Magazine Article | June 19, 2013

PSA (Professional Services Automation) Software Solutions Product Review - Table Of Contents

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By Jay McCall

Subscribe to Business Solutions magazine 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 needs.

-- Click Here To Read The Side-By-Side Product Comparison Article --



 

Individual PSA Software Solution Product Reviews


Autotask Logo

Autotask

It should be noted that even though the SaaS model of Autotask carries monthly recurring fees and appears to be more expensive than its on-premise counterparts, you need to factor in that SaaS products don’t have the costs associated with server acquisition, the maintenance, licensing, and data backup costs you incur with on-premise PSA.

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ConnectWise Logo

ConnectWise

ConnectWise offers its product in a SaaS, on-premise, and hybrid model. ConnectWise did not release any information about its pricing. Horsley’s company has used only the on-premise version of ConnectWise for the past four years. “When we first purchased ConnectWise nearly four years ago, we bought 50 licenses, and we haven’t needed to add any more since then,” he says. “We paid one flat fee per person, and then we pay an annual fee of around $2,000 for support, maintenance, and upgrades.”

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Tigerpaw

Tigerpaw

Tigerpaw Software sells its product as on-premise only. One thing that stands out about Tigerpaw’s pricing is that it uses a concurrent licensing model, which means that if you have 30 employees who will be using the software, but no more than 20 will ever be using the same module at the same time, then you only need to purchase 20 software licenses for that particular module. Additionally, your sales reps, who use only one or two modules from the PSA software, will pay a lower licensing fee than your project managers, who will need access to everything.

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