TubbTalk 93: The Most Important KPIs to track for Your MSP Business Growth


TubbTalk 90 w/Ian Thornton-Trump

An Interview with Todd Kane KPIs

In this episode, Richard talks to Todd Kane, an MSP consultant who helps businesses in the IT space to grow and scale. Todd was the VP of Operations for MSP Fully Managed and served in the lead technology teams for several of the largest and high growth companies in Western Canada. He knows everything there is to know about KPIs for MSPs.

The Challenges MSPs Have When They ask Todd for Help

Todd explains that MSP business owners often come to him with problems around the tools they’re using, but when they start working together it’s apparent there’s something else going on.

“It’s usually systemic – the business culture or management framework. I help people to be intentional about the business. Often, they’ve started out as technicians and find themselves running a company, so they need some help.

“What they try to do is copy what someone else is doing, but of course every business is individual, so they need a different approach to their competitors. I don’t give a binder with steps to follow – we work together to figure it out.” 

What Todd Does if the Problem is the MSP Owner, not the Tools

Todd says a company’s culture is often a reflection of the owner or, or certainly the leadership. Not just in the IT industry, but in business as a whole. He adds that often people aren’t aware that there’s an issue.

“People ask me how to make their team more accountable, which is a red flag for me. There’s no intentional approach to management and there are likely cultural and productivity issues. Focusing on KPIs helps people to see what their priorities are – and sometimes they’re looking at the wrong things.”

When Todd looks at metrics, he finds that some MSPs don’t want to use SLAs (service level agreements) with clients. This means that it takes them longer than it should to close tickets, and it’s an eye-opening exercise.

What do you need to track in your #MSP? Which KPIs and metrics will help the most? @toddakane tells Richard Tubb where to start with data. Click to Tweet

The Importance of Customer Service

When Todd works with an MSP, he’s insistent that they measure customer satisfaction and have CSAT data. People do push back, he says, because they worry that the numbers will be bad.

He works with them to see why customer service and tracking it is important. Knowing how you’re performing allows you to improve your offerings, and helps you to grow. People are more likely to want to work with you if you think about what they need.

Todd’s Recommended Metric Tools

Bright Gauge is the tool Todd recommends the most, because you can represent data visually. It’s easy to manipulate and rearrange the data without needing coding skills.

Some of his clients use Cognition 360, which gives a lot of data and can also be manipulated. If you’re just starting out, Todd says using a PSA (professional services automation) tool gives you some of the basic data you need. “The person wearing the service manager hat needs to see business data at least day by day.” 

How Many KPIs Should you Track?

KPIs vary from department to department, but Todd recommends at least three to five metrics per department. Any more than eight is too many. You need to be able to identify where something is underperforming.

He says you need to be able to review your data points properly, and that’s easier to manage with fewer KPIs. If you’re running a small MSP, tracking 60 metrics on a weekly basis is overwhelming. Instead, think about the industry benchmarks and identify what information will show you how healthy the business is.

Still not sure what a KPI is? This article might help.

Financial Metrics to Track

It’s important to track financial metrics, but focusing on revenue isn’t the most important thing. Revenue helps you to measure the size of the business, but it doesn’t tell you how well the business is run.

If you want to make a certain amount of money per year, there are two factors to concentrate on, says Todd. “One is gross margin on service delivery, because it’s a lever of efficiency for your service delivery.

“Then, that data can be delegated to the service manager. They can be accountable for costs relating to rent, equipment and utility bills. This will also help you see if and when you need to hire more staff.”

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