We understand that this is an oft misquoted translation of "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" supposedly said by Marie Antoinette when told that the poor people of Paris had no bread to eat. Obviously this apocryphal story was used to highlight how out of touch the royal family was to the plight of the working classes and hence fuel the revolution.
And is nothing whatsoever to do with PSA tools.
Well a recent enquiry reminded us of this snippet of political history so we thought we’d widen the conversation into a more general one about how out of touch some people are about what is important when selecting PSA tools.
This enquiry (usefully) had a long list of must-have features, together with a far shorter list of nice to have ones. So far, so normal. Scanning the must-haves, one feature jumped out…
“Can I store my employees’ date of birth and use this to notify HR to buy them a cake for their birthday?”
Well, actually, the answer for HarmonyPSA was “Yes you can”. Our combination of secure custom fields with their bespoke security model (so only HR can see or edit fields if you wish) and a fully configurable notification rules engine with custom tag-driven content allows you to create this cake function in a matter of a minute or so. You could even create a personal Kanban board column that provides a listing of the cake events for the next quarter if you wish. Indeed, with the baker as an external contact in the system, Harmony could auto-generate the order email if you wished, thus saving HR time.
So, we have all the cake functionality you could wish for, in case you wondered. Which means you can have it and eat it.
Now the real point of this blog. What should matter to you when selecting a PSA system?
We doubt that many people reading this have ever sat down and written the essentials of a good PSA, so we thought we’d have a go now that we’ve settled the cake debate. Most requirements lists we get are a list of features that combine essential stuff with things people think they need or would love to see. Advanced ones even provide weightings. But what they all lack is any sense of business architecture, any cohesion of what it takes to run (and future-proof) a business. It is all too easy to dive into extraneous detail and, to paraphrase, examine a leaf while buying the wrong wood.
In the way of these things, we’ll express the key requirements in terms of the 6 Fs (that we just invented):
- Functional: clearly the system has to do what you need, but don’t try to write your own specification for a PSA. These tools evolve over years of feedback from many businesses for a reason. Really this is a simple check-list of the features you use a lot and wish to see incorporated, features that would be painful to have to do outside. Plus try to stay high level - you are not designing a system, merely stating your needs.
- Financial: this is not obvious, but the system needs to support (and account for) the different ways you sell (and buy) good and services. This one is essential but rarely mentioned. If you operate annual billing prepayment funds, make sure that you mention it as that behaviour is more than just a note on the order, it requires sophisticated balance sheet accounting.
- Flexible: you may decide (or need) to change your operation tomorrow, can your PSA adapt? These changes can include new service types, new workflows, new product offerings, new geographies, new currencies, new acquisitions etc. Don’t buy a system that prevents you taking advantage of opportunity or defending a business threat.
- Future Proof: is your choice of system fully future-proofed against both your plans and the trends in the industry? Find out the latest trends and challenge the provider as to how well they deal with these. The more modern the system, the more likely it is to be looking to the future, not mired in the past
- Fast: get your hands on the system and see how fast it is. If it hangs or is slow to respond, you will quickly grow to hate it and regret buying; and lastly
- Forest: (OK we cheated a little on this one) but the point is to stand back and look at the big picture, not dive down a functional rabbit hole (“I like the timesheets but can they be Pink?”). It is way more important to ensure the system you buy is a good fit for your overall business, now and in the future, than searching for the last elusive tick-box option that you fancy using
The message here is buy for the big picture, buy for the future, buy to allow your business to grow and evolve but don’t expect everything - you’re not paying to develop it, only to use it.
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