Service-oriented businesses rely on a very specific resource: the workforce. Questions such as, “who’s the most appropriate employee to fulfill an order”, and “how to best provide him/her with order tracking information?” are commonplace in an industry where real-time tracking of human behavior is a must.
When small companies start growing, answering these questions becomes unavoidable — and that’s when Professional Services Automation (PSA) becomes essential.
When planning PSA deployment, you have two options: buy a ready-made SaaS (Software as a Service, aka a licensed solution), or develop custom (on-demand) software.
Ready-made software is usually suitable for a small business that employs < 50 employees and follows traditional business processes. However, as the company grows and the business processes become more customized, tailoring operations to a “rigid” software might quickly become inefficient. In this situation, midsized and large companies are wise to contract IT outsourcing companies for customized PSA software development. In fact, some PSA solutions end up being so flexible and efficient that it's not uncommon for the company to resell them to other parties within the same industry.
PSA, like all ERP systems either ready-made or on-demand, are often modular. Due to their fast iterative development process, you only get what you presently need. Every module works independently, bringing immediate value to your business. Adding “as needed” functionalities to PSA software is easy and fast.
The golden rule says that data and a system’s logic must be built separately from their representation. This way, many applications and websites can access the same core data structure through a set of APIs, independent of how frequently they’re upgraded or renewed.
Ubiquitous access (smartphones, tablets, PDAs, laptops and PCs) is particularly important for web-based architecture. When that’s in place, any reliable outsourcing provider can build mobile companion apps for both iPhone and Android to supplement the desktop versions of your PSA or Field Service Management (FSM) solution. Mobile applications including digital pen functions might also have an edge when it comes to reducing paperwork and data input time.
A PSA can either be industry-specific or generic. The broadest classification divides PSAs into two categories: by field (i.e. plumbers, electricians, utility, audit and consultancy personnel) and by office services (i.e. accounting, advertising, IT, marketing).
While every industry-specific PSA has its own nuances, there are many common challenges that all businesses face, such as:
Geolocation tracking helps dispatchers and managers pick the right employee (in terms of both skill-set and proximity) for the job, and helps ensure that schedules are respected.
Scheduling is the core activity for service providers, whose top priority is making sure all users are on the same page. When a manager, field employee or client accesses an order’s details and make changes, it’s vital that all devices are promptly updated.
Every new order must be delivered to the field technician, either by push notification, e-mail or SMS. The technician should approve it and, when appropriate, be reminded (with an alert) to perform a specific action.
After an order is received, assigned and approved, a job card is automatically created. Its purposes are time and expense tracking, and, via integration with other PSA modules, automated invoicing and billing.
Scheduling and job card modules can be integrated with the employee cards module, which tracks the number of work hours and forwards them to a payroll system.
An employee profile contains information on the worker’s schedule, current availability, utilization, client feedback, and full project history. This data helps to understand the employee’s interests, improve his/her motivation, and manage the entire workforce more effectively.
Integrating with supplier catalogues can improve inventory-related tasks, such as obtaining items at a better price, or automatically re-stocking when a product reaches a certain threshold.
Whenever something is purchased, all the relevant information is directly imported into the inventory module. If needed, a barcode can be created for each item and scanned with a special device, so that if an employee takes an item, it can be automatically assigned to him/her and subtracted from storage.
It goes without saying that account tracking, automated invoice creation, instant delivery, and billing status tracking help reduce accounting expenses and time-to-payment.
Your customers expect fast online access to everything. With the right PSA, your client’s profile can include contacts, order history, job status reports, invoice status and more. Additional modules dedicated to sales management, certifications, and employee collaboration can be built to ensure seamless communication across your workforce, and between your workforce and your clients.
A PSA’s main goal is to reduce paperwork and operational costs, prevent inefficiencies, theft and loss of resources, and increase employee motivation and customer retention. How would we sum up a PSA’s core objective? “Revenue increase”!
Sibers’ experience in the service industry dates back to 2001. Over the years, our projects have covered healthcare, printing, telecom, marketing, production, utility services, and a variety of other PSA solutions for both startups and big businesses. Our solutions range from basic web-order systems for small firms, to complex intranets and fully-loaded management systems for huge enterprises.
One of our solutions, developed for an Australian commercial utility service, includes a web-based field personnel management system, a mobile application for field utilization, and digital pen/digital paper form integration. The solution has worked so well that our client now offers it as an SaaS to 200+ companies.
To learn more about our track record of developing top-notch technology solutions for the service industry, please see our Case Studies.
The project Vitralogy is truly exceptional. In the first place, it deals with the deadly infection outbreak striking the streets of New York. It is also an inspiring story of giving up everything and starting over.Case study in details
While doing his business, our client, a talented engineer and entrepreneur, came across the problem of finding appropriate copywriters, thus decided to create the most convenient content marketplace ever.Case study in details
This project is all about Canada’s undying love for hockey. Our client came to us for a solution to the following dilemma: how could busy parents of young hockey players stay abreast of their child’s performance? The answer? Capture the games on video.Case study in details
GPS satellite signals aren’t yet reliable enough to penetrate the walls of public indoor environments like malls, entertainment venues, casinos, hotel and resort facilities, and hospitals. Moreover, existing non-GPS solutions are rarely precise — which is why our client’s solution, which boasts a horizontal accuracy of 1-3 meters, has swiftly captured considerable market share.Case study in details
Three years later, we’ve not only built a system that enables single sign-on for the company’s staff on a variety of websites, but we have also created a variety of tools, ranging from management software for business operations, to custom POS devices.Case study in details
Connexiti is a massive financial analysis system that Sibers developed for a client which has since been acquired by Bloomberg L.P. The Connexiti platform allows its users to create customized portfolios, organize and upload company models and research, and filter and tag relevant news articles from thousands of global sources. This helps investors better understand money flows between companies on a global basis and make predictive stock calls.Case study in details
This project, which has won multiple awards and scholarships, was launched in the Netherlands by two brothers, who are the two biggest 3D technology enthusiasts we’ve ever met. As with almost every game engine, their offering, Logos3D, began as an internal project intended to help the brothers create their own games. Later it grew into a comprehensive proprietary middleware for creating lush, natural 3D virtual environments ideal for games, interactive simulators, and research tools. Indeed, Logos3D’s application field is very diverse.Case study in details
Back in 1996 our American client, Rob, founded a huge online sound effects library that also contains production music, samples, and loops. Rob started his business long before iTunes appeared, and he is still riding high.Case study in details
Our client was an Australian IT specialist tasked by his brother to automate the latter’s service business: electricians and plumbers. Due to excessive paperwork and a sub-optimal workflow, tradies jobs weren’t meeting revenue expectations.
Sibers multi-faceted solution automates a tradies service’s management and tracks all instruments and materials, whether in-facility or on a service car.Case study in details
Paramedics gained reliable Intranet access from their mobile devices, and patients received a branded, easy-to-use, time-saving application for their health management. The end-result for the client was increased customer loyalty, higher employee satisfaction, and financial security for the business’s non-emergency transportation branch.Case study in details
Colorado Timberline’s facilities are now shipping over a million units per year. Sibers’ platform has helped the company position itself among the custom apparel design field’s top players, turning it into a wholesale print-on-garment enterprise offering inkjet printing, sublimation, laser etching and embroidery.Case study in details
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