Should My Business Use Professional Services Automation?
The phrase “professional services automation” is often thrown around when business owners look into optimizing their operational strategy. However, professional services automation (PSA) isn’t just a hollow buzzword without any real world application.
Businesses of all sizes could immensely benefit from implementing PSA software into their day-to-day operations. But what exactly does professional services automation mean? How can PSA software specifically help your business? And what does the evolution of the PSA category and the emergence of Professional Services Cloud platforms mean for your business?
What Is Professional Services Automation?
The use of professional services automation applications allows professional service providers to efficiently manage their client engagements throughout the project lifecycle, from the beginning of a project, starting from when a sales opportunity arises, until the final stages when invoices are sent and payments are received. Professional services automation software tends to be used to reduce employee labor and expenses used on menial daily tasks, to improve accuracy, and to gain insight into business performance through data collection.
Through the use of PSA software, services organizations can establish a consistent process to effectively plan, manage, and measure the performance of each project from start to finish. Centralizing business processes and data ensures that services can be provided in a more predictable manner, and repetitive manual tasks can be streamlined or automated. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from professional services automation, though there are different features of PSA software that might be more useful to smaller or larger businesses.
Professional Services Automation and Small Businesses
In small professional services businesses, limited resources and manpower often pose a challenge. Therefore, it is imperative that the professional services automation (PSA) software they use is able to adapt to these constraints and relieve any undue burden.
Reduce Administrative Time
Specifically, automation needs to be focused on time-consuming administrative tasks, freeing up employee time and reducing overall labor costs. For example, having revenue recognition, resource forecasting, batch invoice dispatching, and many aspects of employee time entry and approval automatically run by PSA software allows the business to have a small but effective accounting department. Automating these processes can allow employees to redirect their efforts towards tasks that cannot be automated.
Improve Administrative Accuracy
Professional services automation also makes these processes more accurate with machine tracking. PSA software can perform the majority of the labor needed for minor tasks, while employees oversee and implement more critical processes, such as strategic planning, client communication, or reassigning project tasks based on current resource availability.
Analyze and Forecast Data
With all of this data regularly being recorded and updated, professional services automation software is also capable of tracking trends and changes within the business. Instead of manually analyzing data, PSA software can organize it into graphs and charts that clearly demonstrate trends within your business. For example, resource availability, client demand, and process bottlenecks can all be tracked and converted into reports. These reports can then inform business practices and show what is working and what is not within the company.
Professional Services Automation and Large Businesses
In contrast to small businesses, large-scale operations usually have no shortage of labor and can work with a much larger budget. Instead, the biggest obstacles to overcome are managing the sheer size of the business, coordinating different departments, and getting a comprehensive understanding of goal progress.
Create a Central Hub
In cases like this, professional services automation can provide a central hub for all aspects of the business. Using PSA software as a method to track and assign tasks makes monitoring progress simple and allows for comprehensive data collection. Similarly, PSA software can manage resource usage and see the ratio between team members and assigned tasks. Access can also be customized to allow for cross-department collaboration and signify dependencies between tasks.
Get Comprehensive Insights
As with small businesses, all of this data being located in one place makes it easy to track and forecast trends within the business. The larger the business, the more data there is for users to track, but this also means that there is even more information that can be used for detailed insights into business performance and accurate forecasts, made easy with automated analysis. The data is then presented in a comprehensive report that can be used to determine what, if anything, needs to be changed to increase productivity.
Standardize and Automate Protocol
Large scale businesses can also use professional services software as a way to standardize protocol and experiences regardless of location. Consider a business with locations across the county. Rather than having every location develop their own methods of managing payroll, customer services, and help interfaces, PSA software can create one method that can be universally applied and automates as much of the task as possible. Then, when specific action is needed, PSA software can pass the issue to the relevant department and location.
Ultimately, the best professional services automation software for your business will provide all the services you need in one convenient location. However, as you evaluate PSA solutions, keep in mind that not all PSA solutions will be right for your evolving business needs. For years, PSA software has helped businesses automate and streamline their operational processes surrounding financial performance, but the emerging need to better understand, support, and optimize resource performance and client satisfaction on a person by person basis has created the demand for the Professional Services Cloud, which analyzes, understands, and supports every aspects of a company and their project lifecycle
Go Beyond PSA With Kantata
In today’s even more competitive market, legacy professional services automation software solutions may not provide all the insights companies need to succeed. This is why the Kantata Professional Services Cloud is going beyond PSA to bring a new level of support, automation and insight to businesses around the world. Discover why more leading companies than ever are choosing Kantata.