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The BrightGauge Blog

Report of the Month - Internal Weekly Service

Do you send reports on a consistent basis? We’re big fans of reports because they’re a reliable source of truth. They show your clients or your internal teams exactly what you’ve been working on and ...
Do you send reports on a consistent basis? We’re big fans of reports because they’re a reliable source of truth. They show your clients or your internal teams exactly what you’ve been working on and the results of that work and, because of that, they’re great for building a solid foundation of trust.    We love seeing how our partners are using BrightGauge reports as a business growth strategy and as a way to keep teams accountable. This month, we’re sharing an Internal Weekly Service Report, as used by Joe Ensalaco of JT Global Enterprise, a systems integrator operating worldwide with offices in the UK and the US and specializing in Unified Communications, Customer Engagement, Digital Transformation, and Smart Retail.   Joe, the Service Operations Manager, built this report as a way to keep track of what his team did the previous week (he actually built this within 2 weeks of becoming a BrightGauge partner - impressive!).    “By looking at certain metrics on a weekly basis, we’re able to understand the circumstances around an influx in tickets, or a lack of support, so we can be proactive about preventing service issues in the future,” explains Joe.    His Internal Weekly Service Report focuses on both customer metrics and service desk metrics.  *This is a sample report for illustrative purposes only; not an actual report prepared by JT Global.   On the customer end, Joe and team are looking at who the busiest customers of the week were, how many tickets they opened versus closed, and what type of tickets are being opened. Knowing who their most active customers are helps drive cost management decisions and also indicates whether JT Global should train their customers in how to self-solve repeat issues (for example, building out phone extensions).    On a service desk side, Joe’s looking at what the whole support team is doing in general. Key identifiers include Ticket Kill Rate, Average Time to Resolution and Acknowledgement, SLA Stats by Priority, and Planned Works & Change Requests.    “For each metric we look at, we’re setting goals and thresholds so we can hold ourselves accountable to a specific benchmark,” says Joe. “For example, SLAs for most of our customers are 30 to 60 minutes, so we look at these numbers each week to make sure we’re on track.”    For Joe and the JT team, BrightGauge has enabled them to automate 90-95% of what was previously in their manual reports, obviously saving them a ton of time and letting them get back to focusing on their business.    Interested in setting up an Internal Weekly Service Report for your team? Check out our Report Key to recreate it yourself or feel free to reach out to success@brightgauge.com and we’ll be happy to help.   Thank you to Joe and JT Global for sharing your insights!   Link to Sample Report Link to Report Recreation Key
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3 Tips for MSPs Selling Security-as-a-Service

If you’re like most MSP owners, you’re constantly thinking about how to generate more revenue for your business while continuing to provide unique and differentiating value to your customers.    These days, everybody is talking about security. It’s a hot topic because everyone needs more of it and they are willing to pay to ensure they’re protected. In fact, surveys have shown that 93% of SMBs would switch their MSP if another MSP would offer the ‘right’ security services.    So, as an MSP, how can you use this urgent need for security as an opportunity to bring more money into your organization?    Just ahead, we share 3 points to remember when thinking about monetizing your security offerings.     Cybersecurity as a key initiative    The current reality is that MSPs are more vulnerable to security attacks than ever before, forcing the conversation around security to happen on a regular basis. It’s time to get honest about where you stand from a security point of view, both for your own benefit and that of your client’s.    Cybersecurity is now a ‘must-have’ versus a ‘nice-to-have’, so if you’re not already working it into your customer agreements, you should be.    When it comes to offering security-as-a-service, we recommend keeping the following in mind:   Educate your customers. You likely have customers in all types of industries, and they may not all be aware of the importance of being secure. And that’s okay. As a trusted partner, they turn to you to consult and advise them on business best practices. So go ahead and show them why security matters.  Do a dark web scan of your client and show them the results so they understand what information is accessible.  But don’t stop there. Also educate them on how you’re currently protecting them and which of your services they can add to become even more secure.  Remember, you should be a trusted partner, not just another vendor, so show them why their investment in you is worthwhile. Make buy-in easy. Keep things simple for your customers so that their decisions are no-brainers. One way to do this is to roll security-as-a-service into your ‘all-in’ price, so that it’s automatically included in the packages you offer.  Remember to be upfront and honest about exactly what your packages include. Show your customers what coverage looks like and make it clear what level of protection you offer. Your goal is to provide your client with a solution to their issues in a way that they can’t turn down. Properly onboard your customers. This ties back into the education component. Establish policies and procedures around your security offerings and train your customers on those procedures during your onboarding process. Making them part of the security process will reinforce the importance of it and get them more willing to play their part in keeping their business secure.  Quick note: if your point of contact is not a decision-maker, ensure that he or she understands how to properly communicate the reasoning for a security package to those decision-makers. This is essential for buy-in.   Want to explore more specific ways to monetize security? In this webinar brought to you by ConnectWise, hear from partners who have added over 1 million dollars to their annual revenue by selling security services: 

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A Simple Framework MSPs Can Use to Set KPIs

Here’s some food for thought: If you’re not constantly reflecting on your business priorities and goals and redefining how you’re measuring success, how do you know where to go? And how can you tell if you’re headed in the right direction?    In order for an organization to grow and succeed, there needs to be a constant focus on improving upon what you’re doing.   Year over year (or even more often than that), executive leaders need to measure and analyze performance metrics to figure out if results align with the direction the business should be going in.    How do you assess that? It all stems from setting the right goals and identifying the metrics that match those goals.    What we’re talking about is Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Just ahead, we’ll introduce a simple framework for setting KPIs in your business.    Why are KPIs so important?   Business schools teach that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, right? So, identifying relevant metrics is a critical first step of a growth plan. If you are measuring what matters, you’re on the right path to growth and scalability.    KPIs help decision-makers track and monitor progress and see where there may be opportunities for improvement. KPIs act as a north star that help teams stay focused on their mission to succeed.    Perhaps the strongest argument for running a business based on KPIs is that data is neutral and keeps everyone on the same page. In other words, a culture built on data means that decisions will always be backed by the numbers versus being driven by emotions.    Identifying the metrics that matter   It’s easy to understand why KPIs are necessary but it’s harder to put into practice. We’ve developed a framework for setting and implementing KPIs that’s simple and easy to follow.    But first, you must identify which areas of the business are important to your bottom line. While every business has different priorities, they are all generally looking to evaluate their performance in the following areas:   Finance Customers Sales Marketing Operations Internal Teams   Don’t make the mistake of overanalyzing data or placing an importance on areas of the business that aren’t significant for you. For example, if you don’t have a robust sales team, it doesn’t make sense to use manpower to evaluate sales data that ultimately won’t be used. Instead, shift that focus to your finance metrics or some other area of your business.    Once you know which areas to focus on, determine which metrics paint the most clear picture. Here, quality over quantity is the name of the game. This is where the framework we’ve developed can help you make sense of the KPI process.   The IDEAS framework   Introducing IDEAS. This simple, but effective framework can help you define success on YOUR terms with the right metrics that are specific to you.  Identify the problem What is the problem that you want to solve? Or what do you want to prevent from happening? By starting here, you can tie metrics directly to your desired outcomes. Determine what solves the problem Now that you’ve identified your issues, what are the indicators that might mean progress towards a solution? For example, if you’re looking to improve CSAT scores, maybe Average Time to Response is a metric that’ll help you make progress. Establish your KPIs  Knowing your issues and what can help you solve them is how you’ll determine the KPIs that are right for your business. At this point, consider where you’ll find the data you need (i.e. what tools can help you track your data?).  Analyze the results  Now that your data is in, it’s time for a gap analysis. How do your actual results compare against benchmarks you’ve set? Where can you fill in the gaps? Perhaps you need a change in processes or to invest in additional training for your team members.  Start from the beginning The process of setting and tracking KPIs is ongoing. On a regular basis, you should assess your results, see what you can learn, and then start the process over.     Once you get in the habit of following this framework, there’s no turning back. Constantly defining (and redefining) and implementing KPIs means you’ll have your priorities in order and be in a position to succeed.    Your organization’s specific teams each play a significant role in your overall success, so make sure you’re measuring metrics from all corners of the business.    For more on implementing KPIs in your business - including some example KPIs for each of your teams - check out our whitepaper, ‘How KPIs Can Improve Your MSP Business’. 

How BrightGauge Differs From Other Dashboard Tools

As the owner or manager of an MSP, you may be looking for tools that can help you visualize your data, report on metrics, and make data-driven business decisions. When it’s time to make a purchasing decision, you may be overwhelmed by the number of different tools on the market. How do you choose one over the other? How do you know which one is best for your needs? In an effort to help you avoid analysis paralysis, we’re offering a quick comparison of BrightGauge amongst similar tools on the market. Factors to consider Before you commit to using any one tool, there are a few things you should always take into consideration. First and foremost, know your budget. Be realistic and honest about this number. The business tool you use should help you manage a better organization in the long run, but it should never break the bank.   Second, establish a goal. What’s your desired outcome by using this software? What expectations are you setting for your executive team? What benchmarks will you set and how often will you evaluate them to determine whether this tool is working for your needs? Third, what features are most important to you? Do you want to create powerful client reports? Do you want to see all your KPIs in one place by using dashboards? Do you want a software that integrates with the PSA or RMM you’re already using? For example, are you specifically looking to create seamless ConnectWise reports and dashboards? Finally, figure out how many team members and/or clients you want to give software accessibility to. Some tools charge extra for viewer licenses, so you need to take that into account. Weigh your options Once you have a game plan and end goals in mind, then you can start narrowing down your options. If you need buy-in from your executive team, we suggest putting together a comparison chart that outlines the features of each business dashboard tool you’re interested in using. Luckily for you, we’ve gone head and done that dashboard tools comparison research for you! Check out how BrightGauge stacks up against other dashboard tools on the market, like Klipfolio and Power BI.     BrightGauge Klipfolio Power BI  Integrates with ConnectWise ✓ 𝖷 ✓ Unlimited Admin Licenses 𝖷 ✓ 𝖷 Unlimited Viewer Licenses ✓ ✓ 𝖷 Unlimited Dashboards ✓ 𝖷 ✓ Automated Reports ✓ 𝖷 𝖷* *available with Power BI Premium Pre-built KPIs, Dashboards, + Reports per Integration ✓ 𝖷 ✓ Snapshots (trend analysis) ✓ ✓ 𝖷 Public Dashboards for Internal/External Use ✓ ✓ ✓ Embeddable Gauges ✓ 𝖷 𝖷 Goal-setting System ✓ 𝖷 𝖷 Requires Office 365 𝖷 𝖷 ✓ White Glove Onboarding + Support Included ✓ 𝖷 𝖷 Free Data Customization ✓* *up to 25 gauges, major projects will be billable 𝖷  𝖷  Price $259 per month (Standard Plan) $199 per month (Team Plan) $9.99 per user per month (Power BI Pro Plan) Why choose BrightGauge? While many business tools on the market allow you to create impressive dashboards that give you a real-time view of your important metrics, BrightGauge users love that we’ve made client reporting a simple task. BrightGauge reports convert the metrics you’re tracking into customizable, interactive reports that you can share with your clients on the date and time you choose. You can set up a report one time, save it as a template, and schedule it to go out on a recurring basis, and that automation has simplified the lives of many of our users. Specifically, the ability to create powerful ConnectWise reports is a big draw for our users (especially now that we are a ConnectWise solution). A task that could take up to 8 hours a week in the past is now simplified to just a few minutes. Custom ConnectWise reports allow our users to remain transparent with their clients and report on the metrics that impact business decisions. Additionally, BrightGauge offers its users a proprietary goal-setting feature, which works really well in fostering a sense of accountability within teams. Each individual team member can create goals each quarter and check-in on a weekly basis to track progress, keeping everyone aligned to overall company KPIs and working towards success. To learn more about how BrightGauge compares to other dashboard tools, please contact our team! We’re happy to chat with you.

VIDEO: Tips for Getting the Right BrightGauge Data on Day One

  New BrightGauge user? We're sure you are eager to get access to your data immediately and we're excited for you to do so!   Before you get started, we wanted to share some tips and tricks that'll help you see your custom data right out of the gate.    This video covers: Where to find default metrics, commonly used filters, and best practices within the gauge builder (watch from start - 5:00) How to customize dashboards (starting at 5:03) Where to find resources for self-learning (starting at 6:42)   After you watch this video, you may find it helpful to learn how to add dashboard filters, how to add client mappings, or how to send client reports.    If you need some extra help or have any questions, no sweat. We're always here for you. Just reach out to our support team.   Happy gauge-building!  

70+ Metrics for MSPs

Key metrics and accompanying formulas to help MSPs skyrocket growth and success!

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Important Information for Our Autotask Partners

On February 1, 2020, Autotask v1 is officially going into retirement. But don't worry! You will have access to our latest version. For that to happen, we need you to please take action before this datasource is gone.   Again, on February 1, all Autotask partners will be required to use the latest version of our Autotask datasource, meaning that Autotask v1 will be deleted. We don't want any disruptions in your service to occur, so we'd like to help you move everything over ASAP.    So, why are we doing this?   Basically, the older version is being deprecated and we will no longer be supporting it. The newer version has been available since August 2018 and has many more features that we are sure you are going to love, including the availability of user defined fields (sweet!). Learn more here.    Before February 1st, we need you to authenticate your connection in order to gain access to Autotask v2.    You'll need to take a moment to ensure the following requirements are met:   The Autotask user has an API User (API-Only) security level. This security level provides full system administration access to PSA modules, features and the data available via Autotask's Web Services API.  It does all of this while limiting access to the Autotask UI itself. The Autotask user is assigned an API Tracking Identifier set to "BrightGauge Software - BrightGauge". Tracking identifiers are assigned on the Security tab of the API-only user's Resource Management page when adding a new API-only user, or editing an API-only user that does not yet have an identifier assigned. Select the "BrightGauge Software - BrightGauge" under the Integration Vendor menu.   Confused? Please find detailed migration instructions here.    Still confused? Submit a support ticket. We're always happy to help! 

5 Security Measures All MSPs Should Take Right Now

We are operating in a world where security risks are greater than ever before. The reality is that our information is vulnerable, but there are steps we can take to decrease our risk of attack.    For the past couple of years, MSP 501 surveys have indicated that security-as-a-service or security offerings in general are the biggest growth area for MSPs, and that will continue to ring true.    Whether or not you are offering security-as-a-service at your MSP, there are general security guidelines that every single MSP should be following right now to ensure the safety of their data and that of their clients.    It starts from within. When you establish strong internal security protocols, that will carry over into making you a more trusted partner. So, whatever measures you put into practice should be shared with and required of every employee who joins your organization (just make it a part of your onboarding strategy!).    Just ahead, we present 5 tips for securing your MSP:     Use a password manager. A lot of websites require passwords of a certain length with a combination of 1 letter, 1 special character, etc. So, people tend to use the same passwords across the board. Bad idea. Instead, use a password manager, like 1Password. In fact, require it for all business activity and use strong, unique passwords for every separate site. Something like 1Password will store your passwords and generate them for you. This can help dramatically reduce the risk of password reuse in the event of a vendor security breach.  Require 2-Factor Authentication. There’s really no excuse not to do this. Enable 2FA everywhere possible - especially on sites/apps you share with clients. When available, encourage the use of SSO (single sign-on) solutions as well.  Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt. Across all devices, full disk encryption should be a requirement. This is an important measure to take to ensure that only those people who you want accessing a piece of information are able to access it. Just like 2FA, there’s no reason not to do this.   Keep your customer’s data safe. It’s one thing to safeguard your own data, but ensuring your customer’s data is protected is incredibly important, too. You are a trusted vendor, after all. Make sure you have clear protocols and safeguards in place around any customer data and resources. When possible, store logs and audit trails for any privileged activity that might access private customer data. Word of advice: when building these systems, be cautious not to accidentally capture sensitive data in your audit logs.  Stay informed. When in doubt, turn to the experts and constantly stay informed. We highly recommend and have referred our own employees to a set of excellent presentations on operational security published by PagerDuty. Anyone looking for additional guidance should definitely check it out: https://sudo.pagerduty.com/for_everyone/.    The bottom line: don’t skimp on security. It’s just going to continue becoming more and more important every day.    For a deeper dive into the topic of security, including how to sell security to your customers, join the upcoming ConnectWise webinar, ‘Key Tactics to Monetize Your Security Offering’, taking place on January 27th. Register now: https://www.connectwise.com/resources/webinar-monetize-your-security-offering.   

[WEBINAR] Tracking Project Progress Through Dashboards + Reports

A common challenge that MSPs face is how to run an efficient and productive service desk, as there's so much activity coming in and out of that department.    From tickets that need to be serviced to long-term projects that have been agreed upon, there are plenty of moving parts (and technicians) to keep track of.    What's your approach when it comes to staying on top of what your team members are working on?    In the latest edition of our user showcase webinars, Mark Kjaer and Mark Beitel of WBM Technologies, Inc. share how they are using BrightGauge dashboards and reports to track each of their technician's performance and to stay on top of open projects and devices.    Having real-time visibility into their machine stats, project status, and tech data has proven to be an effective way to align everyone on tasks that need to get done. Plus, the ability to create comprehensive reports within BrightGauge has allowed the WBM team to keep clients and team members alike informed on a monthly basis.    Click below to watch the webinar and please contact us if you've got any questions!   

Why and How MSPs Should Track Finance KPIs

Off the top of your head, do you know how much cash your organization has on hand? What was your gross profit last month? What’s your projected MRR this month?    If you don’t know these numbers right off the bat, how quickly can you get to them? Ideally, you can get this data immediately.    Keeping a watchful eye on your finance KPIs is a critical practice that informs pretty much all business decisions. If you’re not in the habit of doing this or aren’t sure of the best way to keep tabs on this data, don’t fret. It’s pretty simple to implement.    Why is it so important to track financial KPIs?   Aside from the obvious - knowing whether or not your business is profitable - tracking financial KPIs impacts day-to-day decisions that spill over into the long-term.    A (good) challenge that many MSPs are facing today is merging with or acquiring another company. Oftentimes when this happens, leadership teams are suddenly tasked with managing a growing organization.    How can MSPs efficiently grow and scale in this market? It’s all about letting data do the talking.    Tracking financial performance and patterns means that decisions are rooted in truth. Hard data can’t be manipulated and numbers don’t lie, so decision-makers can rest assured that they are taking the smartest actions.    Financial data can help when determining how many members to add to a team, where to set sales commissions, what tools or software to add to an existing stack, or especially when projecting goals for a coming quarter or year.    Owners and managers also use financial KPIs to figure out what area of the business to focus on. For instance, if revenue is dwindling because of a slow uptick in new clients, a heavy investment can be made in a sales and marketing team. Or, going back to M&A’s, if you’re expecting to take on a significant amount of new clients, it may make sense to focus investments on a more robust service team.    Whether deemed large or small, it’s pretty much a guarantee that all decisions are driven by financial data.   Another reason to always have an eye on finances: key stakeholders and investors care a whole lot about this type of information, so it’s best to have it on hand anytime a question is asked or a report is needed.    Keeping tabs on finances with the right tools    You’re most likely using a tool like QuickBooks to handle and manage your finances. It’s a very popular and reliable tool in the industry.    But, depending on the needs of your MSP, you’re probably using other tools like a PSA or RMM on a daily basis.    What ends up happening is that you spend the day toggling between windows to consume the data that’s important to you.    A smarter and faster way to be data-driven is to keep all your metrics in one central place, like a dashboard that gives you a bird’s eye view of your business.    That’s exactly what BrightGauge does. You can create specific dashboards for the areas of business you want to track and then have them on display throughout your office, giving you and other team members constant visibility into your KPIs.    In the case of finances, being able to glance at one dashboard to quickly understand the state of your business puts you in a prime position to be proactive, make decisions that lead to success, and manage incoming and outgoing cash in an optimal way.    Knowing where and how to get started   You’ve got the right tools in place and are adamant about making financial KPIs a priority, but how do you get started?    First, know that we offer a lot of resources to guide you. Our integrations come pre-loaded with default gauges, dashboards, and reports to get you off on the right foot.    With QuickBooks specifically, you’ll get gauges like Accounts Receivable Aging Summary, Amount on Invoices Sent This Week, Cash Balance, EBITDA Performance, Net Profit, and more. Pre-built QuickBooks dashboards include COGS, Expenses, and Revenues Details as well as a Financial Overview dashboard.    In addition to these templates, we have webinars,  blog posts, and more that share what your peers are doing with BrightGauge.    But what it comes down to is deciding what’s most important to your business and your bottom line. What are your main goals that will define success for you? Start there, choose KPIs that align with your company goals, and put those metrics on one dashboard.    As an example, a BrightGauge customer recently gave us a look at a Leadership KPI dashboard that is shared with the executive team on a regular basis. It’s a high-level financial overview of performance in various departments, recurring revenue, and gross profit. See that dashboard below or click here:     Because all these metrics are tracked every day, team members are able to communicate about this data at a moment’s notice, keeping everyone accountable and aligned to goals.    As a BrightGauge customer, you’ll never be left to figure things out on your own. Our support and success teams are always available to help you out.    Want to learn more or see BrightGauge in action? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to take you through a one-on-one demo. 

Join Us in Miami for a Data Driven Workshop

Are you new to BrightGauge or looking to get an in-depth training session?    Join us from February 19-21 at our BrightGauge HQ in Miami, FL for our 13th quarterly in-person Data Driven Workshop.  We'll host around 20 partners for a two-day deep dive into the foundation of BrightGauge; reviewing the core areas, your unique setup, best practices from other attending businesses, and active building sessions. All Enterprise+ accounts that have been with us for over three months get to send one team member for free.  DDW begins with a team meet & greet Wednesday night where you'll get to check in and get to know the BrightGauge team. Thursday will offer a full day of programming with all meals provided, capped off with a special Miami outing complete with Spanish food and a live Cuban band show. Friday, we'll host your one-on-one training and buildout sessions, plus link you with our product team to make sure your feedback and ideas get integrated into the platform. You have the option to attend these last sessions either in person or remote at a later time. In our sessions, you'll work with team leads to refine your goals, discover tips for how to advance your use of BrightGauge, get a breakdown of the gauge builder, plus engage in a heavy run-through of setting up reports and dashboards for your team and clients.  Past attendees have said that DDW is "a must for anyone looking to get a leg up in their BrightGauge knowledge. Plus the team is so great!"  "Anyone using BrightGauge to help manage their processes will find value in attending the Data Driven Workshop. Whether it is a tip for using a dashboard, a new way to configure a gauge, or a fresh insight into goals, the time spent with the BrightGauge team and other colleagues using the same tools in a similar environment is time well spent. I highly recommend it!" Did we mention we're averaging 75 degrees and blue skies every day?  Sign up or request more info via https://www.brightgauge.com/data-driven-workshop/

January Dashboard - Team Capacity

Did you catch our recent webinar with Ian Richardson of Doberman Technologies where he discusses how he uses BrightGauge to set his MSP up for success?    During the chat, Ian shared that one of his go-to dashboards is one that tracks his team’s capacity for new projects.    The dashboard shows the capacity each tech has in his or her schedule to take on projects, based on hours that have been scheduled for the current month and the next 3 months. Each tech has a predetermined max capacity, which is based on work roles.    View this dashboard here.   This critical dashboard is used for expectation management, both internally and with clients. It helps the Doberman Technologies teams make informed decisions about when projects can realistically be delivered and it helps them decide which projects to take on and when.    Scheduling projects around known capacities also ensures that each team member has enough time for unexpected crisis items and for more long-term projects.    For Doberman Technologies, this has been a really efficient way to grow their business and keep workload at a manageable pace and it's applicable to all teams across the board.    Many of you showed interest in replicating this dashboard for yourselves, and we’re happy to share it with you now:   Link to Team Capacity Dashboard Link to Dashboard Recreation Key   Please feel free to reach out to success@brightgauge.com with any questions you have!

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