Success Pillars to PSA Transformation

February 5, 2019 Philippe Girard

A group of people sitting around a table discussing PSA Transformation Ideas

The most common question we get during any Professional Service Automation transformation is: “What best practices do you recommend to make this a success?” 

Truth be told, each customer is unique, yet despite this, they’re pursuing similar outcomes, including: 

  • Increased forecast visibility 
  • Optimized resource management 
  • Reduced cost of production
  • Increased user adoption  
  • Consistent margin contribution 

However, challenging the status quo requires a true partnership with customers and diving deep into business challenges and opportunities before even starting to talk technology. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn about the Appirio Success Pillars of FinancialForce PSA Transformation and how to get the most out of your PSA solution. 

Keep it Simple.

Complexity is the enemy of getting things done. Too often, customers want to over-engineer and solve each edge case.This mindset often causes them to drift into non-value adding activities that keep them from solving their real business problems. 

At Appirio, we challenge this ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ mentality with a phase-driven approach to implementation. We recommend going live with an MVP and moving onto a quick Phase 2 to address lessons learned and to further advance solution capabilities, and your organization’s mission.

Why? A phase-driven approach reduces the cost of implementation and ‘potential’ problems with a customer-centric budget that focuses on real fixes and adjustments driven by user adoption.

Don't Overdo it.

Everyone loves a good whiteboard, and there’s nothing wrong with that! However, too much whiteboarding can be dangerous because it encourages over-engineering a process or creating one that doesn’t fit within the FinancialForce solution. 

Whiteboarding is powerful when it’s used to think through an actual solution. 
Play your process out within PSA and learn your PSA solution, early and often. It won’t be perfect, but you’ll get a better sense of what’s possible. This will also inform how to best align your adoption and change management strategies.

Appirio developed a methodology with a pre-configured package of configurations and processes, called Foundation, which enables our customers to understand the art of the possible early in the Plan & Architecture phase. 

A diagram illustration the phases of The Appirio Way methodology


The Appirio Way methodology project launch steps and planning


The Appirio Way Architect Activities diagram


Focus on the Early Sales Lifecycle

Let’s be honest, a service unit is dependant on sales. Our revenue is tied to non-repetitive (for the most part) net new services, change orders, and upsells. Having the right data at the right time and putting it into your PSA system will be a major accelerator of your transformation. 
Pursuit Management should be the first process looked at when transforming any business. 

What are the costs of ‘bad’ or ‘late’ data? Increased lead time and mismatches between resource requests and service team capacity. Appirio recommends including service people in the sales cycle as early as possible to enable resource requests and build a bottom-up estimate before the cycle closes. A common solution is enabling Planning Projects and building your Resource and Financial estimate from there. 

Big Bad Customization 
“Oh no, customizations are scary, we don’t want any!” is the second most repeated phrase in a transformation project.

Generally, with legacy platforms, customization is a pain point for support, upgrades, and the overall cost of ownership. However, we see automation in three different ways:

Change to the model: Changing the model is not recommended in any FinancialForce project (at least not for an MVP). Adding a few objects and fields is common and shouldn’t be avoided. However, globally changing the PSA schema is something Appirio strongly advises against doing.

Automate the transition: Automating certain steps, like Project Creation, can save time on tedious, non-value-adding activities. The ROI on small-to-medium automation vs the time and cost of manual labor is well worth the investment. 

Modify the view: In some cases, it may be worthwhile to change the views of pages where you enter information. Reducing the number of screens and clicks helps increase adoption, but be careful to not redesign the overall UX based on something like color scheme!

The key to a successful project is to focus on delivering value early, even if this means taking a step back to move forward. Taking a phase-driven approach helps get your project go live faster and gain more insights into how users are adopting the new platform. Remember, you can always add new functionalities and features as your needs change and grow. 

We hope our guiding principles to PSA transformation have shed some light on common IT myths. One of our subsequent blog posts will delve deeper into our Foundation offering and how it can maximize your service investment and reduce total cost of ownership. Stay tuned!

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About the Author

Philippe Girard

Philippe Girard, a veteran in technology and the professional service space, has an acute understanding of customer needs and tailoring the right solution. Working mostly in the Enterprise space, Phil has been laser-focused on FinancialForce PSA and Salesforce Sales Cloud.

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