Most service companies understand that project management is imperative and that having software to help keep tasks on track can be beneficial to delivering successful projects.
But many service businesses today are going a step beyond project management (PM) software and implementing Professional Services Automation (PSA) software instead, to manage the entire lifecycle of a project from sales through service delivery.
The Difference Between Project Management (PM) Software and Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software:
There are many similarities between project management software and PSA software. In fact, a PSA software will include project management features and functionality. The real difference is that PSA offers so much more, and helps service businesses manage all the ins and outs of their projects, including resource planning, scheduling, utilization tracking, time and expense tracking, cost management, approval process management, task scheduling and completion, team collaboration, client feedback and surveying functionality, and more.
To learn more about distinguishing project management software from PSA software, read our blog here: What’s the Difference Between PSA and PM Software?
Breaking Down The Use Cases For Professional Services Automation:
PSA is used for a wide variety of reasons and helps service businesses accomplish a number of things:
1. Managing Project Details
With PSA software, as soon as your sales team gets involved with the deal, they can start entering important details about the project requirements into the CRM. By choosing a PSA software that integrates with that CRM, or that is built native on the CRMs platform (i.e. Klient Software is built 100% native on Salesforce), your Services team will then have access to all of the project details as soon as the project is sold and handed over to them for implementation.
2. Task Scheduling and Completion
When it comes to successful project implementations, tracking tasks is one of the first things that typically comes to mind. That’s because there are usually a lot of moving pieces and steps that need to happen between the project start date and the go-live date. By using a PSA tool to track tasks, it’s easier for project managers to assign the different steps in project completion, set due dates, and track progress.
3. Creating Estimates and Identifying Timelines
When you’re preparing a quote, timeline, or project overview for a client, a PSA tool will help you give an educated prediction of the resources—time, employees, budget—needed to complete the task. When used properly, your PSA software takes the guesswork out of your projected timeline and instead leaves you with a blueprint from start to finish. This means more accurate estimating for budgets and profits as well as timelines. And, satisfied customers.
4. Employee Planning and Scheduling
An intricate part of project management is tackling resource allocation. It takes several moving pieces to take a project from start to finish, and the planning process requires identifying and assigning the best possible resources to the job. A great PSA Software will help you not only to plan who will be tasked with what—and when—it can also help you coordinate schedules between multiple team members who may need to work together on certain parts of the project. With Klient Software’s resource planning functionality, you can also select resources for a project based on assigned skills, geographical location, and more.
5. Forecasting and Reporting
Having data on hand about your projects is key to their success, as well as the success of future projects. Forecasting and reporting allows you to identify problem areas before they arise and keep projects on track and on budget, helping your service business be as profitable as possible. Detailed reporting in a PSA software will help you see where projects went off track in the past and help you learn from your mistakes moving forward.
At Klient, we speak to professional services organizations of all sizes day in and day out. By doing so, we’re no strangers to hearing about the many day-to-day challenges that services businesses are facing and striving to overcome.
One such frequently-raised issue has to do with month-end close. Or more specifically, the fact that month-end close isn’t always happening by month-end. In fact, it’s not uncommon for some companies to finish closing their month 2-4 weeks after the month has finished.
What is the problem with a late month-end close?
Just because it’s common for companies to have a late month-end close, doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges that this presents for the success of the business.
By closing month-end late, the efficiency of the business is affected in several ways:
Firstly, it makes it difficult to send out accurate invoices promptly. And if you don’t send out invoices, you are not going to get paid. The payment terms start from the day the invoice is received – so you are compounding the problem of late payment. Adding a month to what may already be a 60-day cycle affects cash flow. That means you don’t have that money available to invest and scale – it may also mean you have to borrow money, which creates an unnecessary cost for the business.
If you are leaving periods open – or worse still, reopening them after closing them, it is difficult to ensure that the data you are relying on to run your business is accurate. This problem is actually compounded if you introduce a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution to automate your business. PSA is an automated system, and it builds revenue forecasts and so on from the data that has been put in. Without accurate and timely data, your forecasting will be shoddy at best.
3. Planning For The Future
The main issue with failing to close periods sharply, is that this affects your ability to look forward. If you don’t get the data from last month until half-way through the next month, that affects your ability to make smart decisions for the future success of your business. Problems get pushed forward and only compound. It also makes it hard to share accurate and timely information with customers and key stakeholders. This affects your ability to build long-term relationships with your clients and increase your repeat business, both of which are important to the future success of your business.
The good news: A PSA solution can simplify month-end close
By adopting a PSA solution, an organization can greatly improve their month-end close process and resolve the aforementioned problems.
Here’s a few ways that PSA can help:
1. All your data in one place, for everyone who needs it
One of the important points to remember here is that your business data is not only the property of the finance team who want to use it for accounting purposes. It is also important for operating the business at every level, meaning your sales and services teams need access to it as well.
With a PSA solution, every team will have access to real-time data that will allow them to do their job as efficiently as possible.
2. PSA simplifies timesheet completion
A well-built PSA solution, like Klient PSA, enables services teams to easily enter their timesheet data anytime, anywhere.
This will empower your services team to keep their timesheets up to date, rather than having to chase your employees at the end of every month to fill in their time, often delaying the month-end close process.
3. PSA helps share responsibility for month-end close across departments
We recommend as good practice sharpening the month-end cadence by getting project managers to help close the weeks. Project managers know what is happening in their engagements. If there is a difference between what was supposed to happen and what has happened, the project manager should be aware of this.
When project managers are responsible for closing the weeks, they will make sure that timesheets are filled in and available. The same goes for milestone dates, resourcing requirements, etc. This all means that closing the month is less onerous and can happen within a day or two of month end.
4. PSA can be integrated with your back-office
We recommend looking for a PSA solution that can be integrated with the solutions that drive your services business. This includes pre-built integration with your back-office accounting or ERP application.
By integrating your PSA with your back-office, you can ensure that invoices and other important billing data makes its way into the accounting application in real-time, enabling your accounting team to collect on outstanding balances efficiently, and close the month in a timely manner.
New innovations provide the most comprehensive and modern solution for professional services organizations with one unified platform.
Klient Software, a leading provider of professional services automation software delivering an intuitive and modern solution for professional services organizations today announced the latest release of Klient PSA, built native on the Salesforce Platform, Klient PSA is currently available on the Salesforce AppExchange.
KlientPSA provides service organizations with a complete, modern professional services platform that is quick to set up, easy to learn and can be customized to meet their needs today and in the future. New innovations in Klient PSA include:
Now teams can manage projects and services directly from Slack. The new Klient Bot for Slack allows users to view projects and tasks, drill into project and task details including project profitability and financials, create new project and tasks, as well as enter time worked against projects and tasks directly from within Slack. The Klient Bot for Slack uses both the Force.com and Heroku platforms to seamlessly connect to Slack.
A new forecasting engine enables customers to forecast project revenue and compare against actuals for all types of revenue and costs delivering real-time insight and analysis into current and pipeline services revenue and margin. CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) – new features for services proposals, quotes, and contracts with this release include bi-directional synchronization with Salesforce opportunity products and price books to automatically create services quotes from opportunities and projects details together, enhanced support for mark-ups and discounts, and the ability to create contracts automatically from proposals and projects.
New enhanced scheduling delivers the ability to manage services projects with sophisticated auto-scheduling capability such as effort based scheduling, automatically determining task and project durations based on the percentage of effort available across one or more resources. The scheduling abilities is similar to that of an advanced construction scheduling software that ensures that entire teams stays on track.
The enhanced mobile timesheet includes a new timer feature to easily start, pause, and stop the timer while working on projects and tasks, automatically creating time entries upon completion. Microsoft Project Integration – the ability to seamlessly import and export Microsoft project files, automatically creating projects in Klient including the calculation of task durations, dependencies, lag days, priorities, and more.
Project management enhancements for customers and partners to directly collaborate with project teams on the successful delivery of client engagements.
A new integration with Sage Live financials built native on the Salesforce App Cloud delivering seamless integration of projects, invoices, and purchases directly between Klient and Sage Live. The Sage Live integration joins a growing partner network of integrations with accounting and productivity solutions including Sage Live, Sage Intacct, NetSuite, QuickBooks, Xero, Slack, JIRA, and Zendesk, supporting real-time connections with the applications project teams use every day.
Take a Klient PSA free trial available on Salesforce AppExchange
Visit Salesforce AppExchange and click “Test Drive” button to try out Klient.