Welcome to Part II in our series, how your IT MSP can transform Data into a Pot of Gold. In this article, we’ll explore how an on-staff Resource Planning Analyst can greatly benefit your IT MSP.
Note: We offer two FREE ways to help:
- A Resource Planning for MSP video presentation
- Or, you can keep reading…
How Does Your IT MSP Benefit from Leveraging Data?
As a Resource Planning Analyst with many years of experience in this field, here’s what I know, without a doubt…
Leveraging data results in three fundamental benefits:
- Improved quality of Work-Life for company Employees
- Happier Customers (and maybe some referrals, too!)
- Increased profits for the companies we serve
Check out this proven list of the last four of eight Resource Planning reports that will help improve Service Delivery operations at your IT MSP:
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 Forecasting Project Availability
In the last series, we discussed the benefit of Forecasting Customer Requests in a general sense. Armed with that information (and following through on pro-active, pre-positioning Incident response reserves), we can now turn our attention to:
Take a Moment to Ask:
- Have you ever had the nagging suspicion that you were overlooking something when agreeing to or scheduling a project?
- Are you tired of the daily grind of looking around for someone to pull and engage on your most urgent Customer request?
- What about regularly having projects going over budget and not knowing why?
The root cause of these experiences could be overscheduling the Team for projects. This often leads to regularly pulling Engineers to address other needs, which then results in disruptions that erode project profit.
The solution is simple: Use Resource Planning for MSP techniques to determine the right balance of project scheduling with your Teams.
Forecasting Project Availability is the process of taking aggregate availability adjusted for PTO and Holidays, subtracting what is already scheduled, then subtracting the Forecast of Customer Request. This will show you how much room is available for projects in any given week.
Here’s Where the Resource Utilization Automation System Leads to a Pot of Gold…
The average Resource Utilization in the Managed Service Provider industry is reported to be 70%. We have regularly come across MSPs operating at 50+% of Resource Utilization.
Remember: Each 1% increase in Resource Utilization is worth $3K per year per Tech. Underuse of Resource Utilization puts the Managed Service Provider at a significant competitive disadvantage. As the industry tightens up, this also places the MSP at risk for going out of business.
Much to many people’s surprise, improved Resource Utilization is not at all about pushing the IT Support Team to work harder… 50% of it is about better management. The other 50% is about building a collaborative and/or self-managed partnership with the Team.
- Better quality of work-life environment
- Happier Customers (and who doesn’t want that?!)
- Another $3K per Tech per year for each 1% of improvement
We’ve written extensively on the entire Resource Utilization Automated process. For convenience, here is a short summarization of the process below:
- Ensure all the time is in – on time.
- Manage the amount of unknown, Company, and non-billable time.
- Determine and address if there is a more widespread culture issue – or just a few Techs in need of coaching and mentoring.
Our Resource Utilization Automation System (available on the Website for $897) will reduce the management burden from an average 4-6 hours per week, down to just 45 minutes per week, while increasing profit by more than $10k over the next five months.
The Pot of Gold in Tracking the Cost of Managed Service Support
When most people think of the cost of Managed Service Support, they think in terms of dollars only. But to actually address the cost, we need to also think hours.
It’s true that at the end of the day profitability and margins are reported in dollars. Yet, to effectively reduce the cost and increase profits / margins, the hours it takes to provide the support must be addressed.
By looking at hours, there are techniques that can be used to isolate the underlying cost and verify that all dollars are being captured.
Once the focus is on hours, the data can be sliced to look for:
- Average cost across the company for Customer, Techs, and by Issue
- Training opportunities for one or two Technicians
- Benchmark to track the value of improvement initiatives
- Track the benefits of implementing Technology Success Advisors
- Comparison to the other MSP operations**
Did you know? Per 1000 endpoints:
- Industry average = 6 Technicians
- Highly competitive = 3 Technicians
- Best-in-class = 2 Technicians
Is there room for improvement at your MSP? Try using some of these initiatives that we’ve found to be the most effective:
- Before completing the Ticket, ask what could have been done to prevent the incident in the first place.
- Conduct pro-active Network Administration visits to address the recurring root causes.
- Convert Network Administrators to Technology Success Advisors.
The Pot of Gold in Average Time to Completion
So, Resource Utilization is above 85%, SLA performance is above 95%, and Managed Service profit margins are above 90%.
And STILL Customers are leaving… what gives? Life should be good– you’re making money and doing what’s expected of you, right? But the bottom line is that Customers are walking – and we’ve got to fix that.
To compound the problem, it seems like you’re swimming in open tickets. What ever happened to the day when you did not go home until every ticket was closed?
The Culprit Could be Average Time to Completion
The problem may be that your Average Time to Completion is more than 12 business hours. This is an elusive metric and is actually hidden by all the Waiting ____ pauses in the SLA clocks.
Pausing the SLA clock makes us look good, but the only metric the Customer really cares about is the Total Time to Completion. While we are celebrating that all is good, the Customer is hung out to dry and left in pain.
The solution: Run an Average Time to Completion by Issue/Sub-Issue report. Follow up with an investigation of every sub-issue above the average and implement initiatives to decrease the average time.
Reducing the largest Time to Completion sub-issues will lower the overall average…which also means lessening the average duration of your Customer’s pain.
Need to know more about how a Resource Planning Analyst can help improve Service Delivery operations at your MSP? 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!