As an MSP, you probably already have a Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool in place. You are likely using ConnectWise or a similar PSA that you expect will help you centralize your data and provide you with more meaningful reporting in order to make better business decisions. When demoed, ConnetWise Manage might have even looked simple to implement and use, and you might have had high hopes for gaining immediate insights from your ConnectWise investment. But the reality could seem a bit farther from the truth, and while most MSPs know how to work inside their PSA tool, many feel stuck, not knowing how to get better reporting and insights out of Connnectwise.
An uncertain economy is when most business leaders commit themselves to use what they have in place to improve business performance and outcomes. As seasoned ConnectWise partners, we have worked with hundreds of MSPs to find ways to improve how they use ConnectWise as a means for achieving measured and systematic business improvement.
In this blog, we want to share with you what MSPs have told us is the greatest value they have gained from investing in a deeper, more meaningful ConnectWise business consulting engagement to improve business reporting and performance.
8 ConnectWise Focus Areas that Lead to Business Improvement:
1. Understanding Invoicing
Anyone who has invested in a PSA and taken the time to train their staff is looking to streamline operations and to gain insights that lead to better business outcomes. Understanding how invoicing impacts the type of data that flows into your accounting package is one of the obstacles many MSPs face. At Bering McKinley, our team members have studied the tool and worked within several MSPs as a ConnectWise Admin to gain the know-how of both business operations and ConnectWise. As a result, MSPs are able to understand the financial workflows that have to take place inside ConnectWise in order for that data to reach the accounting package, resulting in an MSPs ability to make better business decisions.
2. Understanding Lifecycles
Several “micro” functions such as procurement, sales, and service must all work together to provide management insights into the health and profitability of the entire business. Architecting each lifecycle through assigned roles and defined processes that feed into the overall lifecycle of the business was our #2 MSP “ah-ha.” Each lifecycle must work together to tell a bigger story about the operational and financial health of your business.
3. Missing Items Found
Many of the MSPs we engage in more advanced ConnectWise training and implementation are steeped in ConnectWise and have been trying to use it for years. What they don’t know is what they might have missed along the way that is preventing them from gaining better information used for important decisions or better processes that streamline operations and service delivery. The big ah-ha moment that came to many MSPs was when a process was modified, simplified, or streamlined within ConnectWise around their own unique internal process that made their use of ConnectWise more effective. As one MSP recently told us, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” and knowing how to make ConnectWise work better within your organization makes all the difference.
4. Agreements Simplified
Agreement set-up and reporting vary from MSP to MSP, making agreements one of the biggest candidates for business improvement. Most of the time we find that agreement set-up is complicated, and no one is clear about who does what. When you work with a business-focused ConnectWise consulting partner like Bering McKinley, we help you define processes inside ConnectWise around your own internal workflow. We help you simplify levels of designation, improve invoicing, reporting, and ultimately revenue collection that all stem from simplified Agreements within ConnectWise.
5. Calculating & Meeting SLAs
While service delivery is at the heart of every MSP business, how to calculate and then hold your team accountable to the published SLA, is a nagging question that most MSPs continue to wonder. And while ConnectWise is built to help you meet those SLAs, we estimate that nearly 75% of users are unaware of a tool inside ConnectWise called, the Impact-Urgency Table. This table helps a technical and non-tech dispatcher prioritize and rate a service ticket by the level of urgency. Should this ticket impact a specific group of people or is it company-wide? At Bering McKinley, wee work with MSPs to help define different urgency levels and add metrics to these type designations so that high urgency issues like outages or internal workarounds do not get in the way of automation and workflow that help your team meet their SLA standards.
6. Closed-Loop Notifications
One of the biggest value-adds of an advanced ConnectWise consulting engagement is the ability to plug holes on notifications that trip up most users. This seems like something everyone should be able to do, but when we surveyed our most advanced users, we found that identifying and setting email notifications, assigning tickets, and internal/external reminders, was a big, open gap. Keeping your clients up to date about changes or just keeping the internal team informed about new ticket assignments had an immediate impact on business performance and customer satisfaction.
7. Conversion Process on the Sales Side
One of the biggest challenges for any MSP owner is managing a sales team and getting the team to perform. ConnectWise Sell adds immediate value but only again, if the templates are set up correctly, product/service rates are accurate, and quotes are integrated into the rest of ConnectWise manage. One way to improve business performance is to streamline the procurement process and provide visibility to the people in the organization that need it.
8. Product Classification & Categorization
The devil is in the detail and several MSPs told us that this turned out to be an unexpected business improvement “ah-ha.” How you categorize data, groups, roles, etc. has an enormous impact on how products and services are designated, purchased, and billed within your entire ConnectWise environment. Accurate decisions come from good reporting and good reporting comes from data being entered correctly.
Real-Life Business Improvement Story
Not having ConnectWise properly configured is something many MSPs can relate to. Here’s a real-life client story that speaks to the business improvement that can be gained when your ConnectWise instance is aligned to the way you do business.
An MSP and ConnectWise client came to us to improve their business process. Here is what we discovered:
- This MSP had implemented ConnectWise 2 years prior.
- An employee with some ConnectWise experience configured and helped this MSP implement ConnectWise initially. And while the employee had a high-level understanding of all the things ConnectWise can do, they were not as familiar with how to make that MSP’s business practices fit inside of ConnectWise.
- As a result, the current ConnectWise setup was preventing this MSP from successfully moving data from ConnectWise to their accounting package, accurately measuring technician time and preventing internal notifications from reaching their intended person or destination. Workflow and follow-through were falling through the cracks, and accurate reporting was non-existent.
Sound familiar? Sure. We see it every day when working with MSPs who have used ConnectWise for years. So, here is what the Bering McKinley team did:
- Evaluated how they did business. By this, we took a deep dive into how their business works from individual duties, internal processes to agreements, invoicing, accounting, and reporting.
- Together, the Bering McKinley team was able to design a blueprint that fit this MSP processes into ConnectWise.
- The team was trained on how to use ConnectWise better and the management team was consulted on how to use various ConnectWise reports to make critical business decisions.
Can you quantify investing more into an advanced ConnectWise consulting engagement?
Using the prior MSP as an example, it might be difficult to quantify this investment dollar for dollar, but it was not hard to quantify the end results. This MSP could now:
- Measure profitability that they could not see before
- Measure the client experience
- Scale inside the ConnectWise toolset for greater efficiencies and reporting
What Bering McKinley consulting offered was the ability of this MSP to improve the business and measure against incremental improvement. The ConnectWise Manage consulting project removed the ceiling from how this MSP used ConnectWise and opened up a world of new possibilities for business improvement.
Why Work with Bering McKinley
There is a vast difference between consultants who have studied ConnectWise vs. business consultants who know how to use the tool in a real-world environment. At Bering McKinley we provide ConnectWise support by helping you connect the dots beyond “is the functionality here and how do I turn it on?” to, “how do we get what we want out of ConnectWise using own internal processes?”
Ready to remove the ceiling on how your team uses ConnectWise to make better business decisions?
We sure hope you are ready. There are a couple of ways we can help:
Rose Avila has helped MSPs build and define processes, workflow, and procedures both for ConnectWise and around other productivity software tools. Having worked in various roles ranging from inside sales to dispatching to project and service management. Rose understands the challenges and real-world best practices for helping our partners get the most out of their software investment and grow better businesses. Today she helps business owners and service managers implement and create effective processes inside ConnectWise Manage. Her expertise includes ConnectWise implementations, Service Manager Consulting, Dispatch Consulting and live Q & A around ConnectWise topics at Bering McKinley’s ConnectWise Tuesdays.