Saturday, September 18, 2021

Top 10 Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software

Professional services automation (PSA) software aims to offer service-based companies most of the software they will need to run their businesses in one package. It is similar to enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, except that ERP software is usually for large enterprises, while PSA software is usually for small-to-mid-sized businesses (although some PSA tools can also handle the needs of larger organizations). In addition, PSA software is specifically designed for organizations that have clients rather than customers and that sell services rather than products.

Common capabilities of PSA software include the following:

  • Accounting and financial management
  • Project management
  • Time tracking
  • Expense tracing
  • Resource management
  • Collaboration
  • Reporting

Some PSA software also includes sales management, document management, human resources (HR) management or other features. They often also integrate easily with customer relationship management (CRM), project management, ERP and other types of business software.

Today, most PSA applications are cloud-based and sold on a subscription basis. However, some in-house options with traditional deployment are available.

The goal of professional services automation tools is to streamline operations, improve business decision making and increase profitability for companies that use it.

How to Select Professional Services Automation Software

If you are in the market for PSA software, keep these tips in mind:

  • Determine your needs. While all PSA software has core features like financial management and resource management, not all have sales management or human resources capabilities. Because it is difficult to switch from one PSA service to another, you will need to make sure the one you select has all the capabilities you will need for the next several years.
  • Decide which of your current tools you will integrate and which you will replace. Your organization probably already has some tools it uses for financial management, time tracking, collaboration or billing. If you are keeping some of those tools, you will need to make sure that your PSA solution integrates with the software you will continue using.
  • Evaluate the available services. You might need some help with setup or customization of your solution, and you will almost definitely need training and technical support. PSA software can be difficult to learn, so the quality of services makes a difference to the overall return on investment.
  • Take it for a test drive. PSA software is extremely complex. Make sure you try it before you buy, preferably for several days or weeks. Most of the vendors offer free trials and/or demos.

With those tips in mind, here are 10 PSA applications you might want to consider:

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Best PSA Software

Accelo

Founded in 2011, Accelo is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Its PSA software is designed for creative, IT project management, business consulting, marketing, engineering, accounting, managed services, architecture and public relations firms. Its customers include Thrive Digital, Invona, High 5 Media Partners, Vector, 3 Media Web and many other small services companies.

Accelo claims to be the “most complete service operations automation solution on the market,” and it says that clients have seen 46 percent increases in annual revenue, 59 percent savings in fees and 41 percent increases in billable hours. It’s a ServOps platform with tools to track sales, projects, service, retainers and reports. It integrates with a long list of applications, including G Suite, Quickbooks, Salesforce, Jira, Stripe, Mailchimp, Eventbrite, PayPal and many others.

Customers can purchase individual Accelo tools for $39 per user per month or the whole platform for $79 per user per month. Reports require an additional fee. A demo and a free 14-day trial are available.

Pros

      • The platform is highly customizable, allowing organizations to meet their unique needs
      • Accelo integrates with a lot of applications popular with small services businesses
      • The simple, upfront pricing makes it easy to estimate costs

Cons

      • Because the software is so full-featured, it can take a while to learn
      • The mobile version for smartphones and tablets does not work as well as the desktop version
      • Some customers say that certain parts of the user interface could use an overhaul

BigTime

Headquartered in Chicago, BigTime Software is a private SaaS firm focused on PSA. Its more than 2,000 customers include firms with 5 to 500 employees, including TruePartners Consulting, C2 Company, Energy GPS, the iFish Group and TAI Engineering. It has won numerous accolades from G2, EXPERTcomparison, Quickbooks, Inc. 5000 and others.

Designed “by consultants for consultants,” BigTime includes tools for time tracking, billing and invoicing, resource allocation, project management and reporting and analytics. It can process payments, automate reviews and display dashboards that allow you to see your current situation at a glance. It integrates with Google, Quickbooks, Sage Intacct, Lacerte, Jira, Slack, Salesforce, Hubspot, Zapier and more.

Pricing starts at just $10 per user per month for the Express tier, with the Pro and Premier tiers jumping up to $30 and $40 per user per month. A demo is available.

Pros

      • BigTime is one of the highest-rated PSA tools available; customers consistently rave about it
      • BigTime is also one of the more affordable PSA options
      • The support team is particularly good

Cons

      • Like some of the other tools, BigTime can do so many things that it takes some time to learn it
      • Some parts of the interface are not very intuitive and can be confusing
      • Some customers have requested additional customization capabilities

FinancialForce PSA

As you might have guessed from the name, FinancialForce offers professional services automation and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for the Salesforce platform. It was founded in 2006 as one of the first third-party vendors on Salesforce’s platform. It has both large and small companies as customers, including some well-known names like Splunk, Red Hat, Seagate, Elastic, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and HPE.

FinancialForce claims that its PSA customers see an average 143-percent increase in revenue and a 39-percent increase in their win ratio. Key features include resource management, sales engagement, services community, project management, project financials, time and expenses, services revenue management and service analytics. It was designed for organizations in the business services, health and life sciences, media and digital communications, professional services, consulting, technology and telecommunications industries.

A demo is available on the site. Pricing is available on request.

Pros

      • Organizations that already use Salesforce may find FinancialForce to be a good fit
      • Thanks to its relatively long history, this is a mature, full-featured product
      • You can customize the solution in many ways, but that does take some time to set up

Cons

      • If you use a CRM solution other than Salesforce, FinancialForce might not be right for your needs
      • Pricing is not available on the website
      • Some customers have complained about inadequate support

Kimble

Recently acquired by Accel-KKR, Kimble is a London-based PSA software firm founded in 2010. It focuses on the management consulting, IT services, software and architecture, engineering and construction industries, and its customers include Canon, Smart Communications, Sage People, GFT, Alcatel-Lucent, Intersys and others.

Like Financial Force, Kimble is based on the Salesforce Platform, and it integrates easily with Salesforce services. Key features of Kimble include selling and scoping, resource management, project management, billing, time and expense tracking and reporting and dashboards. It aims to help firms improve their alignment, guidance and adaptability with tools for resource managers, project managers, executive, sales and finance. It integrates with a long list of applications, including Sage Intacct, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, workday, Jira, Avalara, QuickBooks and many more.

A demo is available. Pricing is available on request.

Pros

      • Kimble is another good choice for firms that are using Salesforce applications
      • It integrates with a very long list of applications
      • Customers give its documentation and support excellent reviews

Cons

      • Pricing is not easily available
      • Setting up and configuring the application can take some time
      • Customers say that some sections of the interface are a little clunky

MavenLink

Located in Irvine, California, MavenLink has been in business since 2008. Its customers include Butterfly, Health Catalyst, Herjavec Group, Salesforce, Genpact, Cornerstone, RSM and others. It has won numerous accolades from G2, Sourceforge, Comparably, Digital.com and more.

MavenLink offers dynamic resource optimization through its tools for resource management, project management, team collaboration, project accounting and business intelligence. It includes an integration platform called M-Bridge that connects it to other tools like Netsuite, QuickBooks, Salesforce, G Suite, Jira, Slack, Hubspot and many more. The company offers advisory, implementation and other support services that can help ensure the success of deployments.

MavenLink hides its pricing information behind a gate that requires you to give the firm details about your company. A free trial is available.

Pros

      • This PSA software gets excellent reviews and has won a number of impressive awards
      • The services can make it easier to deploy and use the software
      • The reporting and drill-down capabilities are excellent

Cons

      • Learning and using the tool to its fullest potential can take a lot of time
      • Some people complain that the user experience can be confusing
      • Some customers say that its project management capabilities are not sufficiently robust

NetSuite OpenAir

Purchased by Oracle in 2016, NetSuite was founded in 1998 and was one of the world’s first cloud computing companies. It claims to be the “leader in cloud professional services automation.” It specializes in business software for small-to-mid-sized enterprises, including its OpenAir PSA software. It boasts more than 24,000 customers, including MongoDB, Siemens, Sofware AG and many others.

OpenAir includes time tracking, project management, reporting, resource management, expense tracking and invoicing capabilities. Through OpenAir Connect, it integrates with many other applications, including NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle, Sage MAS, Peachtree, Epicor, QuickBooks and more.

Pricing is available on request.

Pros

      • OpenAir integrates easily with other NetSuite and Oracle products, making it a good option for existing NetSuite and Oracle customers
      • It has a long list of customers and serves a very broad range of different industries
      • It has a very large feature set

Cons

      • The user interface hasn’t been updated in a long time, and it’s somewhat clunky
      • It’s not easy to customize
      • Pricing is not readily available

Replicon Polaris

Founded in 1996, Replicon offers cloud-based time tracking and project management software, including its Polaris PSA software. It was founded in Calgary, Canada, but now has offices in Redwood City, California, India, the UK and Australia. It has more than 7,800 customers, including the USDA, McNeal Professional Services, Fujitsu, Blackbaud, Logic Healthcare, QualIT and others.

Replicon delivers up to a 10-percent increase in solved revenue leakages, up to a 90-percent decrease in administrative overhead and a 5 to 10 percent increase in resource utilization, according to its website. It includes tools for analytics, governance, financial modeling, clients, practices, projects, resources, time and expense and financials. It was designed for organizations in the IT services, consulting, media and marketing, engineering services, architectural services and embedded services industries.

Polaris costs $29 per user per month, whether you choose the Basic, Standard or Complete version of the software.

Pros

      • Polaris offers straightforward, affordable pricing
      • The real-time dashboards can be extremely helpful
      • It’s very customizable

Cons

      • The system can be difficult to navigate
      • Some customers complain about the quality of its technical support
      • Some customers complain about inadequate mobile support

Scoro

Founded in London in 2013, Scoro offers “work management software for agencies and professional services.” Its customers include TBWA, Newton, Mediacom, GranThornton, Net Natives, Zavod, Tele2, Kojo and others. And it has won a number of awards from G2, Software Advice and others.

This PSA software incorporates time management, project management, sales and CRM, finances and reporting and dashboards. The website includes a tool to help companies estimate the possible time savings with Scoro every month. It integrates with more than 1,000 other applications, including Slack, Jira, Asana, Evernote, Trello, GitHub, Basecamp, Gmail, Quickbooks, HubSpot, Stripe, PayPal, Dropbox and others.

Scoro’s Essential package starts at $26 per user per month. Work Hub and Sales Hub cost $37 per user per month. Pricing for the Ultimate version is available on request.

Pros

      • Scoro gets very high ratings and excellent reviews from customers
      • Customers rave about the support staff
      • Its sales features can be particularly useful and set it apart from other PSA solutions

Cons

      • Some of its reporting features are not as robust as those in other PSA software
      • It requires quite a bit of training in the beginning
      • The price can be high if you need the Ultimate version

Vogsy

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Vogsy was founded in 2014 as a professional services automation solution based on the Google platform. It focuses on creative agencies, consulting firms and technology companies. Its customers include GROWCorp, Astig Planning, RaceRocks and others. It has received awards from dpm, G2, GetApp, Software Advice and Capterra.

Vogsy’s capabilities include quoting, CRM, project management, task management, resource management, automated invoicing and performance monitoring. In addition to its Google integration, it also integrates with HubSpot, Salesforce and Quickbooks.

Vogsy offers a full pricing calculator on its site. Fees for Lite users start at $9 per month, while Full users start at $19 per month and Super start at $29 per month.

Pros

      • Because it integrates so tightly with Google, Vogsy is a good option for organizations that use Google Workspace apps
      • It gets very good reviews and ratings from customers
      • Its automation features can save a lot of time

Cons

      • Vogsy doesn’t make as much sense that organizations that do not use Google Workspace
      • It doesn’t integrate with as many other business applications as some of the other PSA tools on this list
      • Some customers complain about minor issues with its reporting and billing capabilities

Workday PSA

While most of the PSA software on this list was designed for small-to-mid-sized organizations, Workday is also aimed at larger enterprises. Its customers include FedEx, Levi Strauss, Airbus, AstraZeneca, Comcast, Panera Bread, Target and others. Based in Pleasanton, California, it was founded in 2005 by former PeopleSoft executives.

Workday has more human resources capabilities than most of the other PSA solutions. It also includes financial management, spending management, analytics, payroll and other capabilities. In addition, it can track student records for educational institutions.

Pricing is available on request.

Pros

      • Workday is one of the only PSA solutions with tools for larger enterprises and educational organizations
      • Its HR capabilities set it apart from the competition
      • Its interface is very easy to use

Cons

      • Workday would be overkill for organizations that do not need its HR capabilities
      • The tool is more expensive than others in this list
      • It requires training to learn to use it

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Professional Services Automation Software Comparison Table

PSA Software

Pros

Cons

Accelo

  • Highly customizable
  • Extensive integrations
  • Upfront pricing
  • Steep learning curve
  • Inadequate mobile version
  • Needs UI upgrades

BigTime

  • Highly rated
  • Affordable
  • Good support
  • Steep learning curve
  • Confusing interface
  • Limited customization

FinancialForce PSA

  • Salesforce integration
  • Full featured
  • Customizable
  • Not good for non-Salesforce users
  • No pricing info
  • Poor support

Kimble

  • Salesforce integration
  • Extensive other integrations
  • Excellent documentation and support
  • No pricing info
  • Time-consuming setup
  • Clunky interface

MavenLink

  • Excellent reviews
  • Extensive services available
  • Good reporting
  • Steep learning curve
  • Confusing interface
  • Poor project management

NetSuite OpenAir

  • Good for Oracle and NetSuite users
  • Broad customer base
  • Full featured
  • Clunky interface
  • Limited customization
  • No pricing info

Replicon Polaris

  • Upfront pricing
  • Good real-time dashboards
  • Customizable
  • Difficult navigation
  • Poor technical support
  • Inadequate mobile app

Scoro

  • Highly rated
  • Excellent support
  • Sales features
  • Limited reporting capabilities
  • Steep learning curve
  • High price for Ultimate

Vogsy

  • Integration with Google Workspace
  • Highly rated
  • Automation
  • Not good for non-Google users
  • Few integrations
  • Buggy reporting and billing

Workday

  • Good for large enterprises
  • HT capabilities
  • Easy to use
  • Not good for firms that don’t need HR
  • Expensive
  • Steep learning curve

 

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