Identifying the features and benefits of Professional Services Automation solution and mapping it to the needs of your business should help you understand if you need it.

What is a Professional Services Automation tool?

Professional Services Automation (PSA) tools help businesses become more efficient. But what does that mean exactly?

Businesses add in efficiencies by standardizing and automating processes to help their people deliver better value to their end clients. Technology acts as an enabler to support this process. That is where PSA can help.

There are several key areas in a business that can benefit from standardization and automation. These include project management, time tracking, billing, and invoicing. Growing Professional Services businesses have several “best-of-breed” solutions that help with each of the functions. However, having a connected solution like a PSA has far greater and positive impact on the business. It not only boosts efficiency but also allows for connected processes that create a seamless workflow. This, in turn, reduces costs and increases profit margins.

What are the features of Professional Services Automation software?

There are several features of a PSA that can help you gain better visibility, break down silos, and improve efficiency.

  • Project monitoring with key metrics like margins, tasks progress, and budgets
  • Resource planning and management, with visibility on who is assigned to which projects and who will be available when
  • Forecasting resource requirements based on projects in sales pipe and backlog
  • Skill-based and equitable work allocation to avoid employee burnouts
  • Alerts on projects that are going off-track on delivery timelines or budgets

Who uses Professional Services Automation?

People across the business will find value in using a Professional Services Automation solution. While the aim of the solution is to offer better visibility and insights to manage projects and people more efficiently, the true capabilities are unleashed when it is connected with the other existing systems used by different functions.

Sales and marketing

Since Professional Services firms don’t have a product to offer and the services are intangible, it is a challenge to build a differentiated value proposition. The thrust of the strategy therefore boils down to building relationships with existing clients to look for upsell opportunities and referrals and find ways to connect with prospects.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools help with understanding the clients better and running tailored campaigns. When you connect a PSA to a CRM, the sales and marketing teams will know what kind of specific skill the firm has developed or is developing, which will help them tailor their pitch to clients around those capabilities.

The insights from a connected system will guide marketing teams in creating campaigns around specific services or industries and they will begin to understand why they should chase specific types of clients. For the sales teams, it will be easier to know which consultants will be free from what time to soft block for a project, and this insight will help in closing deals when the team can commit specific dates to clients on project kick-off and delivery.

Human Resources

The Human Resources (HR) teams use Human Capital Management (HCM) systems and other siloed solutions for specific tasks such as payroll management, onboarding, training, etc. The biggest challenge is to find the right talent for the business in a highly competitive market.

When you connect all the HR systems with a PSA, the teams will be able to identify the specific skills and the kind of profiles they should be considering, and they will have this information well in advance, giving them ample time to recruit the right candidates. This will make the effort easier compared to a situation where they have to scramble and find resources just after a deal closes and the project kick-off date has already been finalized.

Service delivery

One of the challenges for the finance team in a Professional Services business is invoice rejections. When you don’t have an efficient system to track time and billing, with ongoing visibility to the client, there is scope for errors and miscommunication that leads to invoice rejections.

With a PSA, you will be able to account for all the work delivered, stop revenue leakages due to overservicing, and generate accurate invoices on time. You will also be able to forecast revenues and the profitability of each project before you deliver the work, which makes it easier for course correction instead of waiting for the project to be delivered to perform analysis and then make plans to correct any issues.

There are several PSA solutions in the market to consider and you need to choose what works for your business. One of the ways you can reduce risk is by choosing a solution that is built specifically for the Professional Services industry, like evergreen from sa.global.

Finance and operations

One of the challenges for the finance team in a Professional Services business is invoice rejections. When you don’t have an efficient system to track time and billing, with ongoing visibility to the client, there is scope for errors and miscommunication that leads to invoice rejections.

With a PSA, you will be able to account for all the work delivered, stop revenue leakages due to overservicing, and generate accurate invoices on time. You will also be able to forecast revenues and the profitability of each project before you deliver the work, which makes it easier for course correction instead of waiting for the project to be delivered to perform analysis and then make plans to correct any issues.

There are several PSA solutions in the market to consider and you need to choose what works for your business. One of the ways you can reduce risk is by choosing a solution that is built specifically for the Professional Services industry, like evergreen from sa.global.

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