Keys to IT Employee Utilization: Overcoming Schedule and Communication Issues to Optimize Billable-hour Employees

June 06, 2013  

The math is simple, when an IT services firm is under-utilizing its employees, it loses money. We found in our IT Service Provider Benchmarking Study that 73.6% of respondents reported half or more of their workforces are billable and roughly 62% ranked technician utilization as important to the health of their businesses. However, the same study found that nearly half of respondents ranked their ability to gather performance, profitability, and utilization metrics across their organizations as average or below.

The biggest issue when it comes to optimizing employees’ time is effective scheduling. Nearly 30% of respondents said they lose 21 or more billable hours per month simply because they are unable to optimally schedule technicians. Another hurdle to increased billable hours is inability to capture billable time. Nearly 22% of respondents lose 21 or more billable hours per month simply because they lack an effective way of capturing this time. At an hourly rate of $100, firms with five employees – each losing just 10 hours per month – are looking at a minimum revenue loss of $60,000 annually simply because they are unable to effectively capture time spent on billable jobs. Plus, with roughly 61% of respondents reporting a billable hourly rate in excess of $101, it’s likely to be more.

We speak to a lot of service providers and know that scheduling is a challenge. It goes beyond the question of which technician is free or which technician is the most appropriate for the job or alternatively, does the client warrant the technician available? Not all clients are created equal and if you have a client that’s dipping into profit margins with excessive service calls, you don’t want to throw fuel on the fire by deploying your best technician. Using an intelligent service platform can take a lot of the guesswork out of the logistics of scheduling and give you deeper insight into which resources are best for the situation at hand.

Once you have that sorted, you also have the added bonus of billing more, building deeper relationships, and extending your reach into your clients’ IT requirements. According to our survey respondents, those using Professional Services Automation (PSA) tools typically had higher billable hour rates – 60% reported rates of $101 to $150 vs. 38% of non-PSA users.

Clearly, there are real bottom-line benefits to optimizing billable-hour employees. A purpose-built IT business management platform is one solution that can help you capture the data you need to schedule and, ultimately, bill employee time with ease.

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