10 considerations when purchasing a PSA solution
This blog was originally published on May 18, 2016 and updated on October 15, 2018
There are a lot of professional services automation (PSA) software choices on the market, and it may be confusing to know how to narrow your options and determine which is best for your company. If you’re considering purchasing your first PSA or switching your current PSA, here are the top things to keep in mind.
#1: Robust features
With so many PSA software programs on the market, it’s imperative to choose a platform that offers a wide range of features. You don’t want to be forced to use several different platforms to gain the functionality you need to operate your business. Popular PSA features you should look for include: billing, time tracking, agreement management, client management, project management, and dashboards & reports.
#2: Flexibility to meet your unique system and business requirements
Not all PSAs work for all types of businesses and companies, so you’ll want to know what types of functionality to prioritize for your specific business needs. For example, some PSA solutions only run on certain operating systems. If your workforce uses only Windows computers, this may not be a problem but if you operate on other systems, you’ll need to ensure everything syncs together properly. When noting your list of system requirements, the first step is to classify between your Must-Haves and your Nice-to-Haves and ensure the PSAs you’re considering meet those needs.
#3: Accessing real-time information
One of the main reasons companies implement a PSA system is to access reports and have a holistic view into their company’s health—helping them keep tabs on key performance indicators. Managers can quickly identify how their teams are performing and who is a top performer.
#4: Intuitive UI
When shopping for a PSA, consider how easy or intuitive the interface is. We’re not simply talking about being aesthetically pleasing, but are the steps a user needs to take to get to a certain action intuitive? Ask yourself whether the end users in your organization would have an easy time understanding and adapting to the new system.
#5: Third-party integrations
Without a doubt, there are third-party applications outside of the PSA that you’ll want to keep using, either out of company preference or because they accomplish a set of tasks a traditional PSA solution cannot (such as an accounting software or backup and disaster recovery). Verify how any potential PSA system interacts with your third-party programs before you commit to a new system. Ask about what integrations are currently supported and if the company is looking to add more in the future.
#6: Industry-leading brand
To avoid stress and poor performance, opt for an industry-leading company over a newly established one. It can make sense try out new technology, especially if it’s less expensive and you may not be able to invest a lot into a new system. However, a PSA system will become a core technology asset in your business. You don’t want to waste time or face frustration while a new company figures out glitches, or can’t support all your business needs fully.
#7: Client education and support
Transitioning to a new PSA program is a big decision. You’ll possibly have to migrate information over from your old system and train your end users on how to interact with this new system. Find a PSA with solid client education and support, so that you don’t have to waste any time developing your own training materials.
Also, make sure there’s 24/7 support that’s easy to access when you need it. You don’t want a situation to arise where you need an answer to a question and can’t get it. See what level of support comes with your PSA solution to ensure the company will be there to support any issues that may arise so you’re always able to offer to clients the best service possible.
While a PSA solution alone will not be enough to maintain compliance for specific guidelines, like HIPAA regulations, take into consideration whether the PSA features and the solution’s overall stability would allow you to maintain security compliance for your business and your customers. As regulations differ among industries, it’s always best practices to stay up to date on security requirements your business needs to follow and ensure a PSA can help support that.
#9: Strong community
If possible, always choose technology platforms that focus on partnership and community over platforms that don’t. Whenever you get the chance to network with peers or share industry best practices, you should take it. Some PSA vendors host conferences, events, and activities where you can do just that. This opportunity is not to be underestimated. Many businesses are greatly improved and life-long friendships are made through these tight-knit communities.
As your business grows, will your PSA be able to scale with you? Will your PSA solution provider have additional products you may need, such as quoting solutions or remote monitoring tools, that easily integrate together to form a robust business platform? While it may not be something you need immediately, think ahead to the future state of your business to avoid unnecessary issues with solutions that might only be good for right now and cause potential business disruption to switch later.