Professional Services Automation (PSA) supports Managed Service Providers. There are two groups of software needed by MSPs – PSA is one of them and the other is Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM).
While RMM provides the tools that technicians use in the day-to-day support of the IT systems of the MSP’s clients, the PSA package includes the personnel and contract tracking systems that the management of the MSP needs in order to ensure profitability.
Here is our list of the six best PSA software for MSPs:
- SuperOps PSA EDITOR’S CHOICE This SaaS package provides all of the support systems needed to run a managed service provider, including a full Service Desk module. Start a 14-day free trial.
- N-able MSP Manager (FREE TRIAL) A support system for the managers of an MSP that integrates with the N-able RMM. A cloud-based subscription service that can easily be white-labeled. You can start with a 14-day free trial.
- Atera A combined PSA and RSA package that is available in the cloud and charged for by subscription.
- Kaseya BMS A cloud-based PSA system that compliments the RMM Kaseya VSA.
- ConnectWise Manage SaaS platform or on-premises software with a companion RMM system. The on-site version installs on Windows Server.
- Autotask PSA This is a cloud-based system with excellent dataflows. It is a companion to Datto RMM.
Typical PSA software features
The benefit of off-the-shelf PSA systems is that they provide a template for the business management of an MSP. This makes it a lot easier for an experienced technician, or a group of qualified IT professionals to set up in business as an MSP.
- Work distribution
- Service level agreement (SLA) goal tracking
- Recording of billable hours
- Contract management
- Labor utilization
- Capacity planning
The PSA package fills in the business management knowledge that dedicated technical experts are not likely to have acquired during their careers.
Running a managed service provider
Anyone interested in setting up an MSP to offer IT professional expertise on a contract would need to invest in a PSA system and an RMM. Some software providers offer a bundle that includes both groups of software, offering all of the software support that the new MSP is going to need.
It is now possible to create a virtual office with each technician working from home. That scenario cuts costs and enables new startups to be very competitively priced. There are cloud-based PSA packages available that remove the need to buy a server to host the software. Removing that requirement takes away the necessity of scheduling non-billable tasks to maintain the MSP’s own systems.
Subscription-based SaaS PSA’s make starting up and running an MSP even easier because the business does not need to have any investors to cover the upfront costs of buying equipment, renting premises, or purchasing software. Thanks to off-the-shelf PSA and RMM systems, an RMM can start operations almost immediately. All it needs are the clients.
The best PSA software for MSPs
We have examined the PSAs currently available and drawn up a shortlist of the winners.
You can read more about each of these PSA packages in the following sections.
SuperOps.ai provides a suite of software that supports a typically managed service provider (MSP). This package includes remote monitoring and management (RMM) systems for use by technicians when running the systems of clients. The platform also includes a professional services automation (PSA) bundle.
SuperOps PSA includes a full Service Desk module that helps the demands on a team of technicians to be managed and tasks for the team can be properly organized. Runbooks provide workflows for technicians to work through as they solve a user request. Each technician gets a dashboard with a list of tasks, the progress on each, and the tasks that remain to be performed.
A Client Management module within the PSA maintains a database of contacts and interaction logs for clients and also collects contracts for reference. This is where you set your service level agreements and measure performance against them. Automated billing is also included in this module.
A Project Management module allows the technician team manager to automate ticket routing and progress tracking. This can be adjusted to allow manual intervention and reallocation of tickets.
The modules of the PSA system all fit together to exchange data and automate actions. For example, the Project Management module is influenced by SLA expectations within the Client Management system. Similarly, the Client Management module receives performance summaries for reference when communicating with the client.
Tasks such as billing are also automated with data that is logged automatically in the Service Desk module for technician timesheets being fed through to the invoicing system. The billing service doesn’t actually handle the invoice creation system itself. However, you can choose to integrate QuickBooks for that purpose, which is available as a paid add-on in the SuperOps Marketplace. This is an example of how SuperOps can be adapted because it is also possible to use an accounting package of your own choice instead.
By providing both an RMM and a PSA in one platform, SuperOps is able to provide more of a closed-loop system that can be achieved when sourcing those two packages from different providers.
- Service Desk
- Project Management
- Client Management
- Workflow automation and technician scripts
- An associated RMM
The SuperOps PSA service is available in four packages. All of them are subscription bundles. The first of these is the Solo plan. This offers the full PSA and RMM package but for only one technician. That edition would be of interest to independent freelance technicians who juggle clients or serve the general public on an ad-hoc basis.
Three plans are available for MSPs. The first of these is a PSA-only package, called Starter. Next up is the Growth plan. This includes both the PSA and RMM packages but without the Project Management and IT Documentation modules. The top plan is called Premium and it includes all of the PSA and RMM modules that SuperOps offers.
All plans can be paid for annually or monthly, with the rate per month working out cheaper on the yearly plan. Prices are set per technician and the Solo version is free for the first year. You can get a 14-day free trial of any of the editions.
SuperOps PSA is our top pick for a PSA service because it is a hosted SaaS system, so your MSP technicians don’t have to waste time installing or maintaining the software for it. The system includes a great many time-savers through its task automation and data exchange mechanisms. This PSA system is available in four editions that cater to organizations of different sizes, including independent freelance technicians.
Start a 14-day free trial: superops.ai/signup
N-able MSP Manager is part of the N-able family of products that includes N-able RMM. Typically, an MSP would need both of these modules. Anyone who subscribes to both services gets the benefit of information flows that cross easily between the two modules.
- Ticketing system
- Mobile access for sales staff
- Client database
- 14-day free trial
While N-able RMM provides the tools that technicians use to maintain a client’s system and support that client’s users, N-able MSP Manager has the system that manages the workload of those technicians. The main utility in the package for team management is a ticketing system. This allocates work to each member of the support team dedicated to a particular client. It is also possible to have one team of technicians supporting several different clients.
The ticketing system tags the client on each task and the effort used to complete the task is recorded in the technician’s timesheet with that client identifier on it. So, the charge for completing the task goes on that client’s bill automatically.
The ticketing system is also a work scheduler and monitor. The team manager is able to see whether there are team members who are underutilized or whether the team is too small to address all tasks in a timely manner. That information enables the business’s managers to decide on whether to hire more staff. It also helps them to see what spare capacity they have when they pitch for new clients.
Other features in the N-able MSP Manager include a client database. The information in that system not only supports the sales staff, but it includes a store of all of the passwords needed to access the client’s system. These credentials are transmitted through the system, so each individual technician never gets to find out those passwords.
N-able MSP Manager is a cloud-based system, so the companies that use the system do not need to have their own IT infrastructure in order to use it. The screens for the system can be white-labeled with the subscribing MSP’s brand identifiers with no indication of SolarWinds visible anywhere on the client-facing system. N-able MSP Manager is available for a 14-day free trial.
N-able MSP Manager is a great choice for PSA software because it is a SaaS system that requires no onsite infrastructure. This enables an MSP to operate as a virtual office with remote technicians located anywhere in the world. The ticketing system provides extensive team management functions and customers that subscribe to N-able RMM get a seamless and complete MSP support system.
Start a 14-day free trial: n-able.com/products/msp-manager/trial
Atera doesn’t market individual tools – there is no Atera PSA plan or Atera RMM package. This is because the Atera service includes both PSA and RMM. So, MSPs that subscribe to Atera get all of the software that they need to run their business.
- Fully integrated PSA and RMM
- Subscription per technician
- Team management
- Customer relationship management
- 30-day free trial
Atera is a particularly good choice for startups and small MSPs because it is the complete package and new businesses don’t have to spend time researching the software market for other modules to add on. Atera is charged for by monthly subscription and there is no contract requirement or deposit needed. So, anyone can start up as a new MSP company within minutes of opening an Atera account.
Onboarding is very straightforward. When the MSP gets a new client, Atera will search through the newly connected network and track down all of the client’s devices, creating an inventory. This is a great help for sales staff who can create a preliminary contract for the client and then tighten up the details once the full scope of the new customer’s infrastructure is known. A lot of businesses don’t know exactly what equipment they have.
Atera is a SaaS system, so MSPs that use it also have all of their hardware needs taken care of. The system console with all of the RMM tools for technicians and PSA facilities for MSP management is accessible from anywhere through a standard browser. There is also a mobile app to give access to sales staff out in the field. The full system is available to all customers, charged for on a per technician basis. Atera is available for a 30-day free trial.
Kaseya is a major provider of IT monitoring and management tools and has a strong line-up of modules that are aimed at MSPs. While Kaseya BMS is a PSA service, Kaseya VSA is an RMM. Taking on both of these products produces a complete software package for an MSP.
- Service desk
- 14-day free trial
The Kaseya BMS environment is a SaaS system, based in the cloud. Customers don’t need to run their own infrastructure. As Kaseya VSA is on the same platform, MSPs using Kaseya for all their software needs do not need to run their own servers in order to support customers.
The Kaseya system includes a service desk module that is based around a ticketing system. That creates a work allocation and team management system and also enables costing estimates for current contracts and the opportunities for quotes. Information flows straight through from the team management system to the billing module. A CRM utility supports sales staff and provides a password locker for access to the systems of clients.
Kaseya has a few extra features that aren’t usually present in a PSA. These include an inventory management module that tracks the purchases and fixed assets of the MSP. This system is able to integrate other software packages, such as QuickBooks and Xero for accounting.
Kaseya BMS is available for a 14-day free trial.
ConnectWise produces Manage as a PSA and also offers Automate as an RMM. These two modules link together so information flows seamlessly between them. The ConnectWise service is a cloud-based platform but MSPs that have their own servers can choose to download the system software for on-premises installation.
- Ticketing system
- Billing and contracts
- Sales and Marketing
The ConnectWise Manage package is centered around a help desk ticketing system. This provides team management functions and produces timesheets that flow through to the system’s billing module.
ConnectWise Manage has a very good contracts module that is able to manage Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and track goal achievement through the help desk system’s performance monitors. ConnectWise is very good at creating closed-loop systems with automated data gathering and module interdependency. The connection between contract management and help desk systems in ConnectWise Manage is a good example of ConnectWise excellence at information sharing.
Other modules in the Manage system include a purchasing system, a project management module, and a sales and marketing tool.
The on-premises version of ConnectWise Manage installs on Windows Server. You can start a free trial.
Autotask is a property of Datto, which produces Datto RMM, so there is a synergy between these two packages aimed at MSPs. Both Autotask PSA and Datto RMM are cloud services, so users of these two packages don’t need to run their own servers to host the software.
- Dataflow automation
- Service Desk
Autotask PSA includes a Service Desk module that provides ticketing and team management and drives the whole PSA system’s information flows. There is also a Project Management module that supports planning and change management tasks. An Account Management system helps sales staff plan quotes and bid for work and also supports account managers in tracking SLA goals and spotting upsell opportunities. The customer contact feature of Autotask PSA is included in the Service Desk module.
The PSA helps businesses track their own costs through an Inventory and Procurement module that supports purchases and manages fixed assets. A Resource Management utility focuses on staff management, tracking staff availability by recording vacation requests, and sick days. It also includes a scheduling function that sets goal dates for project deliverables and helps managers allocate resources to achieve those goals.
All information in the system ultimately flows through to the Billing module. This system is able to stores images of relevant documents, such as receipts and contracts to enable the invoicing staff to settle any billing disputes.
Choosing PSA Software
The key to success for any MSP is having the right management procedures in place and a well-written PSA can provide those. Closed-loop systems flow help desk calls through ticketing systems, log time spent, channel through to the billing system, and end up in the accounts without any manual intervention. A good PSA takes care of all of the MSPs’ admin tasks.
Once an MSP has been running for a while, managers are in a better position to estimate quotes for new business. This is because historical data in the PSA will show exactly how much time and resources the MSP typically spends on each category of tasks and how much effort satisfying the contracts of a typical client takes.
So, getting the right PSA can ensure profitability for an MSP.