PSA Software: The Secret Weapon in Delivering Successful and Profitable Projects
Published Friday, February 7, 2014 4:07 PM by Wearev1, Author
Professionals like project managers, lawyers, and architects need to accurately bill their clients, which historically has always been a labour-intensive exercise, using various ad hoc systems.
Professional services automation (PSA) software was introduced to automate this process and it enables companies to effectively manage time-recording and billing processes. Typically, PSA packages will incorporate a number of features.
For effective management of resources organisations need:
- A resource and skills database
- To match skills availability to project requirement.
- To schedule availability
- To identify constraints
- To forecast workload
Time and Expense Management
It is important that expenditure of time and money is efficiently captured by:
- Automated capture of hours worked
- Off-site capture using mobile devices
- Identification of revenue and non-revenue activities
Efficient billing is essential to manage projected cash flows and key attributes are:
- Prompt invoicing of completed work
- Ensuring billing amounts are in line with projections.
Project Management and Accounting
There is a need to ensure that all projects are proceeding as anticipated, especially with regard to expenditure and resource allocation. Some aspects that need to be monitored are:
- Progress against budget
- Work in progress
- Resources utilisation
- Milestones achieved
- Budgeted verses actual income and expenditure
- Monitor client payments
- Overall project status
How Professional Services Automation Enables Companies to Successfully Manage Projects
Large project management companies and similar organisations handling many concomitant projects need to balance resource availability with the requirement to complete activities on time. The inherent complexity of simultaneously controlling multiple resources and conflicting commitments is such that efficient allocation of resources is impossible without access to powerful tools able to monitor resources in real time.
PSA software is just that, and its secret for success is that it facilitates the process to ensure effective resource utilisation and the achievement of projected goals and commitments.
Identification of Resources
PSA software allows companies to start with their most important resources, their people. The resource and skills database provides immediate access to the pool of talent and availability.
Allocation of Resources
The next essential link is the project plan, which is usually created with a package like MS Projects. As each project plan is prepared, a specific individual or resource will be allocated to each activity for a defined time. These resources are drawn from the database detailing available people with appropriate skills. The database will also reveal any resource constraints, which can then be fed into the project plan.
No organisation can handle an unlimited number of projects and the information from the preceding steps is used to evaluate the organisation’s capacity and to guide it as to whether it has the capacity to meet projected commitments to clients.
Management of Resources
Moving on to project implementation, the automated time, expense, and resource tracking facilities of the time and expense management modules allows companies to track progress in real time, with minimal delays between execution and reporting. This, together with progress against the project plan, gives them information they need to make sure projects are on track in terms of time and money.
Billing and Other Modules
The billing module ensures that invoices for completed work are accurate and sent out in good time. The other modules give senior management an overall view of progress both at project and macro level.
Although the above description is a simplification of the real processes, it serves to illustrate how automated methods of managing professional services allow organisations to manage complex and multi-faceted projects and is the reason why PSA Software is considered to be the secret weapon for delivering successful and profitable projects.