What is Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software?

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What is Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software?

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Improving customer retention and project management with this simple digital transformation tool

As your company grows, integrated software can help streamline every step of your daily operations. How does that help with customer retention? It’s simple: better internal management empowers your staff to work at their best. That efficiency will be felt by your customers – and happy customers make the best ambassadors.

For service companies, this software is known as PSA: Professional Services Automation.

In this blog, we will explore:

What Is Professional Service Automation Software?

Think of it as a project management tool for professional service firms.

A PSA is a software application that provides service businesses with the core functionalities required to manage projects, people, and finances. Business processes and results are improved by combining capabilities in project, time and expense management, resource planning, and business intelligence into a single platform.

PSA software will help ensure adequate project and resource management and will increase team productivity with utilization rate management for billable staff.

And because it lives on the cloud, it is available from anywhere, at any time. With a single system, project managers, teams, and business leaders can have accurate, consistent, and real-time visibility of their organization’s critical information, be it for a single project or the entire business unit.

What is the difference between a PSA and an ERP?

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software is used to manage finances and business processes, from financials and supply chain management, passing by product development, billing, and more.

PSA (Professional System Automation) software is used to manage projects, time, and expenses.

Although a PSA and an ERP do not serve the same purpose, they can be integrated to work together in order to give you better visibility into KPIs that are crucial in making better-informed business decisions.

Overwhelmed by all the Buzzwords?

Who Benefits From Professional Services Automation Software?

Simply put – everyone working in professional services can benefit from a PSA. Below, we’ll explore the many reasons why.

What are professional services?

Professional services include businesses – or departments within an organization – composed of professionals who offer expertise to help clients achieve their objectives. Their main goal is not to sell or manufacture products, but rather to offer services. These professionals work in various industries, such as finance, real estate, construction, legal services, advertising and marketing, IT and management consultants, etc.

Who benefits most from PSA Software?

Professional Services organizations that are project-based — like IT and creative firms — and for which the main KPIs include utilization, billable hours, and project profitability will benefit most from a PSA. By centralizing project delivery data, these systems give a single source of truth and visibility into revenue, costs, utilization, and profit margins, in real-time.

A PSA allows for the following:

  • Project managers do a better job at managing projects with confidence;
  • Teams and professionals have their workload distributed more efficiently and, ultimately, more profitably;
  • Clients can be easily informed of the project’s progression and setbacks;
  • Executives and business leaders can make better decisions by having visibility into reports and performance metrics.

We’ll explore, in more detail, how a PSA system can help each of these groups in the benefits section below.

What is Professional Services Automation Software

What Are the Advantages of PSA Software?

Professional Services Automation software will help alleviate many of the pain points most often reported by service organizations. Here are a few of them:

  • Multiple disparate systems
  • Legacy systems that lack flexibility
  • No visibility into projects and resources’ performance
  • Project collaboration and consistent methodology

Better Project Lifecycle Management

With a PSA tool, project managers can benefit from real-time visibility of all projects in the pipeline. This way, they can quickly know if their resources have the bandwidth to take on new projects. Basically, they can validate more accurately with a client if the project is feasible and what the tentative timeframe will be.

The software lets you:

  • establish milestones and deadlines throughout a timeline;
  • assign and track time on a team member’s tasks;
  • visualize the progress made;
  • identify resource utilization and project revenues;
  • encourage collaboration;
  • and have centralized visibility throughout the project life cycle.

Mike Emsley Align HCM quote

Optimized Resource Planning and Capacity

A PSA allows managers to see if the workload is distributed equally amongst team members. For your company to work efficiently and profitably, you want the workload to be assigned according to your employees’ skill sets and availabilities. For example, you might want seniors to work on critical and fastidious billable tasks and have them delegate easier work to juniors.

A PSA helps you see, at a glance, who has availabilities to work on any given project and who has the skills required for such a project. Another useful feature: it will show you if an employee is under-scheduled or at over-capacity. This ensures more efficient and balanced teams while allowing for the forecasting of future projects.

On average, projects tracked in a PSA system take less time to accomplish. A PSA also increases employee billable utilization, which in turn increases annual revenue and overall business profitability.

According to the 2022 SPI Research, organizations utilizing PSA solutions achieve on average 75.3% billable utilization versus 68.1% for those that do not. Think how much revenue it can bring your professional service firm annually!

Improved Collaboration and Teamwork

With Professional Services Automation solutions, the collaboration between team members is improved. For example, this enables a fellow consultant to easily pick up where another left off. Ramping up on a project is made easier when all documents and notes are consolidated on one platform. The data is consistent and working methods are standardized, which improves collaboration and operational efficiency between all members of an organization.

Increased Profitability – Real-Time Visibility & Expense Tracking

According to the 2022 SPI Research, a sizable jump in Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be noted with the use of a PSA, including project margin (+13%), profit (+22%), annual revenue per billable consultant or employee (respectively +6% and +10%), and deal pipeline forecast (+15%).

With all your critical data centralized in one platform, you won’t need to waste time searching for information or creating elaborate spreadsheets, also reducing the risk of human errors. What’s more? Reports and analytics are always available at your fingertips and updated in real-time. You can also easily create reports comparing productivity across projects, clients, seniors, juniors, etc. Executives can also make informed decisions based on updated data – including project performance, timeline, expenses, and client viability.

PSA software allows you to go back into a project’s history, which can be a great asset when dealing with customer complaints. You will be able to see who worked on the project, what was done, how long it took, the amount billed, etc. This will enable you to come up with an adequate solution, based on knowing exactly what happened, and even be able to prevent it in the future. This data is also invaluable when trying to replicate successful projects.

Read our blog for 5 simple ways to increase profitability for your service organization.

Improved Client Satisfaction and Communication

A great benefit of a PSA is the ability to give customers frequent status updates on their projects until completion. This information is centralized on one platform and can be easily accessed with a customer account. Your professional services team can therefore deliver with confidence, and your client can stay informed of their project’s progress and setbacks, if any.

PSA tools with effective, punctual follow-up meetings improve team collaboration and communication. Consistent updates will help stay on track, allow questions to be answered, readjust where needed, and solve any issues quickly. It also helps to justify over-budget billable hours.

Projects can also be delivered more successfully from start to finish. Excellent customer service includes involving your customers throughout the project’s lifecycle. It makes for happier customers who are more likely to come back and tell others about your services.

PSA Benefits including better project management, optimized resource planning and capacity, real-time visibility & expense tracking, improved collaboration and teamwork, improved client satisfaction and communication

Image: PSA software benefits

What Can Be the Disadvantages of PSA Software?

A PSA solution is only as good as the data you feed it

If your team is not on board with using a PSA or if your employees are not entering their hours and data pertaining to the projects into the system, the PSA just won’t be as efficient for your organization. To maximize benefits, your company must foster a habit of entering accurate and up-to-date information into the system.

One way to work around this is to be clear with employees about which data is crucial to monitor. Also, ensure with your implementation partner, like Big Bang, that your PSA is easy to navigate and can be streamlined with your other solutions. The easier you make it to enter information, the more likely your employees will adopt the system, enter high-quality data, and use this tool to its full potential.

Customization and CRM Integration

According to the 2022 SPI Research, integrating your PSA with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software improves sales pipelines, revenues, and profit margins, giving an average increased profit of 5%.

To work optimally with your specific industry needs and business processes, your PSA might need to be customized and integrated with your other software, namely your CRM. Your users will also need to be trained on the software. All of these can be costly and time-consuming processes, requiring specialized experts like our Big Bang team. The good news is that with a good business process review prior to the configuration, the initial push may be challenging, but it won’t be long before you reap the benefits, now and for years to come.

Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software Group

Typical Features of Professional Services Software:

All PSA software will come with project and resource management capabilities, as well as time and expense tracking. However, not all come with the same features. It’s important to look at your business needs first before choosing the right one for you.

The features that are commonly found in PSA software:

  • Time and Expense Tracking
  • Project Management
  • Resource Management

The features that some, but not all PSA software offer:

  • CRM system or capabilities to be integrated
  • Payroll system
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Proposal generation
  • Quotes and estimates
  • Client access
  • Calendar
  • Team collaboration
  • Document/portfolio management

What to Look for When Purchasing Professional Services Software?

Can it be integrated with the software you already use?

As we previously mentioned, PSA software needs to be able to integrate well with other software solutions used by your company, like an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), or an HCM (Human Capital Management), to ensure consistent information and streamlined operations across the board.

The biggest benefit of integration is having access to the same data all over the organization, which makes for better collaboration between teams. Your customer success team, for example, will be able to access important data and project information in order to upsell the appropriate products and services to the client. Another benefit is the way a PSA will optimize the finance team’s daily operations, thanks to accurate and up-to-date invoices produced in the system and streamlined into the ERP.

Is it easy to use?

Are the dashboards intuitive and easy to navigate? While you’ll need in-depth training at the beginning, PSA software is ultimately built to be user-friendly and make your day-to-day more efficient. Your team will quickly realize the benefits of the new system, and how it can make their life easier. Since no one wants to break their head over overly complex software, our expert consultants will make sure that your PSA solution is tailored to your needs and that its interface is easy to navigate, for all levels within your organization.

Can it scale with your business?

A great customizable PSA solution will have the ability to scale with your business as your requirements change. Tools like Trello or Asana are great for smaller teams, but once your company starts growing and dealing with multiple projects, they just won’t cut it. They offer no features for time-tracking, or handling your business finances, or won’t integrate well with multiple departments like sales.

Ready to get started with a PSA, but not sure where to start? Download the following PDF resource:

Reviewing the Different Software Providers

The best project management software for your organization depends on your business-specific needs, customer goals, and the other platforms currently used by your teams. The following are some of the PSA systems that Big Bang experts can implement or integrate for your organization – these are all true and tested; you can learn more about our customers’ success stories here.

Kantata (Mavenlink) Kantata the new name for Mavenlink Logo

Kantata, the new name for Mavenlink, is more than a project management tool; it’s a modern software platform for professional, IT, and marketing services organizations. It is the only solution available today that helps services firms establish an operational system of record that facilitates their business lifecycle. Professional services companies in more than 100 countries around the world are improving their operational execution, increasing agility, and driving improved financial performance with Kantata (Mavenlink).

Leverage Mavenlink to Better Deliver with More Accurate Planning, watch our demo now.

FinancialForce PSAFinancialForce Certification Logo

Designed to foster collaboration across your departments, FinancialForce is the number one Salesforce native cloud PSA and ERP application. This all-in-one solution offers a complete, customer-centric view of your business with a single customer account record. From Planning to account management, tracking time and expenses, and recognizing revenue, FinancialForce provides the right structure to own your Professional Services business.

Leverage FinancialForce to own your Service Department and Deliver to your Customers, watch our FinancialForce ERP & PSA demo now.

Big Bang also offers a simple quick implementation of FinancialForce’s PSA and/or accounting modules to quickly reap the benefits and get your business up-to-speed. Learn more about our program by clicking the banner below.

Big Bang FinancialForce GO! Implementation

Procore PSA Procore Logo

Procore is a construction management software that offers solutions for owners, general contractors, and subcontractors. Imagine all roles being able to manage entire projects from a single platform that’s accessible in the palm of your hand. Big Bang partners with Procore as the construction management platform of choice because of its widely recognized industry success rate and ease of use.

Salesforce Service Cloud Salesforce Sales Cloud logo

Service Cloud by Salesforce is one of the world’s most popular and highly-rated customer service software solutions. It enables support agents to connect with customers easily, whether by phone, web, chat, or email, to quickly solve customer problems. Helping streamline service team processes and calls and reducing average call times – this software is key to improving customer experience and problem resolution – not to mention employee satisfaction.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central logo

With Dynamics 365 Project Operations, your organization will have all the necessary tools to quote, forecast, schedule, and deliver your organization’s services.

Conclusion

The ways a PSA can help you grow your professional services firm and streamline your day-to-day operations are countless – this is true for all levels of your organization. Our expert consultants at Big Bang can help you choose the right PSA solution, for your industry, company, and customers – they understand the ins and outs of all software mentioned above and can tailor and/or integrate the ideal solution to add to your success.

At Big Bang, our priority is customer satisfaction – our team is there to help guide and support their clients, from initial meeting to integration. Contact us today, and we’ll match you with one of our specialists that has a proven track record within your industry.

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