If you’ve been following some of my past posts, you’ll know that I’m on the move with setting up a new PSA system for my organization. While there are a lot of features that our selected system offers, it’s important to not try to ‘shoe-horn’ certain business processes into a system that just isn’t built for it. That’s where the power of integrations comes in. In this article I’m going to go over my top 3 integration points that you should have (or at least consider) building into your PSA tool.
With every good PSA system comes a set of well-defined processes and templates. Depending on how robust your PSA system is and what it offers for managing documents, you may want to consider integration as opposed to baking that right into your PSA tool. Remember, your PSA tool is meant to make your job easier – not add complexity. Every good set of processes will have a set of documents to go along with it (templates, project artifacts, etc) and it’s important that these documents be well managed within your organization and easily accessible to those who need them. That is why tools like SharePoint are great for serving as an external repository to your PSA tool. A lot of enterprise PSA systems are building in canned integration points to SharePoint to make it easy for system admins to quickly and efficiently tie your PSA system into your existing SharePoint farm.
Support Ticketing System
Depending on your business model and how much support work your organization offers, it may be worthwhile considering integrating your support ticketing tool with your PSA system. Consider the business case of a project in full flight where you have your customer testing your software and wanting to log issues as they find them. One option is the shared spreadsheet that only one person updates at a time and that the project manager opens up at every status meeting. Another option is to look at tying your PSA tool (that manages your work) to your support ticketing system (that allows your client to tell you what needs to be done). By marrying these two solutions together you are breaking down a barrier that will allow for much more streamlined views of all outstanding issues for your project.
HR Vacation Request Tracking System
This is an interesting one that was brought to me by one of our sister business units who are also implementing the same PSA tool. How many times have you as a project manager scheduled work for someone only to remember that they are out on holidays for that week? What if you had the ability to have (approved) vacation requests dumped directly into your PSA calendar so that you can see – in one system – all of your team’s upcoming vacations and give you the ability to plan around them? As it stands, our HR system is fairly robust and allows for this simple integration to take place.
Integrating enterprise solutions is never easy. However, the tools at our disposal are getting more powerful, the solutions are becoming simpler and the people with the ideas are more empowered than ever. Pick your integrations wisely but determine what systems should be doing what for your organization in an ever wiser fashion.
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