When Should You Implement a PSA Solution

Author: Categories: Professional Services

When to Implement a PSA Solution

Are you still managing your professional services firm with spreadsheets, whiteboards, emails, and a host of manual processes? Do you know what sort of software you need to manage your consulting firm more efficiently? Should you settle for a series of individual point solutions—separate time tracking, invoicing, project management, and resource scheduling applications—or invest in an integrated Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution? Should you wait until you’ve grown a bit before implementing a solution, or should you deploy early and then look to your PSA software to support that growth? How do you pick the best PSA solution among the top vendors, and what should you believe from all their competing claims? What would the initial and recurring outlay look like to implement and run a PSA solution, and ultimately, what sort of return should you expect on that investment?

$183 thousand was the average cost to implement and run a PSA solution for five years
$23 million was the average improvement in bottom-line profitability over those five years
96% was the fraction of gains attributable to just the top three categories: improvements in billable utilization, project margin, and successful project delivery

These are all important and perfectly reasonable questions for savvy professional services executives to be asking when trying to figure out the pathway to success for their services firm. Unfortunately, the truth is often buried in insight-free raw data or obscured by marketing hype. Fortunately, the team at Service Performance Insight (SPI Research), a global analyst firm focused exclusively on the professional services industry, is able to bring tangible answers to these questions. Their latest research report, their Professional Services Automation End-user Survey, is an independent, vendor-agnostic look into the world of Professional Services Automation software and its impact on the performance of the services firms that use it.

Covering users of the 11 most widely adopted PSA software solutions, this work measures the impact of PSA system adoption on the key performance metrics all professional services firms track. It takes a step further and, based on the reported performance gains, puts together a return on investment model that illustrates the gains an average 172-person consulting organization would see by implementing an average PSA solution. The results are nothing less than startling.

Not All PSA Solutions are Created Equal

While the study shows incredible return on investment on implementing an average Professional Services Automation solution, the underlying data also shows that all PSA software is not created equal. In fact:

  • Projector was the most widely adopted PSA tool amongst the survey respondents
  • Projector users showed the best performance in billable utilization and amongst the best performance in project margin and successful project delivery, the metrics that accounted for 96% of the gains realized by implementing a PSA tool
  • Projector continued its performance started in other SPI research of being the vendor with the highest overall satisfaction by being the only product to score above average on seven of the eight satisfaction metrics in the survey

In short, the study shows how much benefit implementing an average PSA tool can provide as well as how to determine which solutions are not just average.

Learn More About PSA Solutions

If you’re interested in learning more about PSA solutions for services organizations, take a look at our recently published eBook. In it, you’ll find additional information about how Professional Services Automation solutions can improve the performance of a services organization. You’ll also see information about some of the decision points you’ll need to make when selecting a PSA, some of the trends we’re seeing in the PSA market, and much more:

Check out our eBook:
Professional Services Automation: A Quick Primer.

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