A CLOUD COACH ARTICLE
Is your company using PSA software? Professional Services Automation can make a big difference in your business processes after it’s been implemented – think of increased productivity, more projects finished on or before the deadline, stronger partnerships with your clients, and more closed/won deals. This is because Professional Service Automation software exists to streamline your business processes and make it possible to do more with the resources you already have. This is especially true if you choose a PSA software that is native to your current systems, like Salesforce. It can be difficult to know what to look for when you begin searching for PSA software. Salesforce has a lot of automation capabilities, but discovering them and using them to their fullest potential is something that not many project managers can do on their own. That’s where PSA software like Cloud Coach comes in. These native-software tools can unlock abilities within the systems that you use every day and create a new level of functionality that you didn’t even know was possible.
Luckily, you don’t have to find and select a PSA software all on your own. The Professional Services Automation Gartner Magic Quadrant Report is a report by Gartner and its sister site, Software Advice, that helps project managers and other leaders make the best decision for their businesses. However, it’s likely that you’re seeking project management and automation software because you have a problem that needs solving. What is that problem? Are you losing clients between the sales and product handoff? Are your employees being mismatched to projects, causing poor results? Are your would-be and new clients communicating that there isn’t enough visibility in the project management process? When selecting PSA software, you want to be sure that it’s built to solve the problems that you’re facing.
If you would like to learn more about Professional Services, check out our Definitive Guide, where we discuss some of the most important aspects of running a professional services business. Read it here.
What is professional services automation, exactly? Professional services automation, or PSA software, is a technology that has been designed to centralize and streamline many business management processes, such as time tracking, contracts, project management, invoicing and billing, and more. Many PSA software can also be fully integrated with accounting software, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, and payroll software to increase overall efficiency.
PSA software can be used to remove or alleviate project obstructions caused by disjointed processes and poor communication. It can also be a helpful tool to increase billable time utilization and maximize profit margins. PSA software is especially useful during SaaS implementation processes and sales handoffs, a critical time for keeping new clients engaged and excited about their new purchases.
PSA software that is native to systems you already use reduces the need for extra product training and can lead to faster value and ROI. For example, with Cloud Coach, you can turn an opportunity into an implementation project at any point in the sales cycle with the click of a button. This can simplify the handoff process and ensure that everyone is kept up to date. Thanks to Cloud Coach’s project progress tracker, you can share real-time project status with clients, track internal and external stakeholders, and assign deliverables to stakeholders directly in the platform.
MSPs, or Managed Service Providers, have a lot of tasks on their plate. MSPs are regularly responsible for the following:
Some MSPs can offer remote servers and/or cloud storage. An MSP can be similar to or totally replace an IT department, depending on the services offered and a business’s needs. MSPs can provide around-the-clock staff for next to no extra charge, as well as protect against data loss, provide IT services as described in their contract, and more.
MSPs are typically the IT departments of several companies at once, as well as managing their servers, software systems, storage, and hardware solutions. It is essential that MSPs can keep all of their clients and responsibilities to those clients straight – which is where PSA tools for MSPs come into play.
The best PSA software for MSPs is one that can keep track of contracts, communicate with internal and external stakeholders, and provide a clear view of project activities and billable time. This is because many MSP technicians bill by the hour when problem-solving, and clients expect to know what exactly they’re paying for, why, and how much time was actually spent working on their problems and projects.
A timeline or other method of tracking project activities can keep technicians and clients on the same page, letting everyone know what phase the project is currently in and what must happen for the project to move forward. Contracts help MSPs separate their clients and know what services their client has purchased. Many MSP contracts also include Service Level Agreements or SLAs, which further detail the kinds of services promised and the level that they are to be performed. PSA platforms can streamline and track SLA compliance, making it simple to ensure that you have satisfied clients.
While IT companies and MSP companies both deal in tech, they ultimately have very different scopes of responsibilities. While they may have varying needs in terms of software, PSA software for IT companies and MSP companies is very useful. This is especially true for smaller IT companies with fewer available resources. PSA software for small businesses can help them scale their business and grow their services with the resources that they already have simply by enabling their current resources to flow more effectively. PSA software for IT companies can assist with the following:
A comprehensive PSA should also offer a hearty reporting dashboard with the ability to provide KPI indicators and other metrics for tracking success. PSAs should also provide a document center for internal and external stakeholders to share information and important documentation with each other. PSA software can be used mid-project to help forecast profitability and cut costs, identifying the value that each project will bring to your business.
IT companies can use PSA software to ensure that their projects are easily tracked and managed and in compliance with their Service Level Agreements. This could result in more renewed contracts and increased client retention.
Not all Professional Services Automation software is created equally. It may be tempting to find free PSA software online, but if it doesn’t tackle the business challenges you’re facing every day, it just becomes another piece of bloatware on your system. The best professional services automation software should be tailored to your business needs and solve the problems you need it to solve – streamlining your existing processes and improving profitability.
The best PSA software should be a comprehensive offering that creates a smooth experience for internal employees and clients alike. Some modules of a comprehensive PSA include:
Automating these systems that were previously handled manually can improve efficiency and accuracy. This is especially true when it comes to clunky processes like time tracking, invoices, and issuing payments. PSA software automates and tracks many processes that previously required manual oversight, saving employee time and slashing inaccuracies in the data. There are a lot of benefits to automating, including
It’s estimated that employees spend at least eight hours per week on manual data tasks – one full workday per week. Automation can remove mundane tasks from employee responsibilities, giving them more time to focus on high-value work.
By cutting down the time spent on mundane tasks, employees have more time to focus on work that drives profit. Additionally, automation may reduce the number of employees necessary to complete each task, allowing employees to diversify their tasks and complete more work in less time.
PSA software helps businesses assign value to each of their projects individually. Tracking project progress can provide opportunities for proactive forecasting, cutting costs where necessary, and giving companies the insight necessary to know what a project costs them to take on.
The best PSA software for small business should allow them to scale with the resources they have and streamline their current processes and workflows.
There are a lot of PSA software examples on websites like Software Advice and G2. However, Cloud Coach can offer personalized demos and videos of what it looks like to see a PSA software in action. Not only that, but Cloud Couch also provides comparison guides to many PSA software, including:
Sourced from an independent G2 Review, Cloud Coach’s Comparison Guide can give you an idea of what real clients think of both software and how they’re used. PSA software can be compared on the basis of functionality and usability, administrative features, ease of setup and implementation, quality of product support, problems solved, and the ease of business interaction overall.
If a company is determined that there isn’t a current PSA software on the market that is ready for them, they can always build their own with open-source PSA software. Open-source PSA software can be built to company specifications with integrations and APIs but could possibly have a much higher upfront and implementation cost than off-the-shelf software. When selecting a PSA software for your business, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons, as well as the costs, of any choice that is made. Implementing PSA software should make your life at work easier, not harder!
We’d be happy to provide a bespoke 1:1 demo on how Cloud Coach can benefit for your business.