The Four Types of PSA Applications You Need to Know

Are These Four Types of PSA Applications on Your Radar?

Looking for a PSA application is hard.  There are tons of software vendors and it’s just difficult to make heads or tails of who does what, never mind find the top PSA software for your business.  In a previous post we focused on the enterprise PSA solution space.  

For this post we want to talk more about the actual PSA applications out in the professional services automation market.  Look no further than G2 and you can get a list of around 100 “PSA” solution providers, 50 of which likely do something totally different than what you want.  On top of all of that…you have better things to do, managing a professional services organization is no easy task!

So what are the four types of PSA apps and how should you think about buying a PSA?  We’ve ranked PSA application types across six different categories: Efficiency, Ease of Set Up, Scalability, Functional Substance, Business Intelligence, and Cost.  Just note that the categories are directional – each vendor could vary.    

#1 Point Solutions

Many small services organizations start here. Bolting together several simple applications to do lots of things.  Time entry, expense management, project management, accounting. These solutions make sense when services organizations start up.  Their focus is on delivering great work, not internal operations.  


point solutions vs psa application

#2: Tactical PSA Applications

Small services organizations may mature to the point where they need to get a tactical PSA.  Really lightweight functionality, easy to use. Most of these PSA applications started out as time tracking or project management tools and have added some functionality around it like billing and invoicing.  

You will notice most vendors in the category speaking about collaboration or payment processing as opposed to revenue recognition forecasting or resource planning methodology. What that means is Tactical PSA applications are a good option as a small business PSA for the boutique firm that wants to stay small. 


#3 Operational PSA Applications

Small, medium and large services organizations look here to find a tool to scale with the solutions they have in place (typically base systems are CRM and Accounting).  Many smaller services firms start with an Operational PSA, rather than a Tactical PSA, so they don’t have to worry about implementing PSA Software twice. 

These technologies usually have robust functionality like resource forecasting and revenue recognition modeling. Business Intelligence is a key consideration here and a big point of difference to drive better insights into your organization. 

Operational PSA applications offer services organizations the ability to extend the life of their current accounting technology (e.g. Quickbooks / Sage / Xero) by acting as a project accounting subledger. This is a good option for any size firm looking to save money and build scalable operations.   

operational psa application

#4 ERPs with PSA Applications

Organizations go to ERPs usually because they have used an accounting package in the past. So, they buy that accounting technology and find out they also have a PSA. Expect to pay a lot of money not just for the license, but also a systems integrator to get the entire package stood up. This is a good option when money is no object and deploying in a single vendor ecosystem makes sense. 


ERP vs PSA application

Top Professional Services Organizations Choose a Top PSA Application Like Projector

Those looking to build, or build upon, success look to a PSA solution to get them to their next stage of business maturity. And while Projector is mostly thought of as a mid-market to enterprise PSA solution, some of our customers even implement Projector while still in start-up mode. When to implement a PSA is up to your business goals and your timing for reaching them. 

If you’re planning to grow and scale quickly, like this digital consultancy, Projector is a clear choice for establishing the operational discipline required to drive that growth. Take a look at SPI research, Projector continually comes out as the strongest PSA solution on the market. That same research shows the benefits a PSA can have on organizations of any size. 


Want more information on PSAs and what they do to help services organizations? Read our Buyer’s Guide for all the questions to ask when assessing the right software for your organization. And reach out to Projector at any time to speak to us about your goals, challenges and the solution that’s right for you. If we’re not the right fit, we can likely tell you what is.


Determine the Ideal PSA Solution for Your Organization

Projector PSA Logo 2020


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