What is Professional Services Automation?

Professional services automation is a rising tide of customer services that is offering more and more to today’s business communities. Using professional services automation, people and providers of jobs can streamline their most hectic and headache-causing business practices and have more time to devote to creating new markets and opportunities.
A company that provides professional services commonly matches people to jobs. A good example of this is a contract-employee provider. As is more and more the case these days, a business may have a short-term need for an employee with special skills. Rather than hire a full-time person, the company will want to hire a contract employee on a per-job basis. This is where the professional services company comes in.

The matching up of skillset and skills demand is an often time-consuming process. The computerization of such tasks is part of the function of professional services automation. By using computers to track certain keywords in both job descriptions and employee resumes, a professional services provider can speed up and streamline its delivery of the right person for the right job.

This is not the only use of professional services automation, however. Entire suites of software exist to perform related tasks, such as drawing up contracts and letters, billing, and in some cases handling payments. Such professional services automation can be a welcome addition to a company’s practices, on either side of the job-filling equation.

Another use of professional services automation is to track the availability of potential employees and the availability of related jobs. Spreadsheets can be created to show who is available when for what job. This saves the paperwork of tracking this information by hand, which is normally more time-consuming as well.

Software that provides professional services automation usually comes in one of two forms. One form is one-time purchase software that is installed on a computer or a computer network. The other form is software that is accessed via the Web, with both sides of the job-filling equation able to access some or all aspects of the process, including employees’ progress on projects and the billing for those projects. The Web-based software, especially, enables real-time updating and progress, with both employer and professional services provider able to exchange emails regarding the project.

All of this functionality usually results in an increase in customer satisfaction on both sides of the equation. In this respect, professional services automation is a winner for all involved. Some argue that the cost is too high, while others swear by its utility and attractiveness. In either case, it’s hard to argue with the results and the increase in functionality that professional services automation can offer to a company of any size.