Detailed Review of Certinia Professional Services Cloud

Certinia Professional Services Cloud Salesforce project management app

Certinia Professional Services Cloud (PSC) is reviewed against 200+ Salesforce project management software requirements on a downloadable spreadsheet. Certinia PSA is scored overall and for each of the ten project management processes. This post provides a summary of the key strengths and weaknesses for each of the processes.

Certinia PSA Summary Findings

Certinia PSC is a beast! The PSC app has 160 custom Salesforce objects. Plus it has nine other accounting apps which could be combined into a comprehensive solution:

  • Billings & Receivables
  • ERP Cloud
  • Revenue Management
  • Services CPQ
  • Procurement
  • Services Analytics
  • Order & Inventory Management
  • ERP Analytics & Reporting
  • Subscription & Usage Billing
  • Professional Services Quoting

Certinia was previously named ‘FinancialForce’ and has obviously been building Salesforce apps for quite awhile. If you are looking for a PSA solution, you should place Certinia on your shortlist just because of its size and expansion potential.

As for functionality, the only major gap is that Certinia PSC does not create, distribute and track invoices. You’ll have to purchase the Billing & Receivables app for that functionality. Other PSA apps include invoicing functionality.

WARNING: I wasn’t able to install Certinia PSC into a Salesforce sandbox and test it directly. I had to rely on demos and documentation for this review. Certinia didn’t respond to my install request and doesn’t offer a test drive.

Certinia PSC
Total Score53%
Communications Management9%
Cost Management65%
Integration Management50%
Procurement Management0%
Quality Management17%
Resource Management81%
Risk Management75%
Schedule Management62%
Scope Management13%
Stakeholder Management13%

Download Certinia Evaluation Spreadsheet

Click here to add the Certinia Excel spreadsheet to your basket and continue reading. Visit the basket page to complete the download.

Pricing

Certinia PSC’s lowest pricing published on Salesforce AppExchange is $40/user/month. I’m leery about this pricing because Certinia does not publish any pricing on their website, and claim they offer bundled and a la carte pricing. SoftwareConnect quotes $125/user/month for all apps/functionality. So I recommend you contact Certinia directly for quotes.

Scoring Methodology

I’ve been evaluating all of the Salesforce project management software and sharing the results to help others save time in making an informed decision. I started the evaluation as marketing research for the Salesforce project management app I built: Project Lifecycle Pro. I’m doing my best to give a unbiased review, but I’ve attached the detailed Excel spreadsheet which you can use to perform your own analysis. Here are detailed instructions on how to use the spreadsheet to weight requirements and compare multiple software packages side-by-side.

I structured the analysis around the Project Management Institute’s (PMI)© project management process. This is outlined in the PM Book of Knowledge (PMBOK)©. First, I listed the project management processes and then the activities within each process. Finally, I developed a list of requirements related to each of the activities. The list of requirements is based upon my thirty years of project management experience and experience evaluating project management tools for clients. When I come across novel functionality in the software I’m evaluating I add it to the requirements list. Of course, I’m sure I missed some requirements and welcome any suggestions.

I gave all processes and requirements equal weights, but you can adjust the scoring weights in the Excel spreadsheet to suit your needs. Each requirement was rated as either:

  • Yes – As Is – Meaning, the requirement is met with out-of-the-box functionality. This rating is awarded four points.
  • Yes – With Configuration – Meaning the requirement can be met with minimal configuration or no-code updates. Since, Salesforce is highly configurable I used this rating for simple things like changing picklist values, adding a field to an existing data object, creating a report, etc. This rating is awarded two points.
  • No – Not Available or Requires Customization – Meaning the requirement cannot be met without significant investment of time or money. I assigned this rating if custom coding would be required, or a new custom data object, or a new custom flow. This rating is awarded zero points.

Finally, the scoring spreadsheet totaled the ratings by process to show how the apps compare by process. Therefore, you can assess the apps based on which processes are the most important to you.

Here are some links to help you research the app:

Download Certinia Evaluation Spreadsheet

Click here to download the Certinia Excel spreadsheet.

Communications Management

Certinia PSC’s only communication management functionality revolves around providing project clear status metrics and project dashboards. It doesn’t support any change management activities: distributing communications or scheduling training.

Cost Management

Certinia PSC has considerable cost management functionality. I didn’t see any unique features which would differentiate it from the other PSA tools. It does have one large gap: invoicing. It does not generate or track customer invoices, though it does aggregate the data required to generate an invoice. The invoicing functionality resides in a separate Certinia app, or you can integrate Certinia PSC with your own financial system. Many of the other PSA tools provide invoicing functionality.

Strength: All the Standard PSA Cost Management Functionality

It has all the standard PSA cost management functionality, including some of the more advanced features:

  • Milestone-based billing events
  • Estimate at Completion (EAC) calculations
  • Multiple billing types
  • Rate cards

Weakness: Separate Invoicing Functionality

It will create ‘billing events’ which aggregates all the data to produce a customer invoice. A billing event can be triggered by achieving a project milestone or just based on the date. The billing event data is also customized based on the contract term: fixed fee, T&M, etc. So it does 90% of the work of creating an invoice.

You can create and track invoices by also purchasing the Certinia Billings & Receivables app. You could also use their standard integration with SAP Concur, or build a custom integration with your invoicing system.

One drawback of not having an invoicing system in PSC, is that the PSC financial metrics are based on billed amounts and not actually paid amounts.

Integration Management

This is one of Certinia PSC’s weakest areas when compared to other PSA tools. It covers most of the basics but it is missing some useful functionality.

Strength: Consolidated Programs

It doesn’t specifically have ‘programs’ but it does have parent and sub-projects. So you could setup your program as a parent project with the projects as sub-projects. I believe all the sub-project data will rollup to the parent project.

Weakness: Can’t Block Visibility to Confidential Projects

There are advanced permission controls which govern what actions a user can perform within a project. However, I could not find a setting that would block all visibility to confidential projects. You should confirm this if you are considering a purchase.

Weakness: Lacking Some Timesheet Automation

Other PSA tools have some useful timesheet automations that Certinia PSC lacks:

  • Flag completed tasks without time entries
  • Auto-populate timesheet with assigned tasks

Weakness: Lacks Task Alerts

It lacks two useful task alerts:

  • Notifying a task owner that a task has been assigned to them
  • Notifying a task owner that a task is ready to be worked because the preceding task was completed

Weakness: Support for Agile Methodology

It’s only support for an Agile software development methodology is an integration with JIRA. So if you use JIRA, this won’t be much of a gap. If you want to support your Agile methodology within your PSA tool, it has the following gaps:

  • Releases
  • Epics
  • Themes
  • User Stories and acceptance criteria
  • Burndown chart
  • Sprints
  • Kanban board

Procurement Management

Like most PSA tools, Certinia PSC doesn’t have any real procurement management functionality, other than to forecast expenses. If your projects involve lots of vendor contracts then you’re going to need to supplement PSC.

Quality Management

Like most PSA tools, doesn’t support any testing or quality functionality.

Resource Management

Certinia PSC checks all of the boxes related to resource management. It’s functionality is comparable to the other PSA tools and I didn’t find any unique strengths. I only found one significant gap related to the resource allocation view, but because I didn’t have my own copy of Certinia PSC I can’t be sure it is a gap.

Strength: Standard PSA Functionality

Some of the more advanced functionality that PSC supports that is missing from some other tools:

  • Soft booking resources
  • Publish resource openings

Weakness: Doesn’t Differentiate Between Soft and Confirmed Allocations in Planner View

It doesn’t appear to differentiate whether a person’s allocation to a project is soft or confirmed in the main resource planning view, where you are trying to match people to resource requests. Other PSA tools use color coding, so that the resource planner knows they can re-assign soft allocations if necessary.

I didn’t have a copy of Certinia PSC, so I was relying on demos. Therefore, you should confirm this gap for yourself.

Risk Management

It has the ability to record and track risks comparable with all the other PSA tools. The only gap which it also shares with most of the PSA tools, is the ability to assign tasks to the risk.

Schedule Management

Certinia PSC has a very good Gantt chart. It is only missing the ability to assign constraints to tasks.

It’s one major scheduling gap, is that it doesn’t synch PSC tasks with Salesforce tasks. This means a person must look up their assigned tasks in two places.

Strength: Very Good Gantt Chart

It has all the basic scheduling features of Microsoft Project, except one: can’t assign task constraints (Must Start On, Must Finish On, etc.). Here are some of the advanced features it does have:

  • All dependency types (FS, SF, FF, SS)
  • Lead/Lag
  • Unlimited task hierarchy (some PSA tools only support 2-3 levels of tasks)
  • Multiple people assigned to one task
  • Reschedules dependencies based on predecessor’s actual dates
  • Supports inter-project dependencies
  • Critical path

Like all the other PSA tools, it doesn’t support resource-based rescheduling. It will not automatically resource load level tasks.

WARNING: I wasn’t actually able to put my hands on the Gantt chart to test for myself. The functionality listed above is based upon Certinia’s documentation. You should confirm for yourself.

Weakness: Doesn’t Synch with Salesforce Tasks

It is a huge inconvenience for people to have to go to multiple places to see all the tasks they are assigned. Therefore, I’m a strong proponent that a PSA tasks should create a duplicate synched Salesforce task. This allows someone to view all their assigned tasks in the Salesforce task list. This functionality is supported by several tools.

Scope Management

Like most PSA tools, Certinia PSC doesn’t capture detailed scope items. However, it does get kudos for have a change order process and supporting a full work breakdown structure.

Strength: Unlimited Work Breakdown Structure

You can create an unlimited hierarchy of tasks in the Gantt to align with your work breakdown structure. It is also very easy to create task hierarchies by simply indenting the task on the Gantt. Many PSA tools limit you to 2-3 levels.

Strength: Change Orders

It supports the creation of change orders and routing them for approval.

Stakeholder Management

Like most PSA tools, Certinia PSC doesn’t support change management and therefore doesn’t have functionality for planning or managing stakeholders.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for a PSA tool, Certinia PSC should be considered for your short list. It is comparable to all the big Salesforce PSA tools. Since I wasn’t able to get my hands on Certinia, you’ll need to verify this review if it makes your short list of options.

The key differentiators when compared to other PSA tools are:

  • Lacks the invoicing functionality within PSC
  • Doesn’t synch with Salesforce tasks
  • Doesn’t support Agile development
  • Has a great Gantt chart
  • Option to implement the complete suite of Certinia apps

Regards,

Brian

Additional References

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