Tag Archives: MSP

PSA Tools for IT Service Providers

Professional Services AutomationAmong the key software tools used by MSP’s and IT service providers is an application known as a PSA which means Professional Services Automation.

There are a number of PSA tools around such as PacketTrap from Dell. Some PSA’s are aimed at certain types of service providers and some are more generic in nature, while others such as CommitCRM are more focused specifically on the IT services market. PSA software can be desktop or server based or sometimes even in the so called ‘cloud’ and in either case a mobile front end is a popular feature these days.

But what exactly is a PSA? What does it do? The precise feature set does in fact vary somewhat between the different PSA applications out there but core features typically found will include the likes of customer accounts/contacts (CRM), support ticket management and email handling, employee time logging and calculating labor utilization, an alerts/notification system, calendar/scheduling, contracts, billing, reporting, project management, asset tracking and more.

Another important feature in a PSA is integration with external systems which are commonly used in the industry.  For example integration with accounting software (ie. QuickBooks), remote monitoring and management  systems, etc. Such integration is often done using an API on one or both sides. An API in the PSA application also allows users to build custom add-ons and tightly integrate the PSA with their existing or custom systems, providing even more value and efficiency in workflows and business processes for those that choose to go down that path.

Using a PSA allows a service provider to work more efficiently, automatically assigning tickets and tasks to technicians, responding to client support requests in a timely manner, keeping tracking of billing,  generating complex reports on all aspects of the business, while having all relevant information easily to hand,  which combines to produce more billable hours for the company and also happier customers who are getting a better level of service.

Once a PSA tool has been properly implemented in a business it quickly becomes the core application or hub around which all others are built and integrate with. Customers, vendors, employees and even sub-contractors all interact with it in symbiosis. In effect it is the nerve center of the service providers business without which the company simply isn’t able to function to anywhere near capacity.

 

Welcome to Tools for IT Services

Tools for IT ServicesWelcome to the Tools for IT Services blog where we will talk about and review many of the essential tools of the trade. Everything from software to hardware to services and online communities and resources which many in the industry find invaluable whether they be technicians for MSP’s or computer repair shops or running their own IT services business.

Needless to say, software for the busy IT shop or MSP includes the likes of professional services automation (PSA), accounting (such as the ubiquitous Quickbooks) and Outlook (or something of that ilk) amongst others and we will write about several.

Hardware used by IT people these days naturally includes smartphones and increasingly popular tablets of one kind or another combined with handy apps for testing, diagnosis, research and even PDF signing. But there’s more which can usually be found in a techs toolbox such as a multimeter, cable testers, screwdrivers and spanners and of course a few spare cables.

Web based services or “SaaS” to use the buzzword du jour, cloud based or otherwise, are all the rage these days and there are many which are used in this industry which offer such things as accounting, time tracking, monitoring/RMM and more. Which are the best? We’ll give you our opinions soon..

The web is all about communities and there are millions out there covering every imaginable interest from the narrowest niche for a specific app or component to the broadest general IT related community. Such communities can be based on forums or social network groups or even email lists and over time they become a vast treasure trove of knowledge from previous discussions and answers but also from existing active members who respond to requests for help or advice.

We will also cover industry news and events as well as discuss trends and changes in the IT services world.

Hopefully you will stick around or come back again to read our articles as we continue to update this site over time and if there’s anything you’d like us to cover – give us a shout!