As an MSP, a huge part of your business is delivering, managing, and billing for services. Just as you apply automation to IT services, you should also apply automation to managing customers and projects.
A modern professional services automation (PSA) solution houses a range of functions. Let us use Kaseya BMS as an example. BMS is low cost, starting at $5 per user per month, and stacked with PSA features such as accounting integration and management, CRM, time and expense tracking, financial analysis and billing, and service desk. Additional highlights of its rich feature set include:
- Customizable reporting
- Data visualization
- Inventory control, management, and tracking
- Project planning, estimating, accounting, and management
- Prospecting tools
- Real-time monitoring and reporting
- Support ticket tracking
- Workflow management
One BMS customer is reaping the benefits. “In many cases we were able to streamline most processes by more than 40 percent, especially within our sales teams. I anticipate further improvements as we continue to identify then optimize how the team uses BMS,” said Tamara Flores, Chief Information Officer, Millennium Technology Group.
In some cases, a single PSA feature, such as project management or expense tracking, can make the solution pay for itself. All you need to pay for a PSA, especially an inexpensive one such as BMS, is a few more hours (or even minutes) of billings or increased productivity for each tech per month. Consider BMS at $5 per technician per month. If the fully loaded cost of that headcount is $120 per hour, you have to save only two and a half minutes of their time each month to break even.
However, when you consider all the features integrated in one solution, the payback is even more compelling.
Service Performance Insight (SPI), LLC’s study, 2017 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark, analyzes the economic value of a PSA solution and how service leaders benefit from such a solution. It found that all “leaders” in this field use a PSA. “Because every leader relies on a PSA application they are able to build and reinforce project delivery standards which result in precision execution and high levels of quality, productivity and profitability. They credit their PSA with improving resource, project management, time and expense capture and billing, leading to higher levels of billable utilization and on-time project completion,” the report notes.
So what does a PSA mean to SPI? “Professional Services Automation provides the systems basis for initiation, planning, resource management, scheduling, execution, close and control of projects and services. It helps manage service delivery by overseeing opportunities, staffing, project management, and collaboration. It is used to collect time and expense by project and resource down to the task level so it is the system of record for resource utilization and project cost and estimating,” the researchers said. “Professional Services Automation solutions continue to drive significant operational performance benefits, which ultimately yield higher revenue and profit for professional services organizations. The use of PSA is on the rise due to the need to better manage projects and resources, especially in more technical disciplines, as it has become increasingly difficult to find, hire, retain and deploy talent. PSA solutions help match the right resources, with the right skills at the right time to the right projects. PSA solutions yield several core benefits to PSOs, but most executives only need to look to the 3% increase in billable utilization, as the reason to select PSA. Almost all key metrics improve with PSA adoption. These systems pay for themselves with higher net profits.”
Integration of the PSA with CRM is another key benefit for what SPI called “the best of the best” in providing services. “Top performing organizations are much more likely to have integrated their CRM and PSA applications to provide real-time visibility and collaboration between sales and service delivery. This visibility gives them much greater insight into customer information and promotes sharing of customer information which enhances both sales and service delivery effectiveness,” SPI found.
As you can see in the above list of BMS features, the Kaseya solution includes built-in, fully integrated CRM.
SPI Research suggests that any service organization with 20 or more employees use a PSA solution. The good news is that cloud-based PSAs, such as BMS, which has this option, are affordable and easy to set up.
Maximizing Billable Time
A key payback benefit is making sure that most of the time your techs spend at work is billable, with very little “leakage” or time for which there is no revenue return. With a PSA solution, techs record their time, and tie it to specific projects and customers. The PSA can automatically capture these billable hours, without mistakes made with many data entry into a spreadsheet or other app, or time sheets.
The same efficiency applies to travel and entertainment, which is easily captured, ties to projects, and fully reportable. All of this data is a huge help when employee review time rolls around.
Billing efficiency leads to vastly better cash flow. For one, you know precisely how much you are owed. You can also bill quickly rather than on a monthly basis, invoice in the manner your customers prefer, and then track if the money came in properly.
A full-featured PSA solution will boost profits by supporting accurate bids where the margin is a known part of the equation. The PSA then helps manage and track the projects so time is maximized, and economically optimal decisions continually made. Looking back, you can see which projects and customers are the most profitable, and where clients may need to be dropped or contracts renegotiated.
BMS by Kaseya – A PSA Purpose-Built for MSPs
GetApp, a Gartner company focused on helping organizations choose optimum IT solutions, evaluated BMS by Kaseya and ranked it among the top business management solutions for Q4 2017.
“Kaseya BMS is a next-generation Professional Services Automation platform built to empower IT Departments and MSPs with the key tools needed to succeed in the modern IT management world.
BMS provides users with an easy to use interface, that enables users to get up to speed quicker and be more productive in the long run – all while still offering the depth and customization required to meet the various business objectives of different teams,” GetApp explained. “Kaseya BMS is equipped with everything you need, at an affordable price that is a fraction of the competition. BMS comes ready to help you succeed with best in class solutions for Project Management, CRM, Time Tracking & Billing, Inventory, Finance & Billing, CRM, and Service Desk.”
A customer that uses BMS daily told GetApp: “We use it for managing our customers, so it is easy to gain remote access, set customers in the system, and manage our internal users. We use the VSA and BMS hosted version of Kaseya, and the ability to access it anywhere is great. It’s easy to gain remote access and set control.”
Learn more about how BMS can help you manage your business here.