PSA vs. RMM: a roadmap on where to start

Posted:
01/14/2021

RMM vs. PSA, which is better? This is a question many managed services providers (MSPs) may ask themselves at various stages of growth. But it’s not really a “versus” situation—both of these are crucial parts of managing a successful MSP.When implemented properly, RMM and PSA solutions support and add exponential value to one another.

Many MSPs need and use both of these software tools to successfully grow and scale. If you’re considering RMM or PSA, the following questions will help guide the decision to adopt either—or both. 

But before we start, we’ll lay out some quick definitions:

  • RMM: Remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools are how MSPs literally get their work done; they’re how technicians actually monitor and manage customers’ endpoints and networks, deliver service, and track issues. A good RMM will also integrate with ticketing management systems and other tools.
  • PSA: Professional services automation (PSA) tools are less about the customer-facing work of an MSP and more about managing the business itself. They integrate across the whole MSP’s business, which gives MSPs 360-degree visibility into how things are going operationally, from finance and HR to sales to client management and ticketing. PSAs can automatically follow up with prospects, track, document, and route tickets, and more.
How much can you handle in-house?

An MSP can start up with essentially only an RMM. An RMM tool can still do ticketing, enable you to deploy agents onto a customer’s network or devices, and act as a managed services tool.

But running an MSP takes more than IT skills. HR. Finance. Marketing and sales. Customer account management. These are just a few of the areas needed to run a business. How much bandwidth do you have to manage these manually? Where do your leaders need to focus their time?

It’s natural for businesses to grow organically, but all too often, this means MSPs find themselves with silos of chaos within their own businesses. An RMM can’t support HR, sales, and other functions needed to properly run a business. This is especially true now, when both an MSP’s staff and clients are working remotely. Old processes that were once done by hand or on paper now need to be digitized and integrated. A PSA can make managing the business more efficient, clearly documented, and easy.

In combination, an RMM and PSA lead to more efficient business operations, with significant ROI for leaders when it comes to their busy schedules—with more automated tasks, they can invest attention where it matters most.

How many clients do you want to support?

All MSPs operate differently, service different types of clients, and have varying levels of staffing. When looking at RMM and PSA software, it’s important to determine how many clients your business already supports, and how many you want to support.

If you’re looking to add many new clients and grow your book of business, then it’s time for a better solution than ticketing via Outlook and laborious prospecting. A good RMM tool is essential to serving clients and making the most of technicians’ time, while a PSA will help to run your business more smoothly.

What are your long- and short-term goals?

Once you know how much you can handle in-house and how many clients you want to work with, look at other goals and then determine which are short-term and which are long-term.

Perhaps you’re looking to diversify the types of businesses and regions you want to serve. Perhaps you are looking to bring on more full-time staff in a year, or you’re happy at your current size. No matter what, it’s always a good idea to look ahead and proactively build the technical and business infrastructure necessary to support your goals.

Good RMM and PSA tools should integrate with each other. For example, our ConnectWise Automate® and ConnectWise Manage® platforms integrate. We like to say they’re better together. With both, MSPs can easily merge functions to resolve client issues faster and keep the business running.

How secure is your business?

Security is an increasing area of concern for SMBs, as malicious actors are targeting these organizations with ransomware, phishing, and other schemes. In fact, our recent State of SMB Cybersecurity in 2020 report found that 86 percent of SMBs consider cybersecurity to be one of their top five priorities, while 91 percent would consider switching IT service providers for the “right” cybersecurity solution.

RMM tools can support secure client operations with automatic patching, policies, and configurations. They can also monitor for any strange behavior on endpoints, which can uncover security issues.

Of note, because MSPs have access to sensitive customer information and systems, they are also targets for hackers—so protecting your own house is important, too. With a PSA to free up your time, you can focus attention on where it really matters—keeping clients happy and secure.

Summing up the benefits of RMMs and PSAs

RMM and PSA software go hand-in-hand, and they are both important parts of running a successful MSP business.

 

Benefits of RMM

Benefits of PSA

Proactively keeps issues from occurring (20% reduction in number of tickets based on our Total Economic Impact™(TEI) of the ConnectWise Platform study)

Decreases routine admin work

Provides a better customer experience with increased uptime.

Provides greater insight into business metrics

Offers ease of access from PSA

Increases employee utilization

Enables faster resolution times (Organizations estimated that they were able to shorten engineers’ involvement by 60% based on our TEI study)

Decreases costs

Increase security with automatic patching, configuration, and policies.

Enables the shared flow of info across all teams

 

While RMM and PSA each have their separate benefits, they have one key element in common: they help create better service and happier customers.

Setting your MSP up for success

No matter the size or stage of growth, MSPs not only need to provide great services, they also need to run a healthy business. While an RMM is an obvious starting place for MSPs to begin servicing clients, silos of chaos will grow over time as the business scales. In combination, RMM and PSA tools support efficient business operations, keep customers happy, reduce workload strain, and ensure that teams are aligned and communicating well.