There's a new type of automated, cloud-based system for running operations within your service business or team. But how is it different from the old way with a Professional Services Automation (PSA)?
PSA software, which has been around for about 20 years, combines project management, timesheets, and billing, often with resource and utilization reporting, to give managers visibility into their business. The PSA category is plagued by a number of major shortcomings, which is why these products haven't seen widespread adoption in the market.
As the cloud has transformed previously clunky product categories (Slack for Messaging, DropBox for Storage, even Gmail for email), this hasn’t yet been the case for PSAs, and given so many people in the target market (service professionals) think PSA stands for Public Service Announcement, it is worth looking at why the category hasn't been successful before wondering if it should be disrupted in-place. While PSAs are often expensive, hard to use and difficult to configure, the broader PSA category has a number of other, significant problems, including:
PSAs are built expecting users to be robots
PSA products run on the assumption that delightfully creative and consistently inconsistent people can be made to function like robots in a factory, instead of creating technology that serves users in the creative chaos of the real world. Technology needs to be smart and flexible - because no two team members or clients are ever the same. PSAs often fail because they expect users to be robots, and struggle to handle the complexity, variability, and change that is part of life for any service business or team.
PSAs expect users to serve them, not the other way around
PSA products expect the people doing service work to be disciplined and make keeping the PSA database up to date a priority. Instead of using smart technology to automate data capture passively wherever possible, PSAs require lots of manual input and updates. People don't become architects, accountants, engineers, designers or consultants to update databases, so it is little wonder this isn't a priority for them and is something they do only when forced. Unfortunately, this situation means that the reports managers depend on can't be trusted (garbage in, garbage out), which eliminates most of the benefits of having a PSA in the first place.
PSAs take lots of time from many, to save some time for a few
Possibly worst of all, PSA products are almost entirely focused on the needs of the CFO or other executives and don't care at all about the day to day workflows and productivity of the people who are doing the work of the business. Often users are restricted to filling in timesheets and completing pre-built tasks, regardless of what they're actually doing. No wonder they're so widely loathed and poorly used!
We built ServOps as the answer to these frustrating problems with the category that formerly was the only option for service businesses. ServOps is different, smarter and better than PSAs because:
ServOps embraces your creative, chaotic reality
In a service business or team, value is created by people - creative, unreliable, skilled, emotional, experienced people. No two people are the same, and no two clients are the same - even the same person or client is going to be different from one day to another. ServOps allows for the human element in a business and makes it easy to adapt to inevitable change, not force you to rely on your memory or work in parallel.
ServOps works to serve the user (automatically whenever possible)
People in service businesses - skilled, expensive people - have better things to do than update databases, copy and paste emails and notes, or any of the other painful things that PSA technology tries to force upon its users. ServOps automatically ingests information wherever it can, and makes it easy for users to adjust guesses to reflect reality, saving time and reducing the dependence on people's memories and self-discipline to make sure the data in the system can be trusted.
ServOps tries to be helpful for everyone (including clients)
While PSA products benefit only a few managers relying on reports, ServOps works to be useful for everyone in the team, including clients. Whether it be by giving users personal lists, control over tasks and input into deadlines, or by giving clients direct, real-time access to the data the business chooses to share with them, ServOps is all about being helpful for everyone - not just the people at the top.
We’ve built ServOps because the PSA category as a whole is lacking. It’s outdated, and the time for change is now. Evolution of both our ServOps product and the category will continue; today just marks our first steps.