Those of you who know about the full-stack PSA market (that is Professional Service Automation solutions with integrated service desk) will also know that for the past 20 odd years, the market has been dominated by two large players to the extent that should be viewed as a duopoly.
These early solutions embody thinking that goes back 30 years and so should be considered first-generation PSA systems. They were built to address the first generation MSP world that exploded into life to support the advent of personal and business computing in the 1980s and 1990s.
That world was largely unconnected, where software came on disks, where hardware was very expensive and, having more moving parts than today, broke down a lot. A world without today’s preventive tooling, where back-ups were taken on physical storage devices and switchboards sat in large cabinets.
They did a great job, recording incidents and billing those incidents at a nice steady hourly rate. A world where break/fix business models dominated. A world largely without contracts.
A world without the cloud, for all its benefits and threats.
In spite of all the features they have released and user interface refreshes they have been through, the DNA of these two systems remains designed to support break/fix delivery. The phrase “without a ticket, it doesn’t exist” is commonly used to describe this way of working.
Over the past 10 years the world has become connected and to address today’s on-line needs, cloud solutions have emerged. The emphasis has shifted from waiting for things to break to ensuring they don’t. The emergence of social media, internet threats, ransomware as a serve, a massive focus on cyber security, GDPR etc means that today’s MSP is no longer the technician of the 80s, they are the trusted advisor and business partner, software consultant and security expert.
- Today’s MSP’s objective is to prevent incidents happening, making a business model that relies on incident billing a terrible way to run a business.
- Today’s MSP’s bill against contracts that are, in effect, preventative insurance policies. Where in the past, they relied on fixing things to make money, today they are more profitable when nothing goes wrong. A total shift in emphasis that many are still grappling with.
- Today’s MSP needs a contract-based PSA system where assets are under contract, incidents record against contracts and contract profitability is available on demand and in real time.
After years of having life within the duopoly largely unthreatened, software challengers are now emerging. These are built to work on mobile devices, with cleaner UI’s and improved user experiences. Systems that use modern open-source coding tools with restful API’s, systems that on the face of it look like the next generation of PSA software. However, while the UI may be modern, the core business architecture of most still revolves largely around making money from break/fix effectiveness.
We are proud to have built Harmony specifically to address the second generation MSP/MSSP contract-based business model. For that reason, we believe we are the only true 'next-generation' PSA.
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