A common arrangement we see in software companies is the system separation between:
- Help Desk;
- Quote and Order Management;
- Feature Management;
- Task/Sprint Management; and
- Time recording
So, why does this matter? You’ve bought the market leader in each category and you’re operating each using the best practice; the problem is sorted.
Well it matters because:
- Your data is not joined up; and
- You’re spending more money than you need to on admin software
Let’s take a simple common case and look at what happens.
A customer phones up to report a bug. The help desk dutifully logs the call in the help desk system and investigates the issue. But, in this case, it turns out that the issue is actually a feature request not a bug. The ticket is passed to sales to quote for the feature (or perhaps just added to the roadmap backlog). Anyway, assuming this is funded work, sales close the order and the time is added to a feature project in the time recording system. The project manager has to add a feature to the feature management (project management) system, with a reference back to the original call, the order and the timesheet task the developer will book his time to. He then adds the feature to the developer’s back-log tracker and includes it in a sprint. The developer builds the feature, hopefully recording his time against the correct task in the time recording system. In due course, the feature goes live and the project manager releases the billing to the client. Then they have to ensure the records are all cleaned up and closed off, including the original ticket.
Not bad if there is only one of these flying around, but how do you handle 100s, some of which overlap, some are duplicates from the same or different customers etc. Why are you paying the Project Manager to administer data in up to five separate systems? Is that the best use of their time?
So, you spend money integrating the flows between these systems, you need to add the right status triggers and potentially build five different interfaces, including the error handling (people always forget error handling on interfaces…). All of this just to deal with small billable feature requests. Now, suppose you want to charge support on that feature, that needs to go into the contract management system (often a spreadsheet) and be reflected where it all began, in the Help Desk system so when they cancel support payments you know not to answer tickets on it. And I’ve not even discussed customer UAT!!
This is what best practice looks like in many software companies. Issues re-keyed, left open, not cleaned up, opportunities for billable work missed... best practice, really?
No, the best practice is to have all these functions in a single system, where data flows are designed to suit the way you like to work, nothing is rekeyed, quotes can be raised directly against tickets and timesheet bookings are made on tickets directly off the develop’s backlog work list, supported by products that incorporate support contract billing elements.
Harmony encapsulates this entire process, on a global basis with a single instance solution. If you really want to run your business using the best practice, call us and we will explain how we can streamline your processes and also save you a ton of money.
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. HBS is an independent company based in the UK. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter or LinkedIn