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Top 10 Steps To Choosing The Right PSA/Practice Management Solution

Paul Church, IRIS PROJECTminder.


Selecting the right solution for your business can be a minefield. The following are some pointers to help you get the product that is right for you with the minimum of fuss.

  1. Prioritise. Internally agree what you are looking to automate, and prioritise these requirements. This process will help both you and the suppliers ensure the right fit between their product and your needs. Even if at the end of the day you do not make a change, reviewing your internal processes may lead to some improvements.
  2. Buy-in. Pick a product steering group that includes people from across the business who will either use or be affected by the implementation of a new system. This will also ensure that you have staff buy-in from your team – this is essential to the success of the project.
  3. Requirements. Look at your requirements against the suppliers’ feature lists. If resource planning is top of the list do not get swayed by some fancy accounting features – at the end of the day the product you chose must deliver significant benefits to your business.
  4. 4. Culture. Do not underestimate how the culture of the company will be affected by implementing a new system. There may be some concern that the new system is a bit ‘Big Brother’ – you should explain to the staff your rationale for the change and how it will benefit them and the company. Doing this means your implementation is more likely to succeed – no timesheets, no reports and no invoices = no return on investment.
  5. Expertise. Pick a supplier that has expertise in your industry. There are many generalists out there who will claim to ‘bespoke’ their product for you. Don’t go there! This can be a long, painful process requiring a huge investment of your time, and due to this can often lead to failure. Ask for relevant case studies of comparable-sized companies who had the same issues as you.
  6. Delivery. There are various options for how you access many PSA products…client/server, thin-client or web-based. All have their pros and cons but the general trend is to the web-based offering as it is more flexible, cost-effective and the least hassle to implement.
  7. Integration. The aim of a PSA system is to minimise data entry – look at what the supplier can integrate with, to ensure maximum efficiency.
  8. Planning. Be realistic about the time it will take for a PSA system to be fully up and running and how much involvement will be required internally. It can take anything from four weeks to 12 months for any product to be totally up to speed. Appropriate planning in the set-up process will lead to a much more robust system in the long term. Ask the advice of the implementation team as they will have done this many times before.
  9. Support. Ensure that your supplier will provide you with timely ongoing support once you have implemented the product. Most of your support issues will arise in the early stages as you get to grips with the system. Many suppliers charge additional fees for support but do not have dedicated staff on hand to help you. For dedicated assistance from a person that guides you through your implementation and beyond, you should choose a supplier with a dedicated ‘account manager’ support structure.
  10. Supplier stability. Pick a supplier that has the resources to be able to support all its clients, whilst still having a dedicated development team for producing new versions of the software. Small companies are often very keen to ‘bend over backwards’ for new clients; but make sure they have the financial and staff resources for customer support and product development when you are no longer a new client and the honeymoon period is over.

The solution

Over the past five years, IRIS PROJECTminder has invested significantly in the development of PROJECTminder, a hosted, web-based project management and professional services automation package specifically designed to meet the needs of architects, engineers, management and IT consultants.

This investment has secured in excess of 250 clients and over 7,000 users in total. Such experience has allowed the IRIS PROJECTminder team to become fully conversant with the day-to-day issues faced by organisations positioned within our target vertical markets.

PROJECTminder is dedicated to helping professional services organisations become more successful through improving and simplifying the way that projects are secured, costed, resourced, run and invoiced. These improvements have proven to increase profitability and productivity.

* To find out more visit www.iris.co.uk/projectminder or contact the business development team on +44 (0)844 815 5710.

 

 

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