To hear some PSA business software vendors tell it, they have the “best” PSA business software, no matter how big or small your company and no matter what your lines of business or the technology solutions you provide.
Whenever I hear a vendor saying they have the “best” anything, without first understanding my needs, I immediately become skeptical. And the broader the verticals they say they’re the best fit for, the more skeptical I become. I’m sure many technology solution providers see this in their own businesses, it’s hard to be “the best” at anything unless you specialize.
The other thing to consider is that the PSA business software market has matured significantly over the last 15 years. Not only has it evolved, it has actually become quite specialized, splitting off into three distinctive sub-categories. You can read more details on the different PSA software categories here: http://promys.com/best-psa-software/
In order to try and filter through all the marking hype, here are three resources or approaches you can leverage to try and determine the best fit PSA business software for your particular needs.
3 Tips on How to Select the Best PSA Software
- Software Review Sites: There are several very good software review sites, with actual customer feedback on the pro’s and con’s of each PSA business software solution. The reviews are validated as belonging to actual PSA software customers (one review site even makes reviewers take a screen shot to prove they’re actual users of the PSA solution). Some of the better known review sites would be capterra.com, www.mspcomparison.com, www.g2crowd.com and www.softwareadvice.com
We recommend looking closely at how variable each PSA vendors customer review scoring is. Because the truth is, if you have some customers giving a PSA vendor one star ratings and other customers giving it five star ratings, then it’s not because the PSA software had a bad day for one customer and not the other. It’s because, contrary to the advertising, one size does not fit all. The customers who gave the PSA solution one star, probably had different needs than the customers who gave that same vendor five stars. Which takes us to point #2.
- Requirements Review and PSA Vendor Ideal Customer Profile: When looking for new business software, it’s always a good idea to start by collecting feedback from every department (Help Desk, Project Management, Sales, Order Fulfillment, etc.,) and gather their requirements, and then rank those requirements into categories like must have’s and nice to have’s.
BUT it’s equally important when interviewing PSA vendors to get a really good understanding of what their ideal customers (the five star review customers) look like. It’s good to know in general that they have “x” thousand customers, but do the majority of those customers look like your business or not? What’s the average customer size? (a fifty user PSA software customer has complexity to their business – multi-location, multi-line of business, maybe even multi-currency – that most five user PSA customers don’t have). What lines of business do those customers support (a Microsoft Gold Partner, Cisco Gold Partner and an MSP are all “IT Solution providers”, but the details and priorities of their businesses are very different.
If the PSA business software vendor is not setting up an initial discovery call to review your high priority requirements and learn about the specifics of your business, if they just want to jump immediately into a generic screens and buttons demo and leave it up to you to figure out fit for your business, it’s a bad sign. But you can help that PSA vendor by forcing them to have the “ideal customer” profile conversation with you and making them focus the demo on your key requirements instead of their generic vanilla demo path.
- Access to a Generic Trial Version of the PSA Software: The challenge with leveraging generic trial versions of a vendors PSA software as part of an evaluation is, you’re basically asking an un-trained user to assess PSA software that has not been configured to your requirements (some PSA software has configuration options to tailor the software to your business instead of you changing your business to how the PSA software does things) and then determine if it’s a good fit for your business or not. Hardly a fair task to give the un-trained user, nor potentially a fair test of the PSA software.
Promys used to offer free trails, but we often received trial user feedback where the user would say “your software doesn’t do ‘x’”, when in fact Promys had functionality that was actually better than ‘x’, the user just wasn’t familiar with the better/best practice approach, or there was a configuration option that turned ‘x’ on or off, depending on the user preference.
And often the trial user would become frustrated to learn after they completed the trial, that Promys did in fact have ‘x’, or better functionality. They just couldn’t find it in the trial because they hadn’t been trained.
So the approach we standardized on that provides a much better trial user experience, is what Promys calls “lifeguard” trial sessions. We basically set-up a web meeting where the trial user get’s 5 minutes of basic navigation training in a trial environment, and then we turn control of the web session over to the trial user, but with a Promys subject matter expert on stand-by. The user can then poke around the trial environment at their own pace, but if they encounter any speed bumps along the way, the Promys subject matter expert can intervene, provide brief instruction to the trial user, or change the config option, and then turn control of the session back to the trial user who can then carry on with their trial.
Trial user feedback has been extremely positive based on this approach, which allows them to much more quickly validate the functionality they’re trying to test, and ensures that they didn’t miss anything because they weren’t trained or because of generic trial environment settings. If your PSA vendor does not offer “lifeguard” style trial sessions, we’d suggest you ask for one.
So is there a single “best” PSA business software solution out there, that is a good fit for all technology solution providers no matter how big, simple/complex their business, or what kinds of solutions they provide..,? We’ve been in the PSA software industry for 13 years and we don’t think so.
What there are instead, are PSA solutions that are a better fit for one kind of ideal customer profile vs. a different ideal customer profile. And that’s the PSA software evaluation trick. Not to find “the best” PSA software, but to determine which PSA vendor is the closest fit for your particular ideal customer profile.
If you’d like more information about the different types of PSA software, and how Enterprise PSA software can help you maximize profitability in a Managed Services and Recurring Subscription world, click here to download the Promys PSA Buyers Guide.