How to be Data Driven from the Top Down
In days past, the team at Mainstay Technologies had no Business Intelligence solution. They utilized reports available in their ConnectWise and LabTech, or built SQL reports from time to time, but the process was slow and didn’t always look good enough to share with clients.
Mainstay CEO, Ryan Barton, knew that visualizing data, understanding it and the things related to it would be the key to best govern the actions necessary for the growing IT Services company. But he was also frustrated that his team didn’t have enough visibility from their PSA and RMM data, because that’s where 98% of their business is.
The more he studied the correlation between good data and good judgement in business, the more Ryan knew it would be difficult to grow and have a good sense of where they are if the team didn’t have a handle on their data. There were times when a huge problem was looming for months but since the team lacked the necessary insights, nobody realized the issue until it was too late - like the time patches weren’t installing properly for months on end.
When he started looking for a customizable BI solution, Ryan demoed several different solutions priced at tens of thousands of dollars per year, plus extensive time would be necessary to get any of the products working specifically for a MSP. That’s when it dawned on him that what Mainstay really needed was a tool that really understands the MSP industry and had the defaults and templates built out already. As Ryan explains, “if you put a red slice of pie on the tv on the wall, it’s going to drive action in a way that talking about it never will”.
Once Ryan made the decision to join the BrightGauge community, each area of the business was able to identify and implement the best solution that would help them properly track their KPIs, whether it was dashboards, internal or external reporting. For example, in Centralized Services, they use dashboards and are constantly watching what updates and antivirus are doing. When it comes to clients, reporting is a big value add.
Mainstay focuses on 2 primary reports. First, there’s a client-facing one that drives conversation and shows the value and visibility into what they are doing. Ryan emphasizes that it’s exciting for his team to hear feedback from operationally-astute customers because those organizations immediately see the Business Intelligence that Mainstay is leveraging, and it gives them a great competitive edge. Second, there’s an internal report that tracks ticket trends, feedback scores, response times, infrastructure health, aging summaries (over 5 years, expired warranties, etc.) and even financial profitability. The ability to sit with the team and do a quick planning session is now almost effortless because the data is right in front of them.
As for the impact his BrightGauge has on asset management, Ryan explains that because Mainstay has a defined minimum standard for service delivery and can keep clients at that point, the result is noticeably less stress within the team. With a more standardized setup, the team has become far more efficient at delivering service and driving more projects when gaps are identified. The result is more problems solved, increased revenue, more efficiency, higher team satisfaction, and of course even more client satisfaction (you remember... the well-known sentiment that happy employees equal happy customers!)
Results with BrightGauge
Since their BrightGauge integration, Mainstay now has more visibility and command over centralized services than they ever had before. Plus, with their new ability to put specific processes and operations in place, Ryan and his team have more confidence in their data because it can now be put into an actionable format. By utilizing BrightGauge for their Business Intelligence solution, Mainstay has “transformed from being at the industry standard install rate of about 95%, to now about 99% because we have the exact visibility into when updates were last installed and on which machines, how many are missing, and when they were last rebooted. We can see it, customize it, and immediately get answers to questions”.
While the team started with BrightGauge in Centralized Services, Ryan was quick to realize the potential at hand for other areas of the business that could be positively impacted with more visibility. In no time, the team was leveraging data to track infrastructure health, service management for stale tickets, project management, client management, individual accountability, uptime, system health, and more. When those areas were up and running, Mainstay decided BrightGauge could help with staffing and capacity decisions, track who’s solving which tickets and the different types of tickets, trend analysis, and the number of tickets as compared to the number of hours and response times. Ryan sums it up best when he explains “having visibility into our data with access to the kinds of customization that makes it accurate and in a meaningful format, actually drives action”.
For MSPs who are just getting started on their data journey, Ryan offers a bit of advice: “start with one challenge that you know good data will help to solve and if you can just focus on that one thing and rally around it, then you will start to see results instead of doing 40% on several different projects. Most companies get caught by the gaps they didn’t even know were there. Good data allows you to be proactive rather than reactive."