Sometimes tools define best practices rather than best practices defining the tools. Today’s case in point: a typical ConnectWise Automate user report. A strong case of why most MSP-focused tools shouldn’t drive client reporting.
Though this Automate report is often sent to clients to show them that your firm is working for them, the question is really what is this report really saying? Does it:
- Help the client understand what you do for them?
- Prove to them that you are reading this report and making changes?
- Show successful outcomes? There’s red on the report. Is this bad?
- Mean that they should make changes? New equipment? Less equipment?
- Does it help them meet any legal or regulatory compliance requirements?
Is there anything in this report that will help them save money, improve efficiency or help grow their business?
- Does it help them see progress from previous reports?
- Would they recognize the Delta City\PINBOT computer when they walked by it in the office?
While this report helps document your efforts, it doesn’t help your client understand their environment, make business decisions or even assess your qualities as a managed services provider. In short, it doesn’t provide transparency to your operations.
Just because reports can be sent to clients, doesn’t mean they should be. Client reporting should be done for the benefit of the client to:
- Increase understanding of their IT environment.
- Help them assess risk and the related costs to reduce those risks.
- Help them see how existing IT is being used through adoption and usage reports.
- Help them manage their IT costs such as licenses and equipment maintenance.
- Help them handle the business policy related issues with the IT environment such as data governance and compliance. Just because IT provides a tool that could solve these problems, doesn’t mean that tool gets used.
- Help them assess the impact of slow or old technology and its impact on employee performance.
- Help them evaluate their MSPs performance through accumulated reporting.
- Help them meet compliance requirements through report archiving.
It’s important to present clients information. But there is a difference between data (like the Automate report) and information. It’s important that MSPs view their reporting from their client’s perspective and then drive reporting based on their need rather than what tools provide.