What’s A Next Generation PSA And Why On Earth Do You Need One?

Professional Services Automation (PSA) software has been around for decades and, in too many cases, is getting long in the tooth.

Most of these tools were originally built for general-purpose business use.  Later, PSA tools were created especially for IT implementations. Because these focused on technical projects and tasks, it  was a big step forward but, for MSPs, it was not nearly enough. Solutions built for internal IT departments are not of optimal use for service providers. These IT tools are overly generic and are designed to be used by dozens of vertical markets. Serving this many masters dilutes these PSAs’ ability to serve MSPs’ unique needs.

There are many items that define an MSP-specific PSA, including the ability to work tightly with other key MSP software solutions and to directly manage MSP projects without a lot of tinkering or configuration.

The Importance of Integration

MSPs live and die by their Remote Management and Monitoring (RMM) solution. It’s within the RMM that the serious work of monitoring, maintaining and fixing IT systems takes place. Meanwhile, the PSA is where the serious work of running a services business takes place – tracking time and expenses, managing projects, handling billing and finances, managing the service desk, and performing CRM tasks.

Integration between the RMM and PSA is one measure of a next-generation PSA solution – and one indication that such a technology has been  built with MSPs specifically in mind.

Proper Pricing

MSPs use PSA software to become more efficient and effective in how they manage their business. But the PSA, unlike an RMM, is not responsible for creating revenue. Therefore, the cost of the PSA tool  is critical. The PSA should be inexpensive, and have all the features the MSP needs so there is no expensive upsell. This way, service providers can invest their hard-earned profits into new services and staff that will drive new revenue, not into PSA software.

All core PSA functionality must be included as standard for: Billing, CRM, Project Management, Inventory, HR, Contract Management, Service Desk/Ticketing, and Reporting,” argues Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya. “It no longer makes sense to have to pay more for add-on modules to achieve the efficiencies that are required today.”

Low Cost to Manage

The acquisition cost is just one aspect of the true cost of a PSA. You must also consider how much the software costs to administer, implement and manage. Here is another area where legacy PSAs fall short – they are too cumbersome (and, consequently, too expensive) to use. This is because the MSP is trying to get them to do things they weren’t designed to do, while at the same time trying to cut through the clutter of functionality that isn’t relevant to an MSP in the first place.

“Often, first-generation PSA solutions require a half- or full-time IT resource at a cost of $50-100K a year to configure and customize their PSA solutions. This resource at MSPs is typically a tech that is doing ‘double duty’ as a client-facing tech as well as the internal PSA administrator,” Voccola believes. “Due to the heavy admin requirements, most MSPs suffer from a lack of functional integration with their PSA since they either do not have a dedicated admin, or have to assume a HUGE cost liability due to hiring a full-time admin or using consultants.”

In contrast, a next-generation MSP-built PSA focuses just on what MSPs need to accomplish, making them easier to operate and instantly and deeply useful. This lowers the administration burden – by as much as 80%. That is a serious staff cost savings and a great boost to efficiency.

It’s not just the admins that benefit. A purpose-built MSP PSA is easy to use for all MSP staffers, including office managers, sales personnel, technicians, and billing professionals. And, being easy to use, the right PSA greatly reduces the cost of training new staff.

MSP-Specific Project Management

It’s no surprise that MSP projects are far different from generic business projects and general-purpose internal IT projects. A PSA tailored for managed services won’t just let you handle outsourced clients, it will help you win them as well. Since you, as the MSP, will be fully equipped to handle your client’s first onboarding transition , you demonstrate your ability to manage  additional, more complex, projects

“Assuming the MSP can demonstrate externally and internally that they can manage these transition projects flawlessly, the MSP will be able to secure AND deliver on the very lucrative managed service contracts to outsource large-scale operations with the larger SMBs,” Voccola argues. “Strong project management capabilities for an MSP-focused project management system automatically tracks and manages all inventory, people, contracts, billing , and so on that are tied to each and every  project.”

The Kaseya BMS Backstory

Kaseya saw the market need for a next-generation PSA platform, and found a partner in a company and product named Vorex, which we acquired in 2015. After more than a year of joint Kaseya and Vorex R&D work, a new solution was born. Today we have Kaseya Business Management Solution (BMS), a SaaS-based PSA with complete MSP-specific functionality.

BMS “provides a solution specifically for MSPs. SMBs are opening up to MSPs where you must effectively demonstrate the ability to scope and manage complex transition projects,” said Miguel Lopez, SVP, managed service providers for Kaseya.

According to Lopez, projects represent are a large part of the current and future of MSPs’ revenue – in fact roughly 20% of overall revenue comes from projects. “These projects start at the very beginning of the engagement with the customer onboarding,” Lopez said.

BMS was also in response to problems MSPs had with other PSAs. “One of the biggest complaints that we hear is how long it takes to implement and train on other PSAs. Over 70% of MSPs have gone through and continue to experience pain as a result,” Lopez argued.

With BMS, MSPs can do a full implementation in less than a week.

Kaseya BMS is Your Next-Gen PSA

Earlier this spring, Kaseya introduced Kaseya BMS – the first next-generation PSA built 100% for MSPs. With it, you can free staff to focus more attention on strategically selling new services, scoping and deploying these service, then running them in a profitable way. At the same time, you’ll spend far less time dealing with non-revenue-generating work such as project management and billing.

With BMS, you can:

  • Define and deploy new services rapidly
  • Manage client IT projects effectively
  • Monitor service deliver with 360 degrees of visibility

The price is specifically designed for fast MSP adoption. At $25 per user per month, it is a third the cost of competitive solutions, and includes all modules. And BMS is free for a year for MSPs moving off a competitive product.

With Kaseya BMS, everything is built from the project out. BMS also schedules all resources for the MSP. At the same time, you can track and manage inventory as well as people, contracts, and with billing all tied to projects (and all dependencies). Finally, BMS takes into account scheduling activities that aren’t project activities.

Other attributes include:

  • Low cost to implement, administer and manage
  • Rapid implementation time
  • No need for dedicated administrator (or redirecting staff time to manage)

For more product details, click here, sign up for a free trial, or get a price quote.


Posted by Doug Barney
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld, and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.
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