PSA implementation can bring with it several advantages for businesses, but particularly for managed services providers (MSPs). This is in part because MSPs are likely to be managing an especially large customer base with high-level requirements, and may be responsible for a broad set of IT services. Because of the nature of the services they provide, MSP activities must be supported by highly organized systems and—ideally—automation and centralized management.
What is PSA software?
Professional services automation (PSA) software provides an all-in-one alternative to utilizing separate solutions for multiple business operations, such as time tracking, project management, invoicing, business intelligence, resource planning, and collaboration activities. PSA software can help deliver unified IT monitoring and can be leveraged to streamline business processes, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.
PSA software helps professional service providers and MSPs manage customer correspondence and engagements across the complete project lifecycle. The project lifecycle begins at the point when the sales opportunity first emerges. The deal is then closed, and the business allocates resources to provide the service. The cycle is completed when invoices have been issued, the customer has been billed, and the revenue is collected.
PSA implementation helps companies establish a consistent approach to planning, measuring, and managing project performance across this lifecycle. PSA software centralizes business operations and data, so that companies can provide services in a more predictable way. By automating and streamlining otherwise repetitive processes, you make the customer experience more consistent and less prone to errors.
The purpose of PSA implementation is based on the idea that a solid, single foundation is more effective than several distinct systems. By helping you automate many aspects of your business processes in a central location, your team can reap several benefits.
Why is PSA implementation important for MSPs?
For companies that don’t currently have a PSA solution or are working with an outdated PSA option, the latest PSA software solutions may surprise them. While older iterations of PSA software resembled help desk software in many ways, modern PSA implementations go well beyond facilitating the management of support requests and help desk tasks.
Some of the advanced PSA solutions on the market leverage business intelligence capabilities, allowing you to collect critical data, automate tasks, improve business analytics, and facilitate system integration. With the right tool, the value associated with PSA implementation extends far beyond operational and support tasks, to contribute to more strategic elements of your organization.
For many MSPs, centralizing key business processes is not just advisable, but essential. MSPs are often responsible for providing multiple services to a large number of customers, and may even manage customers’ entire IT infrastructures. Given most customers will require ongoing services, this creates a cumulative workload that increases considerably with every new customer an MSP takes on.
Organization and effective management is the cornerstone of a successful MSP business. To stay competitive, MSPs must be able to provide a service that is “managed,” as its name implies. In other words, an MSP’s product is its service, and customers expect their MSP to provide exemplary management. Because of the complex nature of the services MSPs provide, alongside high customer expectations, it is especially important that MSPs implement a PSA solution. With the right software, MSPs can safeguard the efficiency of their processes, increase the quality of their services, and minimize errors across the board.
The benefits of PSA implementation for MSPs
There are a range of benefits associated with PSA implementation for MSPs—here are some of the practical advantages that the right cloud-based professional services automation software can bring to the table:
1. PROCESS AUTOMATION
By expanding on the traditional capabilities of a help desk tool, PSA software allows you to automate an array of tasks. Through the automation of repetitive manual tasks, you will be able to increase your maximum customer capacity, perform at scale, and reduce current labor and resource costs. To give you a sense of what’s possible, an advanced PSA solution may enable you to help automate the following functions:
- Customer support ticket creation
- Project management
Essentially, PSA implementation can help your MSP achieve more with less, improving overall service quality, efficiency, and scalability.
2. CENTRALIZED STORAGE OF DATA
MSPs are prime targets for cybercriminals because they can serve as the gateway into several other businesses if successfully infiltrated. Because of this, it’s crucial that MSPs store customer data in a location that is secure—but also accessible remotely. With modern PSA solutions, particularly cloud-based professional services automation software, you will have access to a centralized data repository. By centralizing data storage, you can collect and store all customer data in a single location that gives you maximum control over accessibility and security.
3. INTEGRATION CAPABILITIES
Although some businesses choose to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) tool instead of professional services automation software, this can limit your ability to integrate other MSP tools. PSA software, on the other hand, can provide better integration capabilities and opportunities. Many modern PSA tools can be integrated with popular MSP solutions, such as accounting and RMM programs. CRM solutions, however, are less likely to deliver as many integration opportunities, which can impact your MSP’s ability to deliver flexible, collaborative, and centralized services to customers.
4. ACCESS TO ANALYTICS
Some of the best PSA tools provide highly advanced analytics, giving you access to key data-insights. These valuable data-driven insights can help inform training initiatives, resource allocation, business strategy, and help you deliver a better service to your customers. Overall, generating actionable insights can be used to improve internal performance and customer service.
5. IMPROVED CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
PSA software automates and streamlines repetitive processes for MSPs, reducing the likelihood of errors occurring. Improvements like this have a direct impact on customer relationships because they improve quality of service, which in turn will increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
6. MEETING SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS (SLAS)
By implementing more effective methods of delivering services and customer support, PSA software also helps MSPs deliver their services on time. This maximizes profitability and increases the chances of your MSP meeting SLAs. PSA solutions make meeting deadlines easy, because they consolidate and organize all critical tasks and processes into a single tool. Automated functions also help prevent tasks from being forgotten or overlooked, which makes it much less likely you’ll violate your SLAs.
7. REDUCED ERRORS
By using disparate tools and systems for your business operations, covering everything from project management to accounting, you open up opportunities for error. Using multiple systems can also waste time, lead to uninformed decisions, and result in data-related problems as your team tries to transfer information between systems.
With PSA implementation, you can rely on a single system for all your critical business operations. This reduces the likelihood of errors occurring, simplifies employee workload, and minimizes the cost and time associated with software implementation and maintenance.
The PSA software your MSP needs
For enterprise-grade, cloud-based professional services automation software, N-ableTM MSP Manager provides everything MSPs of all sizes need to deliver exceptional services and customer support. MSP Manager was designed to help your MSP deliver proactive and prompt service, bill customers quickly and efficiently, and allocate resources effectively.
To provide unified IT monitoring and management for MSPs, this solution also integrates seamlessly with all-in-one solutions like SolarWinds RMM. This integration makes it possible to deliver everything an MSP needs to provide end-to-end customer services. Integration with RMM allows you to open and update support tickets from within the RMM dashboard and automatically generates RMM tickets if the issue is critical.
SolarWinds MSP Manager includes a range of customer and knowledge management capabilities, such as the ability to implement a branded customer portal. The customer portal offered by MSP Manager features an intuitive interface, ticket creation capability, ticket status updates, and a mobile application compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
The MSP Manager mobile application facilitates fast ticket generation and management, easy time tracking, and access to detailed customer, device, and system information. With push notifications sent straight to your device, your technicians are always kept in the loop. Alongside interactive workspaces, robust reporting, and an easy-to-navigate dashboard, your team can easily stay on top of business health and performance.
Finally, SolarWinds MSP Manager includes a lightweight ticketing system, which provides quick timers, automated email-to-ticket generating, automated ticket routing, custom ticket status options, and much more. This secure, cloud-based solution is highly comprehensive, scalable, and user-friendly, making it the ideal solution for growing businesses. A 14-day free trial is available for MSPs to get started today.