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Planning for Business Recovery and Financial Health

As we continue to forge ahead in 2020 and understand how COVID-19 has impacted our businesses, it is time to plan for recovery.    Whether you have experienced significant changes or you’ve been ...
As we continue to forge ahead in 2020 and understand how COVID-19 has impacted our businesses, it is time to plan for recovery.    Whether you have experienced significant changes or you’ve been operating like normal, we all need to think about what comes next.    Join Paul Dippell, CEO of Service Leadership, Inc., for the Rapid Recovery Webinar Series, hosted by ConnectWise.    In the three-part series, Paul will offer advice on maximizing profits, improving customer retention, and generating new business.    Read on for more details and to register for the events.   Determining Your Financial Situation and Protecting Profitability June 5, 2020; 1:00-2:00pm EST  In the first of the Rapid Recovery Webinar Series with Paul Dippell, we’ll discuss how to clearly understand your financial health and maximize profits during and post-COVID.  Register now: https://www.connectwise.com/resources/inside-the-industry/webinar-predicting-profitability   Retaining and Risk-Managing Your Existing Customers June 15, 2020; 2:00-3:00pm EST  In this episode, Paul Dippell will share advice on how to prevent customer churn and sustained revenue loss by doubling down on customer retention and risk management.  Register now: https://www.connectwise.com/resources/inside-the-industry/webinar-retaining-customers   Selling into the Storm – New Business Generation in a Downturn June 30, 2020; 1:00-2:00pm EST In the third and final installment of the Rapid Recovery Webinar Series, the conversation will turn to how solution providers can tackle the increased challenge of driving sales during this period of uncertainty.  Register now: https://www.connectwise.com/resources/inside-the-industry/webinar-selling-in-economic-downturn    
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Report of the Month - End of Month Overview

This month, we’re featuring how BrightGauge partner Dan Rutter of TechPath in Brisbane uses BrightGauge reports to be highly transparent with customers and empower them to make the best possible business decisions.    Dan is the Service Manager at TechPath, a full-service IT company that focuses on providing business internet, cloud and hosting, phone systems, and technology solutions to people in the Brisbane area.    As the Service Manager, Dan wants to enable his customers with full information about their environments so that they have a better understanding of their business.    To aid in this type of conversation, Dan regularly sends out an automated End of Month report using BrightGauge.     Transparent reporting gives clients an extra look at the value a company like TechPath brings. As Dan puts it, “When you are visiting clients on-site, it’s very clear what your value is as they see exactly what you’re working on, but once your working relationship gets better and there are less face-to-face interactions, you spend a lot more time in the background. We wanted to send a report each month to key contacts to give an indication of what activity is actually happening, because they may not be aware of how much is going on behind the scenes.”    The resulting report is straightforward and is automatically sent out, so is not censored in any way and allows for honest, transparent conversations to take place.  *View this sample End of Month Report here   The overview of day-to-day operations includes data around: Tickets, including type, volume, and open/close dates  Asset management, including warranties status  Network devices, with information about what’s currently under contract Computer health with patch status and drive disk space used   The goal is to empower end users with all they need to make informative decisions.    Dan says, “We’re giving our clients enough information for them to leave us, actually. But the idea is that we are providing so much value that they will want to continue working with us.”   With the type of data they’re being shown each month, clients can make timely decisions about endpoints that are becoming particularly problematic, machines that may need to be replaced, administrative licenses that should be reassigned, and more.   When TechPath is falling behind on something, it’s valuable for the client to see what action was taken to mitigate the issue at hand. That type of transparency strengthens trust placed in TechPath as a partner.    “The key things for us are full transparency and showing value,” says Dan. “When we’re not on-site, it’s harder to maintain clients. They start wondering why they pay us. We know we’re doing a good job and we know we’re delivering value, but sending monthly reports helps us show that to our end users and decisions makers.”    Interested in setting up an End of Month Report for your clients? 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 Dan and TechPath for sharing your insights!   Link to Sample End of Month Report Link to Report Recreation Key

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10 Things You Need In Your Client Reports Right Now

What is your strategy when it comes to client reporting? Are you sending client reports on a regular basis? How are you determining what data to include in your reports? How are you generating your reports?    Not carving out time to formalize this process or put enough thought into it can lead to a missed opportunity. Client reports are a powerful tool when it comes to customer retention and maintaining solid relationships.    With a little organization, client reporting is a practice you can implement fairly quickly and easily. Let’s explore.   What is a client report?   Simply put, a client report is a document you send to your clients on a regular basis, showing them important metrics pertaining to their organization or environment.    For example, if you’re a managed service provider (MSP) who handles your client’s endpoints, you may report on the status of their networks and devices and what actions you took in a given time period to mitigate any security threats they may have faced.    Client reports should be based on fact and should refrain from being censored in any way, so a comprehensive report will show the natural ups and downs that any client-partner relationship faces.    A client report should be a relatively quick and easy way for key stakeholders and decision-makers to consume important information and drive business decisions. Most often, it shouldn’t be a long, drawn-out report that takes a lot of time to comb through and analyze (long, in-depth reports make more sense during quarterly business reviews).     Why do we need client reporting?   It’s a fact that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. After you’ve extended efforts to bring on a new client, it’s critical to nurture that relationship and make sure they stick with you for the long term.    Creating a relationship based on trust and transparency lays a solid foundation for repeat business. Think about it from the client’s perspective: they’re already paying you, they already know how you work, you already know the environment, and you’ve already established a rapport. It would be a waste of their time to have to vet and hire a new vendor to do the work you’re already doing. So it’s truly in everybody’s best interest to protect the existing relationship and strengthen it over time.    One of the most powerful ways to build up trust and transparency is to get in the habit of sending client reports.    Especially in a world where we are mostly working remotely (i.e., fewer on-site visits with clients), it’s hard to show all the work that goes into your day-to-day. A report lays out your value for a decision-maker to see. You can almost compare it to an itemized invoice that lists out many functions that your client otherwise would not be privy to.    Further, because reports are based on facts and show the good and the bad, they position you as a credible and trusted partner, not just a vendor. You’re giving the full picture of what’s happening versus trying hard to just make yourself look good.    Client reports also serve as a sort of audit for decision-makers. Imagine your point of contact leaves your client’s place of employment. All the reports you’ve sent in the past will act as a paper trail of sorts to show the value of your partnership so that the person who is signing your checks doesn’t hesitate to continue signing them.    What things should be included in a client report?    The specific data and metrics to include in a client report format will vary from client to client. It really depends on your role, what your service level agreement (SLA) outlines, how often you’re sending the report, and what your point of contact cares most about.    That being said, here are 10 things that all client reports should include:   1. Benchmarks   Whether you’re setting these standards for yourself or your client is doing that for you, include some benchmarks to measure yourself against. This way, your client can easily see how you’re stacking up for that given time period. Plus, they will appreciate that you’re working hard to meet the highest standards and you’re human enough to understand that you may not always be perfect.    A good way to determine what benchmarks to set is to use your SLA as a guide. Average Time to Response is a common example - in your SLA, you may have agreed to always respond to tickets within 30 minutes or less. In your reports, you may want to always include your benchmark (30 minutes) versus your actual performance for the given period.    2. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)   KPI tracking is such an important part of running a business. KPIs are like a north star that help guide the company along the right path to success.    Businesses like MSPs will often have their own internal KPIs they are regularly tracking and external KPIs that help assess the level of service they’re providing their customers. Some external KPIs may even be used to determine if a client is a right fit.    Here are examples of KPIs you may be including in your client reports: Average Time to Response Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score Open versus Closed Tickets Net Promoter Score Billable Hours  Activity Level/Health Score    3. Metrics   Tied to KPIs are metrics, which are trackable bits of data or that will help you piece together how well or not you’re performing. In other words, they are results.    There are many different metrics you can be tracking at any given moment across the various departments within your organization. When it comes to including metrics in your client reports, you want to be purposeful about the ones you choose to include.    They should be tied to KPIs that clients find important and they should be high-level. Client reports are not typically the time to get too granular with metrics as you want clients to digest the right information as quickly as possible - think quality over quantity here.   Depending on the cadence of your report delivery, you’ll want to choose the metrics that best tell the story for your given time frame. For example, in a monthly report you would want to focus on average kill rate percentage versus showing tickets opened today.    4. Goals    The practice of goal-setting is good for everyone to engage in - at the individual level and organizational level, on a personal level and a professional level, for the short term and the long term, and so on.    Showing clients how you’re setting and tracking against goals helps to reinforce that foundation of trust you are building your relationship upon. You and your clients may even be coming up with goals together.    In your client reports, you can show progress of your goals using a simple chart or graph just as a visual reminder of where you stand.    By the way, benchmarks and goals can get confused with one another, but think of goals as the desired end result and benchmarks as the milestones you have to hit to reach your goals.    5. Budget   There are two important areas to consider when it comes to communicating about budget in your client reports: dollars and hours.    You want to show clients how their forecasted budget is tracking against projects completed or in progress. To put it simply, show them how you’re stretching their budgets to cover the most amount of work.   In addition, you’ll want to make sure everything is on track in terms of budgeted hours. Are your techs billing hours correctly? Are there any issues you need to point out to your clients? How can you mitigate any time issues before it starts impacting your client negatively?    These are topics you should be touching upon on an ongoing basis.   6. Revenue    If you’re involved in your client’s finances in any way, data pertaining to revenue MUST be included in each of your client reports.    As an MSP, if you’re managing your client’s endpoints, you may want to demonstrate how keeping warranties, patches, and machines up to date makes a positive financial impact over time.    Anything impacting cash flow or profitability is going to be high on the list of priorities for clients, so take care and be precise when reporting on these numbers.    7. ROI Tracking    Communicating on ROI is a big topic when it comes to nurturing that client relationship. Decision makers and key contacts are going to be really interested in how their investment in you will benefit them. This is closely tied to revenue reporting.    If you can demonstrate how your client’s investments can result in big gains or cost savings or measurable business growth, you’re going to put yourself in a great position to continue earning their business.    8. Areas of Improvement    Nobody does everything right 100% of the time. Whether you are sending daily, weekly, or monthly reports, it’s a good idea to highlight areas where you didn’t perform to the standards you would have liked, include context as to why performance was lagging, and identify solutions to prevent subpar performance in the future.    9. Summary of Events    Your clients may not be aware of the scale of work that goes into protecting their environment. If you are out of sight, what you are doing may be out of mind for them. Including a summary of events that you’ve covered (most likely without their awareness) will help them understand how proactive you are and how much time and effort goes into keeping their businesses running smoothly.    10. Reporting the Good and the Bad    We’ve said it before but it bears repeating itself over and over again: you can’t only report on the wins. When it comes to client reporting, it pays to be fully transparent all of the time. Mistakes happen, things fall through the cracks, and lessons are learned. Clients will be especially understanding of this if you don’t censor anything from them and if you’re constantly working on ways to course correct in the future.    Even better, if an error occurred and you fixed it before your client noticed or before your report was due, including it in your report and outlining what was done to mitigate the error will show how valuable it is to have you as a partner. By doing this, you show that you’re not going to your clients with problems. You’re going to them with solutions.    The right client reporting tool   We’ve heard of many people not being consistent with client reporting simply because they take too much time to pull together. If you are toggling between many tools, pulling data off of each tool, inputting that data into an Excel spreadsheet, and then spending hours analyzing that data to draw conclusions, you could be eating into many valuable hours of your time.    With an automated client reporting system like BrightGauge, you win that time back and you get powerful reports out to your clients whenever you want. Some of our partners have said that our client reporting tool has saved them 8-10 hours per week, which is time they can now spend focusing on revenue-generating tasks.    With BrightGauge, you’ll get pre-built report templates that you can quickly populate with your client’s information, making it very easy to get started right out-of-the box. Even if you build reports from scratch, you can set them to automatically send out on the dates and times you choose, so you can rest assured that your client will get that report delivered to their inbox on a regular basis.    For an in-depth look at the BrightGauge client reporting system and other features, please contact us so we can set you up with a live demo.   

CRN Names Brooke Candelore a CRN 2020 Woman of the Channel

We are thrilled to announce that Brooke Candelore, Product Manager at BrightGauge, has been included as an honoree in this year’s CRN 2020 Women of the Channel list!   While we are certainly not surprised by this honor, we are so happy to have Brooke’s achievements recognized by the industry.    Brooke joined BrightGauge in 2017 and has been an integral part of the development of our product. She’s been responsible for bringing on dozens of new integrations, allowing our partners to connect to the datasources that matter most to them. In her role as Product Manager, she oversees all aspects of our product development, ensuring that features are released in a timely, relevant manner.    What really makes Brooke stand out is that she handles her role with such composure and grace. Regardless of the challenges that are presented to her, Brooke constantly has a smile on her face and goes above and beyond to help her team achieve success.    Maddie Campos, an Integration Developer on Brooke’s team, says it’s her pleasure to work with someone who has high standards and expectations of those around her. Brooke has helped Maddie solidify programming fundamentals and guide her to become a better developer.    “Thanks to Brooke, I have learned to become a better problem solver and critical thinker,” says Maddie. “Not only is she technically proficient, she also moves through life in a very professional, articulate, and kind manner. Her ideas always make logical sense and she has a clear plan in which to move forward. She reminds us what a strong, competent leader can be and never ceases to impress.”    Rick Aquilia, another Integration Developer working under Brooke, echoes Maddie’s sentiments.    Rick actually transitioned from the Support Team onto the Product Team and one of his greatest challenges was learning Python as part of his development position. Brooke was instrumental in helping Rick progress.    “Despite having her own tasks to attend to, Brooke always ensured that she was readily available for any questions that came up throughout my programming journey,” says Rick. “She frequently challenged me to be better and always offered feedback for areas where improvements could be made. I am extremely grateful for her patience, guidance, and support through it all.”    Congratulations, Brooke, on this well-earned achievement!   Brooke was named an honoree alongside three other ConnectWise colleagues. See the full press release here. 

Supporting Your Clients Through COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve and change our world. We’ve all been forced to do things differently and figure out how to navigate a workforce that is largely remote.    If you’re talking to your peers or reading industry news, you may hear that managed service providers (MSPs) are primed to do well throughout this situation. And, it’s true. MSPs already play such a critical role in their client’s businesses and that role is shaping up to be more important than ever before.   While we’re all uncertain about the future, now is the time to show your clients that they can rely on you to see them through.    Here are two things you can do right now to support your clients:   Increase data tracking   You may already have experience managing remote teams and perhaps some of your clients do as well. That’s great! But undoubtedly, you will have many clients that are learning about working remotely for the very first time.   By now, they’ve probably gotten the hang of it, but it can be pretty jarring, and productivity may be taking a hit. Plus, your clients may be accustomed to some face-to-face time with you, which they’re no longer getting.    One powerful way to combat lack of facetime and less communication in general is to increase the amount of data you’re monitoring.    Business intelligence can be used to keep a pulse on what’s going on. For an MSP, this may mean tracking your service desk techs to see what tickets are coming in, what your average response time is, and who is working on what projects.    For your clients, data tracking can help them understand what you are doing on the back end to protect their networks.    Regardless of the working environment we’re accustomed to, the fact that employees across the globe are now remote can leave us all feeling a little bit out of touch, so your clients may be wondering what it is they’re paying you to do.    Sharing data dashboards or custom reports can help them see real-time threats you’re mitigating, endpoints you’re managing, servers you’re keeping up, and all the other ways you’re being proactive about keeping your clients up and running. Being transparent in this kind of way means your clients never have to chase you down for answers and will just end up strengthening your partnership.    Ramp up cybersecurity efforts   Along with increased data sharing, now is an ideal time to strengthen your cybersecurity offerings. With so many networks being accessed remotely, we’re more vulnerable than ever.    The last thing your clients need right now is for their operations to become compromised, when there are other pressing matters to focus on.    Have a frank conversation with your clients. Show them in what ways they are currently protected under their service level agreement and how you could reinforce those protections even further.   Make sure your employees and your client’s employees are up to date in any security training, and ensure that there are processes in place for securing all work environments. Communicate about these processes and employee requirements on a frequent basis.    Conclusion   These are just a couple of ways to take the stress and burden out of your client’s hands so they can do what is needed to keep their businesses afloat. Once we return to our new normal, your clients won’t forget how you supported their efforts.   Looking for more ways to put yourself in a position to thrive once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us? Download The MSP COVID-19 Playbook for more information and guidance.   

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Making Sense of Your Operational Maturity

We get asked quite a bit, "Which metrics are the right ones for me to measure for my team and business?". A lot of factors play into this. Consider the size of your team, customer communication, revenue, products and services provided, and markets served to name a few. Take stock of where you stand amongst these, plus a multitude of other factors. This is where you are in your journey.   You may realize that your success isn't dependent on the age of your business but rather how mature, or developed each of these core areas are. That's a great start! From here, it's all about knowing what to act on, and setting in place the right intelligence gathering.    To demystify this process, join industry expert Eric Hoffmaster for our User Showcase webinar: Making Sense of your Journey Towards Operational Maturity, taking place on May 11th, at 9:30 am PST/ 12:30 pm EST. We'll cover:  Key Business Stages What every business should evaluate Evolving your metrics Working towards what's actionable Painting everything green RSVP to our live webinar or to receive a recording: http://info.brightgauge.com/en/wb-msp-maturity

Thank You, IT Professionals

Let’s face it, in this unprecedented situation, as we’re all learning how to navigate a global pandemic, there’s one thing that’s keeping us relatively sane: our connections to the outside world.    Our access to the internet so we can get our remote work done, streaming TV so we can watch our favorite shows, and video calls so we can get face-to-face time with teachers or loved ones are what we’ve come to rely on to get us through our days.   And none of it would be possible without the diligence and hard work of IT professionals around the globe.    We’ve always been proud to be a part of a community that moves technology, and the world, forward. But today, we’re more proud than ever before.   We want to shout “thank you!” to all the IT professionals in this community for staying on the frontlines and keeping us on track. You’re an essential part of how we’re getting through this and we appreciate you so very much.    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. 

Goal Management Software That Drives Business Growth

As a business leader, goal tracking is likely a cornerstone of your employee management strategy. Goal management is an important way to align your team members and ensure that you’ve got an entire organization driven by shared key performance indicators (KPIs).    In the era of COVID-19 and remote work, the importance of goal setting and tracking is becoming increasingly evident.   Let’s face it - managing an entire remote team has its challenges. There are no face-to-face interactions or watercooler moments to rely on that perhaps once served as a casual “what are you up to?” check-in.    While it’s necessary to keep employees engaged and productive, no one wants to be micromanaged (or be a micromanager for that matter). But we still want to grow our businesses and keep our employees motivated, so goal tracking remains a priority.    The key to implementing goals that will drive business growth is to use an employee goal setting software like BrightGauge to automate that process for you. Before diving into what goal management software can do for your business, let’s explore the necessity of goals a bit more.    Types of goals    Generally, there are two categories of goals you can assign to your employees: outcome goals and process goals. These two are often intertwined, but the way you measure each is different.    An outcome goal is the end result that you’d like to achieve, while a process goal refers to the steps you need to take to achieve your outcome.    We like to use a very simple example to help visualize this. Let’s say you want to lose some weight. Your outcome goal would be “lose 5 pounds this year”. Your process goal would be “walk 10,000 steps per day”.    With both goals, you can easily measure your progress, and achievement of your outcome goal is dependent upon your process goal performance. Each week (or other determined cadence), you can track and mark progress of each goal. For your outcome goal, you can mark whether you lost or gained weight and how much. And for your process goal, you can track the actual steps you completed each day.    So, how does this translate to a managed service provider (MSP)?    An example is the desire to improve your organization’s monthly recurring revenue (MRR). You might set an outcome goal to increase your MRR by a certain percentage (increase 5% year-over-year) or to reach a specific number (MRR of $10,000). In order to achieve that outcome, your process goal may be to close X number of new accounts per month, or have your sales representatives increase their outbounding efforts by X% per month.    We’ve found that a healthy mix of both outcome and process goals works well.    Why you need business goals   Assuming that everyone is on the same page and is aware of the desired direction of the organization is just risky business. Accountability measures need to exist to help decision makers evaluate whether everyone is pulling their own weight and charting the right course.    If you can’t truly measure performance and progress, how are you analyzing the various areas of your business? How can you tell if you’re growing year over year?   Sure, comparing revenue and profit can be telling, but that only paints a partial picture. If you’re bringing in more revenue during a certain period of time, what can you attribute those gains to? How will you know which business tactics were successful and worth replicating?    Taking it one step further, who can you attribute successful results to? Is there someone that’s in need of a merit increase? Or perhaps a technician on your team that can benefit from more training?    Goal tracking is a powerful way to get answers to all these questions.    Not only does it serve to align every person in the company, but goal management also helps business owners carve out a path towards success that makes sense. Goals are like stepping stones that act as a guide without being overwhelming. By focusing on one goal at a time, you can eventually reach your desired outcomes at a pace that’s more easily trackable.    Goal management helps you grow your business in a smart, deliberate way. Your team members will know what tasks to focus on and prioritize, they will be held accountable to their actions, and you will have the right data to back future decisions.    How to set business goals   When you adopt a goal-setting strategy, it’s important that it’s implemented from the top-down. Everyone in the company should be setting and tracking goals.    While each goal should tie back to one big, desired outcome, each member of the team should have a different set of goals to work towards. This way, goals are relevant to each person’s role and every team member contributes to the greater good in their own way.    As you set and implement the KPIs that are important to your bottom line, use these to drive your goals. Goals and KPIs should tie into one another and ensure that your business decisions are based on factual data.    A good rule of thumb is to set SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Goals should be challenging, but they shouldn’t be so difficult that they end up overwhelming the goal owner to the point where they feel unmotivated and like they’ll never reach the outcome.    In our experience, starting off with quarterly goals is an effective way to get this process up and running. At the end of each quarter, performance and progress can be assessed and strategies can be tweaked to better represent your final goal. On the flip side, if you start off with a longer-term commitment like an annual goal, it may be more difficult to stay the course.    Whatever approach you take, analyze and iterate often to make the goal management process match the flow of your organization and working style.    A few other tips to keep in mind: It’s always good to turn to your peers and colleagues for goal ideas - this absolutely should be a collaborative process Allow for an adjustment period - adopting a new goal-setting strategy means you’re implementing a new process, so the ramp-up period might take a bit  Establish regular check-ins to discuss goal progress and performance, whether through 1:1 meetings with direct reports or other method (BrightGauge has a very simple and automated check-in process) Don’t tie performance reviews to goals - the main takeaway here is that goal performance is not black or white; promotions or salary bumps shouldn’t be based solely on whether a goal was hit or missed   How to track business goals with BrightGauge   Many know BrightGauge for its dashboard and reporting capabilities, which for years have been helping partners organize their data and make meaningful business decisions. Now, as we’ve shifted to remote work, people are turning to their dashboards even more than ever to help their teams work efficiently.   You may not be aware that BrightGauge is also a goal management software with a proprietary goal-setting and tracking system that’s a great way to enforce accountability amongst your teams, so everyone can focus on growing the business.      With BrightGauge goals, you can set and track goals for each member of the team in a scorecard-like grid. Team members get a weekly reminder via email to check into their goal, which means they mark whether they’re on- or off-track and fill in any necessary context. The corresponding square for that week will turn either green or red depending on progress, making it a very simple and visual way to see how your team is performing at a glance.    Goals can be shared company-wide, not just team-wide, which really motivates everybody to be accountable to their tasks and work productively to achieve the desired shared outcome.     Some partners have told us that once they’ve adopted BrightGauge’s goal management software, it’s quickly become their favorite feature and they can’t imagine doing business without it.    To chat more about how goal management software can drive business growth, contact us and we’ll happily show you BrightGauge in action.    For more on goals, check out our whitepaper, The Right Way to Set Business Goals.   

Dashboards of the Month - Managing to Zero and Green

As the world shifts to remote work, managers are having to learn new ways to keep their teams motivated and on task.    Without the ability to pop over to someone’s desk or have a passing conversation in the hallway, it seems to be a bit more challenging to know what your technicians are working on.    This is where dashboards can have a really profound impact. Business intelligence dashboards act as a single source of truth and paint an accurate picture of what’s going on at any given moment.    This month, we’re showing you two BrightGauge dashboards that are daily must-haves for working with your remote team.   Managing to Zero dashboard   *View this sample Managing to Zero dashboard here   The point of this dashboard is to manage all metrics to zero within a specific time frame. So, the goal can be to have each metric on the dashboard hit 0 by the end of the day or week.    In BrightGauge, you can filter this dashboard for each specific technician and share with them, that way everyone is on the same page and knows what they need to work towards.    Here’s a breakdown of the key performance indicators (KPIs) displayed in the Managing to Zero dashboard:   High Priority - A count of any currently open high priority tickets. Managing this number to zero ensures that all high priority items are handled in a timely fashion. Unassigned - A count of all currently open tickets that have no technician assigned. Keep an eye on this metric so that all of your customer’s issues and requests are not overlooked. Offline Servers - With your customers relying heavily on their technology during this time, making sure you maintain and manage the amount of servers that are going offline is more essential than ever. New - A count of all tickets that are still in a "New" status. Often this is an indicator that there has not been progress made on these tickets. Highlighting this item for your team should help keep them on track. Breaching Response SLA - This gauge will show any tickets that are within 60 minutes of breaching their response SLA. Managing this metric allows you to stay true to the expectations you have committed to with your customer base. Stale - A count of all tickets that have not been updated in at least 7 days. Make sure you keep this number to zero, so that none of your customer's requests fall through the cracks. Scheduled Today - A focus on tickets that are currently open and scheduled for today. Staying on top of these tickets should also aid in keeping your techs on task. Breaching Resolution SLA - This gauge will show any tickets that are within 60 minutes of breaching their resolution SLA. Managing this metric allows you to stay true to the expectations you have committed to with your customer base. Machines on EOL OS - Ensuring that your customers are on a reliable OS is extremely essential during the new work-from-home environment we are in. Reliable technology will allow them to operate efficiently and in turn increase your value as a partner.   Managing to Green dashboard   *View this sample Manage to Green dashboard here   Another essential, this dashboard gives a view of the current state of affairs. The goal is to have your KPIs consistently within a ‘green threshold’, which indicates that you are on the right track. Metrics that turn to red show areas where you may be falling behind, allowing you to respond quickly and course correct.    With BrightGauge, you have the ability to set thresholds based on numbers that you’ve deemed indicative of a problem. When that benchmark is crossed, your gauge will change colors, making it very easy to identify a problem and act on it immediately.    In this sample dashboard, we’ve chosen KPIs with arbitrary goals and thresholds set to them just to highlight the idea behind the Manage to Green dashboard. When creating this dashboard for your use, make sure to choose goals and thresholds that match your internal standards. Here are our examples:   Average Time to Response (mins) - Keeping your response time low and within an acceptable threshold allows you to provide an exceptional service to your customer base. Make sure this metric fits within internal expectations. CSAT Score - A quick glance at your customer's sentiment towards you. Customer retention is key during these times. Average Time to Resolution (hrs) - Keeping your resolution time low and within an acceptable threshold allows you to provide an exceptional service to your customer base. Make sure this metric fits within internal expectations. % Met Response SLA - A percentage of tickets that have met their response SLA compared to all of the tickets that have been worked that week. Use this gauge to make sure your team is meeting the commitments you have made to your customers. Kill Rate % - This is a quick glance into your team's efficiency. Calculated by taking tickets closed divided by tickets opened, this metric should always stay at 100% or higher. 100% means you have closed as many tickets as have been opened this week. Anything below 100% indicates that there may be some lingering tickets. % Met Resolution SLA - A percentage of tickets that have met their response SLA compared to all of the tickets that have been worked that week. Use this gauge to make sure your team is meeting the commitments you have made to your customers. Billable Utilization % - This calculates the amount of billable time your team has submitted versus their total time submitted. % Tech Time Fulfilled Yesterday - A view of the time submitted yesterday versus their daily capacity set within your PSA. If this number ever falls below 100%, some of your technicians are not putting all of the time allotted in their daily capacity. % Gross Margin - A key metric in determining the overall profitability of your business offerings.   The Manage to Zero and Manage to Green dashboards are easy to implement and share and can make a big difference in your team’s productivity and efficiency each week. Having these two rules (‘no red’ and ‘get to 0’) is a quick solution to getting everyone on the same page.    To recreate these dashboards for your own teams, check out the links below: Link Manage to Zero dashboard Link to Manage to Zero Recreation Key Link to Manage to Green dashboard Link to Manage to Green Recreation Key   Please feel free to reach out to success@brightgauge.com with any questions you have!    

New Integration: Sophos

Announcing the latest integration to launch at BrightGauge: Sophos. Sophos is a fully-synchronized, cloud-enabled cybersecurity solution that is now available to pair with BrightGauge.    With Sophos and BrightGauge, partners can expose metrics pertaining to endpoint health/threat status, identify problematic tenants, and categorize or review alerts.   By combining Sophos with BrightGauge, you can strengthen the power of your cybersecurity prevention measures by staying proactive and constantly on top of your data.    How to Connect to Sophos    It’s quite simple to start working with any of our datasources.    To connect to Sophos, click on the green ‘Add a new Datasource’ button, found on your BrightGauge overview page. Find Sophos under the ‘All’ or ‘Security’ categories, click on it, and follow all the prompts. Within a few minutes, you should be good to go.    If you need further instructions, check out our Sophos support doc.    Not yet a BrightGauge customer? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to schedule a live one-on-one demo.    What do I get out of the box?   We know how important it is that you get access to your data as soon as possible. After all, your business depends on it.    Because of that, we took the time to build out default gauges (KPIs), pre-built dashboards, and report templates, available to you the day you open a BrightGauge account.   With Sophos, you get 26 KPIs, 2 dashboards, and 1 report.   Gauges (KPIs)   The defaults that come with the Sophos integration relate to alerts, endpoints, and tenants.    Alerts are notifications generated in Sophos that require administrative action and come in categories such as ‘general’, ‘updating’, and ‘connectivity’. They are classified by severity.    Endpoints are defined as a server, computer, or other device protected and managed by Sophos.    A tenant is a collection of resources such as devices, events, policies, and people.    With these BrightGauge KPIs, track the status of your endpoints, the severity of your threats and alerts, and your total number of tenants.    Dashboards   Two default Sophos dashboards give you a bird’s-eye view of where you stand at any given time. Access these right off the bat so you don’t miss a beat when it comes to your important data.  Reports   Custom reports are powerful because they show a real sense of transparency between you and your team or you and your clients, which helps build important long-term relationships.    With BrightGauge, build your own reports, or get started with a report template. The Sophos report template shows Endpoint and Alert data for a given period of time.    Anytime you’ve got a question about Sophos + BrightGauge, please submit a support request or contact us and we’ll be ready to help!  

8 Tips for Effective Dashboard Reporting

Once you’ve got your managed service provider (MSP) business up and running, you’ll probably start strategizing ways to grow that business. Something every business owner or manager wishes for is more time to do so. Imagine what could be accomplished with more hours in a day!    While we’ve all got to work with the 24 hours we have, there are ways to free up time to focus on revenue generating tasks. By automating parts of your business that already run like a well-oiled machine, you can buy some of your own time back and move forward with growth opportunities. This can help your business develop a valuable competitive advantage.   One smart and powerful way to practice business automation is to use dashboard reporting. Dashboard reporting can make the process of monitoring metrics and tracking data easier than ever before so you can stop manually crunching numbers and start focusing on your big-picture business strategy. What is the Purpose of Dashboard Reporting? Dashboard reporting allows you to track and take action on metrics and data that are imperative to your company’s bottom line.    We’ve heard from MSPs who spend too much time each week compiling their data into meaningful reports —sometimes, upwards of 8-10 hours per week. That’s one entire workday of logging into multiple accounts, toggling between windows, pulling data into an Excel spreadsheet, and analyzing that data to find any compelling trends or indicators that drive your decisions. Sound familiar? We thought it might. The good news? There’s a different way to do things.   With dashboard reporting, the process of gathering data is automated, making it an easy and efficient way to buy back a big chunk of time.    Perhaps an even stronger argument for dashboard reporting is the effect it can have on internal and external relationships.    Long-term, trustworthy relationships that result in employee loyalty and repeat business stem from being honest, unbiased, and transparent. Transparency means being open about the reality of your situation, whether it’s good or bad. When you act as an open book and report on actual data, you become a credible and reliable source of information, which everyone can appreciate.    A dashboard report is also a professional and easily digestible way to show a clear snapshot of your business. How?    Let’s say you’re responsible for your client’s 25 endpoints. Every week, you may share with your client a dashboard report that shows the patch status of each endpoint, which machines are set to expire soon, and how many threats you mitigated in the previous week. This is an excellent way to prove your value as a partner, while keeping your client looped in on their investments.    Other dashboard reporting examples are a sales dashboard showing your team’s active and won opportunities, a support dashboard reporting on ticket statistics, a customer satisfaction dashboard telling your clients how others are rating you, a finance dashboard providing a quick look at the health and profitability of your company, and so on.    Regardless of the metrics chosen for a dashboard report, its purpose will always lie in allowing you to refocus your priorities while strengthening the basis of your client and team relationships. This means dashboard reporting can add value to any business—no matter your location, size, or industry.  What Makes a Good KPI Dashboard? Understanding why to use dashboard reporting is only the first step. Next is determining what the right key performance indicators (KPI) are to make your dashboard a strong one. This will vary by department and by the overall goals of your company, but there are some consistencies across the board.    For effective dashboard reporting, think quality over quantity. With a dashboard, you have one screen to paint your picture. Anyone looking at that screen should be able to quickly and easily digest the information. Overloading your dashboard would muddy the message you’re trying to convey and lead to confusion and a lack of clarity.    You really want to prioritize the right KPIs for your dashboard report. Choose the ones that tell your data story in the most compelling way. What are the KPIs that are most meaningful to your bottom line? What would the person receiving the report care about seeing?    It’s easy to get attached to data and feel like it’s all important, especially when you’re trying to prove your value to your clients, but this really is a case when less is more!   KPIs should align with overall company goals and serve as a north star. Not only does this help guide a company towards success, but it gets everyone in the organization on the same page. Different teams have their own goals to work towards, but everyone’s ultimate mission is to see the organization succeed, and KPIs are a clear way to unify everybody.    In general, all businesses are looking to evaluate performance in the areas of finance, customers, sales, marketing, operations, and within their own internal teams. Knowing this, your dashboard reports will likely have a healthy mix of KPIs from those business segments.    Here are some KPI examples to include in dashboards:   Finance Debt-to-Asset Ratio Return on Investment (ROI) Net Profit Margin   Customers Customer Satisfaction Net Promoter Score   Sales Monthly Recurring Revenue Age of Opportunity Quote to Close   Marketing Cost Per Lead Market Growth Rate Conversion Rate   Operations Effective Hourly Rate Service Level Agreements (SLAs) Time to Resolution   Internal Teams Revenue Per Employee Employee Churn Rate Employee Satisfaction 8 Effective Dashboard Management Tips Regardless of the type of dashboard reports you’re producing, here are 8 tips you can follow to ensure you’re staying organized, productive, and efficient:   Make sure your data is relevant. Think about who is receiving your dashboard report or viewing your dashboard. Display only those metrics that would make the most sense for that recipient. Additionally, if you categorize your dashboards by team or topic, don’t include any metrics that may seem out of place.  Use strategic metrics. This goes back to what we discussed earlier. Be strategic in what you choose (quality over quantity) and make sure the metrics you’re tracking align with your strategy for success. Use compelling data that influences business decisions in a positive way so that you’re set up to succeed.  Choose metrics that are measurable. Ever heard of SMART goals? That is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. By creating SMART goals, you can effectively measure your performance against benchmarks you’ve set so that you objectively know whether you’re on or off track. After all, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.  Keep your dashboards clean. Do yourself a favor and stay organized. Just like cluttered workspaces can be detrimental to your productivity, so can a cluttered dashboard. If looking at your dashboards causes you any sort of anxiety, your recipients are probably feeling the same. Choose the least amount of metrics needed to completely tell your story and you should be in a good place.   Track data that you can take action on. Data is awesome and powerful, but it can only take you so far. What you choose to do with that data is what really matters. Focus on data that can influence your processes, hiring decisions, SLAs, annual goals, and so on. If you have a piece of data as an FYI, but can’t really act upon it, ask yourself if it’s worth tracking.  Take the ‘at-a-glance’ test. Once you’ve got your dashboard reporting template in place, take a quick glance and see what you’re able to glean from it in those couple minutes. Are you visually representing your data in a way that’s easy to digest? Are you using colors, bar graphs, and pie charts that get the message across pretty quickly and clearly? Avoid clumps of texts and numbers and use graphics when possible. Group your metrics into a nice grid. People like symmetry and organization and tend to gravitate towards clean lines that bring a sense of calm. Organize your dashboards as such. Different dashboard reporting tools allow you to modify and resize your buckets to your liking so that your dashboard is designed to your taste. Group relevant metrics together (like tickets closed beside tickets opened) so that your dashboard report is easy to read.  Use dashboard filters. BrightGauge is a dashboard reporting tool that allows you to add dashboard filters to your reports. This can save you a ton of time. For example, let’s say you’re a service desk manager who wants to send a report to each of your individual technicians, specific to their projects. You can create one dashboard reporting template and then create a dashboard filter that only returns data specific to that individual (so, Rick’s dashboard, Alex’s dashboard, Sam’s dashboard, etc.). In BrightGauge, you’d simply toggle on the dashboard filter for the individual you’re looking for and that’s it.  Experience Effective Dashboard Reporting with BrightGauge There are different dashboard reporting tools out there that can help you create meaningful reports. Whichever you use, remember to employ these dashboard reporting best practices so you can make the most out of the data you’re tracking.    Especially in these unprecedented times, when the entire globe is fighting COVID-19 and adapting to remote work, dashboard reports can help managers stay on top of teams and can make client-partner relationships even more united.    To learn more about how BrightGauge can help you make faster, stronger, more informed decisions based on data, schedule a live one-on-one demo with us today. 

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