PSA Buyer’s Guide: Questions you Should Ask When Evaluating PSA Platforms
Specifically built for the needs of digital services companies, professional services automation (PSA) platforms help digital agencies manage time tracking, contracts, project management, invoicing, billing, and more. Most importantly, PSA platforms help you accurately predict sales and manage resources around your projects.
You might also be considering ERP and project management software options, although it’s important to keep in mind that while they offer similar features, these are built mostly for product companies and could add unnecessary complexity, cost and frustration for services companies. To learn more about why you should be using a PSA platform and not an ERP or project management software solution, check out this post.
Selecting and adopting a PSA platform can have a tremendous impact on the long-term growth and success of your business, so it’s important to make sure you take the time to carefully evaluate your options. Every digital services company has different needs, which means there isn’t a singular perfect method for evaluating the options available to you; however, there are a few key questions we recommend considering during the evaluation process once you have a list of platforms to consider.
How well does this platform work with my existing tools?
You are likely already using a host of tools to facilitate various processes in your organization, so it’s worthwhile to consider platforms that will allow you to build on what’s already working for you. Adopting a new platform that requires your team to learn several new tools and processes can easily overwhelm them, or require additional workarounds just to use the tools they are currently using.
Instead of replacing all of those tools with an entirely new system, consider the ways in which the platform can integrate with your existing tools, and allow you to unlock more value from all of them by asking the following questions:
- What integrations currently exist with this platform?
- What tools are we using today that we don’t need or want to replace?
- Does this solution work with the tools we use currently, or is it built to replace the tools I already have?
- If replacing existing tools, will this solution be an improvement or simply a lateral move?
- How often are new integrations being added, and how often are they updated?’
What does the onboarding process look like?
Understanding the effort and requirements related to the onboarding experience is another important consideration when it comes to evaluating PSA solutions. Adopting a PSA platform is no small feat regardless of the tool you select, but a long, inefficient onboarding process could overwhelm your team and prevent you from taking advantage of your newly purchased PSA platform. Some questions you should consider relating to onboarding are:
- How long is the onboarding process for organizations like you?
- Who will need to be involved and what are the responsibilities and expectations I need to prepare for and set with my team?
- Is there a significant learning curve?
- What makes onboarding go smoothly, and where are the typical risks or roadblocks?
- How quickly can I start using the platform and begin seeing value?
How supportive is the PSA provider?
You will likely look for continued support from the PSA provider after onboarding and implementation in order to fully take advantage of the platform. In our experience, the type of support and partnership provided here can make or break your overall PSA experience. As you think about the users of this tool within your organization, consider the level of support you are offered by asking these questions:
- What type of support is available for me and my team after onboarding is complete?
- Does this product offer implementation consulting to help drive change and adoption, or are they simply providing training and documentation?
- Are they willing to work with me and listen to my needs to continue to develop a better product?
What are the analytics and reporting capabilities?
The extent of analytics and reporting capabilities available to you within a PSA platform is critical to giving leaders the insights needed in order to confidently grow the business and team. Finding a PSA platform that allows you to leverage business intelligence, performance insights and forecasting can allow you to better predict resource needs, understand customer value and impact and make smarter financial decisions. Some questions you should be asking are:
- Does the platform deliver the insights that are most important for professional service providers like me?
- How are performance reports related to project accounting and utilization created and maintained?
- How are forecasts generated for key KPI revenue, margin, capacity supply and demand?
- What kind of data segmentation is available, i.e., account, team, vertical, etc.?
Selecting a PSA platform is a major decision, but it doesn’t have to be hard.
Taking the time to perform due diligence on the areas above will arm you with the questions and key considerations to bring to internal stakeholders as well as sales and support teams, which can all give you the data and confidence needed to invest in the right tool to help your business grow.
Interested in hearing more about what Parallax can do for your digital services company?