How Resource Utilization Can Help Your IT MSP Prosper: Part 1

Autotask | IT MSP | Resource Utilization

As we start this series on how to analyze a Resource Utilization report to help your IT MSP prosper, the first assumption is that you know where these reports exist – and that you run them on a weekly basis. They should be run shortly after the Technicians timesheets are due.  

In the world of Autotask, you can run the Resource Utilization report by:  

  • Rolling over the “The Big A”   
  • Reports   
  • Resources  
  • General   
  • Resource Utilization (right hand column, 2nd one down)  

When analyzing a Resource Utilization report, the first important column to note is Total Hours Worked, or better yet, Total Percent Utilized 

The reason that we start here is to make sure all of the time is in for the week before processing additional columns in the report. The expectation is that the technicians will be able to account for 100% of their work week, one way or another.  

Using the report Helps Improve Resource Utilization, But There’s More… 

Our main focus is to discuss how to improve Resource Utilization, which in turn, will lead to a more efficient and profitable company. A sidecar of this focus is the value in writing/having good notes.  

Here are some areas of documentation impacted by having time in on time 

  • Tickets  
  • Client documentation: updated and accurate 
  • Knowledge Base articles: created and validated 

Overall, having all tech’s time submitted has to do more with documentation rather than utilization. From my experience and tons of research by others, the longer a technician waits to close out the documentation (including time entries), the less he remembers when writing the notes.  

Autotask | IT MSP | Resource UtilizationUsing Initiatives to Drive Operational Efficiencies at the IT MSP 

Let’s pause from Resource Utilization for a moment to discuss how detailed documentation has similar results in using initiatives to drive operational efficiencies.  

For example, if good notes are written in the ticket, then when the Customer calls in requesting the status (something that should never happen in IT Support, but we leave that topic for another day), whoever answers the phone can quickly give the Customer an update.  

The Pros of Taking Good Notes:   

  • Saves time on the call  
  • Reduces workday interruption  
  • Refocuses the Customer back to their company   

Uh-oh, A Ticket is Past Due  

But, since the previous example never happens in IT Support, let me give you another one. A technician has time on their hands (ha-ha ok, something else that never happens in IT Support).  

A ticket is past due, and another Technician has been pressed into service to try and close it before missing the SLA has been noticed. But when they pick up the ticket, there are no notes.  

Now they are upset because their feet up time was interrupted (yeah, I know…I went back to IT techs having nothing to do). So then they call the IT Technician who did not have enough billable time available to begin with (we will get to billable hours goal percentage at the end of the series) to write good notes, and well, you get the point – a lot of wasted time and inefficiencies.  

The same is true for Customer documentation and Knowledge-Based Articles. One thing that is not a waste of time is reading on…  

2 Easy Ways to Motivate IT Techs to Stay on Time 

There are two effective ways to motivate technicians to get their time in on time, summarized below: 

1) Consider using an Autotask Widget that Kim Drumm demonstrated at the Autotask Community Live back in 2014 (see below).  

The advantage of the Widget is that it drives real-time time entry competition between the Technicians tasked with entering in their times for the service requests. This competition can then be heightened by displaying the real-time entry Widget on a big display board in the cube area.  

One manager has fessed up, that he periodically walks by, and stares at the big display board, just to remind Techs working in the cube area that real-time time entry is important – including the documentation that goes with it.  

2) Run a Resource Utilization report at the same time each week. The best time to run the report is an hour after you expect all time entries to be entered into the Technician’s Timesheet.  

Once the manager is constantly running the report at a regular time, and following up with the team letting them know who is missing time in their timesheet, they will realize that timesheet submission is as important as being monitored/measured.   

You know what they say, “What gets measured, gets managed.”   

– Peter Drucker  

 

How to Build Kim Drumm’s Time Entry Widget  

To build Kim Drumm’s weekly live time entry competition widget, use these simple steps:   

  1. Add Widget  
  2. Choose a widget from the widget library > next  
  3. Work Entries – last one in the list  
  4. Overall Hours Worked this Week > next  
  5. Change title to something more meaningful – ex: “Team Hours Worked this Week.”  
  6.  Clear out “Also report on…” field  
  7. Group Data By Resource  
  8. Secondary Grouping: Work Date Day of Week  
  9. Add the second filter: Resource, In List, {list the resources on the team}  
  10. Save and enjoy!

 

What do you find as the biggest challenges to Resource Utilization management?  Reply in the comments below. 

 

Steve Buyze via LinkedIn 

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