As the managed services provider (MSP) market grows and companies have more options when it comes to managed services, it becomes even more important for MSPs to do everything they can to increase efficiency within their team to attract and retain customers.
One critical way MSPs can do this is by adopting professional services automation (PSA) tools that maximize productivity. The right PSA software can help you stay competitive in an expanding market. Without PSA software, it’s unlikely your business will be able to deliver the same efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and value as its competitors.
Before investing in PSA software for IT companies and MSP businesses, however, it’s important to understand how PSA software works and why it’s so indispensable. This guide will outline the basics of PSA, including what it is, why it’s important, and how MSPs can benefit from it.
What is PSA?
Professional services automation tools, also known as PSA software, serve as an all-in-one substitute for using a range of separate tools for project management, invoicing, time tracking, collaboration, business intelligence, and resource planning.
PSA software allows businesses that provide professional services to manage their customer engagements across the complete project life cycle. In this context, the project life cycle begins once an opportunity for a sale has been created, a deal has been established and closed, and resources have been allocated to facilitate project delivery. The end of the cycle occurs when official invoices have been raised and funds have been collected from the customer.
PSA tools help MSPs establish a standardized approach to planning, measuring, and managing performance during a project from start to finish. By centralizing relevant customer data and processes, PSA software allows services to be delivered in a more reliable manner. PSA software can also help streamline and automate repetitive manual tasks to increase business efficiency.
Four benefits of PSA software for MSP businesses
PSA software for IT companies and MSPs can bring a range of benefits to the table, helping you optimize operations, reduce costs, and improve the overall efficiency of your team’s activities. Here are some of the benefits you can expect to reap from using a PSA management tool.
1. STANDARDIZED OPERATIONS
PSAs help companies keep promises to their customers. By standardizing your operations and the complete project lifecycle, PSA software for MSP businesses can allow you to document problems rapidly and escalate issues efficiently when necessary. As a result, MSPs can improve their service delivery, which in turn contributes to increased customer satisfaction.
By automating your MSP’s working methods, PSA tools also improve your capacity to meet service level agreements (SLAs). Even if your business can currently manage SLAs effectively with spreadsheets, this will change rapidly as you continue to grow. As MSPs scale beyond more than a few customers, it becomes much harder to use manual systems and processes to track customer issues. With a tool that helps standardize operations, you can improve the overall efficiency of your business and its services even as (and perhaps especially as) you grow.
2. REAL-TIME REPORTING
By providing powerful metrics in real-time, PSA software gives companies access to the data insights necessary to make informed decisions. A PSA tool helps MSPs capture essential customer information, as well as reuse that information to create live reports. These reports can then be leveraged to improve business profitability.
As an example, imagine you have provided a quote to a customer for the price of installing a file server. The customer agrees and you deliver the work. While you might consider this project to have been profitable, you won’t necessarily know how long it took your team to complete the project—which is crucial in understanding how much value a project actually brought to your MSP.
With PSA software, you can easily capture and track the time spent on each project, all in real-time. By leveraging this visibility effectively, you can eliminate guesswork and establish processes that are informed by the data. For instance, you might use the data to determine whether your business should undertake another server installation for the same price, or whether you should refine future work or revise quotes based on the amount of time taken to complete the project.
3. SIMPLIFY PROJECT PLANNING AND EXECUTION
Good PSA software can help you automate your repetitive, day-to-day activities, which makes project planning and project execution much simpler and less time-consuming. When integrated with your service desk, PSA tools can also monitor and give you access to intelligent insights into the overall health and state of your company’s operations.
PSA tools enable you to schedule tasks ahead of time, track time spent on projects, gather necessary billing information, process and triage help desk tickets, and handle both external and internal communications on your behalf. All these automated actions free up employee time so your team can focus on other important tasks and improve service delivery.
As comprehensive solutions, PSA tools ensure a lot of your company data is channeled through a single application. This includes finances, account management, sales, service, marketing, notes, inventory, and correspondence activities. Because everything is centralized, your information is readily accessible, minimizing the need to jump between different tools to monitor your projects.
Although your company may utilize other solutions like time management and tracking tools, it’s unlikely that they’re able to offer the same range of benefits as PSA software for MSPs. A full-featured PSA solution can provide HR functionality, integrated invoicing, and resource planning doing the job of multiple tools without breaking the bank.
4. MINIMIZE ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS
Although growing your revenue is important, profitability should be your top priority as a business owner. If you are currently using separate applications to support your billing, help desk, and project management operations, then a PSA tool may be able to provide improved cost-efficiency and help you maximize profitability.
Because some PSA tools can track exactly how much time your team spends on customers, they can help you identify issues in your workflow and refine your approach to project management to keep costs down and boost efficiency. PSA tools also enable you to conduct informed renegotiations of client contracts when it’s time to renew, because you can leverage the data insights provided by your PSA tool to improve profitability even further.
Choosing the right PSA software for MSP businesses
Deciding on the PSA solution that is right for your company and its individual needs isn’t easy. There are countless tools to choose from, each claiming to be the answer to all your problems. One of the most important features to look for when choosing your PSA solution is support for integration with software already being used within your company. This will enable you to fully centralize all your operations, eliminating the need to jump between tools to try to align data insights across multiple platforms.
N-able™ MSP Manager provides seamless integration with all-in-one remote monitoring solution N-able RMM. Together, these tools provide a versatile and powerful approach to service delivery, project management, client support, and infrastructure monitoring.
N-able MSP Manager includes customer and knowledge management features and gives you access to critical client information in one location. MSP Manager also includes an intuitive and lightweight ticketing system, support for batch billing exports, interactive and dynamic dashboards, scheduling capabilities, and the ability to provide a branded customer portal.
For a reliable and robust PSA solution designed specifically for MSP businesses, N-able MSP Manager comes highly recommended. A 14-day free trial is available for download.