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The BrightGauge Blog

Create and Use Data Mashups for Actionable Dashboards

As a BrightGauge user, you probably have multiple datasources you connect with. Many MSPs use a PSA like ConnectWise, an RMM like Datto, and a financial tool like Quickbooks to stay on top of all ...
As a BrightGauge user, you probably have multiple datasources you connect with. Many MSPs use a PSA like ConnectWise, an RMM like Datto, and a financial tool like Quickbooks to stay on top of all their important metrics. BrightGauge simplifies the way you monitor your data by putting all these metrics in one easy-to-access place. But did you know that, with BrightGauge, you can actually combine data from your different integrations into one super-powered gauge? It’s called data mashup and it’s pretty good if we do say so ourselves. What is a data mashup? The data mashup feature allows you to combine multiple sets of information and display them together for easy comparison. The first thing you should know is that this feature is only available to our users on the Enterprise Plan (if you want to upgrade your plan, here’s how to do it).  The second thing to note is that there are two types of mashups: dataset and datasource. How do I create data mashups? The method for making a data mashup varies depending on whether you're mashing up datasets or datasources.   Dataset mashups let you combine two or more datasets into a single gauge by layering the datasets together. For example, perhaps you’d like to see how many tickets each technician is resolving and how much time is being entered by that technician. That’s a dataset mashup that puts those metrics side by side.   Here's an example of a dataset mashup:   Datasource mashups are really similar to dataset mashups, but are pulled from two or more sources. Let’s say you use ConnectWise Manage and SmileBack. The data mashup feature would allow you to pull in metrics from both of those tools into one seamless gauge. When monitoring something like Tickets Resolved and CSAT by Tech, this feature is essential.   Here's an example of a datasource mashup:   BrightGauge makes it easy to create both dataset and datasource mashups by allowing you to easily define different datasets and/or datasources to combine. Simply select the datasets or datasources you want to use and plug them into a single data dashboard.   The bar charts shown above are only one type of data mashup display. Depending on your needs or preferences, you can also create funnel charts, dials, circle graphs, or many more displays. What are the benefits of the data mashup feature? Combining your datasets or datasources will allow you to gain more powerful insights than if you were to track each piece of data separately. In some instances, it can even give you insights that you would not have seen without mashing up your data. Anything that makes your dashboards even stronger is going to help you make better business decisions that impact your bottom line. Above, we showed you what it would look like to see tickets resolved versus hours entered by technician. As a business manager, imagine using this gauge to make decisions about your team’s performance. You could use it to track multiple aspects of an employee's performance, then use that information to help them improve their productivity. For example, you could pull some ticket statistics and member data to create a technician utilization chart:  An example of how to use a data mashup You may discover that one technician’s ratio of hours entered to tickets resolved isn’t adding up. They’re entering way too much time but not resolving many tickets within that time frame. Armed with this insight, you could approach that technician to see if something is going on that’s preventing them from answering more tickets. Or, if this is a pattern that’s developed over time, you may discover that this technician is no longer a right fit for your team. Or, you may even find that your team is overloaded and you need to add another member to your team. It's possible that this particular employee is being made to handle extra-complicated issues because that's their field of expertise and others can't handle it—leaving them to handle more time-consuming tasks than their peers. These are insights that you simply may have missed had you been tracking the data separately. By combining data in a data mashup, you can more easily identify these kinds of issues. This allows you to take the appropriate action to improve your team's efficiency, productivity, and results. BrightGauge data dashboards were designed to help you make sense of your KPIs and to help you make better and faster business decisions. Data mashups are like a dashboard superpower that make you an even stronger business leader.   You can upgrade your plan today to gain access to this great feature.  
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What Kinds of Business Management Software Do You Need?

Modern enterprises need modern solutions to their business process workflow challenges—at least if they want to remain competitive. Business management software represents a major opportunity for enterprises to smooth out their process workflows. However, what is business management software, really? There are many kinds of business software programs out there for managing different types of processes, such as: Sales Finance Human Resources (HR) Service Supply Chain These broad categories of business processes can be broken down into hundreds of different specific items, and some functions can even have a bit of overlap. This, in turn, means that the list of business management software that a company can use is virtually endless. So, which types of business management software should your organization use? Here are a few examples that you can start with, though this is not a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination. 1: Business Invoicing Programs Being able to effectively manage billing/collections is a necessity for any business. After all, if your business doesn’t get paid, the budget for funding projects, payroll, and maintenance is going to run dry fairly quickly. Business invoicing programs help companies with this basic financial task. While the specific capabilities of these bookkeeping solutions will vary from one vendor to the next, some common ones include: The ability to create new invoices—sometimes even automating the billing process. Online payment portals that can accept credit cards or other online payment platforms such as PayPal. Customer recordkeeping to help verify what amount of money is owed on each account. Tax data collection to automate filing processes for the business so customer payments are accurately reported. These are just a few of the potential features a business invoicing program might have. The big benefit of this software is that it helps to minimize late or missed payments while increasing the accuracy of financial records and projections. 2: Asset Management Software Managing the supply chain is an enormous task—one that only gets more difficult as the organization grows. Asset management software programs help to track and manage inventory, automate ordering processes, and provide critical insights into spending patterns. Of these capabilities, tracking spending patterns and invoices can be surprisingly important. Largely because it: Makes it easier to identify wasteful spending; and Helps to spot anomalous orders and invoices that indicate fraud. With asset management software, businesses can ensure that their supply chains operate efficiently by minimizing waste while avoiding shortages of critical resources. 3: Project and Task Management Software Keeping employees on task and helping them prioritize their efforts is crucial for ensuring efficiency and productivity. Project and task management software solutions, like Basecamp, JIRA, or Teamwork help companies do just that. The capabilities of these project and task management software programs do vary, but some of the basics include: Tracking total time spent on specific tasks; Logging which tasks are waiting to be worked on, in progress, or have been completed for a specific work period; and Displaying project details or requirements for an assignment to be considered complete. Project-oriented teams in an organization frequently use these features to review progress and identify issues on a daily or weekly basis. For example, if the time estimates for a given project aren’t matching actual time worked, that could be an indication that the project was under-scoped and needs to be adjusted. Data from these project and task management software solutions could potentially be fed into a key performance indicator (KPI) tracking dashboard for use during employee evaluations, as well. This would help you track employee performance and improve your human resources management. Speaking of which… 4: Human Resources Management Solutions HR is at the core of many modern organizations. Being able to effectively manage, train, and reward employees can mean the difference between having a strong, highly-engaged workforce and struggling with disengagement and poor-quality work. Human resources management solutions come all kinds of flavors, depending on the HR workflows you want to improve. Examples of HR solutions include: Employee training platforms; Benefits tracking solutions; and Employee assessment solutions. The specific benefits of human resources software can vary from one solution to the next depending on their features. However, common advantages of using HR solutions effectively include improving employee retention, productivity, and engagement throughout your organization. One type of business software that can be used for your HR processes—specifically to help track and improve employee performance—is KPI tracking software. Platforms such as BrightGauge make it easy to visualize and study your employee performance metrics so you can help your people realize their full potential. With employee data dashboards, you can easily identify opportunities for improvement and recognize/reward top performers in your organization. Want to get started on maximizing the potential of your people? Reach out to BrightGauge today!

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Use the Right MSP Tool for the Right MSP Job

Question: How much time does your business lose every month on redundant tasks? The cost varies from business to business, but IT service providers know downtime translates to lost profits because it diverts resources away from revenue-generating tasks.    There are several ways companies can reduce the amount of lost time their teams experience on a weekly or monthly basis, such as tracking time to non-profitable tasks or time lost due to insufficient planning. However, one of the most simple changes a company can make is to use technology built for their needs.    For instance, MSPs and IT providers require software that can manage tickets, equipment requests, and various recurring or one-off bills. If a business is using software not designed with those features, then the tools limited functionality is going to impede teams and create time-sucking manual workarounds that eat into their revenue-driving activities.   Since decreasing the amount of time a business loses every month can impact their bottom line, here are a few things to do to limit the time spent on non-productive activities.   Find software that automates manual tasks   Time sunk on administrative tasks comes in several forms, from equipment breaking or failures in technology, but it can also include employees spending time and energy on internal tasks.    MSPs fall victim to manually completing tasks instead of working with software to automate repetitive processes for them. Many times they even hire interns or spend weekends on manual tasks, instead of using a tool to automate those tasks.   Why pay someone to do a task that could be automated? It saves time, and time is money, and $10/hour x 8 hours a day adds up quickly. Spending a little money every month to automate those pesky tasks that eat up one’s day is a great way to decrease costs as a business and will usually be cheaper in the long run.    Make sure tools integrate with one another  Business tools must be compatible and integrate to automate as much work as possible. Anytime tools do not integrate with each other; someone is going to have to have to bridge the gap and manually transfer the data; otherwise, there is a risk of something being missed.    For example, if a business is using a specific CRM or PSA tool to track work via service tickets, the details from that ticket must be carried over from CRM or PSA to the software used for billing clients. But if using a billing software designed for retail, or even a different service-based industry, details between the two systems may be lost if they can’t transfer data between one another.   Working with tools designed for IT professionals and MSPs means better integrations, which saves time and money by automating more data and requiring less hands-on management. Final thoughts on saving time   Several things cause businesses to lose time every month on non-profitable tasks, and some are unavoidable. But automations and integrations are big ones and relatively easy to fix. Everything that increases operations and internal management of a team translates to better customer service, better response times, and people being able to get their tasks done as much as possible.   To learn about the right tools to use, read more here.   Ryan Goodman is one of the Founders of ConnectBooster and serves as its President. He primarily focuses on working with the sales team to develop their process and partners with MSPs to help them with their cash flow issues.

Top Finance Team KPIs

Knowing where your company stands financially can give you a whole lot of insight into your business. It’ll tell you whether you’re profitable, whether you can hire additional resources, if you’re growing or not, which areas of your business you need to invest in, how much debt you are in, and so on. Obviously, this is incredibly important and useful data to know, and it’s not just about having the right numbers, but also interpreting those numbers in the right way. Every department in an organization is going to have a set of unique metrics that relate to their goals and efforts. We’ve recommended top key performance indicators (KPIs) for your Project Team, Service Team, and Sales Team.     When it comes to your Finance Team KPIs, we believe there are four you should be keeping track of. Top Finance Team KPIs It’s true that our list of metrics to track is not a complete list. You’re going to want to have a holistic view of your finances, which may include several additional metrics other than the ones listed below. However, we think these four should never be left out. Cash in Bank     This number quite simply tells you how much cash flow you have on hand. It’s important to know that because if you ever find yourself in an unexpected situation, you’ll know how to handle it without getting into deep financial trouble. Past Due Receivables Amount   Accounts Receivable is an important one because it tells you how much payment you’re expecting to receive from clients within the next 30 days (or other given time period). Being aware of which accounts are past due will help you reconcile with your clients and ensure that you’re getting the payment you’re due for. Client Efficiency Index (CEI) The CEI is actually a metric that we created internally to give our teams an idea of overall company performance as it relates to each customer base. You can set an internal benchmark for your CEI (ours is 60%) and it will give you an idea of which customer accounts need to be addressed versus which are in your normal threshold. To calculate CEI, you’ll need to gather your total revenue by client, all direct costs (like licenses, software costs, etc), and your fully loaded labor cost per account. The formula for each client account is broken into two parts: (Total Revenue - Direct Costs - Fully Loaded Labor Cost) / Total Revenue = Gross Margin Per Client Gross Margin Per Client + 40% = CEI (adding 40 percentage points normalizes the metric to 100%) EBITDA   You likely know this one, but this metric gives you a clear idea of your organization’s profitability and financial health. EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. Lots of companies use this metric to determine employee bonuses and raises for the year, so keep an eye on it. An easy way to view your metrics Wouldn’t it be great if you could have visibility into your financial picture at any given time instead of waiting for your accounting team to send you a report once a month? BrightGauge makes it really easy to do just that. Our software integrates with many popular tools on the market, like Quickbooks and Xero, and it pulls important data from those tools and puts it on a dashboard for everybody to see. Your dashboards are comprised of various gauges, so you have the freedom to create one dashboard that shows your cash flow, CEI, EBITDA, and any other metrics you care about.   BrightGauge dashboards sync often, so you’ll be looking at real-time data anytime you glance at your screen. We like to recommend that you display your dashboards on flat TV screens around your office so that all employees have visibility into your key KPIs at all times.   Other BrightGauge features include the ability to send custom, interactive reports to your clients or your internal teams as a way to build trust and transparency, and the functionality to set and track individual employee goals, which sets a precedent for accountability and motivation. If you’re ready to see how BrightGauge can help you run a better and more efficient business, schedule a live one-on-one demo today.

4 Types of Data Dashboards You Need to Create

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial for a business to measure and enhance success. Data dashboards help to make tracking important performance metrics easier for leaders who want to improve their company’s competitiveness. What is a data dashboard? Which types of data dashboards should you use in your organization? Here’s a quick explanation, followed by some data dashboard examples you can use for your business: What is a data dashboard? A data dashboard is a collection of important KPI information that is assembled into one convenient display. The specific performance metrics will vary between different types of data dashboards and the goals of the organization—a data dashboard for a sales team will be very different than the one used by a service delivery team, after all. Data dashboards can double as a motivational tool for some organizations, especially when those dashboards are put up in a display that everyone can see. Dashboards can also be incredibly useful for managers in their one on one meetings with team members—providing easy access to important performance data for assessing employees. What types of data dashboards should I use? There are many different types of data dashboards that you could create for your organization. Naturally, not all data dashboards are going to be useful for all organizations. Your company may need a specific type of data dashboard to track information for a particular goal or initiative. So, when looking at the following list of data dashboard examples, keep in mind your own business’ goals and needs, then use that information to determine whether each of these dashboards can benefit you: Data dashboard example #1: Employee dashboards This is one of the most common types of data dashboards used by every business—employee performance dashboards. However, while virtually any business can use employee dashboards, the specific KPIs that they track may vary from one company to the next. Even employee dashboards within the same company might differ depending on the employee’s specific role in the company. Two examples of KPIs that you might track on an employee dashboard include: Ticket Close Rate. For a service team member or call center employee, you might track how many service tickets that employee closes in a given week to benchmark their performance compared to their peers. Billable Project Hours. For project team members, measuring how much time each team member spends on a project helps with accurately billing projects and estimating employee efficiency. Data dashboard example #2: Sales team dashboards The sales team plays a key role in your business’ success by closing sales deals and building relationships with customers/clients. Tracking sales team performance metrics helps you identify strengths and weaknesses so you can improve their skills as a team. However, instead of tracking an individual employee’s performance, sales team data dashboards provide a broader scope of information, focusing on the team as a whole with metrics such as: Overall Sales Funnel. This performance metric helps to visualize the count of opportunities created as well as closed/won deals. Looking at the last 30 days, you can see how your sales team is performing and compare it to their yearly averages and goals. Total Pipeline Dollars. How much money is sitting in your pipeline, waiting to close? Tracking your total pipeline dollars, as well as how far along each deal in your pipeline is, can help you predict how much revenue your business can expect in the next month. Tracking the rate at which you close deals on top of this metric can help to further refine your income estimates. Data dashboard example #3: Client services dashboards For B2B (business to business) service-oriented companies, being able to meet contractual service level agreements (SLAs) with clients can mean the difference between sustained success and losing market share. Tracking KPIs related to these SLAs is a must for B2B companies. While the specific KPIs you will track on your client services dashboard will vary depending on the nature of the services you provide, a couple of potential performance metrics you might use include: New Tickets. A measure of the number of unresolved tickets that have not been responded to yet. Can be combined with tickets currently open to showcase how much work is being generated, which helps to put response time and other metrics into perspective. Tickets Waiting on Customer. A measure of how many open tickets are waiting on input from the customer before they can be worked on. Putting this into a report for your clients helps encourage them to respond to inquiries more quickly, which allows your team to provide faster service. Data dashboard example #4: Financial performance dashboards Rather than measuring the performance of any one team or team member, financial performance data dashboards help you get a picture of your company’s financial health at a glance. This can be crucial for spotting issues that threaten the future viability of your company. A couple of financial performance metrics you might track for your company include: Past Due Receivables Amount. Accounts receivable is critical because it helps you set an expectation for your income from clients within a set period of time. Past due accounts receivable highlights which clients you need to increase your outreach with. Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. Abbreviated EBITDA, this metric helps establish your overall profitability and is often used to calculate things such as employee bonuses. Do you need help creating comprehensive and effective data dashboards to help your business achieve maximum performance? Reach out to the team at BrightGauge to learn more!

70+ Metrics for MSPs

Key metrics and accompanying formulas to help MSPs skyrocket growth and success!

Get your KPIs

VIDEO: How to Add Layers and Calculated Metrics

  When we added Calculated Metrics, we wanted to bring the ability to easily calculate formulas to our Gauge Builder. Using this tool, you can create powerful MSP Metrics like Support Kill Rate, Tickets Per Endpoint, and Service Gross Margin.   This video shows you how to easily add layers and create calculated metrics. If you have questions about doing this within your BrightGauge, reach out to our support team.   For more tutorial videos, check us out on YouTube.

Top 14 Support FAQs

Even though BrightGauge can be easy to use, data is a complicated matter, so we know there will be times when you need a helping hand. Our Support Team’s got your back.   Support is at the very core of what we do because our founders come from an IT Support background and they know how important it is to have a solid structure in place. In fact, it’s not all that uncommon for Brian, our CEO, to spend time in Support, responding to tickets himself.   We’ve got a lot of resources to help you when you’re in a bind, but we’ve rounded up our top Support FAQs to make things a bit easier.   Top 14 BrightGauge Support questions   Is BGS GDPR compliant? Yes. We’ve adhered to the compliance regulations set forth by the EU as of May 25th. Read more about our GDPR update here and by visiting our security page.   Why am I receiving a "No Access" error after logging in? This error can occur in two cases: You have tried logging into the wrong subdomain You have logged in directly to a dashboard that you don’t have access to within your account To address both scenarios, please ensure you log in directly to your company’s subdomain: “”   Why is my statement missing from the billing portal? A statement may sometimes not generate within the billing portal if the payment was submitted late. In these cases, the payment will be reflected in the next statement cycle. But, if you need a copy before then, just reach out to our Support Team and we’ll send one over.   How often do gauges sync? When a gauge is placed on a dashboard, that sets off the dashboard sync frequency for the dataset that the gauge is built from. This will continue as long as that dashboard is up and active in a web browser. A dataset’s dashboard sync frequency can be viewed under the Dataset settings page, or by clicking the “vertical ellipsis” icon on the top left hand corner of any gauge up on a dashboard and selecting “Gauge Info”.   Gauges will also sync automatically when placed on a scheduled report. 1 HOUR prior to the report being generated, the datasets powering those gauges will be synced.   If you want to do an off schedule sync, you can go to the Dataset settings page, click on the dataset, and hit “Sync”. Read our Dataset Syncing doc for more info.   Why is my gauge showing incorrect data even though my datasets are syncing correctly? This is the most common question we receive via our Support Desk! The vast majority of the time, these data discrepancies are due to missing filters or incorrect filters being applied. BrightGauge pulls in raw information from your database and must be filtered down to represent the exact metrics you are looking for. For example: with PSA integrations, all boards/queues are pulled into BrightGauge by default. If you are specifically looking for a metric just from a ‘Support’ board/queue, you have to apply a filter stating that.     Filters exist for date, text, number, and boolean fields. Given the large number of fields and possible filter configurations for them, we understand it may be tricky to remember how to use them, so check out this Filters Explained doc that breaks it down.   Filters can be applied on all BrightGauge gauges, dashboards, reports, and goals.   Why am I receiving an error for my Agent/Datasource? One of the hiccups our users encounter when connecting to BrightGauge using an on-premise datasource is setting up our agent within their unique network environment. As all of us within this industry know, no two networks are identical. Due to this, there are a few common errors that tend to arise during this configuration process. We’ve put together and are constantly updating this Common Agent/Datasource Connectivity Issues doc to help you troubleshoot these common errors.   Are there different permissions that can be assigned for BrightGauge users? Certainly! Our 3 different user types are Admins, Analysts, and Viewers. Admins and Analysts are paid users with hands-on ability to create content within our app, while Viewers are essentially read-only users that are free and available with all subscriptions. Our User Accounts knowledge base article outlines the differences in more detail.   When setting up a client report, must one report be created per client/customer? One of the neatest and most convenient features of our client reports is the ability to create a “one to many” report for your clients. In just a few simple steps, you can create one report and select a desired list of clients who will receive a personalized email with a copy of the report filtered down to only their company’s data. Taking advantage of this feature not only saves time when creating/configuring the reports, but also when editing or tweaking them. Changes only need to be made in one spot, but it will be reflected on what all clients see on their individual report.   Check out our Client Reporting 101 doc or watch our free Client Reporting Best Practices webinar for more information.   Why are my client reports blank? If all the gauges pertaining to the same datasource are blank within a specific client report, chances are the Client Mapping for that customers datasource is incorrect. Client Mappings are what we use to automatically filter client reports, but they need to be configured correctly in order to work. When configuring a mapping, the client’s name must be entered EXACTLY as it appears in the corresponding datasource database (this includes spaces and icons). Any small difference will result in the gauge being filtered incorrectly.   To ensure the correct name is entered, we advise using the search function within the mapping. If you’d like to double check clients name in a database, you can check it directly within the datasource itself, or create a gauge within BrightGauge using a dataset for that datasource, and set the dimension to use the corresponding company name field.   Read more about Client Mapping here.   How are Feature Requests handled? Earlier this year, we removed our Feature Request Forum (for good reasons!). Here’s a detailed blog post all about it:   What has just been released?  You may have noticed that we’ve recently added in-app messages highlighting our new and exciting releases. But we also cover them in much more detail in our Knowledge Base under Product Updates.  We release constantly (daily) so we just summarize the customer impacting features on a weekly and monthly basis.   What other datasources are being integrated into BrightGauge? ALL of them possible :)  Okay, that was a broad statement but 2018 is the year of massive integrations. We have already released 7 new ones and we are only halfway through the year. All the data that matters to your business is what we’re interested in integrating.   Check out our full list of integrations.   Can I speak with someone live about support? Yes, of course! We just ask that we schedule it ahead of time to allow us to fully assess the issue and gather as much information as possible via the ticket. We have a slim (but awesome) support team supporting 1,000s of users so we prefer to schedule something so that we’re all fully focused and prepped.   What are your typical response times for support? During normal business hours, which are 8:30am - 6pm EST on weekdays, we are usually pretty quick to respond because the team is actively monitoring the queue. But we know we have an awesome global user base working outside our support hours and when you average all ticket responses, even including nights and weekends, we’re still averaging 2.8 hours (significantly below the industry average of 20.3 hours).   Have a question we haven’t covered? Make sure you’re taking advantage of all our awesome support resources or reach out to our team for more!  

4 Simple Tricks for Motivating Your Employees

Motivating your employees can be the secret to achieving lasting success as a company. A workforce that is actively engaged with their work is more likely to go the extra mile, be more productive, and want to stay with the company for longer (improving employee retention). All of these factors can contribute to the success of the business and make it more competitive. However, mastering employee motivation can be difficult at the best of times. There are any number of variables in the workplace culture that can impact employee performance and motivation. So, here’s a list of simple tips and tricks for how to motivate employees. 1: Consider how leadership actions impact workplace culture The actions of leaders in an organization can have a massive impact on workplace culture and employee motivation. For example, if you’ve ever been told “Do as I say, not as I do,” odds are good that you know how frustrating it is to be held to a higher standard than others unfairly. So imagine how your employees might feel if they see leadership team members getting away with behaviors that they would be reprimanded (or even terminated) for. A workplace culture that seems to encourage double standards can quickly create actively disengaged employees. On the other hand, having leaders exemplify the behaviors that you want your employees to model, and showing employees that everyone will be treated equally when it comes to both rewards and consequences, can help to improve employee engagement. 2: Take some time for 1:1 meetings with employees How leaders communicate with their teams can also have a major impact on employee motivation and performance. As Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour, said in an article for Inc.: “I listened to everyone’s opinions, and, without fail, they’d bring up things I hadn’t thought of. More important, my team members knew they were part of the process and that their voices mattered… Employees are more motivated when they feel needed, appreciated, and valued.” By taking employee suggestions and implementing them, Plank was able to influence his company’s workplace culture. This created an environment where employees were encouraged to share their thoughts—helping them to be more engaged and motivated. Holding 1:1 meetings with team members to provide feedback and collect ideas can make employees feel more appreciated—making these meetings an invaluable tool for motivating your employees. 3: Use visible data dashboards to encourage healthy competition Creating some data dashboards featuring employee performance statistics and putting them where all employees can see them can help to create some healthy competitiveness. When your teams see these “leaderboards” of who is doing what the most effectively, it can spur them to try harder and be more competitive so they can reach the top spot. This trick for motivating your employees borrows from the concept of online leaderboards in video games—making this a type of “gamification” strategy. By providing open recognition for strong employee performance, and attaching a “score” to employee efforts, you can increase employee engagement and create a workplace culture that promotes excellence. However, it’s important to employ this tactic carefully. Making sure that the performance metrics tracked on the public data dashboard are both relevant to your business’ goals and are within your employees’ ability to control. Otherwise, employees may waste effort on worthless activities to boost the wrong numbers or become demotivated. 4: Create opportunities for employees to learn new skills for the company Many employees are looking for opportunities to move to a new role or get promoted. However, they may not currently have the right skills to move into a new position. Without education opportunities, these employees will stagnate and, eventually, leave to find new opportunities in a company where they’ll be given such opportunities. Providing an employee training program that can give employees new skills that allow them to take on different roles can be an excellent way to motivate them. This not only lets employees try new things, it creates a chance for your company to find promising talent to promote from within. When employees feel as though their employer is willing to invest in them, they’re more likely to stay—increasing employee retention. To maximize the effectiveness of an employee training program, it helps to: Ensure interested employees have the time to pursue the training—people who are already working full time may not be able to squeeze in extra time for training. Provide incentives to complete the optional training—such as providing pay increases or other bonuses to people willing to learn skills the company needs. Publicly recognize employees who learn vital skills—doing so helps advertise the learning program and reward employees who complete a course. Motivating your employees can be difficult. However, using a few simple tricks can help increase employee engagement. Have questions about how you can pick the right employee performance metrics to track for your public data dashboards? Reach out to the team at BrightGauge for advice!

This Week’s KPI: Services Gross Margin

Whether you’re a small business or an enterprise company, generating a steady (and improving) gross margin for your services is essential to a healthy business. When starting or managing a business, there are many KPIs to track. At BrightGauge, we always recommend you lean towards simple as too much data can be overwhelming. An often overlooked but essential KPI to watch is Services Gross Margin. So, why is gross margin so important for MSPs? Simple. Services Gross Margin represents cash being generated to cover all those operating expenses. Your sales team, the office space, marketing efforts – all covered by Services Gross Margin. Higher gross margin means more money to invest in your business and accelerate growth. Calculating Services Gross Margin Here are some definitions to keep in mind when calculating Services Gross Margin: Total Services Revenue is any and all revenue your services team delivers. This would include both Managed Services Revenue and Professional Services (consulting, project). You can calculate different margin rates per type of services (more on that later). Cost Of Services is the total direct costs associated with delivering services, which not only includes the obvious base salary, incentives of your services team, but also all the direct costs. That includes, parking, mileage, laptops, software, benefits, etc. Over the years we’ve heard different variations for how to calculate Services Gross Margin. For the purposes of this post we are going to use this formula: (Total Services Revenue - Cost of Services) / Total Services Revenue   An example of how to track Services Gross Margin in BrightGauge Using Services Gross Margin at Our MSP Before we formed BrightGauge, we had our own Miami-based MSP, Compuquip. Our typical Services Gross Margin hovered around 42% - 48%. This was well below industry best practices according to most. We were a Technically Led Sales Organization. Therefore, our cost of engineers was higher than normal and our margins tended to be lower. When we broke out the services by line item, we usually ended up with an average margin on Managed Services of approximately 40% - 45% and Project or Professional Services at 50% - 60% range. To see a more detailed breakdown of the types of revenue please visit: Revenue By Category. We believe anything above 50% is a great target margin and if you can move the percentage up to 60% you are best in class. If this number starts to trend downward, you could be approaching a cash flow problem. That’s why it’s important to start measuring and tracking these types of financial KPIs on a regular basis. Once you decide on those metrics that matter to you, start setting goals to guide you and your team. Interested in More? To learn more about gross margin and other metrics that matter for MSPs, download the full white paper here. If you already know what KPIs matter to you but you’re struggling keeping track of everything, reach out to us and we’ll help.     Note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Christopher Turpin Joins BrightGauge as Customer Support Specialist

We’re excited to welcome Christopher Turpin to the team as a Customer Support Specialist! Join us in learning more about the newest member of our growing BrightGauge family…   In the beginning   Christopher calls Plantation, Florida his hometown, but was lucky enough to experience the best of both worlds - splitting his childhood between New York and Miami and getting a taste of what few native Floridians do: seasons.    While in New York, Christopher also spent a lot of time with his grandparents, up in Syracuse.    When it came time to choose a university, Christopher opted for warmer weather and stayed put in South Florida, attending Florida International University, making him a proud Golden Panther.    In 2017, Christopher attended Wyncode (like many other BrightGaugers!) in an effort to better understand how apps work behind the scenes and in hopes to one day build his own app.    Most recently, he put what he learned at Wyncode to work as a Junior Developer at a local startup company called Wahii.    Joining BrightGauge   Through his peers from Wyncode, Christopher learned of an opportunity at BrightGauge and was drawn to the idea of working closely on an app.   The entire interview process proved to be such a great experience, making him eager to join the team. In his words, “Everyone made me feel at ease and the atmosphere was so down to earth, it was like everyone was family.” Yeah, we feel that way, too!    Christopher is looking forward to helping out BrightGauge customers, as well as expanding his SQL knowledge.    Out of office   *in case you couldn't tell, this is a throwback photo! :)   When not in the office, Christopher entertains himself with his many interests, like discovering new music, watching a great movie, or binging on an addictive series. You can also find him playing video games and soccer.    Heads up: Christopher is a self-proclaimed sneakerhead, so if you know of a good spot to check out, let him know!

Is KPI Tracking Worth It for Your Business?

Very few business leaders question the importance of tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) for their business. KPI tracking has long been an integral strategy for helping businesses improve employee performance and meet their long-term business goals. However, though this is the commonly-accepted thought, is KPI tracking worth it for your business?   The short answer is: “Most likely yes.” Here’s an explanation of the benefits of KPI tracking and why it’s worth your time. The business benefits of KPI tracking When used correctly, KPI tracking can be an incredibly helpful tool for businesses. Some of the key benefits of measuring performance metrics and acting on that data include:   Being able to recognize and motivate top performers One of the most important benefits of measuring performance metrics is that it can help you track who your top-performing team members are. Using KPIs, you can identify, congratulate, and reward these top performers—which can help spur them and others to improve.   For example, say that you have two people on your client services team, Bill and Bob. If Bill is consistently exceeding his goals for customer satisfaction rates, tickets closed, and time-to-resolution while Bob isn’t, you can incentivize Bill’s performance with public recognition and other bonuses.   On the other hand, failing to acknowledge and reward Bill’s extra effort can risk demotivating him. If Bill only gets the same amount of compensation and recognition as Bob despite putting in extra effort and performing better, Bill may think that it isn’t worth working hard—leading to a drop in his performance.   Identifying learning opportunities amongst your team Continuing from the Bill and Bob example above, once you’ve identified a top performer in your team by tracking their performance metrics, what else can you do aside from simply recognizing and rewarding them? One thing you could do is ask them to provide coaching for others on the team who are struggling to meet their performance goals.   For instance, you could have Bill talk to Bob about how they each approach their client services work, and provide some tips and tricks for ensuring client happiness and streamlining service delivery. This helps not only to recognize Bill’s achievements, but to increase Bob’s skills so he can improve his own performance metrics as well. It can even help to groom Bill for an eventual leadership role on the team by getting him used to teaching and leading others.   Having the data needed to course correct Even the best-laid plans may not succeed. However, without tracking performance metrics for the business, it’s nearly impossible to tell when a given strategy is having a positive or negative impact on the business.   Using KPI tracking to monitor key business metrics can help you identify trends and even associate them with specific events or actions. For example, say you’ve hired a new leader for your sales team, and your sales KPIs immediately improve or worsen. By tracking KPIs, you could associate the change in sales performance with the act of changing leadership.   Using this information as a starting point, you can poll your sales team and their new leader to see what else was changed, and use that information to make more course corrections to improve business performance.   By tracking key performance indicators, you can identify when the business plan is doing very well or going off the rails. Hopefully, you’ll also have the data you need to make smarter business decisions to keep things improving. Choosing the right KPIs for benchmarking employee and business performance Naturally, to achieve the best effect for measuring key performance indicators in your business, it’s important to choose the right ones in the first place. When selecting KPIs for your business, it can help to use a goal-setting framework to help ensure that each KPI you pick is relevant. One popular framework to use is the SMART framework. SMART being an acronym for:   Specific. Meaning that the performance metric can be clearly-defined—such as saying “sales should add $50,000 in monthly recurring revenue each month in quarter one” as opposed to “I want to sell a lot.” Measurable. This means that the KPI should be objectively measurable. In other words, results should not have room for interpretation or bias; they should simply have a goal that can be objectively met or missed—such as “closing 10 deals per month” instead of “being more upbeat on sales calls.” Achievable. Can employees meet the goal set for a KPI with the resources available to them? This may require you to take a look at historic performance to see whether a goal being set can be achieved. For example, if your historic top performance for sales in a month is $200,000 in closed deals—and that was by one top performer who never repeated the feat—then asking every member of the sales team to hit $300,000 in sales in a month may not be achievable. Relevant. Does the KPI really matter to your business and its overall goals? For example, if your business focuses on managed services, then KPIs focused on service delivery would make sense, while inventory management-focused metrics may not be as relevant (except where the inventory is required to deliver services). Timely. Establishing a time frame for meeting certain goals can be important for creating a sense of urgency. If the span of time for meeting a KPI goal is too long, it becomes an abstract concept to employees—so they don’t focus on meeting that goal.   Choosing KPIs to track and setting goals for them using the SMART framework listed above can help you ensure that you’re picking the right performance metrics to motivate your people. Need help tracking your KPIs so you can improve business performance? Reach out to the BrightGauge team to learn more!

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