IT PSA, or IT professional services automation software, is the backbone of a successful IT-managed services or consulting firm. With its adaptability and ability to automate and streamline processes, PSA software helps operations teams reduce administration costs, increase billable hours, boost revenue, and increase customer satisfaction. But as IT services companies expand to outcome, value-based, and subscription services, IT PSA software must be able to work in a new way: hybrid.
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As Service Performance Insights unveiled its 2023 Professional Services Maturity™ Benchmark report, companies expected 2023 to be a return to normal but were faced with global issues and uncertainty, causing them to adjust productivity and performance management.
As the IT space changes rapidly, especially with an ever-shrinking end-to-end lifecycle and an incredible amount of data, teams need ways to streamline their processes and services without sacrificing quality. Time is money and clients; cumbersome systems or manual roadblocks stop your firm from expanding its reach to bring in more clients and serve them well.
IT PSA software is the adaptable solution for traditional and hybrid lifecycles that will set your firm up for long-term success. That adaptability allows companies to sell more services throughout the customer lifecycle.
To showcase the transformational potential of IT PSA software, this article explores:
- Why an integrated IT PSA is a requirement for companies to stay relevant
- Who benefits from IT PSA software
- Five common use cases for IT PSA software
- Key considerations for choosing the best PSA software
What Is IT PSA Software?
PSA software enables organizations to efficiently plan, sell, execute, and charge for work. Essentially, it enables a standardized approach to managing the professional services delivery lifecycle.
In the IT services space, PSA software can take on multiple forms based on whether the team uses a traditional project lifecycle or a subscription service lifecycle. The software can adapt based on the business model and services provided.
IT consulting writes and supports software, designs integrated computer systems, manages computers and data processing, and supports other computer-related advice and services for clients. These firms typically follow a more traditional lifecycle.
On the other hand, IT managed services are increasingly moving away from selling items on a fixed-price basis, with the percentage of recurring revenue for managed services rising steadily in the last five years. These services are sold as a service, meaning IT managed service teams typically use a hybrid model to sustain subscription revenue.
PSA software touches all aspects of the customer lifecycle. It can alleviate many pain points, including adding flexibility and adaptability to business offerings, creating consistent touchpoints, and gaining visibility earlier in the sales process — all of which lead to smoother and more profitable customer lifecycles.
Why You Need an Integrated IT PSA
It’s no longer enough for teams to work on disparate systems and scale or change quickly as business does. IT PSA software that seamlessly connects with other business applications unites data and metrics, integrating opportunity and revenue information from the CRM, connects project and resource management information from different teams, and captures and flows project financials for billing and invoicing to the ERP.
Instead of operating in silos or having each step of the consulting and managed services processes work independently, an integrated IT professional services automation solution provides a clearer, more accurate, and more unified view. That benefits every team member and is visible in every client interaction and internal collaboration.
For example, the Planview PSA solution allows teams to manage tickets through the Kanban-style board or integrate into an IT service management (ITSM) while the project is open. The IT service management software does the actual work, but the team can track everything else within the PSA solution. That integration and automation provides teams real-time updates and streamlines processes for a more efficient workflow and lower costs — all through IT PSA software.
IT-managed services and consulting firms should thoroughly assess their integration needs and carefully select PSA software that aligns with their requirements. From there, they must plan for a well-executed implementation process that benefits customers and employees.
Read next: What is PSA Software?
Who Benefits from IT PSA Software
The benefits of IT PSA software are widespread, meaning the investment is felt by teams throughout the company, not just a single group. By uniting data and streamlining processes, every employee (and client) can have a better experience and daily interactions. And with improved performance such as more revenue, improved profitability, and increased utilization, the group can hit company-wide goals and follow through on large-scale strategy.
Information technology consulting companies (traditional lifecycle)
IT consulting is in high demand. Even with the growth and profitability challenges in the technology sector over the past couple of years, IT consulting revenue growth has been relatively consistent while profitability has increased, according to the 2023 SPI Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report. And while the lifecycle still follows the traditional development, planning, delivery, and billing model, things move much more quickly now than ever before.
IT PSA software allows consulting companies to move clients through the lifecycle more quickly without sacrificing quality. They can reduce costs and improve efficiency by streamlining processes, consolidating systems, and automating, and scaling quote-to-cash processes. It’s a win for firms, which can expand their revenue stream, and for clients, who get results faster.
IT managed services providers (hybrid model)
Of the 70,000-plus IT managed services providers in the U.S., more than 99% are small and medium-sized firms with fewer than 500 employees. These companies are in high demand and often must do more with less.
Integrated IT PSA software expands the reach and potential of these firms by supporting a hybrid model with ongoing services engagements that allow the firm to bring in more diversified revenue and provide a better employee experience—all while strengthening client relationships. Consistent, quality engagements leads to higher customer satisfaction and retention and allows companies to deliver outcome-based services and offers for recurring revenue throughout the lifecycle. That means satisfied customers stick around for longer and make more purchases.
Employees win by being able to scale their efforts to reach more clients and bring in more revenue, while clients get the services of a large company with the personalized support of a smaller firm.
Best Use Cases of IT PSA Software
IT PSA software can solve various IT services firm’s challenges. Consider these everyday use cases:
Implementing software for global companies
IT PSA software helps companies quickly respond and adapt to market changes, which can fill gaps in revenue and retention and help expand to new global markets. Before turning to Planview, IBM struggled to make strategic and timely decisions because of a lack of coordinated data. Professional Services Automation increased visibility to raise revenue and gain real-time insights.
Providing ongoing maintenance
Instead of dealing with outages, IT PSA software gives companies reliable technology that is continually updating and improving. Those updates help connect precise data and ensure the system provides strong and dependable performance for employees and customers.
For balanced utilization and proactive staffing, IT PSA software gives employees the support and tools they need to be engaged and productive.
Coordinating data and processes
When firms operate on a single set of metrics, data, and processes, every unit is on the same page and can share information quickly and accurately for faster response times and better revenue recognition.
Running a PMO
Managed IT Services companies will often execute IT projects for their clients. One of the best ways to manage the intake, oversight, and coordination of these projects is by establishing a PMO (Project Management Office). This allows joint governance and oversight of expensive projects with their customers.
Coordinating multiple business and billing models
Some systems only support a particular business or billing model, causing companies to miss out on revenue. IT PSA software supports multiple business and billing models to drive differentiation, create recurring revenue, and help companies gain market share.
When Not to Use IT PSA Software
IT PSA software has numerous applications, but there are some instances where it isn’t the best solution. In these cases, IT PSA could create roadblocks instead of solving them and pull focus away from systems and priorities that are already working well. To maximize the impact of IT PSA, apply it to the right areas to drive more sales throughout the customer lifecycle. That requires a comprehensive strategy for when to use and not to use IT PSA software.
Internal IT departments
Internal IT departments support the employee-facing technology needs of a company. Instead of consulting outside clients, these departments operate within the same company. Because internal IT departments don’t follow a services delivery lifecycle and don’t have a need for tracking revenue and billing details, they don’t need to adopt IT PSA software. The goal internally isn’t to sell more products but to create stronger collaboration and internal workflows.
In most cases, internal IT departments manage projects using project management tools or a project portfolio management solution that connects with the rest of the company, allowing them to collaborate and communicate freely. Good PPM solutions allow internal IT departments to connect strategy to execution to ensure they are delivering the most valuable work for the company.
Choosing the Right IT PSA Software
With so many options and variations available, choosing the right IT PSA software can be difficult. But the decision sets the tone and processes for your projects, ultimately impacting profitability and the bottom line. When selecting the best software for your needs, consider the features and outcomes of each system.
What to Expect with Your IT PSA Software Solution
Although an IT PSA software system comes with a learning curve, you can also expect it to integrate with existing CRM and ERP software for a seamless and automated workflow.
The functionality and use cases for IT PSA software vary depending on the type of services and delivery models. They do, however, follow a typical services lifecycle.
PSA software vendors often have various modules that emphasize the management of costs, clients, and resources. The lifecycle below applies to managed services as well as consulting, with some key differences:
- Opportunity Management: (ERP) managing customer information, sales activities, proposals, and contracts to improve sales effectiveness.
- Engagement Management: managing the overall set of project deliverables.
- Resource Management: the management of processes concerning resources (people, material, equipment, etc.) used during the product lifecycle.
- Project Management: initiating, planning, and executing on projects.
- Project Accounting: tracking costs to determine the profitability of a project.
- Time and Expense Management: tracking time and expense information for a project.
- Billing (ERP): preparing and presenting invoices based on information captured from the time and expense module or from pre-assigned time or project completion milestones.
IT managed services:
The primary difference between IT managed services is how resources are allocated and how the work is delivered. Managed services typically assign a long-term contract, while resource management assigns resources to the account. This has surfaced in a few key lifecycle changes as outlined below:
- Resource Management: Instead of assigning resources to specific projects, resources are assigned to account teams.
- Governance Structure: There needs to be a governance structure for managing work that comes into the services provider and deciding what to prioritize for the customer.
- Billing: Invoices will typically be prepared as periodic and subscription-based with an accounting for time and materials consumed.
4 Key Integrations of IT PSA Software for Technology Services Firms
IT PSA Software is effective on its own, but the real magic happens when it connects with other software solutions for a broader picture of business operations. Planview’s professional services automation software is the only solution built for connecting work dynamically plan engagements, confidently deliver customer work using any method, streamline financial management, and flexibly fit within your existing technology ecosystem.
Get the most of your IT PSA software by integrating it into these four key functions:
Enterprise resource planning tracks production, financials, and back office details. When integrated into IT PSA, ERP can automate operations to provide accurate and timely insights into a project’s or client’s financials to deliver outcome-based services.
Connecting customer relationship management software with IT PSA gives clear insights into each prospect and client to streamline communication and relationship-building. Without things falling through the cracks, clients can move through the sales lifecycle more smoothly, leading to them making more purchases and having higher retention rates.
Human capital management helps firms hire and train the best people. Integrating with IT PSA connects employees from the start for data-driven decisions about people and clients for stronger staffing, which leads to more efficient operations.
When integrated with IT PSA, IT service management streamlines operations and gives real-time updates so teams and firms can adapt quickly and best serve clients. This allows for data-driven decisions and higher customer satisfaction.
IT PSA software can be integrated in various ways to meet the business needs of numerous business models. Instead of working in disparate systems or data sources, teams and companies can work together with an integrated system that maximizes operational efficiency, helping them deliver quality customer engagements and create a strong competitive advantage. In a rapidly changing industry, integration gives IT firms a much-needed boost to grow and lead.
There’s no one way to provide IT services in today’s fast-paced world. Leading companies adopt a hybrid model to generate revenue through projects and subscription services. IT PSA software helps companies expand their reach, increase productivity, and drive revenue — all while uniting data and creating a more engaged workforce and clientele.
We’ve seen in recent years that the future is hybrid, which also applies to IT PSA software. Leaning into multiple ways of serving and billing clients and uniting data allows for greater growth and relevance in a constantly changing world.
Integrated IT PSA software is the way to sell more services throughout the customer lifecycle and cut through inefficient roadblocks to drive customer satisfaction and retention.