For growing professional services organizations, implementing a Professional Service Automation (PSA) solution is a critical milestone needed to efficiently coordinate resources and link sales efforts with delivery
In my recent blog, I discussed the evolution of maturity models for service organizations. Integrating, or expanding, ERP, CRM and PSA solutions typically marks an organization's evolution from a start-up to an advanced, well-run organization.
Today, PSA solutions are no longer a competitive differentiator, but a must-have to even play with the big dogs.
In fact, the 2016 SPI Maturity Benchmark reports that 79.8% of service organizations have a PSA solution in place, handling traditional process flows including project onboarding, resource management, project management, mobility and time/expense.
In addition to the standard project onboarding, project management, resource management and time and expense management, these solutions offer:
- Team portals for internal and external collaboration
- Document management and workflow
- Features to define risk, impact and track events through the project lifecycle
- Detailed service billing
- Mobility features
- Dashboards and analytics
The Bells and Whistles of Next Generation PSA Solutions
While these solutions have great features that help services organizations increase productivity and improve visibility, project and management teams are now demanding additional capabilities in order to keep pace.
In the next generation, expect to see:
- Shared resource pools: Most services organizations that provide support to customers have their own process to manage support requests (case management and/or field service) as seen in IT services, consulting and engineering firms. While the processes and systems could be different, a significant percentage of companies share resources between the project delivery and support/field service organizations.
For the longest time, resource pools for project and field service were separate - creating a problem for resource managers who wanted to manage overall utilization. New PSA solutions should be able to support shared resource pools to overcome these difficulties
- Project portfolio management: There are many Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions on the market and, for large enterprises with internal and external projects, a solution outside of the PSA might make more sense. For most services organizations though, the ability to manage consolidated groups of projects is critical and should be inherent to their PSA solution.
- Vertical focus: Within the services organization landscape, different industries have their own nomenclature and specific challenges. For instance, the work breakdown structure for an IT consulting organization is different from a material intensive project plan for a construction company or a matter for a legal firm.
Coming up, expect the larger and more advanced applications to provide industry specific layers to leverage extensive platforms
In addition, you can also expect PSA solutions to integrate even tighter with ERP and CRM solutions or, in some cases, to be incorporated into one larger Services Resource Planning application that can support an entire services business.
Just like the anticipation that is created before the latest version of your favorite phone, car or gaming system is released, we look forward to news about how soon these new PSA features will be available. It is clear that in order to stay competitive today, organizations need to understand the advantages of new PSA technology and make investments that will better serve their customers and their team.
Whether your organization has not yet invested in a PSA solution or needs guidance on how to navigate the new solutions coming on the market, Tribridge can help. Reach out to discuss your needs.