Magazine Article | June 19, 2013

Product Review: PSA (Professional Services Automation)

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By Jay McCall

Three MSPs discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their Autotask, ConnectWise, and Tigerpaw Software PSA solutions.

If you’re an IT solutions provider that’s considering selling managed services, it won’t be long before you’re ready to trade in your Excel tracking and ticketing system for something more robust. Many of the PSA offerings on the market today include modules for project management, resource management, CRM (customer relationship management), and knowledge management. Most MSPs will agree that the time and project management savings from a PSA alone are worth several times the cost of the software.

It should be noted, however, that selecting a PSA solution is a serious commitment. Once you make your decision — even if you find out a few months later that you’d like to investigate another PSA — it’s probably not going to happen. Because of the long learning curve and time investment required to adequately compare PSA products, the traditional lab test was ruled out for this product. Also, the fact that PSA reaches so far into the organization — sales, marketing, accounting, purchasing, line of business managers, and even the executive suite — is another reason the traditional testing method is difficult to use for this software.

Rather than avoiding this topic altogether, we found a workaround. I found three successful MSPs who have at least three years of experience working with their respective PSA solutions:

  1. Brad Horsley is the CTO of Choice Solutions, an MSP who was featured on the cover of our October 2012 issue. Horsley’s company has been a ConnectWise user for more than three years.
     
  2. Elizabeth Elder is an IT manager, consultant, and certified PMP (project management professional) at Choice Technologies, an MSP that was featured on the cover of our February 2013 issue. Elder is the Tigerpaw Software expert at her company and has been using this product for the past nine years.
     
  3. Dale Walls is the president of Corsica Technologies, an MSP who was featured on the cover of our August 2012 issue. Walls has been an Autotask user for the past seven years.

Each of these MSPs was willing to sit down with me and talk candidly about the strengths and weaknesses of their PSA software. What follows are the highlights from those conversations, which will help you make a more informed decision as you consider a PSA for your business need.

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