PSA Trends: Strategy, Analytics, and Web 2.0
I admit I haven’t spent a lot of time on professional services automation (PSA) tools since my days at Giga, when all the enterprise CRM vendors seemed to release a PSA module at the same time. Though the enterprise apps vendors continue to deliver PSA modules, the biggest buzz around PSA today is for smaller, more agile PSA vendors, whose solutions most likely are delivered OnDemand/SaaS.
Our 2008 Fall Summit is approaching, and I will be leading a sharing session on Wednesday, 10/22, at 9:45 to discuss trends and requirements for PSA. I’ve started reaching out to our PSA partners for updated briefings, and so far I’m enthused about what I’m hearing. At a high level, the PSA trends mirror what I’m seeing in other areas of the service and support industry, such as:
- Move from tactical to strategic. There is still no shortage of iniatives to cut costs and streamline operations for pro services teams, but let’s face it, the low hanging fruit has been picked. I’m happy to hear much more discussion today about the role of PS in driving revenue, revenue recognition, and add-on and repeat business.
- Increased demand for analytics. With this more strategic view of professional services comes much more sophisticated reporting requirements. No longer satisfied with reports on project deadlines and consultant productivity, PSA vendors are being asked to analyze projects over the last few years and identify which services, projects or other initiatives are the most profitable, which are the most costly to deliver, which have the highest likelihood of success/satisfaction, etc.
- Focus on relationships. I’ve always maintained that when it comes to generating revenue, relationships matter more than product. It is great to see much more focus in PS today on customer service and relationship building skills, and more elaborate measurements of customer satisfaction than in the past.
The one thing I hadn’t expected to hear was how PSA is embracing Web 2.0, and I’m very excited about some new products and partnerships in the works to make collaboration faster and easier. Seasoned professional services consultants develop networks of experts they go to for ideas and suggestions, including internal company resources, customer experts, and external 3rd parties. Web 2.0 can easily create an ecosystem of all of these folks to streamline collaboration, bringing together groups of geographically disperse people to tackle a problem or create a plan of attack. With all the interest today in reducing onsite visits in the name of Green initiatives, Web 2.0 can also help consultants accomplish more work remotely, avoiding flying onsite every week.
What is on your PSA feature wish list? Have your PSA requirements changed over the last few years? If you have any input on PSA trends and features, please add a comment or shoot me an email and I will respond. And as always, thanks for reading!