I was talking football with a prospective Promys customer recently (a Buffalo Bills fan, bless his heart) and as our conversation turned to business, his question was “why do I need PSA software?” His view point was that he already had different software packages for CRM, Help Desk, Project Management and Accounting software, and they did their Quotes in Word/Excel. He said, “I already have most of the different software that makes up typical PSA software, what’s the benefit of having the same modules, just all in one unified system?”

Since we were talking football, I tried to use a football analogy. It basically came down to these 3 points:

The goal is to score a touchdown

As CEO, VP Professional Services, or Customer Support Manager, you’re the quarterback. You take the snap and drop back to throw a pass. The defensive linemen (your competition) are rushing you, your linemen (your order fulfillment staff) are blocking for you, your receivers and running backs (your sales people and service tech/field engineers) are running down field trying to get open, defensive backs (your competition) are trying to cover them and you’re trying to throw a completed pass and move the ball down the field and score a touchdown (happy satisfied paying customer).

IF YOU DON’T HAVE PSA SOFTWARE

1) You can’t see the whole field : If you don’t have PSA software, if you have different disconnected systems, it’s like you can only see part of the field at any given time. The sales/quoting “data” is in your CRM, customer support issues are in your Help Desk ticketing software, project data is in your PM software and invoicing and P.O. data is in your accounting system.

So to use the football analogy, you can see the defensive linemen rushing, but not whether your linemen are blocking them or not, you can see your receivers, but not what the defensive backs are doing to cover them, you can see what your receivers are doing, but not your running back. That lack of shared visibility will make it very hard for your sales team, order fulfillment, implementation and support teams to respond to changes in a coordinated way. Someone may see a change and call an audible (new quote version, equipment/subscription delivery date change, or implementation schedule change), or try to communicate a change in coverage (new customer live date, resource availability change) to the rest of the team, but not everyone hears or sees that change. That might lead to different team members running different plays based on what they see or hear (their data) which could lead to a broken play (fumbled hand off between sales and order fulfillment) or loss of downs (missed delivery or implementation date) and ultimately result in dissatisfied customers (fans).

2) Making decisions based on outdated information: And if the data’s not in real time (data in spreadsheets for job costing, managed services contract profitability, revenue & resource forecasting, or monthly/quarterly P&L reports) then every few minutes it’s like the lights go out on the field and it’s dark for a few seconds.., and then the lights come back on and you see that your pocket is collapsing, your receiver fell down or broke off his route, just as you were going to throw the ball..,. Or worse yet, you get blind-sided and the play is over before you even know what went wrong (finding out you under quoted, or that you lost money on a project after it’s closed, or feel ambushed to learn your biggest customer is unhappy and threatening to leave).

Not having real-time data would be like trying to play the game and make decisions by looking at the field photos you see the quarterbacks reviewing on the sidelines after the play is over (and did not go well). Can you imagine a quarter back holding up a field photo while running a play to determine where and when to throw the ball instead of seeing live on the field where all the players were in real-time?

3) Coordinating Resources: Completing a pass down field is not just about the quarterback and the receiver doing their jobs. It’s a coordinated effort between offensive linemen blocking, receivers running the right route, running backs creating a distraction or staying in to block and the quarter back moving in the pocket and seeing the right moment and angle to throw the ball. Having different disparate systems makes it alot harder to make sure that all of those players are acting in a coordinated manner.

In those circumstances it’s more likely that the receiver may run the wrong route (sales under quotes), the offensive linemen use the wrong blocking scheme (order fulfillment orders the wrong parts/subscriptions compared to the quote/estimate), the quarterback throws the ball before the receiver turns his head (the service technicians show up on-site before all the equipment is drop shipped or subscriptions are turned on) and the ball hits the turf (the installation doesn’t happen on time) and the crowd boos (customer is unhappy).

TIME TO PUNT

Time to punt or turn the ball over on downs, and now your competition has an opportunity to score instead you (take this project or your customer away).

IF YOU HAVE PSA SOFTWARE

If you have PSA software, both you and the receiver know exactly the route he’s going to run (the quote is at aggressive but acceptable margins based on a current accurate parts/services list). The linemen know the correct blocking scheme for that passing play (the right parts/services/subscriptions are ordered/scheduled for the particular quote version the customer approved and are delivered in a coordinated manner with professional services). The quarterback can see the whole field (because all the data is connected and updated in real-time) and throws the ball just as the receiver breaks (the technicians are scheduled in perfect conjunction with the products/subscriptions/cloud service delivery). It’s a perfect spiral just out of the reach of the hands of the defensive cornerback and safety. The receiver catches the ball in stride (the project is completed ahead of schedule and on budget) and sprints to the end zone (happy satisfied customer who wants to talk about their next project). AND-THE-CROWD-GOES-WILD…,(download the PSA Buyers Guide here.)

The prospective customer laughed at the analogy, but in the end he agreed that many of the issues rang true regarding challenges with his current disconnected systems. The lack of real-time visibility, decisions made based on out of date or incomplete information, often lead to coordination challenges between departments and that sometimes resulted in reduced profitability or lower than necessary customer satisfaction scores.

The value of PSA software is only partially in the automation of the different departments. As the prospective customer said, he already had many of those modules. The true value of PSA software shines when things change, or don’t go exactly as planned, and the organization needs to see those changes in real-time and respond in a coordinated way. And that’s where disconnected systems fumble.

In order to “win” in the Technology Solution provider/MSP market, you have to have good players, a sound game plan, and an above average quarterback. PSA software can’t catch or throw the ball for you. But if you think about the football analogy, the question is “if your competition has PSA software and the real-time visibility and coordination advantages that comes with it, and you don’t.., who do you think is going to win the game most of the time..,?”

There are a variety of PSA software options out there, to find out which PSA software would be the best fit for your business requirements, download the PSA Buyers Guide here.

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