Professional Services Automation (PSA) VS Project Management Software

Professional Services Automation (PSA) VS Project Management Software

How does Professional Services Automation (PSA) differ from project management (PM) software? And how can you choose the right comprehensive solution to run your business?

Here are a few key differentiators between PSA and PM.

1. PSA Puts Customers at the Center Instead of Projects

With project management software, the emphasis is on projects. PM software helps you track tasks and collaborate so employees can keep up with their day-to-day work. Your customers may see the end result of your internal team’s work, but that could be incidental. A PM tool could be purchased solely for the benefit of your employees, regardless of how it affects your customer experience. Professional service automation (PSA) puts customers at the center. The focus is on optimizing the client’s experience, not just on tracking individual tasks.

Because the system has multiple touchpoints with the customer’s experience, employees have greater access to customer information across the board, while customers feel more taken care of across the entire scope of your business.

2. PSA Connects the Front Office to Sales and Service Delivery

Beside providing your customer with an better end-to-end experience, a PSA system provides your employees with much better visibility across the entire service delivery pipeline. The front office, the back office, and every service employee in between can see what the other departments have contributed to the customer’s account, whether that’s contact information, projects working and delivered, or expectations for future services.

3. PSA Integrates Seamlessly From CRM to Accounting

Many PSA or PM systems can integrate with your CRM. But many of them also aren’t easily set up, a problem that usually results in service delivery being run separately from the CRM. A great PSA will include a strong PM feature set and integrate closely with your CRM. Klient Software is built natively within Salesforce, meaning integration isn’t a concern — it’s built to run together from the outset.

From the moment a customer is entered into the CRM as a contact, everything can run seamlessly with the PSA.

4. PSA Generates Revenue

Professional services automation systems are particularly helpful for generating revenue, for a few reasons. If you have billable hours or services and you’re using a Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) system, having a PSA system to help you adjust profitability, margin, bookings, and revenue on the fly can lead to easier and greater revenue increases.

Additionally, SPI Research recently conducted an ROI study on professional services automation. The results found that a $200,000 investment in software and implementation could lead to nearly $23 million in increased revenue and reduced costs, based on a firm of 172 people  — an ROI of 115 times the initial investment.

5. PSA Includes Many Other Modules Beyond Project Management

Professional services automation isn’t just different from project management — it encompasses it. But PSA also encompasses many other services and modules. This includes (but is not limited to) time entry, billing, invoicing, CPQ, proposals, document management, expense tracking, calendar management, revenue recognition, forecasting, and customer communities.

Because PSA includes so many more options than just project management, it’s capable of replacing many more systems than just PM.

Conclusion: PSA Is an End-to-End Service Delivery Solution

The right PSA system for your organization can provide or replace a PM-only tool while providing many additional solutions for your business. And because all of these tools work together within one PSA, everyone at your organization will have greater access to your customers’ information.

That means more profitable client engagements, increased customer retention, and more revenue over the life of the customer, just by using the right PSA system.

Ready to Switch from “Oldschool Excel” to a Modern PSA Software?

Ready to Switch from “Oldschool Excel” to a Modern PSA Software?

A PSA software is designed to help service organizations with project management and resource management for client projects.

Most service organizations start small. One or two people might run the company for years.

At this stage, it’s normal to use pre-existing applications to manage your work. Word, Excel, Google Docs—these are all common organizational tools for small services companies. It’s also common to communicate informally through email, text messages, or chat applications, rather than using a dedicated project management system.

When a services company grows—however—keeping everyone organized becomes a challenge. For companies that have more than a handful of people, using tools like Word and Excel is almost certainly holding back the team’s ability to be productive. Business owners and executives can usually feel the breakdowns.

If you feel any of the following symptoms, it might be time to think about upgrading from your existing tools to a PSA software system.

1. You’re Always Onboarding Someone New (or Thinking About It)

Growth is essential. But it’s also a challenge—especially for services companies. When you’re growing, it can be difficult to ensure everyone is following your company’s set process for client projects. Inconsistent processes lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings. Those, in turn, lead to all kinds of problems. Reports might be wrong internally. Or a major sales deals might fall through because no one knew who was supposed to follow up with the prospect and close the deal.

2. You Feel Like You Don’t Know What’s Going On

When a company has just two or three employees, everyone is involved in every project. In that context, the company doesn’t have to establish communication and reporting processes. Communication happens naturally as the team works on current client projects. At a bigger company, however, the owner and managers can’t be personally involved with every project or every client. If your company has grown beyond a few people, you know the pain this can cause. Using clear, easy-to-follow communication and reporting processes and tools are the answer.

3. You’re Routinely Surprised by The Work Being Done by Your Employees (Both Good and Bad)

The more people you have working for you, the less you can be involved with each individual person. That means when something big happens with a client (both good or bad), you might feel a little blindsided by the news. This is a symptom of a growing services company. It’s a good thing. But it also means it’s probably time to move beyond the communication methods you used when your business was small.

4. You’re Overserving Some Clients and Falling Short with Others

Each of your consultants will have a slightly different way of delivering services to your clients. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is a problem—however—if clients feel dramatically over or underserved. Clients who feel underserved are unlikely to purchase from you again. And they’re not likely to recommend your services to others. Clients who feel overserved can turn into fantastic customers for the long term. But you might find your consultants are spending far more time with that clients than they should be—given the price of the service. This mismatch between the price paid and value delivered can be just as problematic as underserving a client.

5. You’re Hearing Customer Service Complaints

Listen closely when you get a complaint from a client. Is the complaint about the core service your company sells? Or is it a true customer service complaint? In other words, is your product the problem? Or are the people who delivered your product the problem? If it’s truly a product issue, address it with your core strategy team. But usually, client complaints are symptoms of customer service problems.

Examples include:

  1. Scheduling problems
  2. Poor communication/customer didn’t know what was going on
  3. Services delivered were not the same as the customer thought he or she was purchasing.

These types of customer service complaints are symptoms internal communication breakdowns—exactly the kind PSA software is designed to help resolve.

6. You Review Word and/or Excel Documents in Your Status Meetings

Using Excel or Word means someone has to create, update, and manage your project tracking sheets—manually. When you only have three or four clients, it’s fine to keep track of things with an Excel sheet. When you have more than 10 clients, however, tracking everything in Word and Excel will take hours a week. Grow beyond that and you’ll probably need a full-time person just to create and manage your reports. PSA software can create your management reports automatically—no Excel documents needed.

7. You’re Always Worrying About Your Staffing Levels

Finally, services companies are always trying to optimize staffing levels. There will always be ebbs and flows to the consulting and services business. Sometimes you’ll have consultants who are fully booked for months. Other times you’ll have a few that are sitting around watching training videos waiting for a sale to close in their areas. The problem is knowing when to ramp up your staff or cut back. If you’re constantly worried about staffing levels, it’s probably because you’re making staffing decisions based on your gut feel of how much work your team has coming in the next few months. PSA software can greatly simplify this process. It can’t make staffing decisions for you of course, but it can give you clear, reliable data about sales trends. By using data instead of your gut, you can decide what sales thresholds justify adding or decreasing staff.

So… What’s the Solution Doctor?

If any of the above symptoms resonated with you, it’s probably time to take a look at PSA software for your business. When implemented correctly, PSA software will make everyone’s life better. This is especially true for managers, executives, and CEOs trying to make good business decisions based on real data.

Klient Software’s PSA solution will help any company that sells professional services, especially companies already using Salesforce as their CRM.

To learn how Klient PSA can help your service business, click on “Excel is Mehhh