What is professional services automation (PSA)?Project Management
Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software is a tool that helps you focus on what’s really important for your business. Basically, it’s an integrated solution, an alternative to all of your current different services spread across various vendors; project management, resource management, time tracking, finance & billing, business intelligence, collaboration tools, and so forth.
An integrated solution brings you the benefit of keeping everything in one place, to make it easily accessible to you and your team; saving time and money, making more intelligent insights to show you and management, and ultimately automating some of the tasks that you don’t care about doing anyways - stuff that just steals your valuable time. This should hopefully pave the way for you to spend more time on being creative, creating value and reaching your KPIs - instead of getting distracted by manual management and processes.
So, who can benefit from a PSA approach? Well, basically everybody. Naturally, digital- and creative agencies are a perfect fit. Services companies’ main KPIs are utilization and billable hours. A proper utilization level makes you progress faster, while the amount of billable hours decides the revenue you’re going to make. Management tasks do not usually bring much positive value to these two KPIs, not directly at least. If you spend 2 or 10 hours on your project reports or next month’s financial projection doesn’t really benefit the business more. So, why not automate to the extent that it makes sense?
Of course you can’t eliminate management completely, and I don’t think anybody would really like that either. Here, we’re talking about the processes that are just mainly time consuming, non-creative tasks. Bringing you higher utilization, and more billable hours for the same buck.
Sounds good? To get you started, we’ve collected a few recommendations for you.
Automate to the extent that makes sense for you
You don’t have to dig all-in from the get go. Take a look around, and do what makes sense for you. The good ol’ 80/20 rule rarely miss. It often makes sense to automate around 80% of your daily management processes, while the the rest 20% is often what makes your business truly unique, and is thus best served by you personally.
A great place to start is by connecting your project management tool to a resource management tool, preferably on a granular level. This makes you able to move the needle on utilization. Remember, one of the main KPIs in your services business. Next step could be to connect your time registrations on task level to your billing software. This will bring you insights into the profitability of your projects. Making you able to do proper invoicing, and take action where action needs to be taken.
Since Forecast is a centralized PSA, we already have most of these features covered. Forecast is built for this exact purpose of connecting the dots, and bringing it together in one streamlined platform. Our integrations with other services make it easy to import, export and sync data between Forecast and your existing set up. Minimizing the hassle of switching, and the potential risk of losing essential data. We’re no old ERP system doing everything half-way; we strive to bring you the meaningful tool that actually works, and gets stuff done for you with minimal effort from your side. Deals are connected to projects, and projects are connected to resources. Time tracked, budgets and fixed fees are connected and automatically fed to your accounting and billing software. Insights and reports are generated in real-time in Forecast, available at anytime and shareable with your stakeholders, or kept internally. Easy, peasy.
“A combination of Forecast, e-conomic and Pleo is very interesting to us. This will almost completely automate the financial process from swiping the card in a shop to having it showing up in our project budgets.” - Rune Toldam, Partner & Creative Director at Bespoke
Define a logical workflow, and assign logical owners
Your business is one business with various different functions, but still everything has to work together. Therefore you need a streamlined workflow that people understand, and assign the right people to own specific essential features of your business. For instance, who owns the proposal and Statement of Work (SOW) phases, and who decides what’s defined as billable- and non-billable hours? These are both essential parts of your workflow, and it’s paramount that everybody understands and runs by the same rules.
In Forecast, billable hours are reported directly on tasks in a project, while non-billable hours are kept outside the project, on an organizational level. This makes your budgets stay relevant at any time. Also, through the intuitive workflow board, everybody is able to see what’s going on that might concern them and the project they’re currently working on.
Keep weekly status meetings on point
Most businesses have a weekly status, or planning, meeting. These are great to bring the team together, when we all tend to get a bit too focused on our own work. It brings a perspective for everybody to understand what’s going on, what’s the current status of the project, discuss any issues that might have arisen, and hear everybody’s say on stuff or just chit-chat a bit to connect.
If you want to read more about our recommendations for a better, in every way, status meeting - then click here and dig deeper in our thoughts. When everything is connected; these meetings are where the magic happens.
These are some of our recommendations to get started. If you’re not quite convinced yet, or just want some help to manage your thoughts, we’ve got a post showcasing 5 reasons why you should use a PSA tool, or you can go directly and book a live demo with our success team to get a personal meeting with one of us.