We are often approached by companies who have failed to implement PSA solutions, not once, but sometimes two or even three times in the past. That made me wonder whether there are common threads that may help prevent others following that path, wasting time and money on an abandoned implementation. The following are the four most common pitfalls we see in getting a PSA solution working correctly.
First, the most common root cause of failure seems to be the simplest, work gets in the way!
Implementing new business software takes time and clear commitment. It will distract you from your day to day business, but if done properly, it will be worth it. Don’t expect people to be able to do this without some impact on their day job. Put someone on the project to lead the effort and try to protect their time from client business distractions. Empower them and have them report to the person running the business so they have a clear mandate and the authority to make it happen. If you are the owner or CEO, trust them to get it right and provide them with clear guidelines within which to operate. Explain this to your management team and secure their complete agreement. Then follow-up weekly on progress and blockages.
The next most common problem quoted is that the software purchased did fit the business well enough. While no software can possibly eliminate all your spreadsheets and manual processing, you have every right to expect that they will diminish in number and importance if you’ve chosen well. Finding, a few months later, that they are still there either means the system is missing key functionality, or the implementation has taken an easy route and avoided some process on-boarding. The answer to this pitfall is to do your best to document your business and billing processes before approaching the market. Many vendors will tell you how the software works, rather than ask you how you work. You need to get the conversation on your terms, and this means preparation. But be realistic, separate out the functionality you cannot survive without from the things you’d love but will actually save you little or no time in practice. Once the conversation gets distracted by nice-to-have features, you have less time to explore the areas that are essential. Fail in this and you’ll only discover the gaps once you’ve bought the wrong software and wasted time trying to make it work.
The third theme we hear about is data. A fully formed PSA solution will only work well with a very high standard of data. Spreadsheets and other disjointed process solutions can live with noise in the data as it is not aligned very often. Plus this alignment is probably done manually so some degree of cleaning is acknowledged. If the data is end-to-end across your business, it has to be clean and up to date. Putting bad old data in a new system will turn users off, giving rise to frustration and push-back from use. Take the time to get your data clean and the new solution will engage people immediately.
Lastly, poor vendor support is often quoted as a reason for failure. We would never talk negatively about the other players we compete with, only to suggest that poor vendor support can be as much about the pull from the customer as the push from the vendor. So agree a schedule for vendor engagement, training etc and stick to it. That’s better for you and also easier for the vendor to manage. Remember, they want you to succeed so don’t give them any excuse to abandon you to your own devices.
At Harmony, we take each new prospect engagement very seriously. We want to understand your problems, what has driven you to the market and how Harmony can be used to improve your business. So, if you’ve had a failed project, don’t give up, contact us today and discuss about how it may be better the second (or even third) time around.
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter, LinkedIn or Website