Determining if Your PSA Implementation Was Successful
PUBLISHED: MAY 2019
Selecting, buying and bringing on board a new Professional Services Automation solution is a challenge for any business. Research shows that most of the most dynamic and successful services organizations now use these, but of course, any IT project can be subject to problems and there is always a risk of failure. And some organizations achieve the benefits of PSA sooner than others. So can your PSA implementation process be judged a success? Here are some key questions to ask.
Eight Steps to Determine if Your PSA Implementation Was Successful:
Is the implementation complete?
When a new Professional Services Automation solution goes live, the executive team who selected and sponsored it often breathe a sigh of relief and turn to other things. However that is often not the end of the story. The first “go live” is often achieved fairly swiftly, using the bare minimum of the functionality which a powerful PSA offers. An implementation phase two will often be required to develop the full use of it. So if key capabilities have been pushed to phase two, make sure the momentum keeps up until this is also scheduled and delivered.
What are the key business outcomes you expected the PSA to deliver?
Stay focused on how you can use this software to improve business performance. If you were clear about what the goals were at the start, you can check in with them after the implementation to see what progress is being made. Were you looking for scalability, revenue enhancement, cost reduction, and/ or increased business predictability? Are you starting to see how that can be achieved?
Is the business becoming more forward-looking?
We often liken the effect of PSA to moving from looking in the rear-view mirror, to looking at the road ahead. For organizations which are trying to run the business on several disparate tools, drawing information out is generally a very onerous process. It takes days after month-end to find out what happened last month. There may be issues over how reliable the data is. Using a powerful PSA to run the business creates a single, shared source of accurate real-time data and enables a shift to looking at the road ahead.
Are you starting to move the performance dial of the business?
Is business performance improving? Can you see the effect of the PSA on the numbers that are coming out of the business? Is month-end close happening sooner? Are invoices being sent out sooner? Are the measurements of billable utilization and average rate more accurate? Are these numbers going up? Is there less revenue leakage and working at risk? Are sales forecasts more accurate? Is resource planning more effective? Are the projects which are going off track being brought to the surface sooner? These are the kinds of benefits that a successful PSA implementation will deliver and calculating this kind of benefit can help to assess the time to value of the PSA – how long did it take before the benefits have more than paid for the cost of the new software.
Are employees adopting the new software?
The technology won’t drive the change organically – adoption needs to be closely managed. It is to be expected that some employees will resist doing this differently. Are there some who are not complying with the new processes that the PSA is enabling? How is this working in your organization? Are service professionals entering time and expenses dates they should? If not, executive sponsors and business leaders need to enforce this. Training and mentoring should be available – don’t expect people to do one session and remember everything.
Are people at every level seeing the benefit of the solution?
One of the advantages of PSA is that it creates the opportunity to bring multiple functions and departments together. It gives everyone a single source of the truth and the creates new possibilities. It is no longer just the finance team who can eventually work out the profitability of projects – the project managers can see what was the base margin at which each project was sold, how it is performing against that and how their decisions affect it. Are people at every level getting the benefit of the tool? Are they supported to make decisions that can make them more successful.
Are all the key meetings using the reports and dashboard?
Once the PSA solution is live, the system, including live reports and dashboards should be used in every meeting. Then, when you are discussing an issue such as resource management, you can alter the resource allocation in the system and immediately see the effects of that on other aspects of the business. If errors are spotted in the data, fix it in the system during the meeting. By doing this, people will soon realise the importance of their data in driving business decisions. If people try to keep control of their own information, or if they start copying information into spreadsheets, the implementation will be set back.
Are better decisions being taken sooner?
An app is only as good as the behaviour and decisions it drives, and no matter how good the information that is coming out of the PSA, it won’t have any effect on the business if people don’t make use of it. The PSA may be live, but it is only when the data is drawn out of it and used to manage the business that the implementation can be judged a success.