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Dashboard of the Month: Ticket Dispatch

A dispatchers job is to maximize the utilization of the service team. In essence, they need to keep resources busy and ensure every ticket that comes in gets scheduled out and attended to properly. ...
A dispatchers job is to maximize the utilization of the service team. In essence, they need to keep resources busy and ensure every ticket that comes in gets scheduled out and attended to properly. When you're juggling all the nuanced differences across teams and agreements while also making sure to check every field entry for accuracy, things can inevitable fall through the cracks. Having a ticket dispatch dashboard in BrightGauge can help your dispatcher easily pick up the missing pieces and "paint tomorrow green." By using a simplistic design and simplifying your service KPIs, you'll help your dispatcher works as efficiently as possible. For the March Dashboard of the month, we have featured a ticket dispatch board inspired by March's user showcase webinar, Simplifying Service KPIs to Support Rapid Growth with Ken Smith, Chief Operating Officer at 2W Technologies. Ticket Dispatch - view here. The ticket dispatch dashboard is broken out into 3 parts. The first section takes a manage to zero or manage to green approach focusing on priority tickets and important ticket fields that can get overlooked like type, agreement, and configuration. The second section focuses on process and scheduling. A text box is used to provide the steps to take for triaging, dispatching, and escalating tickets. Next, information on upcoming schedules, current ticket assignments, hours worked, and information on whose out of the office proves the perfect supplement for ConnectWise Manage's dispatch portal. The last section provides some high-level metrics to help further understand ticket volumes and gauge the utilization of the team. It includes metrics like same-day resolution percentage, average time to resolution, and tickets per endpoint. Thank you, Ken, for collaborating with us and sharing your straightforward technique to building dashboards to improve operational efficiencies! Recreate in your BrightGauge Ticket Dispatch Dashboard (public view link) Ticket Dispatch Dashboard Buildout Key Make sure to visit our library of more report and dashboard templates and please feel free to reach out to with any questions!

Dashboard of the Month: Invoice Time Review

Many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) offer a variety of services across a wide range of small business clients. This can make for a tricky billing process! One of the biggest pain points with creating a streamlined billing process is figuring out how to efficiently track and review time entries. Although most PSAs provide a built-in time-tracking system for technicians, human and technical errors are inevitable when your billing is complex. To help keep track of important details without having to sift through 100's of time entry records each week, you can create a dashboard to flag potential problems in real time. For the February Dashboard of the month, we have featured a less customized version of the invoice time review dashboard shared during this month's user showcase webinar, Customizing your Data for Improved Service Delivery with Todd Moss, partner and managing director at 24HourTek. The Invoice Time Review dashboard used at 24HourTek contains both metrics and information that assists them with the invoice time review process. Using a heavy amount of text, 24HourTek outlines the various time entry guidelines for all of their different business offerings and creates metrics to look for red flags in their data. Checking this at least weekly has helped to eliminate costly delays and alleviate major headaches for the billing team. While the dashboard of the month version omits the text boxes, you can get a sense of what they are tracking below. Invoice Time Review - view here. Here are some featured metrics: Time review based on agreement types - Across several gauges, you can look at your time entries in a more meaningful way. On this dashboard, the partner is looking at break-fix, fully managed, and block time clients separately. If you have special rules or specific coverages for each, you can use text boxes to document that. This can aid the review process. Member Time Review - Reviewing technicians' time is equally as important as reviewing time during the billing process. Here, the partner is looking at billable utilization, time spent on various work types, late time sheets, and they have created a custom gauge to help determine whether technicians are entering time on time, all the time. Work Type and After Hour reviews - These gauges look for work types that require special care like after hours and non-covered. You can choose to break down all time entries by their work types as well. Further, by looking at time entered after hours, you can look for improperly entered time and ensure work types are set correctly for after hour billing. Thank you, Todd, for collaborating with us and sharing these great metrics! Recreate in your BrightGauge Invoice Time Review Dashboard (public view link) Invoice Time Review Dashboard Buildout Key Make sure to visit our library of more report and dashboard templates and please feel free to reach out to with any questions!

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Dashboard of the Month: Client Management Overview

Account managers have two main goals: retain clients and grow those opportunities. To assist in meeting those goals, you'll want to know what's going on with every aspect of the clients' experience. From tickets, invoices, and contracts, to proactively pinpointing potential problems, having a dashboard with real-time date is an ideal tool that can provide your team with those accurate up-to-the-minute insights. For the January Dashboard of the month, we have featured the client overview metrics for account managers shared during last month's user showcase webinar, Critical KPIs Owners Track for Client Management with James Cash, the owner and managing director at SuperFast IT. Superfast IT provides IT support in Birmingham, England with their managed IT and cybersecurity service packages. In addition, Superfast IT helps small businesses pass Cyber Essentials accreditation. Their service offerings help business owners focus on their business instead of getting bogged down by day-to-day IT and security issues. Over the years, Superfast IT has become synonymous with industry-leading customer service and fast response times, backed by their many five-star Google review ratings. The Client Management Overview dashboard used at SuperFast IT contains metrics that enables account managers to provide top notch support by arming them with the real time data they need for successful conversations. Client Management Overview Dashboard - view here. Here are some featured metrics: Cross-Sell Opportunities - Using recently invoiced agreement additions, you can determine what service offerings each of your clients are currently paying for. Then, using a simple icon for 'there is a cross-sell opportunity,' your account managers can act proactively to grow business. Agreement Information - This gauge includes some of the key metrics needed to understand client profitability including hours per user, hours per endpoint, recurring margin, and effective rate. Open tickets, tickets with 1+ hour, and recent activity - When checked frequently, account owners can gauge how many currently open or recently opened tickets are too many. This allows them to look into that recent activity quickly and escalate where needed. Thank you, James, for collaborating with us and sharing these great metrics! Recreate in your BrightGauge Client Management Overview Dashboard (public view link) Client Management Overview Dashboard Buildout Key Make sure to visit our library of more report and dashboard templates and please feel free to reach out to with any questions!

Dashboard of the Month: Client Profitability

When it comes to keeping your executive team in the loop on important performance metrics, providing an easy-to-digest view into client profitability is crucial. For the December Dashboard of the month we have featured Client profitability metrics shared during this month's user showcase webinar with Paul Recksiek, the CTO at Solvere One on Simple & Effective Tools for Improving Company Performance. Built for the executive leadership team, this dashboard starts off with some high-level metrics like active and supported contacts, MRR, Hours by work type, and Net Profit. Then, the second half of the dashboard allows for a granular, client by client view into profitability. On one dashboard, it's easy to understand if you're hitting your MRR and Net Profit goals for the year, which customers are worth nurturing further, and where there are opportunities for training, automation or hardware refreshes with clients not meeting the profitability mark. Client Profitability Dashboard - view here. Here are some featured metrics: Seat Prices - If you're using a per-user pricing structure, it's important to keep an eye on each month's fluctuation in users to make sure it aligns with your all-in-seat-price model. This gauge allows you to quickly spot whether or not an agreement needs to be adjusted based on an influx of supported users. MRR Per Hour, otherwise known as the Effective Hourly rate on agreements - MRR per hour compares what you've billed for your agreements against the amount of hours worked for each client. This gauge will quickly show you if you're spending too much time with any one client. Profitability Of Agreements - This gauge illustrates how profitable your agreements are after the fully burden cost of your techs is taken into consideration. The cost for the techs fluctuates based on the amount of work you've done for each client. Thank you, Paul, for collaborating with us and sharing these great metrics! Recreate in your BrightGauge Client Profitability Dashboard (public view link) Client Profitability Dashboard Buildout Key Make sure to visit our library of more report and dashboard templates and please feel free to reach out to with any questions!

Dashboard of the Month: Help Desk SLA Scorecard

With setting a standard for team performance meets client satisfaction, SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are the best first stop. For this month's dashboard of the month, we focused on highlighting this great action-forward help desk dashboard featured during November's User Showcase webinar with Daniel Gilbert, the COO at Kite Technology Group: Future-Proofing your Team with Goal Setting. The Help Desk SLA Scorecard is all about SLA's and giving the Help Desk team a tool to properly manage them. Kite Technology uses this dashboard to help the team prioritize tickets based on SLA's. Also, Kite Technologies ties this dashboard back to their executive leadership goals, allowing them to drive accountability and properly measure their success as an organization The Help Desk SLA Scorecard dashboard uses a simple and straight-forward design that is easy for the team to read and follow. They use color thresholds and a "manage to green" approach to help the team prioritize, and each section of the dashboard represents the different SLA stages. Help Desk SLA Scorecard dashboard - view here Dashboard details: In play - The ticket is pending the coinciding SLA action and needs to be acted upon today in order to hit their goals. Missed - The ticket did not hit their SLA goal and are still pending the coinciding action item. In the Goal - This provides some insight on how well they're doing overall with their SLA goals for the day. This section includes how many tickets and what percentage of tickets hit their SLA targets and what their averages are. Thank you, Daniel, for being our partner and collaborating with us! Recreate in your BrightGauge View the dashboard example here. Review how to recreate in your BrightGauge with this buildout key. Make sure to visit our library of more report and dashboard templates and please feel free to reach out to with any questions!

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5 Ways Software Integrations Improve Business Operations

Running a business in the digital age requires using a wide array of technologies — hardware, software, cloud infrastructure, and cybersecurity, to name a few. And, because nothing really works in silos, it’s vital for each of these components to work seamlessly together. This is crucial to maximize efficiency and reduce the risk of errors. Thankfully, software integrations make this a reality. But what, exactly, are they? In what ways can they affect your business? And how do you know which type would work best for you? Quick Links What Are Software Integrations? 5 Reasons Why Software Integrations Are a Must Types of Software Integrations How Integrations Affect Business Operations Custom vs Out-of-the-Box Integrations The Software Integration Process How Do BrightGauge Integrations Work? What Are Software Integrations? Software integration means syncing different types of software so that your entire team can do their jobs effectively. It’s what allows you to pull all data together instead of having each piece of information isolated from each other. Imagine if your email weren’t connected to your calendar or project management system. Or if your cloud infrastructure couldn’t be enabled to be accessed by people outside of your organization — such as business partners and clients. While it seems like common sense, it’s actually a common challenge many businesses face; especially as they grow and their number of applications keep expanding: customer relationship management (CRM), content management system (CMS), inventory management software, etc. Fortunately, software companies are being proactive about solving this issue. And businesses who aren’t staying on top of this trend will undoubtedly see unfavorable consequences. 5 Reasons Why Software Integrations Are a Must Software integration should always be non-negotiable. When your tools are able to work together, your entire team — and your bottom line — reaps the benefits: 1. Improved Efficiency Think about all the job roles that overlap: sales and marketing, legal and compliance, finance and payroll. If everyone had to enter information manually and relay this data to other departments via other forms of communications, your operations would slow down significantly. Time would be wasted. Items would fall through the cracks. Fortunately, when you're integrating systems, your business data is shared across all your tools. 2. Improved Cost Effectiveness Having to find and export information can be time consuming — time that could be better used running the business, nurturing your leads, and closing sales. Time is money, and software integrations save you a lot of both. 3. Increased Productivity When all applications are communicating with each other, you remove delays caused by having to manually share information among departments. This type of information flow allows all members of your company to access files and know the status of projects within seconds. 4. Reduced Risk of Error Not having to rely on humans to input information sourced from elsewhere means a lower likelihood of mistakes, incomplete information, or duplicate work. This ensures reliability and better performance. 5. Better Customer Service Integrations improve customer service in a couple of ways: When a client calls, no matter to whom they’re speaking with, your team member will have all relevant information — regardless of whether it relates to sales, marketing, or support. Types of Software Integrations There are several types of software integrations. Which one would be the most ideal for your business depends on your circumstances — such as the size of your team, your number of applications, and the need for each department to collaborate. Specifically, you can look for any of the following: Star Integration Star integrations (also known as spaghetti integrations) refers to inter-departmental interconnection of all their applications. This method provides high functionality, but the higher the number of connected apps, the more complex it can become to manage it. Horizontal Integration Horizontal integration refers to having one main, central system that links to all other applications — yet the rest of the applications aren’t connected to each other. The central system is known as an enterprise service bus (ESB). Vertical Integration Vertical integration links applications based on how closely related they are within their job functions. This can be an efficient way to avoid confusion and unnecessary connections. However, each interconnected section works in silos; so you may still need to exchange communications manually should the need arise. Common Data Format If all your systems require different semantics to understand data, you would need an adapter to convert it every time it communicates with another application. This can be solved with common data format integration, which consolidates data from several sources and keeps it all stored in a single location. How Integrations Affect Business Operations If you’re old school, you may be tempted to think that if things have been working out fine with integrations, why change it? However, no person is an island. Your competitors are implementing them; and you don’t want to be the slowest business in the industry based on something as preventable as relying on outdated technology. Software integrations provide you with the right information exactly when you need it — so you can make data-driven decisions as fast as possible. In addition, software integrations enable you to run your business with a smaller team. By all means, hire as you scale; just not because your team feels short-staffed and overextended by the time and effort it takes to enter data manually across applications. Custom vs. Out-of-the-Box Integrations Ok. So you know you need software integrations to optimize your business operations. It also behooves you to be aware that there are two ways to purchase them: Custom Integrations Custom software integrations are specifically catered to your business needs. They are flexible, can integrate with all the other applications you use, and they can give you a competitive edge over other businesses who are still using standard software. Do keep in mind that they have a steeper learning curve and require a higher budget. That said, they are beneficial on a long-term basis, as they can be scaled and adjusted as your business grows. Out-of-the-Box Integrations Out-of-the-box software integrations are relatively easy to learn how to use, and are ideal for businesses with standard operations (CRM, marketing, sales, support). There’s minimal effort to set it up and there’s no technical experience required; so you can start using it soon after purchase. Some of them also allow for minor customization. The Software Integration Process If you’re ready to get the ball rolling on integrations, first develop a roadmap that can help you determine what you need. Follow along with these tips: Identify Your Business Needs Make a list of all the solutions you are currently seeking. Get feedback from your team — especially those right on the front lines — about which types of processes would enable them to do their jobs more efficiently. Analyze Feasibility Does what you need exist? If not, can it be designed? Can you compromise on anything? Will you need additional features in the near future? You need to take into account all of these questions to make a cost-effective decision. Otherwise you could end up making a purchase now, only to find out later that you’ll need to make another one a handful of months or years down the road. Design the Infrastructure Which apps need to be connected with which other ones? Which departments need to work together or have overlapping elements? This will help you determine whether you need a vertical, horizontal, or star integration, and optimize workflows. Leverage Testing If you opt for a customized solution, it needs to be tailored to your needs, and you should perform quality assurance. And even with a straight out-of-the-box solution, it needs to be tested once integrated with all of your required software and ensure all relevant data transfers are performed successfully. Provide Maintenance Once installed, remember to perform routine maintenance checks to detect and patch any bugs and/or install necessary upgrades. It is also during this stage that you can decide whether it’s time to install additional features as your business needs evolve. How Do BrightGauge Integrations Work? At BrightGauge, one of our northern stars is to provide excellent customer service. We understand that’s the backbone of any company — ours and yours. It’s because of this reason that all our products (dashboards, goal management, and client reporting) integrate with many of the tools you're already using. We also regularly listen to our customers’ wants and needs — providing solutions that address your specific challenges means giving you back hours of your time. Our integrations process goes through several steps: Look into the existing support for software to integrate. Determine which key performance indicators the software will allow our tools to track. See if the tools are hosted or cloud-based. Understand complexity of connecting into their API. Determine if their database supports third-party queries. We also take a good look into whether the trackable KPIs are relevant to your needs. This is because we always strive to provide you with useful data that can help you make better informed decisions. Choosing the Right Integration Tools Integrating software doesn’t have to be as time consuming as it sounds. With the right tools, like BrightGauge, you can have your business operations running as smoothly as possible. If you are looking to customize some of your own integrations, speaking with a product engineer is a great place to start. Some of our partners have reported that our tools have saved them 8 - 10 hours per week, which is time they can now spend focusing on revenue-generating tasks — or on doing some fun stuff with their loved ones after a long day at work. For an in-depth look at the BrightGauge integrations and other features, please contact us so we can set you up with a live demo.

How Data Warehousing Solutions Like BrightGauge Snapshots Help You Identify Business Trends

Modern life runs on data. Even if you don’t track anything in your personal life, search engines and social media do it for you. You understand it’s by design, to show you content you would be interested in, or to try to persuade you that yes, you indeed need yet another pair of running shoes. And when it comes to your professional life, you’re aware that collecting business intelligence is the only sound way of tracking progress and making decisions. The reasons can be endless — getting an overview of website visitors, conversion rates, or customer support tickets, to name a few. But what’s the most efficient way of doing so? With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to look into what would be the ideal solution for your needs. Enter data warehousing and snapshots. Up until this point, you may not have been aware of how much you need them. But need them, you do. Quick Links What is Data Warehousing? How a Data Warehouse Works 5 Benefits of BrightGauge Snapshots, a Data Warehousing Solution How To Set Up Snapshot Gauges BrightGauge Provides Effective Data Warehousing With Snapshots What is Data Warehousing? Data warehousing refers to the electronic storage of business information. It facilitates data management by allowing users to organize, categorize, and analyze large amounts of data. They are different from traditional databases because data warehouses are specifically designed to perform analytics from large quantities of information. Data warehouses can extract information from a wide array of sources, including: Relational databases Data software Business applications Processing systems Marketing and sales departments Finance And many more They are beneficial because they collect information consistently, make it easily accessible, allow collaboration, and enable data-driven decision making. And just like servers, infrastructure is available to keep on-site or cloud-based. Another benefit is that you can compare up-to-date data with historical information so that you can have reference points, track progress, and identify trends. How a Data Warehouse Works Data warehouses source information at regular intervals — or cadence. You can then create dashboards so that you can identify insights from the collected information. This process involves three layers of data: The first layer contains the extracted information. The second layer transforms/formats the information. The third layer organizes it and displays it on dashboards. This process is known as ETL (for extract, transform, and load); and it’s an invaluable tool to analyze business intelligence, since not only does it integrate information from multiple sources, it also provides an in-depth historical context. 5 Benefits of BrightGauge Snapshots, a Data Warehousing Solution At BrightGauge, we offer data warehousing, as well as an upgraded version for our customers on our enterprise plan, Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW). This upgraded version includes a Snapshots feature, which captures even more in-depth, complex data and performs calculations. There are several clear advantages to using our Snapshots solution: 1. Use Automatic Compilation of Metrics Data can come from so many different sources, in so many different formats. And while there are many tools that help businesses compile data, our Snapshots feature does so automatically and displays it all in one custom-made chart. 2. Track End-of-Day Tickets Customer service is the backbone of any business — and it’s something every company should consistently work on improving. Since Snapshots collect data automatically, you’ll be able to easily identify whether your support services are efficient or whether you have an expanding backlog of tickets. 3. Keep Track of Pipeline Health By the same token, Snapshots can provide you a detailed view of your sales pipeline, as well as whether you’re on track to meeting your sales goals. And it’s not just a matter of how many sales qualified leads are present at any given moment. You also want to be able to track performance at each stage of the buyer’s journey, as well as the costs associated with getting people to the bottom of that funnel. 4. See Your Sales Cycle Timeline How long does it take you to close a sale? How much time do you have to spend nurturing leads before they become so enamored with your services, they choose you over your competitors? It can take months for B2B marketing to work its magic — maybe a slightly shorter timeframe for SaaS businesses. But you want to keep track of the entire process to see whether you can identify any areas for improvement. 5. Remote Monitoring and Management Tracking If you're managing your company's network through an RMM tool — such as ConnectWise Automate — Snapshots can gather information regarding space usage, server patch status, operating systems, or anything regarding your infrastructure, so that you can identify trending endpoints. How To Set Up Snapshot Gauges The Snapshots feature is only available on the Enterprise Plan; and you can turn any gauge in your account into a snapshot. Find a metric that you want to track. Select the timeframe you want to take the snapshots — daily, weekly, or monthly. You can do this by clicking on Design on the top left navigation bar, then scrolling down to the Schedule green button on the left side of the screen. If you choose weekly or monthly, you can choose on the dropdown menus which day of the week or month you want to take the snapshots. Select the number of data points you want to include on the graph from the drop down menu that’s located under the scheduled dates and times. Remove the dimensions on the gauges by clicking on Dimensions on the navigation bar at the top of the screen. Select the gauge you’re tracking from the icons at the top of the page. Select the camera icon at the top of the page. The most recent data will always appear on the top right corner of the snapshot. As you continue selecting the camera icon for the different gauges you want to track, you’ll see each section appearing in the middle of the snapshot’s graph. If you need visual instructions for how to do this step-by-step, you can watch the video tutorial on our website. BrightGauge Provides Effective Data Warehousing with Snapshots If you are toggling between many tools, pulling data from each of them, inputting it into an Excel spreadsheet, and then spending hours analyzing it to draw conclusions, you could be eating into many valuable hours of your time. BrightGauge gives you back that time. Some of our partners have said that our tools have saved them eight to 10 hours per week, which is time they can now spend focusing on revenue-generating tasks. For an in-depth look at the BrightGauge Snapshots and other features, please contact us so we can set you up with a live demo.

10 Ways Data Dashboards Increase Business Efficiency

Data is everything. It’s what you use to ensure that you’re on track to meeting your goals. It’s what you study to compare what works and what doesn’t. It’s what you analyze when deciding what to do next. This is not news. However, every day, different software products pop up, promising to make your life at work run a lot smoother. Some do. Others are so confusing, it’s easier to just move forward without them. But something you should be paying attention to are data dashboards. These nifty tools can significantly increase your business efficiency — without requiring that you become a tech expert to understand them. But, what exactly are they? What are their benefits? And how can they make your workflows more effective? Quick Links What Are Data Dashboards? Why Use Data Dashboards? 10 Ways Data Dashboards Improve Efficiency Data Dashboards Best Practices BrightGauge's Dashboards Facilitate Data Visualization What Are Data Dashboards? Data dashboards are snapshots displaying key performance indicators (KPIs). Your KPIs being gathered depend on your specific goals. For example, if you’re looking to increase website visitors, you may track not only the traffic to your website, but how long they spend on each page, how far down they scroll, and whether a particular page has a higher than usual bounce rate. By the same token, if you’re looking to improve your customer support department, you would track the number of issues logged in a day, average wait times, and resolution rates. Specialized dashboards can be customized depending on a company's needs. Individual department dashboards, such as service operations, sales, security, network performance, and finance, are one way a company can track their corporate functions. Why Use Data Dashboards? Using data dashboards ensures that you are looking at all the relevant data you need, in one centralized location — in real time. You’ll want to use dashboards that you can customize to display data in a way that makes sense to you. Pie charts, line graphs, gauges, bar charts, etc. The key is in being able to access the information quickly and fully understand what’s going on at a glance. Once you have this information right in front of you, you’ll be enabled to make data-driven decisions to improve processes and performance within your business. Small to medium-sized business owners know what a big difference the smallest decision can make. The more knowledge you have, the more apt you are to make the right one. The more right decisions you make for your company, the higher its productivity. 10 Ways Data Dashboards Improve Efficiency Ok. So data dashboards are essential to improve business efficiency. However, it’s good to be aware of the many ways in which it does so: 1. Create a Visual Presentation Using visual aids such as graphs and charts, you are able to see all collected performance data in measurable amounts. 2. Centralize Your Data You’ll no longer have to sort through information from separate files, or request personnel from different departments to help you prepare charts from multiple sources. 3. Achieve Transparency When the data is right in front of you, it’s easier to communicate (and show!) to everyone involved what’s going on within a department. No guesses or euphemisms. You can’t hide from numbers. 4. Automate Reporting You can save hours from your work day by using software that generates automated reports, instead of you having to manually create one. 5. Track Data in Real Time Linking dashboards to your data sources allows for up-to-the-minute data review. This can be crucial in certain industries, such as healthcare and finance. 6. Identify Insights You can’t improve what you can’t measure. If what you’re tracking seems to be going well, continue with the current processes. But if there is a decline (in productivity, quality, service), you’ll be able to see where the issues are coming from and make informed decisions on what to do next. 7. Improve Focus Since you can set what it is you want to measure, you won’t be distracted by irrelevant data; nor will you waste time trying to theorize what’s causing roadblocks within your processes. 8. Drive Productivity Your team will be better able to perform their job roles when they know exactly what’s working and what needs to be improved. Dashboards can also help you gauge capacity, so that you can determine whether there’s a need for additional training or new hires. 9. Improve Time Management It’s quicker and more efficient to run one report rather than multiple reports. Information on dashboards is organized for an optimum overview. 10. Create a Data-Driven Culture When you have clear data, you can make faster decisions. And because they’re based on accurate information, you’ll be eliminating instances of trial and error. This will enable you to significantly improve work for your team and experiences for your customers. Data Dashboards Best Practices Now that you’re aware of all the benefits of implementing the use of data dashboards in your business practices, it’s time to go over several best practices. Select Relevant KPIs Traditional KPIs include factors such as customer acquisition costs, revenue per client, customer lifetime value (CLV), and client retention, to name a few. You then take this data to make informed decisions regarding all of your business strategies. However, limit the KPIs to choose exclusively to those who will help you move the needle forward on a particular task. If you’re looking to analyze client retention, you can include existing customer revenue growth, repeat purchase, and churn rates. Be Consistent With Labeling Keep language consistent across all of your business tools — customer relationship management software, files, and metrics. This will help avoid confusion and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings or mistakes. Choose a Layout That Makes Sense to the Reader Remember how we mentioned above that you can design a dashboard’s layout? Fabulous. Now, keep in mind that for them to be beneficial, they should be displayed in the reader’s preference. Not necessarily you as the CEO (unless they’re being prepared for you), but for the team member who will then use the data to inform their decisions. Nobody has time for boring or confusing reports. The reader should be able to understand what they’re looking at and what everything means with a simple explanation or review of the dashboard’s legend. Use Responsive Dashboards Data dashboards aren’t meant to just look pretty. Interactive elements (such as being able to filter, compare, and link data) make them a lot more useful. They also help you analyze data within context and see real-time updates. Communicate Regularly Every few months, re-evaluate if your current KPIs and layouts are aligned with your priorities. If there have been any changes in circumstances, communicate with your team about them and determine whether it’s time to update your dashboards accordingly. BrightGauge’s Dashboards Facilitate Data Visualization When it comes to choosing your business intelligence tools, you want to choose options that have all the functionality you need, out of the box, without complex coding involved. BrightGauge’s data dashboards integrate with over 40 platforms and are fully customizable to your business needs. You choose the metrics that matter. We help you monitor them.

Dashboard of the Month: Professional Services Key Metrics

When it comes to directing a Professional Services team, staying organized is critical. One effective and productive way to keep a pulse on your team is to consistently track key metrics. This month, we chatted with Craig Howarth, the Director of Professional Services at Nuago, to see how he keeps his team organized. Craig kindly shared his key metrics dashboard, which he uses in his role managing pre-sales, project management, and consulting services team members. Craig utilizes a main Professional Services Key Metrics dashboard for himself, and provides individual dashboards to each of his team leads. Those team leads then customize their dashboards to fit their own specific needs, but all tie back to the main Professional Services Key Metrics dashboard. Professional Services Key Metrics dashboard - view here Here are some of the key metrics Craig and his team are tracking, and some context around why and how these metrics provide valuable insights: Billable hours by Work Role: This 12-week view helps Craig identify trends over time. Using a trend line, he can quickly see how close they are to their target utilization. The team's billable utilization: This gauge plots 3 lines - the team's combined capacity, the team's combined hours, and the team's target utilization (which is 75% of their capacity). Nuago uses an adjusted capacity, removing PTO and holiday time from the equation. This helps them plan and schedule upcoming work and informs hiring decisions. Blended Rates: This helps track different billable rates and includes shared resources. The blend impacts their total revenue and gross margin. Nuago will budget on a blend for the year and then monitor against this gauge. Invoicing Metrics: This provides a near real-time view of what invoices have been sent to the customer, and a total to see how they are tracking against the target for the month. CSAT: An important KPI to gauge performance and a great way to share positive feedback with the team overall. Budget v Actual: Craig has created a calculation for effective utilization, measuring the ability to deliver an engagement against budget. It’s one of the key profit drivers along with utilization, billable rates, and resourcing costs. If their effective utilization metric is over 100%, they came in under budget and vice versa. Having this for open projects as well allows them to spot an issue and take corrective action. Project Costing Summary: Important in measuring true profitability as it takes things like discounting into account. Thank you, Craig, for being our partner and sharing this great dashboard with us! If you want to recreate and customize this dashboard for your team, check out the links below: Professional Services Key Metrics Dashboard (public view link) Professional Services Key Metrics Dashboard Buildout Key Make sure to visit our library of more report and dashboard templates and please feel free to reach out to with any questions!

How To Create Effective Business Reports Using Dashboards

We live in a world where everything is tracked. Your phone knows where you’re located at all times. Your SEO tools let you know how many website visitors you get each day. Your Fitbit lets you know that, hey, you should get up from that chair and go walk a mile or two. If you could’ve visited the future when you were a kid, you would probably think it’s really cool or really creepy. Regardless of possible worries your self of seasons past may have experienced, the reality is that tracking certain metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial to ensure your business success. That’s why knowing how to create effective business reports is one of the most useful skills in any industry. Quick Links What is a Business Report? Benefits of Business Reports 7 Types of Business Reports 8 Components of Business Reports How To Write a Business Report How Dashboards Help With Business Intelligence Reporting How To Create Impactful Business Reports Using Dashboards Choosing the Right Client Reporting Tools What Is a Business Report? A business report is a document that reflects a collection of data. This information can be varied, depending on the type of report, and can include: Research findings Statistics Department insights Team performance Details about a company’s operations Viability of projects Industry compliance Costs Profits Industry forecasts In addition to all relevant information, these reports include recommendations on how to move forward so that you can meet your business goals. Benefits of Business Reports There are several reasons why you would want to develop business reports. While specific advantages may vary depending on the type of report and the reason for conducting it, common benefits include: Identifying Insights Business reports can help you identify things you would’ve otherwise missed — such as noncompliance with an amended regulation, business opportunities, or ways to optimize your participation in certain industry events. Improving Decision Making The last thing you want to do when running a business is to invest time and money into something that will result in losses. Business reports can provide information whether business ideas are viable, whether there’s a market demand for them, and whether you have the budget to do it. By analyzing these types of compilations, you can ensure that all of your decisions are backed up by reliable data. Decreasing Business Costs Since business reports can show you whether a project is feasible, an investment is sound, and whether a proposed transaction is within your budget, they are an invaluable tool to ensure you’re not wasting money or otherwise hurting your business financially. 7 Types of Business Reports 1. Research Research business reports make in-depth analysis of a specific subject, including: market research, buyer persona development, product development, marketing, customer satisfaction, new technologies, and more. 2. Feasibility Whenever someone in your business comes up with an idea — whether to launch a new product or services, or open a new location, for example — you want to analyze everything associated with it. This includes costs, funding sources, benefits, potential issues, whether you have the budget, and whether the idea would be profitable. 3. Investigative Investigative business reports gather information related to anticipated events, such as merging with another company, making large investments, or looking into claims of mismanagement or malfeasance within the company. By analyzing this information, a business can determine the level of risks. 4. Compliance Many industries — such as healthcare, legal, finance, and cybersecurity, to name a few — are regulated by professional, local, or federal rules/laws. Failing to comply with them could result in fines, sanctions, loss of business license, or criminal prosecution. Compliance reports keep track of all relevant factors, so that an organization can hold members accountable and prove that they are complying with regulating entities. 5. Situational Situational reports are exactly what it sounds like — if you recently attended a convention, implemented new measures, invested in new technology, restructured your company — you want to be able to discuss all relevant subjects and how it affects your company: processes, human resources, new business opportunities, etc. 6. Financial Financial business reports are prepared periodically by most businesses to ensure whether they are on track to achieving their quarterly profit goals. They are designed to align with the company’s business plan and identify any issues — such as a potential decrease in revenue, or the need to ramp up sales. 7. Operational Operational business reports showcase whether a company’s processes are efficient, whether all departments have the resources they need to conduct their jobs, teams’ productivity, and identify any opportunities for improvements, such as implementing new technologies, having back-up vendors, or anything else that can help the business run as efficiently as possible. 8 Components of a Business Report While the contents of a business report will vary depending on their purpose, you want to make sure that they are all organized and easy to understand. Generally, you’ll want to include: 1. Title Page The person reading the report should immediately know what the report is about. And in addition to the name of the study, the title page should include the name of the individuals or organizations who prepared the report. 2. Summary While some reports don’t include a summary, having one is beneficial to those who requested the data. To make sure you keep your customers happy, always ask them whether they would prefer to have a synopsis at the beginning of the report — including summarized findings and recommendations. 3. Table of Contents Although the table of contents appears at the beginning of the report, it would be better to create a rough draft of an outline, but actually finish the table when you’re done preparing the report. All titles, subheadings, and page numbers should match exactly as they appear in the body of the business report. 4. Introduction This is where you’ll write the reason why the report was needed in the first place. Include background information so that the reader can read the data within context, and include any definitions of industry jargon or legal terms. 5. Methodology Explain to the reader the methods used to conduct the research, and why you used such methods — such as efficiency, industry best practices, regulatory requirements, whether you’re using qualitative or quantitative data, sources of information, and why you selected those sources. 6. Findings Include all relevant details of findings and conclusions. This section should be thorough, but also easy to skim. Include bullet points, easy-to-read charts, graphs, percentages, and/or comparison charts. 7. Recommendations Include actionable steps based on the gathered information. As with the findings, make it scannable. Bullet points work well because they are short and straight to the point. 8. References Include all sources of information used to prepare the report. This can include industry publications, third-party experts, organizations, periodicals, studies, etc. Make sure to list them in alphabetical order. How to Write a Business Report The content, format, and style of each report will depend on the type of report and on your client’s preferences. However, you’ll want to include all of the components listed above (except the summary, if your client says they don’t want it). You’ll also want to: Look for industry templates or ask your client how they prefer it to be formatted. Make it easy to navigate — especially if it’s a longer or complex report. You want it to be useful; do not frustrate the reader. Include visuals. Nobody wants to read a wall of text. This is where charts and graphs come in handy. Edit for consistency. Make sure all headings and subheadings are written in the same style and follow a cohesive order. Proofread it. Then have someone else proof it. It doesn’t matter how short on time you are. You always want to submit a professional work product. How Dashboards Help With Business Intelligence Reporting There are several reasons why it’s recommended to include dashboards in business reports. Customizable You can choose how you want the data to look. Display information in a preferred order, include ad hoc displays, match brand colors and internal styles, and any additional components the reader prefers. Easy to Understand Dashboards are extremely useful to help readers understand concepts. Depending on who the intended audience is, you can provide general overviews or provide detailed insights. Save Time Instead of sorting through pages to pinpoint findings, dashboards provide them all in one centralized location for easier reference. Real Time Data Analysis Insights and trends can change from one day to the next. Dashboards update in real time to provide the most accurate information. How to Create Impactful Business Reports Using Dashboards There are three main things you want to keep in mind to create impactful dashboards for a business report: Choose the Right KPIs Key performance indicators are data points that you gauge to determine whether you’re on track to reach a goal — increasing productivity, revenue, or improved client retention, to name a few. Anything that’s critical to paint an accurate picture of the viability or status of a project, financial or operational health of an organization, or compliance status of all departments should be included in your dashboards, depending on the type of business report. Keep the Reader in Mind You’re preparing the reports for your client, yes. But who’s going to read it? Is it the CEO, managers, compliance officers, stakeholders? Depending on their job role, the dashboard may only need to provide a general overview, or go into minute details. Be Mindful of Data Visualization Humans are visual species. We can process images faster, and are better able to recollect information when presented in visually appealing ways. So even if you have cited the most reputable sources in the industry, dashboards help your client to better understand the information presented — and much faster than having to go back and forth to refer to multiple paragraphs. Choosing the Right Client Reporting Tools Creating effective dashboards doesn’t have to be as time consuming as it sounds. With the right tools, like BrightGauge, you get powerful reports out to your clients whenever you want. In fact, our client reporting tool makes it easy to turn the data you're already tracking in dashboards into professional, reliable reports for your clients to consume. BrightGauge features include the ability to: Create internal or client-facing reports. Build a report from scratch or use one of our templates. Customize each report to fit your needs. Set a schedule so that reports are generated and go out automatically to recipients. The automated reports are generated based on the gauges/dashboards you’re already tracking. Some of our partners have reported that our tools have saved them 8-10 hours per week, which is time they can now spend focusing on revenue-generating tasks — or on doing some fun stuff with their loved ones after a long day at work. For an in-depth look at the BrightGauge dashboard technologies and other features, please contact us so we can set you up with a live demo.

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.

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