of innovation: Because we’re building on, we’re able to focus 100% of our development resources on the specific needs of professional service firms vs. underlying infrastructure. This means our customers will benefit from our ability to quickly add innovative features to the product.
  • Reporting and security: Our customers benefit from very flexible reporting and security capabilities inherent in the platform, without any Appirio development. Adding or configuring a report or setting up specific security roles and profiles is easy on
  • Flexibility and configuration: Our customers have lots of flexibility in how they extend and configure their PS Essentials solution, ranging from from adding new company-specific fields to an object to building tightly integrated additional applications.
  • Ongoing improvement of platform:’s development team is adding new features to every quarter that our customers automatically benefit from. For example, this week Salesforce announced new capabilities to their mobile platform…. our customers benefited immediately with a timecard entry app that we built for the iPhone.
  • Integration with SFA: Professional Services cannot be managed as a silo– integration with a firm’s sales function provides our customers with improved visibility and coordination of their services business.”
  • OnDemand Beat – “Explain how Appirio has maintained its rapid growth while still remaining true to the principle of being a “Serverless Enterprise?”

    Ryan Nichols– “We’ve been using early versions of PS Essentials to run our own business since we started. In just the last 12 months, our business has grown over 500 percent. We’ve significantly increased the size and reach of our delivery team and have added subcontractors to our resource pool.

    It’s only because our business is built on, Google Apps, and PS Essentials that we’ve been able to scale this quickly with high quality talent and manage such a high volume of daily resourcing activity with minimal administrative staff.”

    OnDemand Beat – “What type of integration between Accounting, Sales and Service are built into PS Essentials?”

    Ryan Nichols – “Integration is built into PS Essentials in the areas of…

  • Sales: Create a project directly from an opportunity using your SFA solution, giving your services team visibility into the pipeline of upcoming projects. Make your account page the single spot for information about a customer for both your sales and your services team.
  • HR: Manage professional development of your people using the skills matrix and employee rooster, and easily integrate with your HRIS using’s rich API.
  • Accounting: Track and report on timecards, expense reports, and utilization within PS Essentials, and easily integrate with your Accounting software using’s rich API.”
  • OnDemand Beat – “What type of application extensions have PS Essentials clients built to date?”

    Ryan Nichols– “Most of the examples to date have been basic extensions that help PS Essentials match their business process. For example, our customers have created customized roll-ups of expenses to match their organizational structure and created a customized approval process for timecards and expenses.”

    OnDemand Beat – “Tell us more about the optional recruiting add on that is available for PS Essentials? Is the recruiting add on a full blown Applicant Tracking System?”

    Ryan Nichols – “Some customers have been interested in how Appirio uses to manage our recruiting process– we’ve made this functionality available as a add-on to PS Essentials. This add-on is a lightweight Applicant Tracking System, perfect for companies currently using spreadsheets or email to manage job postings, applicantions, and interviews.

    Our recruiting add-on is also integrated with Appirio’s Referral Management Solution for Viral Recruiting, allowing you to publish job postings to Facebook to encourage, manage, and measure word of mouth referrals.”

    OnDemand Beat – “What is the pricing of PS Essentials?”

    Ryan Nichols – “Pricing starts at $20 per user per month.”

    OnDemand Beat – “What other Professional Services products have either been rolled out or scheduled for future release since the PS Essentials launch at Dreamforce08?”

    Ryan Nichols – “Since the launch of PS Essentials at Dreamforce, we’ve seamlessly rolled out regular updates to our solution to our customers. Improvements have included:

    • Numerous enhancements to the timecard-entry user interface, now available via Salesforce Mobile on the iPhone (announced 3/23)
    • Enhancements to utilization reporting and security, including resource grouping
    • Enhancements to the resource planner, including sorting and filtering options
    • Addition of a “project planner,” a project-centric way of matching resources to project
    • Added easier configuration options”

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