Article by Neil Stolovitsky (NetSuite PSA Professional at GURUS Solutions)

Are you looking into upgrading your ERP & PSA ecosystem to scale for long-term growth within your Services business? In this blog, you’ll learn a little bit about the history of professional services automation systems and how PSA Solutions like NetSuite and OpenAir differ from each-other, as well as how they can be leveraged in different company landscapes to handle everything from project management to time and expenses across your employees and projects. 

Table of Contents:

What is PSA (Professional Services Automation) Software?

By its simple definition, Professional Services Automation (referred to as PSA in its abbreviated form) is software built for services companies to address their specific day to day business processes and help streamline their project and resource management. It is especially common in companies with a billable staff in terms of rate management, as well as time and expenses. The right PSA will allow your business to develop metrics and quantify your core business processes in order to streamline and improve.
A PSA will accelerate processes for project management by allowing you to record time, generate in-depth billing and reporting, and integrate with your accounting (ERP) and CRM platforms.
To understand what exactly a PSA software is in a larger context and to determine if it’s right for your business, let’s take a quick trek back through time and look at the history of professional services automation.

PSA Solutions : The Early Years

With the maturity and ubiquity of enterprise software, such as ERP and CRM by the mid 1990s, there was a major technological gap in services organizations that would help create an architecture for success. 

Professional Services Automation (PSA) emerged in the late 1990s as a best-of-breed software market, geared for filling the automation gap that services organizations were facing to better serve their customers.  Originally tailored to pure-play professional services organizations selling and delivering project-based services to their customers, PSA solutions offered automation around resource management, project planning, and time and billing data capture acting as a bridge between Sales, Delivery and Accounting.  

In the early years, PSA solutions were continuously challenged with integrating on-premise systems built on varying technologies.  This reality ultimately led to a culture of delivering robust integration strategies and pre-built connectors to pave the path of least resistance on the very rocky landscape of the enterprise software marketplace that lacked standardization and the ability to embrace the Cloud to its fullest extent. 

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The Rise of the Service Economy

Fast forward 20+ years later where globalization and the “as-a-service” economy dominate the business world, professional services has become an explosive cross-vertical marketplace where the need to optimize service delivery can be seen all along the supply chain.  In order to compete in today’s highly competitive marketplace, services have become a highly desired revenue stream in a world with shrinking product margins. More importantly, the decentralization of resources in varying time zones has forced many businesses to rethink their services strategy so that they can deliver the seamless experience customers demand while maintaining their competitive cost structure.

Standardizing PSA in the Cloud

All this is to say, the “Cloud” which has made the consumer’s life easier has also raised the bar in how professional services businesses must serve their customers.  

So what does this mean for the PSA market?  

In order to maintain their competitive edge, businesses are seeking solutions that can scale with their current Cloud strategy. It is not enough to fill the missing pieces between your Front Office and Back Office systems.  In an ideal world, businesses are seeking to leverage their current Cloud investments to solve their PSA needs.  This means rolling out professional services automation within the confines of their current CRM and ERP Cloud platform which need to be intricately tied to service delivery.  

Consequently, the leading enterprise PSA vendors have gravitated to building their offerings on popular platforms such as Oracle Netsuite, Salesforce or Microsoft.  This approach has allowed professional services organizations to automate their business processes while derisking the integration challenges imminent when exchanging data from their current CRM and ERP systems.

Present Day PSA

In today’s world, most PSA vendors can claim to be a Best-of-Breed solution with expertise to tie their Cloud offering to a company’s current technology ecosystem.  At the most basic level, a viable PSA solution should deliver a powerful integration platform or pre-built connectors to adapt to a services organization’s needs. 

The Best-of-Breed vendors that rise to the top, take it a step further and deliver a PSA solution on popular enterprise ERP and CRM cloud platforms.  On the other side of the equation, there are a rising small number of integrated ERP and CRM solutions that have extended their functionality to meet PSA requirements of their customers.  

As these two worlds overlap, it is clear that the once binary world of Best-of-Breed Vs. Integrated approach to professional services automation is slowly disappearing.

NetSuite PSA:  Designed to Scale

Fortunately for Oracle NetSuite, today’s PSA market landscape fits perfectly with their current offering.  As the only vendor in the PSA market to offer multiple options along with a mix and match solution set, NetSuite PSA allows service organizations to scale with their growth by delivering Best-of-Breed, Integrated or a combination of the two to its diverse customer base.  

With NetSuite PSA your organization has the following choices:

  1. OpenAir PSA
    Best-of-Breed PSA solution that delivers enterprise-grade functionality with out-of-the-box connections to leading CRM (Salesforce) and Back Office systems (QuickBooks).  Designed for organizations that need PSA to integrate with their existing systems


  2. NetSuite SRP
    Integrated PSA solution with complete CRM and Financials on a single platform.  Designed for organizations that are seeking an ERP system that has PSA extended capabilities
  3. OpenAir + NetSuite ERP
    Fully integrated Best-of-Breed PSA solution built on the NetSuite ERP platform delivering enterprise-grade hybrid functionality on both the PSA and ERP side.  Designed for organizations that want the best of both worlds.

More importantly, this is achieved by pioneering Cloud ERP (NetSuite) and Best-of-Breed PSA (OpenAir) solutions who have been leading the pack of their respective markets for over 20 years.

Is NetSuite PSA the Right Choice for Me?

In the Professional Services Automation (PSA) space, Oracle NetSuite reigns supreme solidifying its presence with one in three of its customer base of over 16,000 customers in the Professional Services Industry.  A large part of this success can be attributed to its ability to cast the widest net possible offering solutions in CRM, ERP and Best-of-Breed PSA tailored to the services sector.  For any service organization that’s looking for scalability and varying options to adapt to their business, Oracle Netsuite offers Best-of-Breed, integrated and hybrid PSA solutions delivered on a single Cloud platform. 

To learn how NetSuite PSA can help scale your business, contact GURUS Solutions at: NetSuite Professional Services Automation and NetSuite Services Resource Planning solution

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About GURUS Solutions

GURUS boasts a dynamic team of business and technical experts who set the standard for best practices in the implementation, customization and integration of Oracle NetSuite ERP solutions. We work closely with our clientele to bring their business processes into the cloud – resulting in an unmatched level of productivity and efficiency.  Contact Us Now!

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