How to select the right PSA software solution for your organisation
Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 2:56 PM by Wearev1, Author
Professional Services Automation (PSA) software solutions are being embraced by more kinds of businesses and organisations than ever before. Early PSA software solutions tended to be focused on accounting firms, law firms, IT Consultancies and other professional services firms such as architects.
In the last few years, new PSA software customers are also coming from retailers, oil and gas, software companies etc. Selecting the right PSA software solution for many organisations can be an absolute minefield. With that in mind, we have put together some pointers to help you get the right PSA software solution for you.
Internally agree what you are looking to automate, and prioritise these requirements.
This process will help both you and the suppliers ensure the right fit between their products and your needs. The process should contain the following:
- The Rationale
Why each objective is needed
- Key Metrics
The key metrics that substantiate the need and value that a PSA software solution would bring to the organisation
- Key Capabilities
What are the key functional abilities that the solution must address?
Pick a product steering group that includes people from across the business who will either use or be affected by the implementation of a new system. This will also ensure that you have staff buy in from your team – this is essential to the success of the project.
PSA Software Requirements
Look at your requirements against the suppliers features list. If resource planning is top of the list do not get swayed by some fancy accounting features – at the end of the day the product you choose must deliver significant benefits to your business.
Do not underestimate how the culture of the company will be affected by implementing a new system. There may be some concern that the new system is a bit ‘big brother’ – you should explain to the staff your rationale for the change and how it will benefit them and the company. Doing this means your implementation is more likely to succeed – no timesheets, no reports and no invoices = no return on investment.
Pick a supplier of PSA software that has expertise in your industry. There are many generalists out there who will claim to ‘bespoke’ their product for you. Don’t go there! This can be a long, painful, process requiring a huge investment in your time, and can often lead to failure. Ask for relevant case studies of comparable sized companies who had the same issues as you.
There are various options for how you access many project solutions; client-server, thin-client or web-based? All have their pros and cons, but the general trend is the web-based offering as it is more flexible, cost-effective and the least hassle to implement.
The aim of a project solution is to minimise data entry – look at what the supplier can integrate with to ensure maximum efficiency.
Be realistic about the time it will take for your system to be fully up and running and how much involvement will be required internally. It can take anything from 4 weeks to 12 months for any solution to be totally up to speed. Appropriate planning in the set up process will lead to a much more robust system in the long term. Ask the advice of the implementation team as they will have done this many times before.
Ensure that your supplier will provide you with timely on-going support once you have implemented the solution. Most of your support issues will arise in the early stages as you get to grips with the system. Many suppliers charge additional fees for support, but do not have dedicated staff on hand to help you. For dedicated assistance from a person that guides you through your implementation and beyond, you should choose a supplier with a dedicated account manager support structure.
Pick a supplier that has the resources to be able to support all of their clients, whilst still having a dedicated development team for producing new versions of the software. Small companies are often very keen to ‘bend over backwards’ for new clients, but ensure they have the financial and staff resources for customer support and product development when you are no longer a new client and the honeymoon period is over.