What is Professional Services Automation (PSA) software?
Professional Services Automation (PSA) software allows businesses that offer services to consolidate all of their key processes in one system. By doing so, they can reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks, which increases the amount of billable time they have available to customers. It also allows service providers to better control the delivery of their projects by improving time, resource and cost management.
PSA software performs a similar function for service providers as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for manufacturers and retailers. It streamlines all key processes under one roof, providing a 360-degree view of the entire business and increasing both the quality of their service offering and their profitability.
Increasingly, PSA software has become a cloud-based technology, with industry leaders NetSuite at the forefront. NetSuite offers two types of PSA software; NetSuite Service Resource Planning (SRP) and NetSuite OpenAir. SRP is bolted onto the traditional NetSuite ERP, whereas OpenAir can function as a stand-alone solution. There is also the ability to incorporate both pieces of software into a powerful hybrid PSA solution.
What are the main functions of PSA software?
There are several core functions of Professional Automation Software;
- Project Management.
- Resource Management.
- Time & Expense Management.
- Billing & Invoicing.
- Reporting and Business Intelligence (BI).
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
For service providers, securing a project is usually the easy part compared with having to deliver it. Without careful management, projects can take longer than expected, reducing the amount of billable time the business has available for other projects or clients. Without proper management, the result can also be inferior to the original specification, with the client feeling let down.
PSA software provides businesses with one central location to manage a project, and it increases the visibility of cost, time and resources that have gone into it. It provides a source of truth on which all those responsible for delivering the project can rely. It also provides a place for those delivering the project to collaborate. Many PSA software is cloud-based, meaning it is accessible from anywhere, on any device and at any time.
For service businesses to run at maximum efficiency, they must have complete control over their resources. A good PSA will give complete visibility of the current resources in use and what is left available. It will factor in upcoming demands on resources and identify potential shortages before they happen, allowing mitigation to keep projects on track.
An essential part of project management is the ability to understand the profitability of a project. Using PSA software to allocate and record resources and time spent on a project, an accurate picture of the margin achieved is possible. Having visibility of this during the project’s life cycle also reduces the chances of projects being delivered late and over budget.
Billing and Invoicing
Billing and invoicing is also made simple with good PSA software. Businesses with billable hours and resources can find it hard to keep on top of billing, but PSA software allows them to automate it if they wish to. Different customers can have different rates set on their accounts, and PSA can automatically raise invoices, which reduces admin hours and makes billing processes more accurate and transparent.
Customer Relationship Management
Good PSA software will also include a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. CRMs allow businesses to manage their customers more efficiently. Being able to track the entire customer lifecycle, companies can nurture their customers and increase customer relations and retention. CRM running alongside PSA gives service providers an invaluable way of improving their service offering, setting them apart from their competitors.
Finally, a good PSA will feature Business Intelligence (BI) tools. By allowing all aspects of a business’s resources and time to be fully managed and CRM taking care of the customers, BI can make powerful insights into the efficiencies. BI tools allow enterprises to gain accurate reporting and analytics from which management teams can make strategic business decisions. BI tools can also predict future demand and potential inefficiencies ahead of time, allowing businesses to circumnavigate potential issues.
There has been a surge in businesses that offer services over the past twenty years. Due to the nature of these services, competition is often at a global level. For service businesses to compete, they have needed increasingly intelligent ways to manage their time, resources and customers. This demand has led to a steep increase in the number of PSA software providers offering their solutions.
PSA software offers service businesses complete visibility of their operations, resources and time. It reduces the amount of valuable billable hours wasted and increases efficiency. It ensures services and projects deliver to specification, on time and within budget. PSA software allows businesses to offer a better quality of service to their customers by doing all of these things. Enterprises enjoy a solid competitive position from which they can retain their customers and cultivate new ones.
Does your business offer services, and you’re looking to implement PSA software to streamline your processes and increase your efficiencies? If so, NetSuite’s PSA offerings are worth real consideration. As industry leaders, NetSuite could help you transform your operations, allowing your business to grow. If you’d like to speak with one of our NetSuite PSA experts, you can request a free call back here.