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The BrightGauge Blog

Jorge Rusiel Joins BrightGauge as Senior Software Developer

We’re excited to welcome Jorge Rusiel to the team as a Senior Software Developer! Join us in learning more about the newest member of our growing BrightGauge family… In the beginning While so many ...
We’re excited to welcome Jorge Rusiel to the team as a Senior Software Developer! Join us in learning more about the newest member of our growing BrightGauge family… In the beginning While so many members of our BrightGauge family hail from these South Florida parts, Jorge was born a bit further south. In Cuba, to be exact! He comes from Santiago de Cuba, which is the second largest city in the country. Jorge earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Central University Marta Abreu de Las Villas in Cuba before jumping on the opportunity to move to Spain and obtain his Ph.D. from the Department of Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence at the University of the Basque Country. His Ph.D. research included the application of advanced image processing and statistical methods to computer-generated 3D models of the brain. Taking this research, Jorge moved to Boston, Massachusetts to work as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Radiology at Mass General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. His work included the development of an open source library used in longitudinal data analysis. Most recently, he worked as a Software Engineer - his true passion - at the Department of Radiology at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where he was the lead engineer in the design and development of an important scientific software platform. Fortunately for us, Jorge has brought his incredible wealth of knowledge to BrightGauge. Joining BrightGauge Jorge feels that BrightGauge will have a number of exciting technical challenges in the years to come and looking forward to being on the forefront of it all, whether this means integrating AI into the product or simply improving the software platform architecture. Our BrightGauge culture is just the cherry on top. “I’m excited to use my broad background to scale BrightGauge’s SaaS platform,” says Jorge. “This includes designing and implementing new REST APIs, writing high quality software that improves the existing platform, and implementing optimized workflows.” We’re confident that with Jorge on our team, the future of our product is very bright (pun intended). Out of office When Jorge isn’t living out his passion as an engineer, he’s spending time with family and friends by going running, salsa dancing, hitting the beach, and playing brain-intensive card games. Welcome to the fam, Jorge!        
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Keeping Your Clients Happy and Informed with Client Facing Dashboards

As an Account Executive at BrightGauge, I speak with dozens of potential and current customers each month. Each MSP comes from a different background, with varying goals and needs, but one universal struggle I hear is the need to show better value to customers. One of the paradoxes of the MSP world is that customers rarely need to see you when systems are running smoothly. When clients don’t hear much from you because things are working correctly, they might assume you aren’t delivering value. How can you solve this? One obvious way is through regular, automated reports, which is one of the main reasons companies hire BrightGauge. This may satisfy most customers, but there are still those for whom this will not provide enough insight into why they’re paying thousands of dollars each month for your services. For the clients that crave more up to the minute information, our Customer Facing Dashboards are a great solution. There are two main ways you can create live Dashboards for your customers - Add your client to your BrightGauge instance as a Viewer or utilize our new Public Dashboards. The first thing I would do in either circumstance is determine what metrics or KPIs you’d like your client to be able to access at any given time. Add the metrics you choose to a new dashboard Use the dashboard filtering option to filter down to that client. Clone the dashboard and title it accordingly. One good option is to create a master client dashboard, then filter and clone to each client that will have access to a dashboard. If you use ConnectWise Manage, AutoTask, Kaseya BMS, or TigerPaw as your PSA, you should have a default dashboard called ‘Client Dashboard Template’ that you can modify to your needs.     Add Client as a Viewer The first way you can give your client access to the dashboard you’ve created for them is by adding them to your BrightGauge instance as a viewer. Every BrightGauge plan includes unlimited Viewer licenses. To create a new viewer, click on the admin button at the top right corner of your BrightGauge account, then select ‘Viewers’ from the dropdown. You simply need to provide their name and email address, then select the Dashboard you’d like to give them access to. They will then have a login to your BrightGauge instance, but the only thing they will be able to see is the dashboard you’ve given them access to. As a viewer, they won’t have any permissions on the dashboards or gauges except to drill down, and of course you’ll determine what, if anything, they’ll see on the drill-down.     Provide Your Client with Public Dashboard Your other option is to utilize our new Public Dashboards feature, available on our Enterprise plan. To enable this, click on the ‘More’ button at the top right corner of the dashboard, and select ‘Public URL’ from the dropdown. This will provide you with a URL link you can copy and send to your client. Your client can bookmark the URL and will not need to log in to your BrightGauge instance. The Public Dashboards do not allow for drilldown. Again, your client will not have any permissions on this dashboard or on any of the gauges. There are a few great benefits to Customer Facing Dashboards: Customers receiving real time data on their tickets, machines, or projects will have less need to open tickets or call for status updates This shows a level of transparency most MSPs aren’t providing to their clients For your larger clients, this will show the extra benefits they gain by using your services rather than moving their IT operations in house Want help determining what metrics to share with your client, or how to build a great Customer Facing Dashboard? Contact BrightGauge for help with selecting relevant data that will show value to your customers!                        

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Natalie Dinkins Joins BrightGauge as Customer Support Specialist

We’re excited to welcome Natalie Dinkins 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 Natalie was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up right here in South Florida. After graduating from Plantation High School, Natalie decided to stay local, attending Broward College for two years before earning her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami (C-A-N-E-S!). Later on, she also earned a Master’s degree from Florida International University. Since then, Natalie has explored several interesting avenues, working in energy conservation, higher education, and banking. Most recently, she was a Program/Project Manager for an all-women web development cohort. In that position, Natalie managed an all-women web development bootcamp, spearheading the project by recruiting students, providing input on the curriculum, and hiring teaching staff. That tech-focused role was the perfect springboard for the next opportunity in her career. Joining BrightGauge While going through the interview process here at BrightGauge, Natalie had a chance to meet several team members, who all talked a whole lot about how much they enjoyed their work. Plus, it was really clear that everyone truly loved working with one another, which gave Natalie the sense that this was a team she really wanted to be a part of. Aside from the culture, the opportunity to learn something new while applying her past skills and experience appealed to Natalie and solidified her decision to come on board! Next time you submit a support ticket, you may just hear from Natalie herself. Out of office Outside of work, you can find Natalie spending time with her siblings, whether they’re tailgating at a football game or barbecuing in the park. And recently, Natalie has rekindled her love for running, but it’s a love that sometimes goes unfulfilled. “Between the extreme heat and torrential downpours, running outdoors in South Florida can be a challenge,” says Natalie. Ain’t that the truth!        

Dispatch Data for Amazing Service Delivery

  Dispatch data for amazing service delivery   One of the keys to a high-performance help desk is managing the flow of tickets through the service queue. The quality of your service as an IT provider will often be judged not by if you can fix the issue, but the experience that the user has while you do your magic on the back end.   Think about the last time you went out for a nice dinner. I’m sure the food was great - that’s why you choose a place with great reviews and a high price tag. So what differentiates fine dining from casual dining? It’s often the experience.   Consider the user experience for your clients when they open a support ticket. Is it the equivalent of a casual diner or fine dining? BrightGauge can help ensure the client experience is managed like a 5-star restaurant, differentiating you from other IT providers that are simply providing a sandwich shop experience. Dispatch Role The first point of contact for your clients is usually managed by a dispatcher. I personally don’t support the idea of a pure dispatcher role like some in the industry advocate for. I find this is often an administrative crutch that is put in place to compensate for staff not being accountable for the ticket queues. Instead, the dispatcher role can simply be a designated role that is shared amongst the Tier 1 staff of the helpdesk. Each day or each week a person is designated as the dispatcher and they are responsible for ensuring that tickets get managed according to the expectations of the users and the IT provider. The dispatcher role as a shared responsibility does two things: 1. Helps everyone respect the role a little more When a single person is a dispatcher, especially a non-technical person, the techs have a habit of not respecting the direction of the dispatcher. This is cultural and can be changed, but it’s a persistent hurdle for implementing this role. If everyone does this role from time to time, they are likely to respect the direction of others that they view as peers, especially if they are going to be asking for similar things on a different day. 2. Avoids administrative waste Why have a non-technical dispatcher that can’t pitch in and help the team with tickets when it gets busy? A pure dispatcher role is a consideration when the scale of the team is so large that it becomes a full-time role. Properly structuring your tiers and distributing the dispatcher role within the technical team is far more cost-effective. Even if you have a team of 20 people, this still works. Dispatch Board The first two boards that I build for my clients in BrightGauge are the service manager board and the dispatch board. The dispatch board is a fantastic way for the person doing dispatch to have a 500-foot view of the ticket queue. The dashboard helps the person see the exceptions and can act quickly on those exceptions. Managing by exception is a key methodology for working with a high volume of information. Asking a person to know the status and juggle 100 tickets a day is a recipe for burnout. Humans are good at keeping 5-8 points of information in their heads. Here is an example of a dispatch board.     There is a rule in the LEAN methodology that dashboards should follow the five-second rule. Meaning you should be able to glance at the dashboard and be able to understand it in five seconds. Less is more with dashboards. A great way to make the dashboards more readable in BrightGauge is to use size and color-coding. You’ll notice in the example dashboard graphic above the numbers on the left are black. This indicates that they are informational. The colored gauges moving to the right are coded to indicate the severity of their compliance with expectations. In this example dispatch board we have 6 gauges that are color-coded to manage the ticket queue and service the client experience. Unassigned/New Industry best in class response time to new tickets is 15 minutes, but 30 minutes is acceptable if you’re just getting started. Therefore, this number needs to be either 0 or 1. When the number is 0 the gauge is green. Once there is a new ticket, someone needs to respond immediately to acknowledge the ticket and set an expectation with the user of when that ticket will be scheduled. To be very clear, acknowledgment is NOT the autoresponder from the PSA. It is contact either via email or phone from a tier 1 resource or the dispatcher. Actioning the tickets immediately when they come in should help ensure the acknowledgment time stays under 30 minutes and users are given clear expectations about when they will get support. In the restaurant experience imagine this as how long it takes for you to wait at the door before you’re greeted. Nicer restaurants will have a greeter there all the time welcoming guests and setting expectations for when they will be seated. Even in a standard restaurant where you seat yourself, if a server doesn’t come by to welcome you and get you a water within 20 minutes, you would justifiably be annoyed with the experience. Stale A stale ticket means that it has not been touched for more than 3 days. The importance of this gauge is to ensure that there are no tickets left behind. Like the unassigned gauge, stale should be kept to zero. No tickets should go stale if they are assigned to a technician's queue. They should have a routine of touching each ticket every few days to reset expectations with the user about what is being done to resolve the issue. Nothing drives people crazier than to have their support ticket disappear into a black hole. If the technician is waiting on the user, they should be following up via email and phone calls to try to contact the user. This process can largely be automated by your PSA as well to take the load off the tech. If the tech is waiting for a 3rd party vendor or someone else, they should still be updating the user about what they are doing to progress the ticket to resolution. You can buy a lot of grace by just setting and resetting expectations. In the restaurant analogy, this would be how many times the server comes back to your table to see if you need anything while waiting for your meal. If the plates are delayed it’s much nicer to have someone come by and say, “So sorry, I realize you’ve been waiting a while. I just checked with the kitchen and I should have your plates out to you in 10 minutes.” Without this simple polite update, you may grow annoyed that you’ve waited over 30 minutes and not even seen the server. Past Due The past-due gauge indicates a technician was scheduled to work on a ticket and that schedule has not been updated. This either happens because they didn’t enter time on the ticket or they didn’t do the scheduled work at all. Like Unassigned and Stale, this number should be kept at zero and will be green when it is zero, but will change color to indicate it requires attention when the number starts to click higher and turn red. Tech scheduling and time entry is much easier to keep under control when done hour by hour. If you get to the end of the week to try and manage time entry and scheduling, you’re always going to be chasing your tail. The dispatcher role can assist the team by at least informing the user that the scheduling of their support has been pushed. This is not something you can do frequently as the person will grow more frustrated by the ticket being delayed, but communicating with them and setting expectations is better than them expecting to hear from someone at 11 am, and getting angry when they don’t hear from someone the rest of the day. The dispatcher can support the team by ensuring they reschedule their tickets and manage their time entry. This helps to re-enforce the growth of this habit over time. It’s IT, it gets busy, so having someone ping you on IM or tap you on the shoulder to ask you to reschedule your tickets helps drive individual accountability. SLAs The above metrics are important to ensure the tickets are moved into the service queue and kept current, so they can be resolved as soon as possible. These would be lead indicators. When they turn red you are more likely to fail on the associated lag indicators. SLA compliance is a lag indicator. If you manage the team accountability and the process is followed your lag indicators should be green. I have a detailed blog on SLA management on my website that you can see here. Average Time to resolution The average time to resolution indicates how long it took for the ticket to be resolved. This is not the elapsed time, but the SLA work time to complete the ticket. This should be under 8hrs and the lower the better. It’s important that techs don’t game this number by using statuses that park the ticket and turn off the SLA. The client experience is the goal. Not the number itself. Average Time to Acknowledgement This gauge is the lag indicator for the new/unassigned gauge. If someone is responsible for the acknowledgment and dispatching of tickets at all times, this SLA is extremely easy to achieve. The one caution here is to train the techs not to try and hero their way through tickets, especially if they are currently holding the dispatch role. If it’s a 5-minute fix, sure do it, but otherwise, queue up the tickets and answer the next call/email. Not Started This gauge indicates tickets that have not been started after being put into someone’s queue. Notice this number is yellow despite being quite high relative to the thresholds of the other gauges. The size is also smaller than the other gauges, which communicates its importance. In this case, it’s not necessarily a problem that these many tickets haven’t been started. The thresholds on this number will depend a lot on how many techs you have available to service the support queue. The gauge gives the dispatcher an indication if work is piling up and not moving through the Helpdesk. The number may ebb and flow, but if it steadily climbs, it would indicate to the dispatcher or service manager that someone is stuck on tickets and probably taking too long on a single ticket. This can be great for catching complex support issues before they get out of control. An escalation or a second set of eyes may be helpful. Arming Dispatch With The Right Data “Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.” - Danny Myer, famous restaurateur. A well-configured BrightGauge dispatch dashboard can support the person responsible for dispatch management to focus on the right things: Managing by exception, keeping support requests flowing, and ensuring users are being kept up to date on the status of their support requests. Danny Myer’s quote underlines the importance of any service based industry. Make no mistake IT support is a service industry. How the client feels about their support is equally if not more important than the actual service provided. The experience the users receive is key to creating a sense of value for the support they are receiving. They expect you to be smart and to be able to fix the issues, but actively managing the experience they receive during that support request is what will set you apart from other providers. BrightGauge dashboards are a much easier way to provide an overview of the key metrics required to deliver a high-end support experience for your clients.  

KC Backofen Joins BrightGauge as Director of Marketing

We’re excited to welcome KC Backofen to the team as a Director of Marketing! Join us in learning more about the newest member of our growing BrightGauge family… Where did you grow up? I grew up in Kingston, NY   Where did you go to school? I graduated from FIU (GO PANTHERS)   Where did you work? I was a consultant at NCL for their International Digital Marketing team   What did you do at your previous job? I oversaw international digital marketing initiatives for NCL, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas.   While At BrightGauge:   What are you most excited about doing? I'm excited to help grow BGS to new levels while working with a great group of people. I'm excited to feel challenged every day.   What made you decide to join us? The culture and the energy around the office.   What do you like to do when you’re not working? I love being active outside. When I'm not working, I'm usually out and about, trying to be active. I love the water, I play golf (poorly), tennis, or just wandering around town. When I'm home, I'm usually watching some kind of sport. Football, Golf, Tennis, and anything on the ocho.   Any passions outside of work? I'm passionate about ocean conservation. Whether it's beach cleanups, water quality efforts, or supporting sustainable fishing, I'm passionate about it all.        

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How to get Quick Insights into Your Company’s Performance

Having comprehensive insights into your company’s performance is a basic necessity for any organization. However, gathering these “company insights” quickly can be quite the challenge. This is especially true if the organization doesn’t have the structures in place to collect quick insights and report them easily.   What performance insights does your organization need? What are the challenges to gathering performance data? More importantly, how can you leverage performance insights to optimize your organization and build long-term success?   What performance data should you monitor? When planning to gather quick insights into company performance, it’s important to establish what performance data you need to track first. Choosing the wrong metrics to track can end up wasting precious time and effort. However, different organizations and departments within an organization may need to track different things.    So, when choosing the performance metrics you’ll use to garner company insights, it’s important to:   Consider your organization’s primary goals. What is it that your organization most needs to do to meet its goals? Any key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with those goals should probably be the first ones you consider when looking to create performance insights. Be sure to periodically reevaluate which metrics you track. Because your organization’s priorities may change, it’s important to take some time to evaluate which metrics you’re using to generate quick insights and reevaluate them against the organization’s current needs. Make getting quick insights easier by limiting your KPI list. There comes a point where, in trying to track everything to get more comprehensive performance insights, an organization ends up tracking too much information. This data bloat can actually end up causing leaders to miss important insights into their company. To avoid data bloat and get fast insights into company performance, it’s important to prune the KPI list to a manageable level—such as what can fit onto a single screen of a data dashboard.   Top challenges to consider when gathering quick insights There are a few obstacles that may prevent an organization from gathering performance insights in a timely fashion. Clearing these obstacles is a must for gathering actionable business intelligence that benefits the organization as a whole:   A lack of data collection methods. To fill a data dashboard or other performance reporting tool, it’s necessary to have a data source that is accurate, reliable, and timely. Manual data collection is often inefficient and unreliable (though it may be your only option sometimes), so having a data source that you can pull performance data from whenever you need can be helpful. When such data sources are lacking, it can be hard to gather reliable information when you need it. An overload of information. As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to try to collect too much information all at once. Keeping track of too many data sources and performance metrics can lead to decision paralysis as people struggle to make sense of all the information presented. Knowing how to narrow down the data feeds and KPIs you track is crucial for gaining fast insights that are still useful. Turning data into reliable company insights. Simply having access to performance data doesn’t mean that you have reliable company insights. It takes some time and effort to translate raw data into actionable performance insights that can be used to improve business processes and employee performance. This often requires looking at multiple data sets and correlating events with specific causes or taking a look at patterns within data (such as historical drops or increases in certain metrics at specific times of the year). The ability to turn raw data into an accurate insight into the organization’s performance and needs is one that should come with practice. Creating quick insights. Timeliness is important for leveraging insights while they’re relevant. If collecting, organizing, and interpreting data takes too long, the insights generated from that data may not be as impactful. For example, say that an employee’s performance is lagging, but it takes a full financial quarter to address the issue with him or her. At this point, whatever was causing the performance drop may have become a bad habit that is hard to correct (or resolved itself without the employee receiving any support). This exposes the organization to more loss from reduced productivity—potentially creating excessive expenses due to lack of action.   Data dashboards are one tool that can help organizations gather quick insights into employee, team, and company performance with ease. How can you use data dashboards to gather fast insights into performance? How to use data dashboards The basic idea behind a data dashboard is that it is a dedicated report that displays only the most crucial employee or company insights into a single overview. By distilling KPIs into a data dashboard view, it is easy to avoid data bloat and quickly check on company performance (or employee performance).   There are a few ways that you can use data dashboards. One of the most important is as a live feed for monitoring employee and company performance. Using live data feeds, a data dashboard can display information in real time, helping provide early warnings of potential dips in key performance areas.   Data dashboards can also prove to be a vital employee assessment tool, allowing managers to identify both high- and low-performing employees. This way, top performers can be rewarded for their achievements, while underperformers can be given the opportunity to improve with training that is geared towards their specific needs.   Another use for data dashboards is to monitor the financial health of a company. By tracking important information such as past due receivables, earnings, and accounts payable, an organization’s leadership can verify whether they’re in the red or in the black, and make changes accordingly.   How to use client reports to assess services Sometimes, it isn’t just the organization that needs insight into how it is performing—the organization’s customers/clients may also need some quick insights so they can understand the value that they get from being a customer/client. This is where client reports can be useful.   A client report is a great opportunity to share important performance metrics with a client, showcasing how the organization is meeting or exceeding its service obligations and providing value. When creating a client report (or a report template in BrightGauge for automatic updates and sends), it’s important to consider:   Who the report should be sent to; What the report should include to provide quick insight without wasting the client’s time; When the report should be sent to avoid inconvenience or delay; and Why the report should be sent.   Need help with gathering quick insights into your company’s performance or setting up data dashboards and client reports? Reach out to the BrightGauge team to learn how you can gather fast insights into key areas of your business.

September Dashboard of the Month -  Sales Management View

We talk to hundreds of MSPs each month and when we ask “What is your current organizational objective or focus?” one answer reigns supreme: Growth!      Growth is obviously a great goal but how do you plan to achieve it? Are you tracking the right KPIs to ensure you hit your targets? Does your Sales team have easy access to the data they need to stay on top of opportunities and close more deals? The surprising answer in many of these conversations is “No”. This month’s Dashboard of the Month will help you change that.   September's Dashboard was submitted by Jonathan Hollingshead, President of Business Communications Inc, an IT solutions provider serving Mississippi and Arkansas for over 25 years.  BCI has been using BrightGauge since August of 2018 and Jonathan says access to real-time data & dashboards have changed how they’ve managed their entire operation. Perhaps no area of BCI’s business has benefited more from BrightGauge than their Sales arm.   Screen Recording 2019-09-19 at 10.49 AM.mov Jonathan created this Dashboard for his two Sales VPs.  Each account manager also has a very similar dashboard filtered for their personal accounts, opportunities, and territory.  These dashboards were created “to provide a quick glimpse of their funnel and business – and was intended as an. entry point directly into the opportunities that they are working on now (or should be). It highlights what they are chasing and/or closing – and it highlights potential issues.”    Metrics like “Opps Not Under a Sales Person” and “No Expected Close Date” quickly give management insight to holes into data entry, ensuring nothing invoice and/or commision related slips through the cracks.   Jonathan goes on to say “Every single employee now has a customized dashboard to not only see Key Performance Indicators for their role but also for their group... and even for the company as a whole.   It has allowed our employees to clearly see their contribution to the company’s success – which is leading to more success! We expected to get better insight into our business, but we did not anticipate the increase in productivity!”   If growth is your goal we strongly encourage you to take a cue from BCI and leverage the Opportunity and Agreement Data datasets to build-out Sales-focused dashboards.     Think this dashboard will be helpful for your team? See our Dashboard Recreation Key below or reach out to success@brightgauge.com and we’ll be happy to help.   Thanks again to Jonathan and BCI for sharing your Sales Management Dashboard with the community.  Keep up the amazing work!   Link to Public Dashboard Link to Dashboard Recreation Key Video Overview  

4 Benefits of Using Employee Dashboards as an Assessment Tool

Employee assessments can be crucial for motivating workers and helping them realize their full potential. During these assessments, managers have an opportunity to point out an employee’s successes as well as potential areas for improvement—and then collaborate with the employee to create a performance improvement plan (PIP) to help the employee meet future goals.   However, many managers struggle with these employee performance reviews. For some, they simply lack the appropriate assessment tools to accurately gauge employee performance. Without the right information at hand, an employee assessment can flounder—and even prove to be counterproductive.   Employee dashboards can be an incredibly useful tool for these assessments. What’s an employee dashboard? How does it help during an employee assessment? Before explaining employee dashboards, let’s take a look at some reasons an organization might need to conduct employee assessments.   Why employee assessments are necessary  First things first—why do companies need to conduct employee assessments in the first place? Why not just terminate underperformers without spending time (for both employees and their managers) on performance reviews?   There are several reasons to conduct employee assessments with both high- and low-performing workers instead of simply punishing or rewarding specific people:   To provide visibility to employees. Employee assessments help to give employees some insight into the company’s decision-making processes. This helps to make staffing decisions seem less arbitrary so they know they’re being dealt with fairly. It also helps to show employees where they can make improvements so they can be more successful in the future. To increase employee engagement. Employees who understand what’s expected of them are more likely to be engaged with their work (assuming said expectations are reasonable, of course). By having employee performance assessment sessions, employers can lay out what their expectations are and how employees can meet them. When done well, this can increase employee engagement and performance. To help employees fix performance issues. If there is a specific metric or task in which the employee’s performance is lacking, the assessment can be a great opportunity to make him or her aware of it. By bringing this issue up, and providing a plan for improvement, managers can help their teams to excel at their work. Alternatively, the manager can propose a change of job role to something that better matches the employee’s strengths—giving them a chance to exercise some lateral movement within the organization. To recognize top performers and show appreciation. Even the best employees can get burned out if their efforts go unrecognized. Holding employee assessments and congratulating top performers in them can help keep these high-value individuals motivated to keep working. Of course, other incentives are also important for keeping a high-performing employee motivated in the long term. To enable fair staffing decisions. There may be a time where the organization needs to scale back a team or department because of changes in demand for a product/service or a shift in company focus. Without detailed data on employee performance, it can be hard to make the best decision regarding who to keep and who to let go. However, with data from employee performance reviews on hand, it’s easier to identify top performers and those willing to make improvements.   What’s an employee dashboard? An employee dashboard is a performance management tool that displays all of an employee’s most important performance metrics into a single, easy-to-read display. The specific key performance indicators (KPIs) that are tracked in an employee dashboard will vary from one organization (or department in an organization) to the next.   For example, a sales team member’s employee dashboard might highlight the team member’s total number of closed deals, the average value of each deal processed, and other sales-oriented KPIs. Meanwhile, a service team member’s employee dashboard might display things like tickets opened/closed, average response time to a service request, and other service-focused employee performance metrics.   By collecting this data and putting into a single-screen display, managers can review their team members’ most important performance metrics at-a-glance and provide live feedback when necessary. It’s a convenient performance management tool for any organization to use.   What are the benefits of using employee dashboards for employee assessments?  There are many benefits to using an employee dashboard during an assessment/performance review. Some examples include:   Having important information at your fingertips. Having an employee dashboard on the computer or a large display puts important information front and center where the manager can see it. This avoids delays as managers sift through pages of notes or individual data feeds to find important information for the performance review—helping make the assessment process just a little bit faster and easier.   Improving objectivity for the assessment. Employees are much more likely to accept feedback as being objective when there are clear performance metrics on display. Without relevant performance data to review, assessments can feel subjective to the employee—especially if they haven’t been able to track their progress towards goals prior to the meeting. Having clear metrics the employee can see can serve as a “wake-up” call to improve employee engagement.   Creating a basis for better decisions in the performance review. Another benefit of having accurate data on hand is that it can be used to help the manager make better decisions regarding the employee’s performance. For example, the manager can see exactly which metrics the employee needs to improve, and focus on those specific items in their performance improvement plan.   Helping highlight employee strengths. Aside from improving on weaknesses, another goal of employee assessments is to identify top performers. With an employee dashboard showcasing how well people are doing on certain metrics, it’s easy to provide praise for employees who are doing exceptionally well in one or more metrics. From there, managers can even ask top performers to share their strategies with others in the same department—which can help improve overall team performance.   Overall, employee dashboards can be an easy-to-use and convenient tool for employee assessments. However, their utility goes beyond a quarterly or yearly assessment. By tracking performance metrics in real time, managers can identify trends outside of the company’s traditional assessment period and help their teams make course corrections as needed.   By tracking historical data in an employee dashboard, managers can also identify patterns in employee performance. For example, is there a company-wide dip in sales the week after Thanksgiving? That could be because of consumer burnout from Black Friday. Keeping track of such patterns helps managers make fairer assessments of employee performance.   Need help assembling an employee dashboard for your teams? Get started by contacting BrightGauge for tips on selecting data feeds and choosing metrics that matter to your teams!

5 KPI Examples You Can Learn From

Key performance indicators (KPIs) can be invaluable for learning about your organization’s internal processes and identifying opportunities for improvement. However, many leaders wonder what specific KPIs they need to track to achieve better performance. The answer is: “It depends on what your goals are.” There are many different types of performance metrics that you can track—and what you want to track should change depending on what your goals are. It helps if you know what kinds of goals you have, and what KPIs are useful for those goals. With that in mind, here are a few KPI examples you can learn from, as well as a quick explanation of what performance metrics are. Here are a few different KPI examples that you might find interesting for setting your own goals: KPI example #1: Past due schedules Being able to stay on schedule is critical for service delivery. Tracking process metrics such as past due schedules helps you assess how effectively you’re meeting your time-based service level agreements (SLAs). The easiest way to do this is to take a look at your open schedules and see how many of them are past due vs the total amount. If there is an excessive amount of past due schedules, then you know there is a problem with your processes that needs fixing so that you can: Complete tasks more efficiently to avoid running late; or Revise schedule estimates to make them more realistic. This process metric helps your organization meet its SLA obligations more consistently by identifying opportunities for improvement. KPI example 2: Profit margin percentage Financial metrics are important to any organization. In a for-profit business, a KPI like profit margin percentage is almost always indispensable information. Profit margin percentage is frequently used by business owners and managers to assess the overall health of the business and establish whether current efforts are generating a worthwhile return on investment. Gross profit margin percentage can be calculated by taking your profits compared to your total expenses for generating that profit. For example, if a team has profits of $100,000 in a month, and their total expenses for salary, office/retail space, fuel, etc. was $50,000 for the same period of time, their gross profit margin would be 200% (100,000 / 50,000 = 2). If financial metrics like profit margin percentage are too slim (or are negative), then that’s a strong indication that changes need to be made. KPI example 3: Kill rate percentage For a service-oriented organization, performance metrics such as kill rate percentage are a great tool for monitoring how productive employees are. Kill rate percentage is an employee performance metric that measures how many tickets are opened vs the number of tickets that have been closed for a given employee or team during a set time period. Ideally, kill rate percentage should be at 100% or more. How can you have a kill rate percentage that is over 100%? By closing leftover tickets from a previous period. For example, say Shift A (9 am – 5 pm) opens 250 tickets, and closes 200 of them. Then Shift B (5 pm – 12:00 am), opens another 200 tickets, but closes 250 (completing the tickets left over from Shift A). Shift A’s kill rate percentage would be 80%, while Shift B’s kill rate would be 125%. What does this employee performance metric teach you? It could help you identify when a person or team is underperforming compared to their peers. In the above example, one shift is completing roughly 25% more work while being an hour shorter. This could be because of a number of reasons, such as disparities in team size, task complexity, and overall team motivation or skill. Using kill rate percentage to identify the discrepancy and investigate its cause could help you find ways to increase team productivity in the future. KPI example 4: Lead attrition In any sales process, there will be a certain amount of attrition as leads drop out. Tracking sales metrics such as lead attrition is crucial for ensuring a healthy sales process. For example, say your sales funnel has a 90% rate of lead attrition from initial contact to qualifying a lead. Such a high rate of attrition so early in the sales process could be an indication of a problem with the process. This could be caused by issues such as misaligned lead generation efforts (drawing in potential clients/customers who are a poor fit for your products and/or services) or sales team members making critical errors during their lead nurturing efforts (such as actively offending potential customers). By tracking lead attrition and identifying the cause, it is possible to improve your sales process and increase revenue generation. KPI example 5: Customer acquisition cost Marketing is a key activity for any business to attract customers. However, it’s important to balance the money spent on acquiring customers against their lifetime value to ensure that marketing efforts aren’t cutting into profits. This is where tracking marketing metrics such as customer acquisition cost becomes important. Marketing department leads can track spending for all of their efforts and compare that to the number of new customers generated by said marketing to determine their customer acquisition cost. For example, if the total spend for the marketing department is $100,000 dollars per year, and the department generates 100 leads during that time, then the customer acquisition cost would be $100 per customer. However, this alone doesn’t tell us whether the expenditure is sustainable or not. If the total value of a customer is less than $100, then the company is losing money on its marketing. If the lifetime value of a customer is significantly higher than $100, on the other hand, then spending $100,000 dollars to get 100 customers makes sense. Tracking customer acquisition cost and other marketing metrics can be immensely useful for optimizing your marketing and improving your return on investment for marketing spend. What are performance metrics/KPIs? Performance metrics, also known as KPIs, are a method of tracking or benchmarking specific activities and outcomes. They record a specific statistic so it can be used to measure progress. There are countless different KPIs you could potentially use to measure performance for your organization—far too many for any one person to track them all. Some performance metrics are simple to track (with the right tools, at least), while others can be harder to quantify accurately and objectively. The best KPIs tend to be ones that are: Easy to track; Possible to improve with effort; Relevant to your business’ goals; Simple to explain to employees; and Able to be completed in a timely fashion. Need help tracking performance metrics or want to learn more about KPIs? Reach out to the BrightGauge team for help and insights.

How to Use KPIs to Improve Service Level Management

Service level agreements, or SLAs, are the cornerstone of service-oriented businesses—whether they deliver services to individuals or to other companies. A core part of managing SLAs is the tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor compliance with SLAs and identify opportunities for improvement. This task is often referred to as service level management. What is service level management? How can tracking KPIs improve your service level management? Which KPIs should you use for monitoring service level agreements? What is service level management? Service level management is the practice of monitoring and controlling key performance indicators related to the organization’s SLAs. This is usually done with an eye towards improving quality of service and customer satisfaction. Being able to consistently meet service level agreements and deliver results is a must for building a strong industry reputation and keeping clients. By keeping track of key performance indicators for service level management, organizations can monitor their success at meeting their SLA targets and investigate any shortcomings. Which KPIs should you track for service level management? There are many key performance indicators for service level management that you could track. Some examples of SLA KPIs that you may want to track include: 1: SLA success and failure rates How often does your organization meet or fail to deliver services within the bounds of its SLAs? Naturally, this can be hard to track, considering how different individual SLAs can be from one organization to the next. For example, an SLA could be “99% Uptime year-round” for a cloud computing service, while a cybersecurity company might have SLAs like “identify and resolve security breaches within two hours.” If your number of breached SLAs is high, that might indicate that your SLAs are too strict, or that a critical tool or resource is missing. This could be a good opportunity to revisit your SLAs and processes and reevaluate them to improve service delivery. 2: SLA cost metrics In any business management strategy, analyzing costs against profits is a basic necessity. Setting up performance metrics that track the cost of meeting SLA targets can be crucial for monitoring the sustainability of a service level agreement. If costs are running high, it may be necessary to revisit either the SLA itself or the means used to meet it. For example, if you have an SLA of “resolving security breaches within two hours” as a managed security service provider (MSSP) and were maintaining the SLA by having on-duty staff monitoring the client network at all hours, odds are your costs would be high. Here, applying an automated threat detection solution or even an intrusion prevention system would reduce the need to dedicate labor to the task and reduce costs. By tracking cost metrics for your SLAs, you can more effectively manage your budget and make adjustments to improve the long-term viability of your services. 3: Time to response Many SLAs are time-sensitive, promising certain actions or outcomes within a given period of time. Because of this, one critical performance metric to monitor is the time it takes to respond to an incident. The shorter the wait between event and action, the better. If you notice that your time to response is too long, it may be a good idea to take a look at your notification processes and workflows for delivering services. This helps you improve your service level management by identifying ways to optimize response times. Using KPIs to improve service level management The examples listed above are just a few potential KPIs that you could use to improve your service level management. When selecting performance metrics for your service level agreements, consider: How closely the KPI reflects the intent of the SLA; How the information the KPI provides could be used to improve the SLA; Whether you need multiple KPIs to thoroughly assess SLA performance; and Whether you or your employees can control the performance metric for the SLA. Ideally, the metrics you choose should have a strong correlation to the SLA, be useful for tweaking how you approach service delivery, and be something you can improve. Need help to improve your KPI tracking so you can use your performance metrics to optimize your service level management? Reach out to the BrightGauge team to learn more!

Easy Ways MSPs Can Expand Their Services

For MSPs, breaking into new markets can boost revenue and cultivate more opportunities to scale. But challenges such as upfront time and dollar costs often keep MSPs siloed into their specialties; meaning exploring new markets to break into can be a challenge. Every MSP wants to expand the services they offer to clients, but if you mainly focus on backup and recovery, dipping into a new market such as leasing hardware or phone management can be a considerable time investment.   While there may be a significant need from your customer base, your business shouldn’t invest a large amount of time and money in becoming experts in another product or service when there is an easier solution.   The key to adding new services only involves mastering one skill, and that skill is building partnerships with other vendors. Cultivating relationships with other businesses where you can recommend one another to customers can lead to increased profits without the same risks of your business learning a new market.   Here are some easy ways MSPs can partner with other vendors to offer more services to clients and break into new markets.    Resell equipment through a leasing company   Almost every client you work with is going to need help acquiring hardware. Be it phones, computers, printers, or routers; the hardware is essential to any office environment. Every business needs these vital pieces of equipment to operate; even your own com   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.

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