Remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA) tools are both designed to improve managed services providers’ (MSPs’) productivity and efficiency, but they achieve this in different ways. One of the key differences between RMM and PSA tools is that while RMM focuses on fine-tuning internal technical support activities, PSA targets building and improving business processes.
Understanding the importance of both PSA and RMM tools will help you better understand the what you need. This guide will outline the differences between RMM and PSA tools and explain how you can reap the rewards by leveraging both tools in ways that maximize their capabilities.
What is PSA software for MSPs?
PSA tools are solutions created to help businesses improve their productivity. PSA software does this by facilitating improved customer management, reducing the likelihood of errors occurring, and automating billing and reports. An effective PSA tool should perform the following operations:
- Track multiple triggers, such as new accounts being created
- Alert the relevant individuals of important activities (i.e., notifying the accounting department of the creation of any new accounts)
- Perform pre-configured activities, like assigning the appropriate billing plan to new accounts
PSA software can also notify you if an SLA violation has occurred, or if customer support requests have been left unanswered. This means PSA tools can function as an extension of a service desk or help desk, enabling MSPs to significantly improve customer support activities and increase customer satisfaction.
PSA software for MSPs can juggle a huge amount of data from your business systems, giving you new insight into how your MSP is performing. For example, a PSA tool can give you an understanding of the amount of staff time spent on customer support, or how long it takes your technicians to resolve customer support tickets. These kinds of insights can help alert you to areas of your business where there is room for improvement—for example, if a certain type of issue always takes your team significantly longer to resolve, it may be worth investing in training for that particular type of issue.
A PSA tool can give you access to a comprehensive range of data, which you would otherwise have to use multiple tools to attain. This means that a single PSA tool can potentially replace a range of other solutions, such as service ticketing software, CRM tools, and billing and invoicing systems. By integrating and centralizing these capabilities, you can also boost efficiency and productivity while driving down costs.
When Should MSPs Use PSA software?
PSA software for MSPs can serve multiple purposes and bring several significant benefits to your business. A PSA solution may be especially helpful if you are experiencing any of the following issues:
- Cash-flow problems related to irregular or complex invoicing processes
- Recurring revenue issues, such as service plans being billed incorrectly due to poor communication and new service updates
- Missed real-time alerts resulting in emergency circumstances
- Repetitive daily tasks (i.e., basic configuration activities, checking for security updates, etc.), that are an inefficient use of technician time
PSA software can help you overcome these challenges by streamlining business operations, automating repetitive tasks, and reducing the likelihood of human error. To ensure you achieve maximum cost-efficiency when implementing a PSA solution, we also recommend considering tools that are user-friendly and easy to install. This will help you save on costs that would otherwise be spent on technician training and onboarding.
What are RMM tools?
RMM solutions usually manage the technical elements of client support, giving you access to remote monitoring and management capabilities. This typically involves:
- Collecting health and inventory data from client systems and infrastructure servers
- Compiling log entries and performance data from your company’s resources
- Executing management activities (i.e., configuration modifications, implementing updates, and running scripts)
- Setting up remote support and screen sharing sessions so that customer issues can be resolved quickly
RMM solutions are typically controlled via centralized dashboards that display a map of resources and statuses in an easily digestible way for MSP technicians to access at-a-glance information.
When should MSPs use RMM tools?
RMM tools help MSPs improve internal technician operations and processes while keeping labor costs low. Your MSP is likely to benefit from using an RMM solution if you regularly encounter any of the following situations:
- Your customers have hybrid infrastructures which include on-premises and virtualized servers, as well as cloud systems. Implementing an RMM solution can help you consolidate all the data associated with these systems into one centralized place.
- Your support technicians have to perform many small, routine tasks, such as data collection, configuration, or patching.
- You want to reduce your operational costs by integrating your existing PSA software with an RMM solution.
RMM solutions can be useful in several ways. By establishing connections between RMM tools and client servers, you can ensure you’re alerted to critical system statuses, such as low disk space or errors in sending external emails via the mail system. This allows you to implement a solution, potentially even before your client is impacted by the issue.
RMM tools can also make you aware of necessary maintenance work, helping you to take proactive action and reduce downtime. An RMM solution also provides added value that you can pass down to your customers, who will likely be willing to pay for the assurance that their critical systems are safe and secure.
The value of integration
As we’ve discussed in this guide, RMM and PSA tools perform different functions—which overlap in certain areas. As such, MSPs can benefit from implementing both tools and using them in conjunction. However, achieving this in a cost and resource effective way isn’t always easy. An RMM tool that integrates with a PSA solution can provide a solution to this issue and offers a number of benefits, including centralizing control, minimizing training requirements for technicians, and streamlining work processes.
SolarWinds® RMM and MSP Manager provide the ideal combination of RMM and PSA capabilities. SolarWinds RMM integrates with MSP Manager to provide almost everything an MSP could need to deliver exemplary services. This enables you to allocate resources effectively, deliver prompt and proactive service, and efficiently bill customers with reliable and defensible invoices. With this integration, you gain access to easy-to-use remote monitoring and management capabilities, as well as ticketing, reporting, and billing for end-to-end customer service—all from within a single interface.
SolarWinds MSP Manager is a highly effective PSA solution offering a range of ticketing capabilities, such as:
- Quick ticket creation from any screen via a quick ticket feature. For example, technicians can use this feature while browsing through a customer’s assets, without having to leave the page.
- Rapid ticketing and documentation via the mobile application.
- Email to ticket creation option, enabling the automatic creation of tickets when a user submits it via email. Email correspondence between the user and technician will also be captured within the ticket to save time and streamline communication.
- Granular workflow settings let you open tickets in SolarWinds RMM and MSP Manager for issues you consider critical—then route them automatically to the appropriate resources.
- Remotely connect to impacted devices directly from tickets.
This PSA software for MSPs also helps you simplify logistics by giving you access to a range of quick and easy scheduling features. It includes the ability to schedule recurring tickets and appointments in just a few clicks, as well as track appointment details and billable time. These features are complemented by extensive billing functionalities, helping you streamline and customize your offerings, processes, and billing activities. MSP Manager supports batch invoicing and exporting, customizable billing options, and sample invoices.
These features are designed for scalable business models, enabling you to deliver prompt and proactive service, allocate resources effectively, and efficiently bill customers. MSP Manager also supports integration with multiple accounting software solutions, allowing you to export your invoices. SolarWinds MSP Manager’s ability to be integrated with SolarWinds RMM makes it one of the most efficient and cost-effective PSA tools available on the market. A 14-day free trial is available for MSPs interested in trying it out for themselves.