Adding Managed Services? 5 Decision Points to Add a PSA Tool
By Craig Donovan, VP of Partner Solutions, Pax8
One top trend at last week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo was convergence: MSPs are providing products, like SIP services, once sold mostly by agents, while agents are recognizing the benefits of launching their own managed services.
After selecting which managed services make sense for customers, the most important decision facing a new MSP is the choice of a professional services automation, or PSA, tool.
PSA suites typically include in one dashboard tools for scheduling, project and documentation management, tracking the work your sales pros and technicians are performing, generating quotes and invoices, financial reporting and other elements of customer relationship management. In my opinion, a PSA comes before RMM (remote monitoring and management) for emerging MSPs, though if you have an RMM vendor preference, that will play into your choice.
So when should you start using a PSA? How do you choose the appropriate one for you? Here is my list of five key things to consider:
1. Analytics: As the MSP, you are responsible for an extremely complex ecosystem. You have to keep an eye on your services, financial information, the performance of your technicians, as well as your next opportunity.
Adopting a PSA tool is a powerful way to bring all of these components under one platform. PSA tools are designed around dashboards and reports that bring you cross-domain analytics. From the same platform you will be able to view open service tickets, all invoices sent and received, as well as the sales pipeline. Many MSP owners begin their day with a cup of coffee and a review of their PSA dashboards.
2. Automation: In any business, people are your most expensive asset. The old adage of ‘time is money’ is never more true than within the MSP. Everyone has more work than they can get to, so it’s paramount to ensure that you are working on the most critical items. Additionally, MSP technicians face high rates of burnout and turnover.
Automation is really what PSA tools are built for, and that’s what the ‘A’ stands for! When you use a PSA tool to automate tasks around ticket and time tracking, invoicing, or communications; you’re freeing up resources to work on more important items. Not only does this make you more efficient, but it also has the potential to improve employee morale. You have removed many of the tedious tasks that create burnout while freeing up time for a technician to work on more meaningful, interesting tasks.
3. Reliability: As an MSP, your key value is reliability. Can your customers trust that your services work, and that if there are problems, they will be resolved? Most PSA tools provide out-of-the-box integrations with an RMM (remote monitoring and management) tool. The RMM tool will monitor your deployed services and automatically create tickets within the PSA tool if there are any alerts. This allows your technicians to proactively address, and it gives you the ability to look for trends or aging tickets.
Additionally, the automated invoicing system ensures that bills are sent on a regular cadence. Customers who receive bills in a predictable fashion are more inclined to trust that services will be provided reliably.
4. Profitability: The transactional nature of providing cloud services creates a host of new problems for the MSP, particularly when it comes to revenue and profitability. The flexibility of SaaS solutions means that customers are no longer content to wait until the end of the month to change their …