Transforming Data into Information and Maximizing Profits

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Resource Planning

You are sitting on a Pot-of-Gold and may not even realize itThe historical data sitting in your PSA database is a goldmineYet, mining that gold can be elusive – and getting information out of the PSA tool can be frustrating 

Even if you do mine the data, how do you spin it into gold – Rumpelstiltskin? 

                                                                                                                        

 

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Leverage the data stored in the PSA database 

Have you ever thought about leveraging the data stored in the PSA database to improve your Service Delivery Operations?  

Yes, we talk about many different metrics. Some of them we use to impact decisions and track improvements. However, what about actually using that data to transform your IT MSP into a proactive, data-driven, high performing, optimized operation? 

Its great if you are using metrics, but have they 

  • Driven the chaos out of the organization? 
  • Grown your company by 20% year after year – from “Raving Fan” referrals?  
  • Allowed you to relax because you know profits have been maximized?  

 How your IT MSP Benefits from leveraging data 

As a Resource Planning Analyst, I would be doing a disservice to our community and millions of article readers if I did not share the best learned and most unique knowledge in my head.  

From my experience, leveraging the data results in these key benefits: 

  • Improved quality of work life for Employees 
  • Greater Customer Satisfaction 
  • Increased profits for the companies we serve 

Check out this proven list of eight Resource Planning reports that will have a positive effect on improving the Service Delivery operations at your IT MSP:  

Resource Planning Analyst Tools Part I: 

  • Network Administration mapping 
  • Forecasting Customer Requests Report 
  • Proactive scheduling model  
  • Project Portfolio Management 

Resource Planning Analyst Reports Part II: 

  • Forecasting Project Availability 
  • Resource Utilization Automation System 
  • Tracking the Cost of Supporting Managed Services 
  • Average Time to Completion   

 

The pot of gold behind Network Administration mapping 

 

Network Administration visits are sold to the Customer as a premier productWe work hard to convince the Customer that it is essential that we have eyes on their Network on regular basis.  

However, disrupting the schedule (we have seen as much as 40% of the schedule disruptedsends a very different message to the CustomerIt tells them that Network Administration visits are not really all that important – and therefore, no need to renew. 

It also suggests to the Customer that something else is more important to the Managed Service Provider than the care of their network. If they listen a little bit, they will soon realize that projects are more important 

As you can imagine, neither of these sit well with your Customers, who depend you to manage the network and keep their business up and running. 

The solution? Map Network Administration visits on an Excel Spreadsheet grid such that:  

  • There are no two Customers scheduled in the same recurring Day/Time slot between Primary and Secondary Resources 
  • They are in blocks with other Network Administration visits that make sense, geographically and time-wise 
  • The schedule leaves 3-4 contiguous days available for projects 

Mapping Network Administration visits in this way will maximize project profit while minimizing operational disruptions.  

The pot of gold in Forecasting Customer Requests 

 

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a crystal ball telling us when a Customer was going to call?  Or a magic wand that when they call, you would have someone standing by or scheduled to meet their expectations. 

Instead, we are so worried that time will be wastedwe make sure everyone is fully scheduled weeks in advance. Just think how nice it would be if we could relax knowing how many hours would be needed or scheduled at the last moment. 

Here’s a suggestion: Why not  

  • Ask your PSA database how many hours were used each day/week over the last 30 days 
  • Group the answer based on priority 
  • Assume the month in front of us is the same as the month behind us 
  • Pre-schedule Technicians to be available based on the information 

This forecasting goes a long way in reducing the disruption of project time and the wasted time it takes to find or pull someone. Plus, it lowers the probability of missing an SLA.  

The pot of gold in a Proactive Scheduling Model  

 

Forecasting how many hours you need each day for Incident response – or how many hours are required over the next week for Service Requests  by itself is not enough to transform Chaos into a Zen environment.  It takes getting the right people in the right seat on the right bus to meet the Customer’s expectations. 

Even doing something with information (like pro-active scheduling) does not totally solve the problemIt could even make matters worse by not having the right skill set available for the right length of time 

For example, Incidents are usually shorter in durationEven Quick-Hit Service Requests like applying a DigiCert renewal looks like an Incident in remediation. On the other hand, Service Requests are usually longer in duration and by their very nature have less urgency and impact on the Customer.  Critical requests usually require a Sr. Engineer, while password resets require self-service automation. 

Here is what is needed, apply the information of average engagement time (also known as Technician Effort, Total Worked Hours, etc) for each priority level. Then, pre-schedulTechnicians to handle the different levels of priority based on SLA expectations to maximize operational efficiencies. 

The Pot of Gold Behind Managing Your Project Portfolios Effectively 

 

If all we did was schedule projects, Life would be easyHowever, we don’tand Project Engineers don’t just do projectsIt would also be great if projects that are scheduled would stay scheduled, but that is not a luxury we have either. 

As an MSP matures, they tend to do more and more project work. The more project work the MSP does, the more Resource Tracking across projects (also known as Portfolio management) becomes important and difficult. The PSA does a good job helping us manage a project. However, it does not help us manage more than one at a time, especially if the portfolio of projects is large   

One very valuable tool is an off-line Resource Tracking report, which keeps track of who is working on what and when. This simple report shows the future weeks across the top, Resources down the side, and the Customer Name for the project where the column and rows intersect. 

 Stay tuned for Part II in this series, where we continue the discussion on how having a Resource Planning Analyst on staff can be very beneficial to an IT MSP. Based on these four reports (and in anticipation of the next four), look forward to seeing you stay with us throughout the series. 

If you have any questions, would like copies of the reports, help writing, designing, or implementing Resource Planning for your Service Delivery operations, contact Steve. 

For more information on Resource Planning, watch our FREE Resource Planning for MSP video presentation & stay tuned for the rest of the series!

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