Salesforce PSA Solutions: 10 questions to ask before you buy6 min read
Professional services businesses operate across the board in almost any industry you care to name, and they generate revenue by selling time.
So, it’s critical that, if you’re a professional services organisation, you can keep track of your billable time, business efficiency – and your capacity to deliver in order to measure your profitability.
Why you need Professional Services Automation (PSA)
When we’re out in the field, we hear the same questions day after day:
- How much have we sold this year?
- What are our total billable, non-billable or overtime hours for this financial year?
- Are our resources fit for the tasks we’ve assigned, or do we need to intervene with upskilling or task reassignment?
- How much profit did we make on each job? Did we lose money on a job or jobs?
- Can we compare scheduled time versus actual?
- Do we have capacity to take on more projects? Who has spare bandwidth?
and many more in a similar vein.
If your business has relied on your spreadsheet system, you’ll know that it takes hours of work to extract information to answer these types of questions. You’re probably dealing with multiple systems, which means that you have a person or team dedicated to doing just that.
Maybe it’s time to get automated.
10 questions to ask before you choose a PSA solution
All PSA systems aren’t created equal. Before you choose the cheapest option, or the one that appears to have the most bells and whistles, you need to ask yourself and the PSA system rep the following questions.
Does the system you’re considering:
1. Have capability to plan out an entire project?
A comprehensive project management system will enable you and your employees to plan the project, including plotting key milestones, key phases, tasks and sub tasks. You’ll be looking for tools like Gantt Charts and Kanban Boards that are easy to use and help your team stay on top of their assignments.
2. Have the capability to track both billable and non-billable costs?
Time billing is where most projects go off track. When tasks that have scheduled hours allotted take more time, you need to know as it’s happening, not at the end of the month or quarter when it’s too late to intervene. Accurate time tracking is key to prudent financial management and so you can identify quickly if your project is on track to profit or loss.
Your time-tracking feature in your PSA system should be able to support multiple different types of billing options such as standard day rates, role-based or skill-based.
3. Manage resources efficiently?
Bottlenecks, employees who need upskilling, employees drowning in work while others coast – all these factors contribute to poor productivity. Your PSA system needs to be able to manage resources efficiently and have a feature where you can see at a glance what everyone’s doing, their deadlines, team structures and skills (including languages and certifications).
This 360-degree overview means you can more easily assign resources to a project based on their skills and proficiency level as well as holidays and existing workloads.
4. Manage multiple projects?
No professional services business relies on one project for its profitability. So, when you examine a PSA system, make sure it enables you to get a helicopter view of all your projects in one central location. A feature like this enables you to manage multiple projects at one time and capture your program objectives and KPIs.
5. Measure profitability through time tracking?
As I noted earlier, it’s all too easy for a task to run over time. And you can eat up time in needing to log individuals’ times per task – billable, non-billable and overtime. So, check that your PSA system enables employees to log their own time, get a summary of time per task, and that updates in real time. With real-time information, you can check the health of your projects quickly and step in if you need to. Better time management means more productivity and higher profits.
6. Measure profitability through expense management?
Expenses can be tricky to manage. When they aren’t captured accurately or in a timely manner, they can affect profitability. So, choose a PSA system that enables you to account for and charge project expenses easily.
7. Track or flag risks?
Risk management is a critical component of project management. You need to be able to keep track of identified risks and work out what other risks (and their probability) could affect your project, their likely impact and where they’re likely to happen. You also need to identify how to mitigate risks and identify any countermeasures you need to be ready to implement.
8. Generate and send invoices automatically?
You need cash flow, so you need to be paid for your work in a timely manner. A good PSA system will automate billing, so your invoices are generated and sent to clients per milestone completed, and capture payments. This means you’ll have better insights into profits and the health or your project.
9. Enable collaboration for brainstorming or on-the-fly answers?
We know that communication is key in the professional services industry, as is client service. When you’re scrutinizing a PSA system, look for features that allow instant communication between colleagues and that gives you the ability to communicate effectively with both internal and external project stakeholders
10. Enable you to analyse your performance?
In order to work out how your business is working, you need to analyze the performance of the organisation easily. Check that your PSA solution enables you to identify how your team members are allocated tasks, profitability of projects, revenue recognition or the project delivery performance and more.
When all’s said and done, though, you want a system that people will actually use, so choose a solution that’s intuitive, requires minimal or no training, is tightly integrated with your other core business systems, such as Salesforce, and has the key features you need to run a successful professional services business.
Interesting in finding out how Mission Control stacks up?
If you’d like to get an idea of how Mission Control might be able to assist your business in running it’s professional services operations feel free to contact our knowledgeable team who will be happy to help.