Detailed Review of Salesforce Professional Services Automation App

Salesforce professional services automation robot

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

Salesforce PSA Summary Findings

The Salesforce PSA app by Salesforce Labs is overly simplified. It really only supports one process: Resource Management. It doesn’t even address much of the standard resource management functionality. I can’t even come up with one piece of unique functionality. Its only strength is that it is free, but I can’t imagine a professional services firm would find it very useful.

Salesforce PSA
Total Score21%
Communications Management9%
Cost Management20%
Integration Management35%
Procurement Management0%
Quality Management0%
Resource Management43%
Risk Management0%
Schedule Management19%
Scope Management0%
Stakeholder Management8%

Download Salesforce Professional Services Automation Evaluation Spreadsheet

Click here to add the Salesforce Professional Services Automation Excel spreadsheet to your basket and continue reading. Visit the basket page to complete the download.

Salesforce PSA Pricing

It is free since it was created by Salesforce Labs. But, you get what you pay for it.

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 totals 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. You can confirm my scoring using the Salesforce PSA app test drive or by installing it into a sandbox

Here are some links to help you research the app.

Download Salesforce Professional Services Automation Evaluation Spreadsheet

Click here to download the Salesforce Professional Services Automation Excel spreadsheet.

Communications Management

Salesforce PSA has virtually no communications management functionality. It has the standard chatter feature, and a project status field.

Cost Management

Salesforce PSA has the absolute minimum functionality you would want for a PSA tool. You can set a budget in a static field, and then track actual hours and expenses based on timesheet entries. It doesn’t have any way to rollup a budget value based on planned resources. It also doesn’t have any invoicing capabilities.

Strength: Project Specific Rate Card

It does support specific rates for a project, so that the same resource can be billed at different rates for different clients. This is functionality missing in some PSA tools.

Weakness: No Budget Rollup

It does not rollup the budget or estimated costs based on individual forecasted resources or expenses.

Weakness: No Invoicing Functionality

You can manually set the invoice status on an individual resource’s timesheet or expenses. However, there is no way to create a consolidated invoice across team members and to track partial payments or credits against the invoice.

Integration Management

Salesforce PSA has very little integration capabilities. About the only functionality it has is the ability for everyone to view the project description, project data, and to log issues. It is lacking any scope management, project access controls or program/portfolio groupings.

Weakness: No Scope Management

There are a couple descriptive fields on the project where you could summarize the scope, but there is no way to document the detailed scope and no way to issue change orders.

Weakness: Single-Level Planning

The only support object is a ‘project’. There isn’t any way to group or rollup projects to programs or portfolios. There isn’t any way to plan releases within a project.

Procurement Management

Salesforce PSA doesn’t have any procurement functionality.

Quality Management

Salesforce PSA doesn’t have any quality management functionality.

Resource Management

Salesforce PSA’s primary focus is resource management. It has the most functionality in this area, but it still has half the functionality of the best PSA tools.

Strength: Project-Level Resource Allocation

Resources are allocated to projects on a percentage basis. I believe this is a more practical approach compared to other PSA tools which allocate resources by hours to individual tasks. In other words, you can assign John Doe 50% to Project A and 50% to Project B.

Strength: Visibility to Open Resource Requests

Resources and their managers can view open and unfilled resource requests. They can then contact the staffing managers to express interest in the assignment.

Weakness: No Time Series View of Resource Allocation

There isn’t any view showing a time series across the top (day, week, month) and the resource’s availability and allocation for the time periods. This is a key tool for ensuring resources are properly allocated.

Weakness: No Project Access Controls

Access to the projects is wide open for any Salesforce user in the organization. There is no way to create confidential projects, to limit edit access or to limit access to financial data.

Risk Management

Salesforce PSA doesn’t have any risk management functionality.

Schedule Management

Salesforce PSA has virtually no scheduling functionality. The basic thing you can do is record the start, end and key milestone dates. You can also assign standard Salesforce tasks to the project. There isn’t any Gantt Chart or advanced scheduling functionality, like dependencies.

Weakness: No Gantt Chart

There isn’t any Gantt Chart, so there isn’t any way to create a detailed project plan.

Scope Management

Salesforce PSA doesn’t have any scope management functionality.

Stakeholder Management

Salesforce PSA doesn’t have any stakeholder management functionality. You could add some custom fields to the project object to track things like individual stakeholders.

In Conclusion

I can only imagine Salesforce Professional Services Automation app being implemented by a very small company that would eventually migrate to a fully functioning PSA tool. Check out my comparison page for reviews of the fully functioning PSA tools.

Regards,

Brian

Additional References

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