Last updated on: March 28, 2023
What is professional services automation (PSA) software?
IT PSA software is a central platform allowing MSPs to fulfill their clients' and their own IT service needs, such as account information management, asset inventory management, resource planning, billing management, and expense tracking. A PSA solution streamlines service delivery and provides real-time visibility, thus improving an MSP's overall productivity when it comes to running the clients' businesses.
An IT PSA tool is primarily based on a time sheet system that integrates with account management, customer relationship management (CRM), time tracking, and resource and project management tools. Therefore, PSA software helps you monitor the utilization rate of staff in your MSP, view real-time data about projects and incurred expenses, and manage back-end business processes—all on a central platform rather than with separate tools. In this guide, we will take a look at the importance of PSA tools for managing IT services.
Who benefits the most from PSA software?
PSA software typically serves MSPs handling the IT services of their clientele. MSPs need to manage multiple clients, optimize their service delivery, track billable hours, centralize the management of purchases and contracts, access clients' workstations remotely, gain in-depth visibility into real-time data, and monitor their overall business health. When a service desk manager uses a set of disparate tools to cover these needs, the process ends up being resource-intensive and time-consuming. You would be struggling to make ends meet just to manage your MSP without much time left for revenue generation.
The main function of PSA software is to save MSPs time so they can focus on their core business by:
Automating processes and key service management workflows.
Enabling efficient management of critical projects and IT resources.
Enhancing the communication mechanism between MSPs and their clients.
Offering collaboration capabilities for technicians.
Providing built-in financial
and billing capabilities.
Now that we have covered PSA's role in MSPs, let us do a slice-and-dice analysis to gain more perspective on how your MSP can leverage PSA software to its full potential.
How can PSA software help MSPs deliver IT service excellence while elevating profitability?
Better customer communication
PSA tools enable MSP technicians to converse with end users directly from the interface. When emails are automatically converted into tickets, technicians can also directly add any responses within the ticket, which is directly sent to the end user's email inbox. With a fully functional messaging system within tickets, technicians need not worry about toggling between multiple applications and losing track of tickets in the process.
PSA software also facilitates real-time ticket resolution by remotely taking control over end users' workstations. Leveraging the integrated remote control feature speeds up resolution times, ramps up your productivity, and guarantees happy clients.
Furthermore, customers can access the web portal to keep track of requests, incidents, and projects; monitor their progress; and provide approvals for expenses. This portal keeps the MSP updated about customer communications.
Improved resource utilization
A PSA solution comes with capabilities that help you with resource management by providing a summarized view of all your technicians and what they are working on, identifying an apt technician for each ticket, assigning tickets based on the available hours of the staff, reassigning staff to meet your business revenue goals, and doing even more.
Above and beyond that, a PSA system enables resource managers to keep a lookout for burnout so they can make sure their staff does not get overworked. Preventing burnout is one of the keys to fostering a positive work culture, which helps you retain senior leaders and top talent and avoid the hassles associated with finding replacements. On top of that, the proper utilization of resources also prevents delays in resolving incidents or service delivery and eliminates cost overruns.
How does your CIO reduce overhead costs while providing top-grade IT services?
PSA software is a nimble tool that comes with a robust knowledge base. Its self-service capability lets your end users self-troubleshoot L1 tickets. Knowledge management allows you to focus your time and resources on more complex tickets. This reduces the incurred costs of your technicians.
The cost per ticket can also be reduced with a chatbot that handles low-level questions. Zia, ServiceDesk Plus MSP's virtual AI assistant, scours through the knowledge base and instantly provides information to end users, thereby reducing the ticket volume for your technicians.
Workflow automations also play an indirect role in reducing overhead costs by saving your technicians time. Repetitive, manual tasks such as password resets are automated, allowing technicians to be more productive and spend more time on high-priority incidents.
A good PSA tool offers automations to accelerate service delivery processes for MSPs. These automations range from managing incoming tickets with automatic assignment and categorization to executing complex logic such as creating a channel with relevant stakeholders when an infrastructure failure is detected. Such automations save MSP technicians from spending valuable time on menial tasks, allowing them to instead focus on high-value tasks that solve the actual problems.
To that end, ServiceDesk Plus MSP comes with built-in smart automation features that can be configured to manage any type of ticket management process.
With the time tracker and work log manager built right in, PSA software improves the efficiency of the billing process. It mitigates the occurrence of inaccuracies in invoicing and reduces the wait period between successful payments and delivered services.
As an MSP solution trusted by some of the top organizations in the world, ServiceDesk Plus MSP offers automated billing that supports custom contracts and any unique service plan.
Support for a continually growing client base
As an MSP's clientele grows, legacy tools like spreadsheets cannot cut it, so a central management platform is required. One of the defining features of a PSA solution is its ability to manage multiple accounts without any overlap of people, data, and processes. With a PSA solution, MSPs need not handle multiple tools at once, which makes them more error-prone, nor second-guess their way through managing tickets in a shared workspace.
With the thoughtfully designed ServiceDesk Plus MSP, teams can manage multiple clients securely. MSPs need not worry about mixing up contacts, missing similar tickets, losing track of similar assets, and following the wrong SLAs.
Continuous feedback on service quality
An advanced PSA solution helps a business be more strategic by both collecting critical data and contributing to analytics-based decisions with it. This ensures that MSPs can course-correct by identifying the weak links in their service delivery chains. Typically, PSA tools offer an integrated reporting module and a supporting analytics dashboard to assist MSP leaders in making business optimization decisions.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP can speed up issue identification with real-time, visually appealing dashboards that offer a bird's-eye view of all your service operations. Furthermore, its reporting module supports query reports and drilling down to issues to get the exact data to make the right decisions. The advanced analytics integration brings out further information from all the data without you having to code your way through it.
Things to look out
for when investing
in a PSA tool
A PSA solution can be developed in-house or procured as a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product. The quickest way to get started is with COTS PSA tools. However, you should do your research before investing in PSA software. Here are a few pitfalls that MSPs must be wary of when making the purchasing decision for a PSA solution:
Noncompliance with industry standard frameworks
Large and small enterprises alike expect their IT service operations to be standardized and streamlined. Therefore, for an MSP offering such services, it is best to choose a PSA tool that makes establishing the ITSM framework, such as COBIT, easy.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP helps you adhere to the industry standard ITSM practices, such as incident management, change management, problem management, and asset management. These capabilities are available right out of the box, thereby speeding up the implementation process.
A lack of comprehensive IT integrations
Some PSA tools are incompatible with the popular, in-demand IT applications, such as CRM, HRMS, ERP, RMM, remote control, and other contextual software integrations that enhance business efficiency with automation. Without these integrations, technicians need to move to separate applications and carry over the ticket and data contexts in their minds to fulfill services. This is time-consuming and prone to human error.
With ManageEngine's PSA software, you can extend the scope of business integrations. The contextual integrations with both IT management tools and business productivity tools ensure that technicians can handle all their processes without ever leaving their ticket workspace.
An absence of rebranding capabilities
PSA software without rebranding capabilities cannot be adapted to suit your clients' individual needs. When the user interface of a self-service portal is branded similarly to a client's organization, end users can quickly feel comfortable using the platform. A thoroughly customizable PSA solution can support unique widgets for administrative needs, corporate announcements, and much more. This also helps technicians identify their accounts quickly.
With the rebranding capabilities of ServiceDesk Plus MSP, you can offer clients an easy-to-use platform with a seamless user experience. Since each account can be customized to each client's corporate requirements, technicians can avoid any mismatches when handling tickets.
Insufficient collaboration capabilities
It is no secret that tickets often need another technician's input to resolve. This could just involve clarifying a doubt or the steps to reset systems. Whatever the case, it helps if technicians can easily communicate with other technicians without having to walk across the office space.
Collaboration is easy with ServiceDesk Plus MSP. Technicians can instantly chat with their coworkers right from their workspace. Furthermore, with a fully functional mailing system built within the ticket workspace, technicians can forward tickets to any other technician's ServiceDesk Plus MSP workspace for their input. This enables seamless collaboration to resolve tickets faster.
A lack of a well-integrated asset management solution
Managing IT assets for multiple clients can be quite taxing and resource-intensive. Using multiple tools also increases license expenses and the risk of a data breach. A lack of integrated IT asset management within a PSA tool can lead to technicians duplicating their data in two systems and losing track of assets since there is no single system of records.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP saves you from a lot of mundane work by offering automatic, scheduled scans to record and keep track of asset information for each account individually. This enables your technicians to access asset information conveniently and get one-click asset reports swiftly.
An inability to track and manage field staff during on-site visits
Choosing the relevant technician with the right skill set for a task or ticket based on the client's geographic location can be overwhelming and lead to service delays. Even with remote monitoring tools, certain tasks like installation or maintenance require technicians to physically visit the client's site. Using a PSA solution that lacks scheduling and staff coordination features results in unnecessary trips to the client's firm.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP's PSA solution comes with maps integrations that let you visually track technicians and the statuses of their jobs. Scheduling jobs for technicians becomes a breeze with the field service management (FSM) capability.
Inadequate billing and invoicing capabilities
A PSA tool without an adaptable financial model that can manage different types of billing models for each client can lead to lost time and unbilled hours. MSPs juggle several service plans for their clientele, and this aspect should not be an obstacle to achieving business efficiency.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP automates the invoicing and billing cycles and lets you easily set up custom service contracts, define any unique service plans, and save time instead of manually logging details from bills and job sheets. This enables you to charge your clients accurately as incidental charges such as travel expenses are added. Your technicians also benefit from being able to track their working hours and course-correct to work more efficiently.
Deficient workflow capabilities
MSP technicians can lose a lot of time when a workflow is not configured for a process. For instance, a service request to spin up new virtual machines needs approval from the IT manager. If the approvals are not automated as part of a workflow, technicians have to initiate approval requests manually. This causes delays, especially if the technician is newly hired and just getting to know the process.
Building workflows in ServiceDesk Plus MSP is easy. The graphical, drag-and-drop builder for managing ticket life cycles and change requests ensures that a client's standardized procedure is always followed by any technician handling the account. Furthermore, the codeless automations, such as business rules, notification rules, and automatic assignment, ensure that any ticket management logic can be replicated to suit clients' needs.
Now that you know what hitches to avoid when looking for a PSA solution, here comes the million-dollar question: How do you select the ideal PSA software for your business?
How to choose the right PSA software for your MSP business
Choosing PSA software from a trusted vendor is pivotal for an MSP. The vendor should provide regular feature updates and check with you to know what is working for your business and what is not. Below are the top six aspects you should consider in order to find the best PSA software for your business services:
Price vs. performance
The pricing of IT PSA tools varies depending on the size of your organization. If you are a relatively small company, you can easily find freemium options online. When you want to access the premium upgrades, you can explore the paid packages and add more users. It is important to find the most value-oriented PSA that fits your operations, rather than one that is bloated with unnecessary features.
MSPs often face unique requirements from their clientele. While a PSA tool cannot be made to match the exact needs of every industry, there are PSA tools that offer a mechanism for technicians with basic development skills to custom-build functions. This ensures that, no matter what the requirements might be, the client will be satisfied.
Accessible support from the vendor
Ensure that the vendor offers customer support during your business hours. This alleviates the stress that can occur when implementing PSA configurations or using the tool proves to be more challenging than it seemed. Typically, vendors offer 24/5 support, and premium plans offer 24/7 support with on-site visits.
A vendor with an impressive customer base
If there are many global MSPs using a specific PSA solution, it means the tool is doing something right. Check the customer base of your short-listed vendors and identify if there are enough credible MSPs that can vouch for the tool.
A vendor with a global partner network
Everything will be easier if the PSA tool vendor is present in your region with partners to help you with any implementation and support. Examine the short-listed vendors to see whether they have a strong partner network with a global footprint.
A focus on privacy and security
As MSPs deal with large amounts of client data, the importance of privacy and security cannot be understated. If your PSA vendor is the weakest link, your established privacy and security best practices can all be for naught. Therefore, reach out to the vendor to gather details on its privacy practices and check whether its product security is formidable.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP: Bringing all ITSM & PSA capabilities together in a single hub
ServiceDesk Plus MSP is a web-based, ITSM-oriented help desk software solution designed specifically for MSPs. This all-in-one ITSM solution delivers comprehensive help desk, service desk, account management, asset management, remote control, and advanced reporting capabilities in a multi-tenant architecture with robust data separation. It empowers service providers to offer services and support to multiple clients with centralized controls.
For more information about ServiceDesk Plus MSP, visit https://www.servicedeskplusmsp.com/.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP's PSA software ensures MSPs can manage a wide range of clients without any governance overlaps. MSPs can find value with ServiceDesk Plus MSP in a short time since it is one of the quickest PSA solutions to get up and running. ServiceDesk Plus MSP follows the no-code way of automating processes, letting you manage tickets and change requests using visual workflow builders and rule-based automations to match any complex logic.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP is a comprehensive software suite with all the help desk essentials, acting as the single source for all your ITSM needs. It does all the heavy lifting for you by giving you the maximum benefit from the minimum effort, so you need not overhaul your existing system. Our PSA solution enables you to optimize your service delivery while reducing the operational costs involved.
What does PSA software do?
Professional services automation (PSA) software is an invaluable tool for MSPs and IT enterprises. It is a comprehensive suite of capabilities that streamline and automate the entire life cycle of service delivery, from incidents and service requests to billing and purchase management. PSA software enables MSPs to easily track incoming requests, organize projects, manage resources, assign tasks, and view reports on service desk performance. This increases efficiency, reduces costs, and ensures that clients are receiving the highest quality of service. PSA software allows MSPs to focus more on providing top-quality services for their clients and less on administrative tasks.
What is the difference between RMM and PSA software?
PSA and RMM solutions work together to provide MSPs with a comprehensive system of tools for managing client networks, systems, and services.
PSA software helps MSPs manage billing and invoicing, incident and service tickets, resources, and projects. In contrast, RMM software enables MSPs to access endpoints remotely, provide proactive monitoring and maintenance, and deploy software and updates.
By combining the powers of PSA and RMM software, MSPs can create an efficient environment for meeting clients' needs. Automating client service processes with PSA software while monitoring and managing client networks with RMM software helps MSPs streamline operations and deliver high-quality services to their clients.
How does PSA software help small businesses?
Small businesses running MSP operations can benefit immensely from using PSA software. It streamlines their operations and reduces manual labor, allowing them to spend more time doing what they do best: delivering managed services. PSA software helps automate mundane tasks, such as time tracking and billing. It provides a space for the centralized management of the resource load and availability. It also provides MSPs with detailed analytics, giving them insights into their operations and helping them make informed decisions.
PSA software also helps automate communications and notifications, keeping customers informed about their incident tickets and other service requests. In short, PSA software helps MSPs deliver better services and improve their overall efficiency.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP Evaluation Guide
Comprehensive list of must-have features that can be used as a benchmark for your IT service desk.