My top 5 recommendations for PSA implementation preparations
Adam Hay is Senior Operations Director of Jellyfish.com where his focus is to ensure the global adoption of their Professional Services Automation (PSA) platform and empowerment across all staff. Adam is focused on transitioning outdated workflows towards a more autonomous world that delivers real-time intelligence information for key stakeholders, teams, and individuals across Jellyfish.
If you are an organisation that is planning a Professional Services Automation (PSA) implementation and is looking for renewed confidence or a little encouragement, here are my top five recommendations that I hope can support your journey towards a successful implementation.
1. Be bold about change and why you need it
No one should forget all the hard work that has been put into driving your organisations front and back office to date. In many cases this has been achieved through many disparate systems, an extensive catalogue of spreadsheets and procedural knowledge locked away within individuals or siloed teams. There does however come a stage when this effort becomes unscalable and data becomes fragmented. Band-aids are put on cracks, communication fades, costs increase and multiple initiatives across internal teams have no common link. Not only that, individual talent is inefficiently used to keep things afloat, rather than excelling personal growth and value exchange.
If this sounds familiar, you already know why you need a professional services automation solution. You want a 360-degree view of your customers whilst uniting sales teams, service teams and finance teams through a single source of truth, one data set, and one common interface. You will likely be searching for a vision that amplifies transformation, not just a shiny new piece of technology to add to your existing portfolio of platforms and apps.
Avoid the urge to simply drag and drop your outdated processes and procedures. Assess what you actually need to drive your business from launch, not what you think you need or want. Don’t think about what you may lose, think about what you will gain and share this consistently throughout your implementation.
Use the opportunity to be led by a PSA solution that is designed to simplify and automate your front and back office. Combine this with a clear vision that commands the attention for transformation and you will be rewarded with an implementation that has more successes than challenges.
2. Bring your people on the journey
I often remind myself that change is a team sport. One individual alone can not effect change regardless of the scale. Yes, they can set a path with clear goals and objectives, inspire individuals and teams, and be the face of your organisation’s PSA solution. Success however is achieved through the people involved across the entire organisation and a PSA implementation should not be perceived as belonging to one group.
Remember all that hard work that is going into your existing processes and procedures, even if it’s not the most effective or efficient method? Get these individuals or teams involved from the start. Make them feel part of the process so that they can share insight into their day to day and give them roles that will lead to them becoming strong advocates. You aren’t replacing these individuals with simplified methods and automation, rather providing an opportunity to build newer skills and experiences in both technology and business transformation.
3. Change management is your key to success
Do not underestimate the value of a clear change management strategy. Not only for the lead-up to launch but for the future as well. There are many methodologies out there, pick one that fits your organisation and stick to it.
PSA topics will often be seen as dry subjects to many of your staff, seek ways to make your engagement with them as fun as possible or use current events or trends to engage with your audience. However, not all audiences will be the same especially when dealing with languages and cultures across international regions. Be prepared to be diverse and selective about what and how you introduce PSA as a topic. I often find that telling a story and using an illustrative approach works with most audiences.
If you have an in-house Change Management team use them religiously to support you and the team. In house teams can help to take the weight out of your transformation and give the correct levels of guidance about when and how to engage with staff and your stakeholders.
Just because you have the skill and knowledge to manage a PSA roll out doesn’t always mean you have to be an expert in change management too. As I said, change is a team sport and requires a collection of skill sets to succeed. Get support from your organisation even if that means 3rd party sources.
4. Create content that will drive ongoing user adoption
Build a platform for self learning and/or provide a gateway to further support. Don’t expect everything to be inch perfect at launch or even months after. People will miss things, overlook announcements, require retraining or even be completely oblivious to the change (Yes it can happen). New starters will most likely be joining your organisation and will be starting from scratch so make sure your content supports beginners and advanced users.
Create content that can support the most common areas of your system so that it helps to reduce the reliance on multiple virtual or in-person meetings. You will need to provide specific content about how certain users groups can succeed in their roles and lean on your core delivery teams (such as Project Management) to collaborate and align on best practices.
Don’t forget that your new starters may have come from organisations who share the common challenges of data being held across multiple platforms or spreadsheets, so where possible, share your reasons for investing in a PSA solution and get them excited about starting something new and becoming promoters.
5. Launch a minimum viable configuration without compromising reporting
Don’t look to launch the perfect configuration, it will likely cost you time and money, and potentially overwhelm users. Make sure you test, analyse and refine key functionality before looking to optimise. Be patient with aspects of your organisation that might not be able to transition to PSA right away, this is where you may need to launch multiple MVPs in phases to ensure proper user adoption and cohesion.
What I strongly advise however is that you consider what reporting you will need as early as possible. Do not leave reporting to the last minute or expect your configuration to automatically provide that one report you have always relied upon historically. At the same time be open to new ways of looking at your data, whether that be a new calculation or visualisation.
Ultimately, your aim should be to improve business agility through real-time reporting and dashboards. In order to achieve this pay close attention to your design decisions when implementing PSA. Your stakeholders will immediately notice the return of investment if you do.