July 19, 2021

Tips for MSPs Evaluating PSA Solutions

By Shane Matzen

If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to find the right solutions for your business, unable to figure out how to compare apples to oranges, weigh the pros and cons, stressing over this monumental decision for your business, you’re not alone.

For managed service providers (MSPs), evaluating a professional services automation (PSA) tool is often a challenging yet essential process.

Here are some tips and things to consider that can help MSPs make better, more informed decisions when evaluating PSA solutions.

Sticker price should never be the only factor in making a decision

Price is absolutely important and should be a factor, but don’t let that be the only one.

The phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ holds true. When total value, vendor-client relationship, and total cost of ownership (TCO) are factored into the equation, you may find that it will cost you a dollar just to save a nickel.

It’s likely you don’t compete in your market solely on having the lowest price–you probably focus on values and relationships with your clients. These are more difficult to quantify when compared with price but are worth your consideration when looking for a new solution.

Don’t forget add-ons!

Say you’ve narrowed your search down to two solutions. Both have similar feature sets, no clear winner one way or the other; all that’s left to do is pick the cheaper of the two, right?! Not so fast.

Go a step further and ask for definitions of what is included or omitted from the proposals you receive. One solution may seem cheaper but ultimately cost more once you factor in essential add-ons.

Clearly define your processes and goals

Value and TCO are much more challenging to measure than price and can often be subjective.

First, list out each process within each aspect of your business, along with an easy-to-follow example.

Next, list out any capabilities or toolsets that would be nice to have.

This exercise will help you better understand and communicate your current challenges and prioritize what you are looking for with a new PSA solution.

Provide this list to each potential vendor for more structure and tailored demos to help you compare apples to apples as much as is possible. As your research continues, you’ll learn about new and unique capabilities. Add these to the list for later consideration or a subsequent round of demos.

Eventually, you’ll have concrete information to help you compare how well each solution matches up against your criteria.

Scalable solution–plan for growth!

As you evaluate capabilities, keep an eye on scalability and flexibility. Don’t just look for features that match your existing processes and needs but what you will need one to three years down the road.

I’ve worked with countless MSPs that started with a basic solution which they rapidly outgrew. By the time they realized they needed something more robust, they needed to find a solution quickly. Further, they barely had any time to devote to proper implementation of our solution. The lesson here is that it’s better to find something you can grow into and put in the time upfront to establish a strong foundation rather than having to rebuild your house one year down the road.

I don’t like to “re-buy” tools if I can help it. I prefer to spend a bit extra on quality tools that will serve me for years to come.

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