Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Focusing on Profitability Using a PSA Tool

By: Bob Godgart, Chief Visionary Officer

Fortunately, today's new IT business management software tools promise a variety of ways to optimize the profitability in your managed services business. They furnish a range of features and functions for handling projects and service contracts that let MSPs more easily define and measure key metrics and get a much clearer picture of their profitability.

What are some of those features?

Start with improved tracking of billable projects, which helps MSPs stay on top of just how much work they've done to get a new client ready. Log the time expended on new fixed-fee projects executed throughout the year and setup a flat-fee contract with billing milestones to see how you are doing every step of the way.

Then there's automatic auditing of changes to contract terms and covered devices, so that you’re always working with the latest information. Contract terms will automatically let you know if a specific device is covered under your managed services contract or whether it should be billed separately. And, the ability to automatically create and manage service tickets that are tied to specific users and/or devices lets you schedule and dispatch technicians more quickly and efficiently. With your service call process streamlined, the accuracy of repairs and maintenance is assured and all time is recorded on a ticket. If the item is covered, the time is automatically recorded against the contract for future analysis of profitability. If the item is not covered, you will know to bill it separately and your client will expect it.

Some newer PSA solutions also help MSPs automate workflow for key functions and generate real-time reports based on live data. The best of today's tools will make it easy for you to break down the numbers and pinpoint – by device or technology – exactly where money is coming in, or going out.

With that level of granularity, you get a real, detailed view of your most - or least - profitable contracts and account relationships. And, if you build-in the ability to increase (or decrease) contract amounts during a specific time period, you can adjust on the fly whenever a client needs more or less help than anticipated by the contract.

Most important, though, is how all this data can be put to use. Armed with firm facts and figures in real time, you can better analyze how you are doing and continually improve your offerings and pricing model. Best of all, you’ll be able to easily demonstrate the precise value of your services to customers in clear terms, and that not only promises to build greater trust, but more business as well.

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