3 Things to Keep in Mind When Evaluating PSA Software

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Evaluating PSA Software

Evaluating a new software for your business can be a challenging process.

Software tends to be a substantial investment for companies, and as such, requires a comprehensive evaluation process to ensure the right product is selected. Choosing the incorrect software can be costly for a business, so it is important to evaluate options thoroughly in order to make the best selection possible and choose a software that will maximize your return on investment.

When it comes to Professional Services Automation (PSA) software, there are numerous products on the market to choose from. However, the software evaluation process can be made easier with careful preparation and an emphasis on the 3 following considerations throughout the evaluation phase:

1. For each software you evaluate, ask yourself, “Will this software solve the business outcomes that I’m looking to achieve?”

You may evaluate software with a multitude of fancy features and functionality, but unless those features help you achieve the business challenges you’re trying to fix, all of the functionality in the world isn’t going to add value to your company. You may find that a simpler product with less overall features, is actually the one that has the right functionality to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for.

Helpful Tip: Before you begin evaluating any PSA software, create a list of the outcomes your business is looking to achieve. Then make a list of must-have features that will help you accomplish your desired outcomes. You may also wish to make a secondary list of “nice-to-have” features that could add value to your business in other ways, but are not necessary for achieving your imperative business outcomes.

2. Include representatives from every department who will utilize the software in your evaluation process.

By including members of all teams that will utilize the software, you not only ensure that the final selection will achieve the outcomes needed by each team, but you also ensure you are getting buy-in from the people who will ultimately be using the software. If you select a software in a silo, you run the risk of certain departments choosing not to effectively adopt the software, which will ultimately affect your return on investment.

Helpful Tip: Select a key member of each department that will use the PSA software you select. Likely this will include at the very least a services team member, a finance team member, a sales team member, and perhaps an IT team member. Make sure that you clearly define what outcomes each of these departments hope to achieve with the software, and then evaluate options keeping in mind which ones have features and functionality that will be most beneficial to each team. To learn more about motivating employees to make effective use of a new PSA software, read our blog here, “Strategies to Encourage Employee Adoption of PSA.”

3. Know what questions you want to ask the vendors, and approach them with specific elements that you want their product demo to address.

If you don’t let the vendors you approach know what you’re looking for, they will likely overwhelm you with a flood of information about their product that isn’t relevant to your evaluation process. When you become overwhelmed with facts about products and find yourself reading through pages of information on various features and functionality, it can become difficult to determine what product is actually best for helping you solve your business challenges.

Helpful Tip: When you approach a software vendor, get right to the point. Tell them what business outcomes you need to achieve, let them know what functionality you’re looking for in a product in order to achieve this outcome, and ask them to set up a demo for you that will walk you through exactly how their product can help you achieve your desired outcomes.


If you’re evaluating a PSA software for your business and would like to see a comprehensive demo of Klient PSA, please contact us here: https://klient.com/request-demo/

Why Your Services Company Might Need PSA Software?

Why Your Services Company Might Need PSA Software?

Selling services is not like selling products…

When you sell a product, all you have to do is deliver it. As long as you have stock on-hand, you can fulfill the sale immediately. Sell a service and your work has only just begun. For example, let’s say you sold a 2-day consulting package to a client in another state. You have five consultants on staff. You (or someone in your organization) will have to find a time that works for both your client and for one of your consultants. Travel arrangements will have to be made. Lodging, meals, and a hundred other details will have to be sorted out. All to fulfill that one sale.

How PSA Software Is Different than CRM, ERP, and Project Management Software?

CRM software stops once you’ve made the sale. It’s great at managing a pipeline and estimating revenue. But if you sell services, a CRM system doesn’t help you schedule your human resources after a sale has been made. Project management or ERP software can help with the scheduling side of things. However that means you’ll be managing the same clients out of two completely different systems. When you make a sale, someone at your organization will have to transfer data from your CRM system into your project management or ERP system.
That’s a process that’s inefficient and likely to have errors. Professional Services Automation (PSA) software gives you one system to manage both prospects and clients, without having to transfer data between systems. It doesn’t mean you have to drop your current CRM provider. If you use Salesforce.com, you can simply add a service like ours, which works natively on the Salesforce platform.

Is PSA Software Right for My Company?

Here are 5 questions to ask:

1. Are “People” Required to Fulfill Your Product Orders?

The first thing is to be clear about what you’re selling. If you sell services directly, people are your product. In that situation, having PSA software will help you better manage both the sales process and the delivery of your services. If you sell products, you still might need to manage human resources to deliver those products. Do you have an install team? Do you require a certain number of hours of training or consulting for new customers? If so, your company could also benefit from Klient PSA Software.

2. Does Your Company Try to Accurately Predict Revenue and Expenses?

It’s not easy for a services company to accurately predict revenue and expenses. There are often many costs that go along with delivering a service, and those costs can vary widely depending on the client you’re working with. PSA software includes the ability to more easily predict both your revenue and expenses.

3. Does Your Company Use Salesforce.com?

Salesforce CRM is the world’s most popular CRM system. It’s AppExchange is also the leading enterprise software platform in the world. Companies using Salesforce CRM have access to thousands of applications that work natively on the Salesforce.com platform. That includes PSA software that works directly with your existing CRM database. Native Salesforce apps use the same infrastructure and database as your Salesforce CRM. They also have the same reliability and security standards.

4. Are Staffing and Turnover a Challenge?

Staffing and turnover are often sources of frustration for service providers. It can be difficult to know whether you really need to hire a new consultant or provider for your team. Will you have the work to justify the new hire? Or will you just be paying for someone to sit around all day while your sales team tries to fill the schedule? The best way to make good decisions about staffing is to have good data. PSA software can give you a comprehensive view of how many resources you’ll need in the coming months compared to what you have on staff.

5. Have Customers Ever Expressed Frustration While Trying to Schedule Delivery of Your Services?

Finally, there are your customers to consider. Is “scheduling” a constant headache? Have customers ever been frustrated trying to find a time that works for both their schedule and your team’s schedule? From a financial standpoint, logistics frustrations also kill referrals, which is usually a big driver of client acquisition for service companies. If scheduling is costing you referral business, PSA software can help your team deliver a smoother experience for everyone.

Conclusion

Ultimately, selling services is just like selling anything else—your customers have to see value in the service you deliver to them. PSA software can help your team deliver a great experience to all your clients. It can also help your management team make data-driven decisions about staffing and scheduling, instead of just trying to guess.

If you’d like to learn how to deliver more value for less expense in your service business, we’d love to show you more about how PSA software can help.

10 Things to Consider When Choosing a PSA (Professional Services Automation) Software

10 Things to Consider When Choosing a PSA (Professional Services Automation) Software

Professional services automation (PSA) platforms have continued to mature and expand since these tools were first introduced more than fifteen years ago. As noted by TSIA’s John Ragsdale in a previous post, the adoption of PSA applications continues to grow at a rapid pace, including expanding the definition of what PSA tools can deliver for services organizations. Existing PSA solutions built a decade ago don’t deliver the breadth of functionality required to effectively manage a services business today. As a result, services organizations have been forced to turn to non-integrated and disparate systems to manage day-to-day activities, including project management, collaboration, and resource planning, among others.

Many customers are now looking to replace these original products with the more robust and integrated solutions now available on the market, offering enhanced features and functionality available in one unified platform to manage the entire services business.

Here are ten key requirements to consider when selecting a professional services automation platform that will work best for your needs.

1. Project Management

Historically, PSA applications didn’t focus on delivering and managing the day-to-day project management activities and left the responsibility to third-party solutions, such as Microsoft Project or other online project management tools used by the Services team. The challenge with this approach is that it created a disconnect with PSA applications not having real-time visibility into the status of projects, often resulting in data integrity issues when manually updating project status and balances in the PSA application.

Today’s PSA applications offer robust project management functionality delivered as a core component of the overall solution, tightly integrated with the rest of the application. They offer one integrated solution and provide real-time visibility and project collaboration for all stakeholders–from Services and Sales to partners and customers.

2. Platform Integrations

The integration of PSA applications with the larger business has never been more important than it is today. Services teams are connecting and collaborating like never before with Sales, Finance, partners, and customers to ensure the successful delivery of projects.

Embedding PSA into a CRM solution such as Salesforce puts your Sales and Services teams side by side and on the same page. Projects can be automatically created from sales opportunities even before the opportunity has been won for pipeline forecasting. Sales and Services teams can work together on proposals and contracts, and Sales can have real-time visibility into the status of projects for key accounts. Traditional PSA applications not tightly integrated with CRM software routinely faced issues of siloed Sales and Implementation teams leading to customer dissatisfaction.

Financials integration is another key integration for PSA applications. Services data needs to be seamlessly integrated to your accounting system for accurate billing, invoicing, and revenue recognition. Today’s PSA applications offer robust and real-time integration into many popular accounting packages your business uses today, fully supported by the vendor. Building and maintaining custom integrations to accounting packages is fraught with potential integration headaches, with the vendor often not supporting this custom work.

3. Services CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote)

For many businesses, integrating proposals, quoting, and contracts is a critical requirement to managing the Services organization, especially when integrated with CRM as part of a larger sales opportunity. Today’s service contracts can consist of many different and complex components, which are often the result of change requests or expansions of work resulting in the need to track multiple billing methods and even revenue recognition policies within one project engagement. An example of this would be a project that initially was time and materials, but with a revenue recognition policy based on project percentage complete. A change order is approved for this project to include a fixed fee component, with revenue recognized upon completion of this fixed service. Can the PSA solution handle this scenario to properly account for project profitability, margin on each component, and properly account for bookings and revenue? Can the PSA account for margins and billings for contracts that consist of multiple projects?

For these reasons, the integration of CPQ with PSA is critical to maintaining the accurate management, billing, and revenue recognition associated with client projects.

4. Resource Planning

Resource planning has transitioned to a more advanced discipline than a decade ago, with newer PSA applications evolving to support these changing needs. No longer simply focused on who is over or under-scheduled, today’s PSA applications can deliver on sophisticated requirements including planning based on target utilization, availability backlog, as well as task level planning in addition to project level planning offering a more detailed and accurate depiction of a resources availability. Features including searching and comparing qualified resources by skills, role, location, and rates with an intuitive and visual appealing comparison tool are table stakes for today’s robust PSA solutions. Some PSA applications are able to source external candidates in addition to internal resources with a built-in staffing and applicant tracking solution.

5. Utilization

While tracking resource utilization may seem like a straightforward concept, it’s only recently that PSA applications could support the details of calculating utilization to the extent necessary for many service organizations. Features including target utilization thresholds, determining what types of time-off should or should not impact utilization calculations, or reporting on utilization by project, practice, region, and roles are common requirements that must be considered in evaluating any PSA solution.

PSA solutions today include an integrated time off solution to accurately manage and account for time off with scheduling and utilization.

6. Project Billing

The delivery and billing of services has become more sophisticated and complex with the introduction of new and expanded delivery strategies including retainers, managed services, microservices, and many more beyond the traditional time and materials or fixed price engagements of the past. Additionally, services organizations are increasingly working with third-party vendors and consultants as part of the Delivery team.

The ability to support these complex billing scenarios and vendor payments is another key component of today’s PSA applications.

7. Project Accounting

Leaving project financials to the accounting system poses significant risks to the performance of any service organization. Not having critical project financial data including bookings, billings, and revenue to report on project profitability leads to lack of real-time visibility for decision making, missed adjustments, and at worse reduced margins.

Today’s PSA solutions offer full support for project financials, billing, and revenue recognition in one unified solution, tightly integrated with your accounting solution.

8. Extensibility

Earlier PSA applications didn’t offer the flexibility required to manage the uniqueness of Services teams and projects. PSA applications today offer robust platforms to support the flexibility and uniqueness required by Services businesses working in various industries and verticals, tailoring the solution to their needs. No longer held back by system limitations, today’s solutions offer extensibility features including the ability to create new custom fields, build workflow notifications and approval processes on-demand, easily create user defined reports and dashboards, and even create custom applications as required, all working seamlessly on both desktop and mobile devices.

9. Collaboration

Today’s Service professionals are using collaboration tools as an integral part of managing the delivery of client projects. By increasing collaboration, services organizations can dismantle the boundaries between teams and increase customer success. Popular tools including Salesforce Communities, Slack, and JIRA are staples for many organizations to collaborate on project activities.

Robust PSA applications available on the market today offer seamless integration with these productivity applications, offering users an integrated and seamless environment for project collaboration, ensuring all stakeholders have visibility of critical project data so issues can be resolved more quickly, keeping everyone on track.

10. Built for All Users

Legacy PSA solutions were designed primarily with top-down planning and management in mind, with the majority of actual services work being done outside the system. Features and functions for comprehensive project and task management, team collaboration, and project reporting were completely ignored or an afterthought resulting in poor adoption and lost margin.

The takeaway message is, you should look for PSA applications that deliver an intuitive experience for all stakeholders across all devices to ensure widespread adoption and collaboration, resulting in increased project profitability and customer success.