MSP Software: Must-Have Features and Recommended Products

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MSP software is a solution for managed service providers that falls under the professional services automation software umbrella. These systems are specifically used to help MSP companies with their security needs. After all, what’s the point of outsourcing IT operations to an MSP if the organization can’t keep its clients’ information secure?

In this article, we will examine the best MSP software on the market today, along with analyzing common features of these systems and how to choose the best option for your business. Managed service provider software can be a great way to lighten your organization’s workload and to improve customer trust in your business.

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MSP Software

What Is MSP Software?

MSP software is a business solution that centralizes functions such as customer relationship management, financial management and project management for managed service providers. The purpose of these solutions is to ensure that business is conducted efficiently and securely, helping your company retain more customers and earn more money for every completed project and contract.

Many MSP solutions include RMM or remote monitoring and management functionality. This feature offers control and visibility of customer endpoints, computers and networks to streamline operations and give companies a direct line to the needs of customers.

The Best MSP Software on the Market

There are many MSP software options available for licensing, so it’s important to select the one that works best with your business. Our team of analysts took a look at all of the programs on the market today and selected the following systems as the top MSP software options available:

Accelo

Overview

Accelo is a cloud-based MSP software solution that is well-suited for small- and medium-sized businesses. Its customers span industries such as architecture, technology and finances. This program provides integration of projects, sales, retainers and services. It contains 360-degree visibility of these aspects and includes functionality such as project management, automation, sales, time tracking and billing. It also offers management capabilities for projects, sales, service tickets and retainers.

Accelo

Some of the modules available for this solution include service, sales and project management. The sales module contains features such as sending automated quotes and emails, time tracking, project tracking, workflow management and project collaboration. The service module includes a client portal for tracking tickets, notifications for tickets, team inboxes for collaboration and real-time dashboards. The project management module provides project tracking, project planning, project collaboration, time tracking and workflow management capabilities.

Benefits

Team Scheduling: Accelo centralizes team schedules, allowing you to keep an eye on the schedules of various employees. It also gives you visibility of budgets so that you can manage deadlines and priorities. Real-time utilization reports are available through this tool, and managers can access feedback to assist with resource scheduling. The program allows you to customize hours for employees, contractors or freelancers, along with scheduling approvals. The solution also offers the ability to develop tasks against clients and supporting retainers, contracts and projects.

Usage Tracking: This system enables you to filter tasks associated with retainers by aspects such as budget allocated or time spent. It contains an approval process that gives users a view of contract periods and enables you to approve hours spent based on projects or issues. These approvals can be done for specific contracts. The program automatically renews recurring plans, tasks and budgets. Billing is automated as well. The system tracks tasks across retainers, projects and services so that you can get a birds-eye-view of the utilization of contracts, team members and other resources.

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Automation: The solution automates the client communication process through the tracking of emails and by updating sales in real time. It contains filtering capabilities to segment leads based on their status and sends templated emails to clients based on the stage that they’re in. The program uses competencies to route requests and then converts them into sales opportunities or issues. The program conducts real-time billing automatically for logged work, and supports approvals and invoicing. Timesheets are also automated for billing based on specific activities.

Invoicing: Accelo enables you to create invoices for value-based, material-based and time-based methods. The system contains integrated invoice processing capabilities, which develops invoices from service issues, projects, timesheets and contracts. It can send these invoices to accounting systems through integration with QuickBooks Online and Xero. It records payments, providing visibility of the entire payment history. Automated invoicing is also available, and notifications can be sent when invoices are due. Invoices can be exported in CSV format.

Client Management: The program centralizes client information so that you can access it in a single location. This repository of client data provides real-time visibility of factors such as issues raised and upcoming projects. It gathers information from emails, client touchpoints and communication history to help streamline sales and customer relationship management. It also archives historical data on factors such as activities, tasks, projects and issues. The program looks at the billing history of clients and flags any outstanding invoices so that billing history can be tracked and managed appropriately.

Task Management: Accelo enables you to make changes to tasks that are then reflected in the project planning process. With this system, you can reassign and reorder tasks. These adjustments are then automatically reflected at the issue, sale or project level. Project members can log and complete work through the program’s tasks boards, allowing them to manage resources, staff and time. Task synchronization is also available through direct integrations with Google, Office 365 and Exchange/Outlook.

Reviews: N/A
Price: $$$$$
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Company Size Suitability: S M L

ConnectWise Manage

Overview

ConnectWise Manage is a managed service provider software option that is deployed through the cloud. It’s an effective option for businesses of all sizes, and is especially beneficial to managed service providers, value-added resellers, cloud service providers, IT security personnel and other internal IT teams. Some of the tools that the vendor offers include billing, time tracking, account management and inventory management, which are bundled with CRM functionality.

Connectwise Manage

This system can be integrated with ConnectWise Unite, which monitors, bills and manages cloud solutions such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Office 365 and Azure, Cisco Stealthwatch Cloud, Meraki, Cisco Umbrella and Cisco WebEx Teams. Users can get support through Basic, Standard and Premium tiers, which give users access to a cloud database with cloud partners.

Benefits

SLA Management: The program enables you to manage agreements with functionality that allows for the creation of service expectations, prioritization of tickets according to customer requirements and the automation of client contract management. The reminder process is automated and also renews expiring contracts.

Time Tracking and Billing: Time tracking is available from ConnectWise Manage for projects with both billable and non-billable hours. Time tracking is centralized, so you can view all work periods and look at employee performance information. The program also enables you to customize invoices and offers support for international currencies.

Reporting: ConnectWise includes access to data on projects, sales, services, finance and marketing. The information is centralized and enables users to view metrics for different departments. A dashboard is included that helps with the development of KPIs and includes detailed explanations of every key indicator. The system also allows users to monitor ticket backlogs, open tickets, project hours and SLAs.

Account Management: The system gives every member of a project team access to a single source of information. This repository takes data from service history, contact information, project information and sales opportunities. It contains a 360-degree view of purchases, projects and tickets and includes documentation of activities and a closed-loop system.

Project Management: ConnectWise Manage assists with project transitions by offering complete visibility of statuses, resources and timelines. You can also develop customizable work plans to assist in the design and planning of projects with project tasks and phases. The program also helps with scheduling resources through its drag-and-drop functionality, which allows users to easily adjust tasks. It also contains billing for time, products and expenses.

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Platform: This solution offers business automation, sales and marketing functionality that assists with managing proposals, creating leads and tracking product sales. It facilitates service level agreements and service delivery by offering tools that communicate with and support clients. It can also check on works performed and service contracts to develop insights and minimize payment delays through timely delivery.

Integration: The ConnectWise Suite can integrate with CRM solutions including NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce. It also offers integrations with distributors to aid in the development of real-time insights on customer products and pricing. The ConnectWise Sell offering provides real-time pricing stock information from various integrated distribution programs.

IT NATION Community by ConnectWise: The system gives users access to the IT NATION community. This group contains IT thought leaders, peers and experts who offer information on building business through user group discussions, conferences and peer group meetings. Product training, best practices guidance and thought leadership are also available for tasks related to sales, HR and marketing.

Automation: The ConnectWise Automate module offers server and desktop management through automated time entries and script functions. Some of the tasks that it can automate include generating random passwords, emailing scheduled reports, updating custom data fields and running direct SQL along with agentless remote management. Inventory management tasks such as detecting devices, maintaining asset inventory and deploying agents to endpoints can also be automated with this program.

Reviews: N/A
Price: $$$$$
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Company Size Suitability: S M L

Atera

Overview

Atera is a cloud-based MSP management software program that offers professional service automation, management and remote monitoring tools for IT professionals and MSPs. It’s especially well-suited for small businesses. Some of the solution’s most prominent features include IT tasks automation, automated monitoring, network inventory, patch management and system white labeling. It also offers a CRM module that contains a database of information on contacts, customers, contracts, devices, SLAs and tickets.

Atera

Atera offers remote access and a support module, which give users functions such as file transfer, multi-screen support and connectivity. Multi-chat between the source and the user at a remote computer is available with each remote session. The sessions are encrypted with 256-bit AES and TLS. Additionally, passwords and user IDs are coded in-flight and at-rest. Every file transfer, management event and connection is recorded to ensure security. Users can access support through Atera’s portal.

Benefits

Reporting and Analytics: This program can keep track of various aspects such as assets, customers’ network, performance and system health. It also develops reports either at-will or automatically at a scheduled time. These scheduled reports can be instantly sent to recipients without the need for human intervention. Some of the information contained in these reports include real-time data on inventory, system health and ticket summaries.

Alerts and Real-Time Monitoring: Atera enables users to set up user-defined alerts and custom email alerts. Real-time visibility of metrics such as the number of logins, system resources in use, network management, network monitoring and IP monitoring is available through this system. The program also controls the patches of updates and pushes them to relevant devices.

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Asset and Inventory Tracking: The solution collects information on assets and networks by using data related to the distribution of devices and inventory of software, such as MS Office licenses, operating systems, workstation configuration and detailed server statuses. Integration with Warranty Master is offered so that users can leverage automated warranty lookups through the serial numbers of assets. The Warranty Master API is available for free to users who have the free and pro licenses.

Integration: Atera offers various integrations to give users a range of functionality. Some of the systems that it integrates with include QuickBooks Online, Xero and QuickBooks Desktop, which enable you to develop outputs in CSV file format. It also connects with providers such as Webroot, which offers online backup and secure web browsing capabilities. The program provides security through data encryption and by housing information in SSAE-compliant or ISO-certified data centers equipped with recovery and backup steps. Additional integrations that are offered include IT Glue and Ninite Pro.

Customer Relationship Management: Some of the centralized CRM metrics offered in this program includes remote monitoring data, customer-related information and professional service automation data. Atera also manages contracts, SLAs, contacts, tickets, devices, attachments and an encrypted password repository.

Reviews: N/A
Price: $$$$$
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Company Size Suitability: S M L

FinancialForce PSA

Overview

FinancialForce PSA is a cloud-based program built on the Salesforce platform. It’s an effective option for businesses of all sizes that are seeking professional services automation functionality. The system gives its users visibility across service delivery, sales and financial operations. It offers tours, product demos and recordings through its Saas-based model. Some of the industries that the vendor serves include IT, real estate, media and entertainment, among others. Some of the resources that it offers in its centralized resource center include videos, product demos, ebooks, datasheets, analyst reports, guides, webinar recordings, whitepapers and live events.

FinancialForce PSA

This program integrates with Salesforce CRM to streamline a variety of operations. It contains authorization workflow features to align business processes with Chatter collaboration tools. This connectivity enables teams to attach documents, share insights and add notes related to different projects. Some of the operations that FinancialForce PSA can help its users streamline include sales engagement, resource management, project management, billing, time and expense management, reporting and dashboarding.

Users get access to PSA Communities upon implementation of this solution, which makes the process of sharing project-related status updates and information easier. You can also input expenses and time into this system to get a better handle on tracking financial data. This system is powered by Salesforce Einstein, which gives users insights and visibility of factors such as backlog, billing, capacity and utilization through KPIs.

Benefits

Time Tracking and Billing: This system captures billable hours and provides information on details such as the time spent by a labor resource on a specific task or project. The program can allocate time to associated SLAs or agreements to ensure that every billable minute is tracked effectively. Invoices can be customized through this tool, and users can analyze metrics to track how resources are being used.

Resource Planning: FinancialForce PSA provides complete visualization of the services pipeline through its planning software, giving users the ability to optimize resource use. The system can access and define anticipated resource requirements by either the resource or role. The program can also match resources with projects using information such as certifications, resource skills needed and occupancy of resources. The Resource Planner tool assists users in configuring and monitoring utilization measurements.

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Forecasting: This system includes forecasting and revenue recognition tools that are integrated with accounting, CRM and revenue recognition data to improve the accuracy of insights and predictions. This application can forecast revenue by customer, account, group, project or region. This functionality can assist managers by allowing them to estimate and view revenue at every level from region to project.

Reporting and Dashboards: The solution includes real-time dashboards, list views and reporting tools so that you can analyze people and project data and track KPIs instantly. Tailored reporting capabilities are also available and can be based on the role of the user, whether they be resource managers, executives, finance teams, project managers or consultants.

Project Management: FinancialForce PSA offers built-in templates so that teams can easily create projects. It also provides visibility across the entirety of the project delivery workflow or just a personalized view. It also offers visualization of project timelines using Gantt charts, which allows you to view dependencies and to drill-down to the individual resource level.

Accounting and Finance: The finance management module includes a single ledger design equipped with real-time multidimensional account views. The program can manage a variety of business requirements and controls the portfolio of products by managing workflows, accounts payable and processing rules. It offers inputs on factors such as reporting tools, fixed assets and cash management. A self-service community is also available in the tool, which helps with monitoring activities, account balances and payments.

Reviews: 78/100
Price: $$$$$
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Company Size Suitability: S M L

Kaseya BMS

Overview

Kaseya BMS gives small- and medium-sized managed service providers the ability to manage back-end operations so that they can focus on delivering services and selling. This software is cloud-based and serves customers in sectors such as healthcare, finance, retail, education and hospitality. The system allows users to create and publish reports, dashboards and workflows. It also offers integration with VSA, which offers multi-tenant cloud architecture, ticket management, visualization and business intelligence.

Kaseya BMS

Additional tools offered in this solution include the ability to track time and expenses, manage products, operate a service desk, work on customer relationships and to manage finance, inventory and billing. The project management module offered by Kaseya BMS gives IT professionals access to project status reports that are bolstered with analytical forecasting techniques. An inventory module is also provided, which lets you store and manage inventory at multiple locations. This module can also generate purchase orders, maintain inventory levels and replenish stock. A repository containing detailed documents on the offered products is also included in Kaseya BMS.

Benefits

Invoicing: This solution offers invoice management functionality. It provides additional line item information and enables users to take notes on invoices, apply discounts and adjust quantities. You can attach receipts that move from the system to final invoices. Extra attachments can be added as well.

Integration: The program integrates with products such as VSA, which improves the ticketing process. Other integrations include Office 365, QuickBooks, AuthAnvil, Xero, CustomerThermometer, BrightGauge, QuoteWerks, IT Glue and more.

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Inventory Tracking and Management: Kaseya BMS supports invoicing and billing operations. It enables you to integrate the system with RMM and accounting programs along with deploying new services. It can store inventory in multiple locations and can keep track of different products. The included inventory dashboard gives insight on purchase order status by amount and count. With this tool, you can also adjust and assign product quantities in inventory storage locations, add products to tickets based on charges, procure products using purchase orders and add products to sales orders and tickets.

Time and Expense Management: The expense tracking solution in this program manages expenses for tickets and tasks. It offers timesheets that analyze the occupancy of employees on different projects while also integrating with third-party accounting systems. Project expenses are used to update user expense sheets and to export reports.

Customer Relationship Management: Kaseya BMS can manage prospects, customers and vendors while collecting information from each persona. Information related to emails, calls, demonstrations and meetings is categorized and associated with each profile. This information is used during projects and service request tickets to ensure efficiency. The solution also automates the quote process by sending sales quotes to customers. It maintains account profiles to improve accuracy.

Project Management: This program makes creating new projects easy by allowing users to copy existing projects and project templates. It offers support for unique task deadlines and tax dependencies. The system also unifies the allocation of service calls and resources across a variety of tasks and projects. Every project includes a complete financial summary of its costs and pricing.

Reviews: N/A
Price: $$$$$
Deployment:
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Company Size Suitability: S M L

What Are Common Features Included in MSP Software?

MSP software functionality varies depending on the vendor that you go with. However, there are some key capabilities that you might wish to look out for when searching for a solution that will meet your company’s requirements.

  • Security/Encryption – Reduces the likelihood of getting hacked or locked out of your system
  • Customer Relationship Management – Centralizes customer information to improve customer retention and more accurately cultivate leads
  • Project Management – Offers visibility of how labor resources are allocated and anticipates needs for future projects
  • Time Management – Tracks billable and non-billable hours so everyone gets paid appropriately
  • Financial Management – Measures financial information and pays employees

What Should I Look for When Comparing MSP Vendors?

When deciding which managed service provider software solution is right for your business, there are a few factors you should keep in mind. For example, elements such as the size of your business, the deployment method you’d like to use and your budget will narrow your list of suitable options.

In addition to these more basic considerations, you’ll also need to develop a requirements list that includes everything you need and want out of an MSP program. You should order this list in terms of priority level to ensure that you get a solution that meets your most important needs and, hopefully, some of the elements on your “want” list as well. After whittling down your options to a handful of vendors, make sure to speak with other customers who have used the program to get a use case of what you might expect after implementation. This will improve the odds that you choose a solution that meets your day-to-day operating needs.

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To Sum It Up

Managed service providers have a range of unique software needs considering their focus on clients and information security. MSP software is an effective solution for businesses looking to streamline, secure and hasten their workflows. These programs offer features such as customer relationship management, encryption and project management to boost operational productivity, but specific functionality varies from vendor to vendor. Some of the benefits that users commonly gain from these systems include increased security, automation and improved customer relationships.

Which MSP software solution do you like best? Let us know in the comments!

Lindsey JenkinsMSP Software: Must-Have Features and Recommended Products

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