Best PSA Software Platforms for Resource Optimization
Resource optimization is an essential but difficult best practice to nail down for services organizations because it’s an inherently dynamic industry we live in. The services wanted and needed today – paired with the talent and resources required to deliver those services – is always. in. flux. It’s what makes the services world exciting, but it’s also what makes it really challenging. Without the right solution, resource managers can experience limited control, lack of predictability, and a feast or famine mentality, and it’s exhausting. You don’t like this, and we don’t like this for you.
Stick around and learn how the right platform can help leaders and resource managers avoid common resourcing challenges and instead feel empowered to effectively manage each day and accurately forecast for the days ahead.
Table of Contents
- Greater visibility into sales pipeline
- More streamlined capacity planning
- Fewer disruptions to workflows
- Reliable, forward-looking insights
- One source of truth
- Enhanced visibility
- Reliable forecasting
- Projector PSA
What is PSA software?
Professional services automation (PSA) is a category of software that provides various functionalities needed to manage core processes and operations within services businesses, such as agencies and software development shops. PSA solutions streamline workflows, increase visibility, and enable greater efficiency for services organizations by providing a variety of project management, resource optimization, time tracking, expense management, revenue tracking, and forecasting capabilities. Some PSA solutions integrate with business-critical applications, such as accounting software and CRMs, to allow for seamless orchestration between best-in-class tools while encouraging best practices across business functions, while others simply look to replace those tools with an all-in-one approach.
At Parallax, we believe that PSA platforms and other comparable solutions should be built to keep teams in the tools they already love (or help eliminate the ones they don’t love!) while providing holistic, real-time insights into the business. They should always enable better, faster decision-making that drives strategic performance.
The benefits of using PSA software for resource optimization
Services businesses – where people are the product – spend a lot of time coordinating day-to-day management of resources. It often feels like a never-ending game of Tetris, with leaders and resource managers attempting to put the best people on a project that matches the project needs, while also trying to maximize utilization for everyone. Those two motivations rarely line up perfectly, and it’s that conflict that makes resource optimization incredibly time consuming and challenging to get “right.”
But when they do get it right, leaders understand what skill sets their current employees have and what services they can deliver today and tomorrow, with all relevant information typically held and managed within PSA software. Modern solutions not only help streamline resource management but level up these core business processes into resource optimization. 💯
Here’s what services businesses gain when they adopt a top-of-the-line solution:
Greater visibility into sales pipeline
PSA software and other similar solutions should provide access to sales pipeline data to enable better resource optimization. Without visibility into the pipeline, leaders can’t know what’s being sold, whether those opportunities are enough to hit financial and operational targets, and if they have the right people available to do the work. Importantly, services companies need to ensure sales pipeline information is regularly updated, too, so that their data can provide directionally-correct insights early on and add higher fidelity along the way.
More streamlined capacity planning
To optimize resources, leaders must also plan for capacity — this can and should happen within the PSA solution, too. Capacity planning essentially helps leaders “read the tea leaves” earlier by planning for future demand based on social, cultural, and industry trends. This helps them understand how customer demand has changed and impacted the value of the services they currently offer, , AND assess the future of the services they may want to invest in based on industry direction and customer demand.
Fewer disruptions to workflows
Consider the cost, time, resources, and implementations that it takes to replace everything in the tech stack versus the quick wins services companies can achieve by integrating PSA software with their existing toolset. Solutions that have native integrations for the best-in-class tools organizations already use help to avoid disruption to workflows, which helps to avoid unexpected changes to resourcing plans — and ultimately helps to deliver value quickly. The best kind of win-win-win.
Reliable forward-looking insights
PSA software that allows for real-time resource planning unlocks actionable, meaningful forecasts that 1) enable proactive decision-making 2) provide teams with more growth opportunities and 3) ease the stress and anxiety that leaders often associate with resource management. By removing outdated resourcing methods and implementing best practices for tried-and-true resource optimization, services companies can focus on continuously optimizing operations, evolving their service offerings and driving growth.
A shared source of truth
We know everyone just loooves spreadsheets (ha, ha…), but it’s time to ditch the training wheels. Today’s solutions should replace clunky spreadsheets that are used to fill the gaps between the different functions of a services business and instead provide reliable data and actionable insights, all in one place. By curating critical data with a resource management AND planning engine (like Parallax 😉), services companies get a better source of truth on how the business is performing. Leaders can then free up their valuable (and very limited) time to make smart and future-looking resourcing decisions based on a shared view of data vs. gut instinct.
3 key features to look for in PSA software
Legacy PSA platforms and monolithic ERPs force project and delivery teams to use sub-optimal tools for project management and resource planning, often creating a significant learning curve and administrative burden for teams. And we all know no one wants to rip-and-replace their current systems and platforms, as it can cause significant disruption to daily operations. Think of how you would want to spend the next 12-18 months for a moment… learning how to use tools to do things you already know how to do, like time tracking and project management, OR spending that time (and money) learning best practices that will help you optimize operations, maximize utilization and grow your business and people? We know what we’d choose. 👀
Solutions with an integrations-first approach don’t take away valuable time or add on unnecessary administrative work to people’s days but instead broaden the power of an organization’s toolset. Integration-first solutions empower teams with the tools they already use while optimizing operations for better performance… an operational leader’s dream!
PSA platforms should create enhanced visibility into resource assignments across projects, teams, and accounts in real-time, allowing resource managers and team leads to determine planned capacity and resource needs with certainty. With the right platform, they’re able to quickly evaluate workloads, make real-time adjustments to maintain higher utilization and team engagement, and match the best resources to the right projects for optimal team performance.
Purpose-built platforms enable leaders to make smart, proactive decisions in support of their business and people. The solution they’re using to manage resources should also provide them with reliable, real-time insights that inform forecasts. This combination – real-time forecasting and smarter resource planning – provides a view into how the business is performing on a variety of financial and operational metrics and enables leaders to project future performance as well. The key here is that these forecasts are actionable. It’s information that leaders can actually use to make informed decisions about their business and people. Having it at their fingertips means they spend less time gathering information and making half-baked predictions and more time trusting the data and taking confident action.
5 Best PSA software platforms for resource optimization
Services companies have a ton of options today for the platforms they use for resource optimization. While every business will have a unique set of requirements and a specific wish-list for what they want from their platform, it’s important for everyone to be able to have smooth, streamlined workflows that allow them to take their resource management processes to the next level.
When in doubt, look for a tool that’s a force multiplier, allowing the business to shift from a heroic organization to one that’s future-forward and teed up for steady, streamlined growth. Which brings us to… 👇
Effectively managing resources requires finding the right cadence and leveraging best practices so that it becomes second nature to everyone involved. Once service companies find that sweet spot, they experience better utilization rates, higher margins, and a happier more engaged workforce.
Parallax is built with that sweet spot in mind. It’s a solution designed by a team of industry experts who have lived the challenges of resource management and know the joy of achieving resource optimization. That’s why Parallax leverages a different approach than other platforms on the market—it’s a purpose-built platform for services companies, including software development firms, full service digital agencies, digital marketing companies, and technology consultancies, and has native integrations for the best-in-class tools that are already in use. This provides fewer disruptions to current workflows as well as a forward-looking view into the business to enable better resource management, tighter operations, and stronger performance.
Parallax turns resource management into quality resource planning that results in accurate, confident forecasting – meaning everyone from leadership and finance to resource planners and project managers benefit from the platform. Plus, it delivers value quickly, driving adoption and implementation in 90 days or less, and locks in price from the very beginning, even if more users along the way.
Parallax is a solution that empowers growth-minded organizations with greater transparency across the business and helps leaders free up their time spent in spreadsheets so they can focus on what truly matters: setting vision, delivering great work, inspiring their teams, and growing the business.
Formerly Mavenlink and Kimble, Kantata is a PSA platform that centralizes operations and tools into one core solution to help services organizations optimize their resource planning and decision making. By offering an all-in-one automation solution or integrating components of existing tools, Kantata helps organizations view and forecast their utilization and make data-driven decisions. The platform allows users to more easily balance supply and demand, explore impact to revenue and margin, configure resource recommendations, align skills with project demands, and more. It’s designed for creative and consulting firms as well as IT and software shops.
In order to get the most out of the Kantata platform, users are encouraged to migrate data from existing systems and adopt their tools and processes, meaning implementation can take twelve months or longer.
Projector PSA (BigTime)
BigTime Software’s Projector PSA is a cloud-based, best-of-breed PSA solution for services organizations. It’s designed to manage and optimize operations for users, allowing them to experience improved project performance, optimized resourcing, and higher profits. Its resource scheduling software “balances the art and science of resource management” by allowing project managers to easily match skills to profiles and review information regarding hiring, utilization, forecasts, and profitability.
Its foundation caters to various operational elements, including time and expense management, project budgeting, invoicing, subcontractor management, rate and revenue management, revenue recognition, financial reporting, and more. Projector targets various industries, including software and high tech, accounting firms, creative agencies, architecture and engineering firms, and more.
An extension of Oracle’s NetSuit ERP, OpernAir is an all-in-one cloud-based professional services automation platform for a wide array of services businesses, such as IT services, advertising and digital marketing agencies, and other professional services organizations. The platform provides integrated time tracking, project management, resource management, expense tracking, and invoicing – offering a single platform to run a services organization. Its capabilities focus on achieving optimized resource management, improved project profitability, complete project financials, increased productivity, and greater insights and monitoring.
OpenAir’s thousands of global customers all use the same version and codebase, with options for configurability and customization. Migration and adoption of this all-in-one ERP platform can often take 6-12 months to fully implement.
Teamwork is a project management tool centered around collaboration and delivering work on time and on budget. It makes resource management simple by providing a view of everything in one place for the team, clients, and freelancers. Teamwork has advanced features for time tracking, budgeting, and resource allocation. It integrates with companies’ other project applications, such as the CRM platform, and automates repetitive tasks with straightforward workflows.
Teamwork targets agencies, professional services, and creative teams who want to gain visibility into performance and profitability, more easily manage financials, and address challenges before they cause problems.
How to choose the best PSA software for your organization
There’s nothing worse than researching platforms, implementing the “one” you think will be best for your business, and then experiencing disappointing adoption and/or frustrating features.
We want to help you avoid this. The right combination of tools – the best combination of tools – will enable forward-thinking resource planning and optimization, which creates a significant impact for the business. When you know when and where your people are spending time, you’ll know how and when you’ll earn revenue from that work. When you know how your team is utilized, you’ll know your costs and how much you’ll earn—and you’ll know your margins and can focus on hitting those targets. With these inputs, all delivered through better resource planning and active forecasting, you’ll be able to make smarter business decisions and improve performance.
Your solution should tell you if you have enough revenue to support your team, whether you need to hire, if and when to take on new work, and the impact deals will have capacity and utilization. It should take the guesswork out of operations so you can focus on your craft, your people, and the growth of your business.
Keep this 👆 in mind when you’re choosing a strategic platform that’s best for your organization—because if the solution you’re considering doesn’t help you achieve all of this, it’s probably not for you.
At Parallax, we know that services businesses need to move fast and move smart—and they need a platform that provides greater visibility and predictability, enables stronger adoption across the toolset, and provides better insights to inform resource optimization and strategic planning, all with fewer disruptions to the team’s workflow.
We know your world because we’ve lived it, too. We have tools and experts ready, willing, and able to help you tackle unnecessary resource optimization challenges and prepare the business for the next stage of growth.
Questions? Let us show you the ropes: www.getparallax.com/book-a-demo