Professional services automation (PSA) is software designed to assist professionals, such as lawyers, auditors, and IT consultants, with project management and resource management for client projects and utilization rate management for billable staff. This is accomplished by developing metrics to quantify and qualify basic business processes that can then be used to streamline and improve those processes.
Typical PSA functions include project management and documentation, time recording, billing, reporting, and labor utilization. These features are often integrated with accounting, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, and payroll systems in order to improve efficiency of overall operations. As a result, in addition to better managing client projects, independent contractors can prevent lost revenue and slow billing cycles.
Ultimately PSA software suites allow users to integrate industry-appropriate metrics in order to better understand operations and, in turn, improve efficiency and profitability. As businesses grow, the size and complexity of their projects tend to increase as well. PSA software is used to provide visibility into mid-project profitability.
In its simplest form, PSA software may offer only timesheet systems (including expense reporting and project management). However, in their most robust incarnation they can also include customer relationship management (CRM), resource management, opportunity and knowledge management.
PSA software is designed to improve the performance and profitability of professional services firms. A recent end-user survey conducted by SPI Research showed significant improvement in key performance indicators such as:
- Faster staffing and invoicing workflows
- Lower project cancellation rates
- Improved on-time, under-budget project delivery rates
- Lower revenue leakage
- Higher resource utilization rates
- Improved project margins
The study concluded with a return on investment (ROI) model for an average 172-person professional services firm. According to the research, over a five-year horizon, the firm could expect to invest just under $200,000 in implementation and software license costs. The return, however, was estimated at nearly $23 million in increased revenue and reduced costs.
As in most software categories, the Software and Information Industry Association rates this category of software.
- "2007 PSVillage Professional Services Automation (PSA) End-User Survey" (PDF). SPI Research. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
- Rudolf Melik (April 2002). "PSA: Professional Services Automation: Optimizing Project and Service Oriented Organizations". Wiley; New York, NY. Cite journal requires
- R. David Hofferberth (April 2, 2001). "Professional Services Automation - Pointing the Way To Higher Profitability". ChannelWeb. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
- R. David Hofferberth (September 2017). "2017 PSA End-user Survey". Service Performance Insight. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
- Melik, Rudolf (2002). PSA: Professional Services Automation: Optimizing Project and Service Oriented Organizations. New York, NY: Wiley. ISBN 0-471-23018-9.