What is the difference between PSA and ERP software?
Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) software was intended for manufacturing firms or product-based businesses. It helps businesses to track and manage their production, accounting, vendors, etc. While some of these elements can be used for Professional Services businesses, the needs of a project-based business are very different and that’s where Professional Services Automation software helps.
A Professional Services business is people-centric where the value to the client is delivered through the service provided. Therefore, the costs and profitability are calculated by measuring how many people worked on a project, how many hours were spent, what is billable rate per hour, etc.
What do Professional Services Automation tools include?
If you want to take your business to the next level, you need to build processes that are repeatable and outcomes that are predictable. Only with this in place will you be able to increase revenue per consultant and get more business with fewer clients to manage.
Professional Services Automation software will help you achieve your growth goals by giving you better visibility throughout the lifecycle of different projects. With insights from different stages and components of a project, you will be in a better position to plan, manage, and measure performance while delivering consistent quality services to your clients.
The various aspects of your business that you can gain visibility on, automate, and improve are:
- Creating quotes and proposals
- Resource availability and allocation
- Time and expenses tracking
- Project timelines and budgets monitoring
- Documents management and team collaboration
- Project governance, process standardization, and delivery management
- Invoicing and cross selling
- Pipeline and financial health monitoring
What is the business value of PSA software?
In order to grow your business efficiently, you need to be able to manage multiple projects easily, identify needed skills for upcoming projects to plan hiring or training needs, and improve profitability with repeatable processes. With the right processes and technologies, you will be able to deliver high quality work, monitor how you deliver the work, and grow your business by building a strong reputation.
You can accomplish all the above by empowering your team with the right technologies.
With a Professional Services Automation software, you will be able to efficiently match resources to the right projects, gain visibility of different projects, track time and expenses, and deliver projects on time and within budget.
If your business is at the stage of growth where you have turned profitable but don’t yet have the repeatable processes and standardization necessary to scale, it is time to explore implementing a PSA solution. This would be the time when you start using different metrics to track the success of projects and also start looking at elements like client satisfaction, which is a step above delivering a project on time and on budget.
Only with the right systems in place will you be able to start exploring resource utilization, skill gaps, and more. Managing your resources will become increasingly important as you grow your business and you need the right PSA to be able to help you navigate that journey and plan the career paths of your team members.
How do you choose a Professional Services Automation tool?
The first step in finding a PSA tool is finding a software that has been implemented in your industry vertical. While most solutions have similar functionality there are differences when it comes to what implementation looks like for a legal firm when compared to an AEC business. While you may not find a ready to implement solution, the customization time will be reduced if the implementation partner has worked in your industry vertical before.
The next question to consider is whether the partner has a plan for future development of the solution and do they have the resources to develop the solution to meet evolving needs. A niche player in the field may be able to meet your needs today and offer a competitive price, but if that solution is sunset in a few short years, you will have to implement a new solution that will require huge amount of time and resources, which will be especially difficult if your business grows.
Some of the basic features that you should look for, apart from the time and expense tracking, etc. is whether you will be able to access data from mobile devices and if that connection is secure.
A PSA on its own may not be of much value. It needs to be able to talk to your existing systems, including your emails. Asking about the integrations and how much it will cost should help you narrow down your list.
You will also need to consider how easy or difficult it is to train people on the new solution. There will be moments when someone will have questions or requests for changes. What happens when you face such an issue? Will your team get the support it needs from the software supplier’s customer support?
sa.global for Professional Services
The sa.global solution for Professional Services is cloud-native and is built on the trusted Microsoft platform. Why choose a cloud solution? The range of benefits include a subscription-based model where you pay for what you use without incurring an upfront infrastructure cost, flexibility to scale up or down based on your needs, and more.
You can go beyond the typical PSA solution features by integrating with CRM/ERP solutions. sa.global’s solution for Professional Services can be integrated with different Microsoft Dynamics 365 modules like Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, etc. If you are using Outlook or other Microsoft solutions like Office 365, sa.global’s solution has seamless integrations with them.
Thinking about choosing a PSA solution for your business? Talk to our consultants today and get all your questions answered.