If your business is a service or project-oriented one, be it a law firm, IT consultancy or a creative agency, it is going to benefit from Professional Services Automation, or PSA. This type of software houses your data and presents managers with a real-time, consolidated view of their business. By creating useful metrics and evaluating processes based on them, you can scale, improve, and make your enterprise more efficient. These apps are great all-rounders that include capabilities such as resource planning, time and expense tracking, invoicing, billing and reporting.
It may sound very similar to project management tools, but there are some crucial differences. “The key requirement here beyond traditional project management is knowing the critical information and metrics that make your services profitable, i.e. the billing rates of the people on a given project,” explain the experts at Precursive.“Good PSA apps will provide workflows and approvals that are based around assigning people to a project”, in the most cost-effective way. In other words, PSA software is built around the specific requirements of service businesses to get a personalised overview, rather than simply manage a project. All in all, it uses the information about what makes your business profitable to help improve its efficiency.
So, should you invest in a PSA app? Here are some of the biggest benefits to help you decide.
1. Fewer admin tasks
Arguably the best part of automation of any kind is its ability to reduce monotonous and time-consuming tasks to a background process (or, at worst, a few clicks of the mouse). Whether it’s filling out spreadsheets, scheduling meetings or submitting invoices, these are not actions that fully use your employees’ strength. With PSA, you can eliminate unnecessary data entry points through automation, saving you money since there is no longer a need for specialist admin staff. This will also help with making project planning easier. Freeing your team from the shackles of administrative chores will make them more creative, focused and innovative — qualities that no machine can ever replace. Let your computer handle what it can and allow the humans to flourish.
2. Better use of resources
From equipment to manpower, your resources are precious. Because PSA apps collate all of the data from every part of your business, it can be invaluable when it comes to resource planning and optimisation. Think about it this way: you now have a super smart tool that contains all the information about your staff, project, cost and time, and allows you to analyse and visualise all this data seamlessly. In other words, you have the perfect recipe for assigning the right people to remaining tasks and billing for them correctly. Higher utilisation rates, better resource allocation, and finer-tuned decision-making lead to a more efficient and productive business.
3. Increased profit margins
PSA can really paint a picture. As an information hub for everything to do with your business, it’s also capable of producing visualised reports that show you the metrics of your choice in black and white. Which projects are your most efficient or profitable? Which ones are just leaking money? And who are your best clients? You can get simple answers to these questions, and use them to refine and tweak your projects to maximise your margins while keeping within budget. Learning from experience is just so much easier when you have everything calculated for you right there.
4. More visibility and control
Real-time, clear and concise data, accessible by everyone in your organisation. If we had to sum up the benefits of PSA software in one sentence, that would be it. These apps give your enterprise so much freedom and transparency, because they give everyone all the information they need in a digestible manner. They can explore and understand it, which gives each individual in your company more control over their part in the project, instead of feeling like a cog in a machine that is alienated from them. And when your employees have more control, your entire business benefits.
5. Enhanced customer satisfaction
Internal benefits are all well and good, and by now they should be crystal clear. However, the external advantages of a PSA app are just as important. Giving your clients access to their projects through the software will give them the opportunity to stay on top of things, make sure the work is progressing as they expect it to, and reduce the need for active communication between them and your team. By being fully transparent, you’ll gain respect and appear more credible to your customers, which will render them more likely to stay loyal to you. What’s more, as your employees know they’re wholly accountable for their work, they’ll become more conscious of its quality, making your overall processes better.