If you run a modern business, you know that precision in your project management and resource allocation is a must. That’s why many businesses today are turning to professional services automation, or PSA. A good PSA tool will help you enhance visibility, improve your decision-making, and drive profitability through smarter, data-driven strategies.
One stand-out PSA tool is Polaris PSA. It aims to solve some of the most common pain points for professional service organizations, such as:
- Fragmented project management
- Inefficient resource utilization
- Opaque billing processes
If you’ve been struggling with any of these challenges, Polaris PSA is worth exploring. We’ll unpack its pros and cons below so you can see if it’s the right fit for your business.
Polaris PSA: The Good and the Bad
Polaris PSA boasts a wide array of features designed to make your business more efficient. From analytics, to client management, financial modeling and more, there’s a lot going on under the hood. We’ll look at its strengths and weaknesses below so you can see where Polaris PSA excels and where it might have some limitations.
What Polaris PSA Is Good At
Giving You Real-time Data and Insights: Polaris PSA stands out immediately by offering real-time, comprehensive business insights. Its analytics tools are designed to give you a holistic view of your business operations.
In Polaris PSA your resourcing, financials, and project information are all in one place: MissionControl. This is the software’s central hub, and it gives you an up-to-date live view of your business.
Another nice feature here is the customization. As a business owner, you likely know better than anyone else what KPIs are the big drivers behind your business. Polaris PSA allows you to create a dashboard of the critical metrics that are most important to you and your business so you can decide what to track. You can then visualize this data with charting options so you can quickly see these metrics.
Polaris PSA is also built to be collaborative. For example, you can share the aforementioned charts and graphics with other employees and business decision makers. You can also automate the process by scheduling reports to be emailed at regular intervals.
Overall, Polaris PSA is a powerful way to analyze projects, resources, time, costs, and billing data all in one place, in a way that meets your business requirements. Plus, you can easily share this granular visibility with others on your team.
Creating Consistent Workflows, SOPs, and Execution: Another area where Polaris PSA excels is in standardizing projects, resources, billing, and other processes across your business. If you’ve been looking to level up your consistency, this could be a great fit.
Polaris PSA allows you to define projects and metrics, then track these required project metrics for every project across your business. This starts with the ability to directly integrate with CRM systems, allowing for seamless planning of all key project elements. PSA also supports the creation of complex work breakdown structures (WBS), tailored to the specific needs of each project, along with the development of detailed project budgets, including estimates and cost constraints.
Documentation also helps ensure consistency, and Polaris PSA gives you a few ways to incorporate documentation into your workflows. You can manage and use project documentation directly in the platform by storing and attaching additional documents or links (like Google Docs, Dropbox, MS SharePoint).
Simplifying Project Management: Polaris PSA shines when it comes to simplifying complex project management tasks. For project managers who need to oversee intricate projects, it can help by streamlining everything from project initiation to closure, including the management of remote teams.
The platform’s MissionControl feature provides a live business view where you can see up-to-the-minute project data. It also enables real-time management of projects, so your team can rapidly adapt to shifts in project scope and ensure that resources, tasks, and finances are always aligned.
You can even extend this visibility to clients, using configurable reports and views to give them transparency into a project’s status and progress.
Innovative features like SmartBeats and ProjectPulse give you further control over project progress tracking and communication.
SmartBeats works by collecting data from project users about the work done and remaining, providing instant feedback to project managers. The system enables a real-time understanding of critical project metrics, allowing managers to identify and address potential issues quickly.
Meanwhile, ProjectPulse functions as a comprehensive dashboard, giving you an instant and detailed view of all critical project metrics, including hours, costs, and overall financials. It’s particularly effective as an early warning system, allowing project managers (PMs) to detect potential issues early on through analysis of user and task beats.
ProjectPulse also gives PMs a real-time perspective on the entire project delivery process, including project progress, resource allocation, completed work, and remaining tasks.
Polaris PSA’s Potential Drawbacks
Limited Customization: One area Polaris PSA could stand to improve is its customization capabilities, particularly in the context of project management and reporting.
The platform does provide some level of customization, but it falls short of the deep customization needs that diverse project management scenarios might require.
For example, one noticeable limitation in customization is in the platform’s UI, particularly when it comes to adjusting column widths in data displays. For instance, a column that only contains a single or two-digit number may be inordinately wide at 30 points, while a text box meant for detailed task descriptions feels cramped at just 15 points across.
Another example would be the limited number of custom fields available at the project level. Although Polaris PSA offers 20 custom fields, which might seem like a lot at first, businesses with complex project management needs could still find this number restrictive. Additional fields are available, but their utility is diminished by the fact that they aren’t reportable, meaning they can’t be included in analytics or used for tracking and measuring KPIs.
Polaris PSA Plans and Pricing
Another advantage of Polaris PSA is its simple pricing model. There are really only two options to choose from: Polaris PSA and Polaris PSA with ZeroTime. Let’s take a look at what you get with Polaris PSA alone, and then explore what ZeroTime is and whether or not it’s worth paying extra for it.
Polaris PSA is priced at $29 per user per month. For this price, you get all of the functionality and capabilities detailed above. This includes the full project management suite complete with SmartBeats, billing forecasts, task management, and more.
You also get access to resource optimization features like:
- Project resource planning
- Resource pool management
- Resource request life cycle
- Resource recommendation engine
Major integrations with Salesforce, QuickBooks, and Zero are also included.
You can configure and send reports of all the useful analytics information detailed earlier. Time tracking and invoicing functionalities are also included.
Polaris PSA with ZeroTime
Bundling PSA with ZeroTime will cost you $49 per user per month. Is that extra cost worth it? It comes down to how serious you want to get about time tracking.
ZeroTime is Polaris’ AI-powered time tracking tool. It helps ensure that all time and expense details are captured accurately. Whether your employees are in the office or working remotely, their work and time data can be easily captured from all their work apps.
In other words, ZeroTime may be worth it if you have more complex time tracking needs, such as the need to:
- Compile pre-populated timesheets for employees to verify and submit
- Accurately log time spent on different projects
- Reconstruct the work week across multiple projects
On top of everything you get with Polaris PSA, here are the other features you unlock with ZeroTime:
- Data Collectors and Bots
- Automatic Data Capture
- Automatic Data Classification and Organization
- Automatic Data Labeling
- Automatic Timesheet Creation
- Automatic Timesheet Routing
This is a robust time-tracking tool. That said, it will nearly double the monthly cost for software compared to just PSA alone, so it’s best suited for organizations who are dead set on dialing in their time tracking and looking for a specialized solution.
Overall, Polaris PSA is a powerful platform that consolidates many project management and resource optimization tools in one place. You can seamlessly view all the important KPIs and analytics for your business, while also managing documentation and SOPs to drive consistency across your business.
When it comes to project management, the platform also allows you to track and manage projects from conception to completion and give this same visibility to your whole team and even to your clients.
It’s an excellent software tool for any business with robust PSA, project, management, or resource optimization needs.