As MSP adoption soars in the wake of the pandemic, business leaders are at an inflexion point. They can either buckle under the pressure, maintain the status quo with rigid processes, or embed deep into operational maintenance.
Or they could capitalise on this opportunity and truly stand out as rivers of value by carving out a robust BRAND identity for their organisations. Brand for MSPs doesn’t just mean a market identity. As discussed in my previous article, the customer-facing front encompasses all the variables contributing to lasting relationships and resilient mindshare.
The BRAND ethos, however, has to begin from the inside out by mobilising the correct values, variables, and metrics for their internal audience. It means demonstrating and tracking growth across investors, partners, employees, and other internal stakeholder groups.
A Metrics-Driven Approach to BRAND
Too often, I see “brand” being relegated to the backburner by MSPs as an intangible concept, almost an afterthought. Unlike product companies, the idea of a solid and memorable brand does not generally take centre stage in managed service provider operations. It is primarily because BRAND and metrics are perceived as existing on different planes, with tiny intersections between the two, if at all.
The reality, however, is very different. A metrics-driven approach to brands is not only possible but is precisely what MSP leaders need today to achieve holistic, measurable growth.
Consider that 79% of US companies rely on MSPs to a certain extent. 22% of IT administrators globally consider working with a managed service provider. 56% of IT admins recognise MSP’s ability to increase their effectiveness at managing infrastructure.
Managed service companies are sitting on a mine of opportunity worth unlocking by tracking, measuring, and moving the correct needles towards growth.
What are the BRAND Metrics for Internal Use?
In my previous article, I applied the principles of a metrics-driven brand to an external customer audience. In that context, you need to measure Benefits and value, Reputational risk, Adoption and agility, Network acceptance, and Defects and diagnosis, with salient metrics in each category.
Similarly, brand metrics can exponentially grow the value you accrue from your internal relationships as an MSP. It can be stated in the following metrics:
1. B for Business metrics
These are essential metrics that reflect business growth and the status of organisational health. The goal isn’t just to track financial performance and find and address gaps between strategic goals and their attainment. Regularly monitoring and measuring business metrics can build employee confidence in your brand and inspire activity among investors.
Critical business metrics include monthly recurring revenue (MRR), revenue growth rate, EBITDA, percentage of income from MRR, and user engagement.
2. R for Reliability and resilience
In addition to business growth, you need to know precisely how to achieve the expansion and to what extent it is truly sustainable. MSPs that perform well on the reliability and resilience scale are on a robust foundation of operational efficiency.
Specifically, this aspect of BRAND revolves around your ability to deliver services at scale and receive from failures. These are vital internal metrics as they will determine your daily operations, shape the sustainability of your business model, and dictate employee duties.
Some of the critical reliability and resilience metrics include mean time to repair (MTTR), mean time between failures (MTBF), the ratio of failed requests to total requests, latency, and availability, among others.
3. A for Automation and AI assets
The next BRAND metric concerns the ability to improve and innovate continuously in your managed service offerings. Companies today are no longer happy with offshoring repetitive and high-volume IT tasks to a third-party vendor. They expect to see value generation at every step and for MSPs to play an authentic role in their innovation roadmap.
In that context, automation and artificial intelligence are vital tools for MSPs. Automation unlocks unparalleled efficiency, whether in automated application testing, before deployment, or in automatic security monitoring and alert systems.
AI is the next frontier, allowing MSPs to leverage massive data sets to build more robust solutions for themselves and their clients.
4. N for North Star metrics
Product companies typically use North Star metrics to measure how well their solution aligns with the customer’s needs, but it can also be equally valuable to managed service providers. You can consider it the critical metric to predict your company’s success.
Coined by startup investor Sean Ellis, the North Star metrics in a brand measure company progress and ensure every employee, investor, and partner alignment towards reaching the same goals. North Star metrics will vary from one company to another, so it’s essential to choose wisely.
Examples may include the Year 2 retention percentage or the number of daily active users (incidentally, a North Star metric for Microsoft).
5. D for Dashboard metrics
Finally, you have metrics and measures your team — employees, middle managers, executives, and investors — will regularly view, often analysing them through self-service analytics tools. These dashboard metrics capture highly contextualised information about your company but are also easy to measure and visualise.
Dashboard metrics are accompanied by powerful data processing and visualisation tools that don’t just present raw information but support analysis or recommendations. Users are empowered to understand and act on the data for a holistic metrics-driven brand strategy.
Strengthening internal operations with BRAND
Even as you strive for new customer acquisition and growth, your employees and internal stakeholders are the ones who keep the engines running. Therefore, you need a clear set of metrics that capture a 360-degree view of your operational success and gaps, if any, and inspire organisational members to take timely strategic action.
To learn more about the BRAND philosophy and how it can help, email me at Arvind@am-pmassociates.com.