Metrics That Matter 2014: The Automation-Utilization Connection

April 28, 2014  

A sizeable number of IT service providers (ITSPs)  don’t hit their goals for utilization, and some don’t even track billable time, according to findings from the 2014 IT Service Provider Benchmarking Survey.

Take a look at these findings on surveyed ITSPs:

  • 7% don’t track billable time
  • 41% target 80%+ billable time
  • 17% actually achieve 80%+ billable time
  • 20% more are billing $100-$150 an hour versus 2013

The billable rate goals you set need to be realistic for your business. There is no ‘one size fits all.’ Often, planned downtime (i.e., administrative tasks, vacation or sick time) isn’t factored in to goals and can, in fact, impact actual billable time achieved. Industry benchmarks identify a range of 80-90% billable time as a realistic goal. If your targets are higher, it’s important to establish a clear plan for how you’re going to achieve those goals. 

Consider another group of findings:

  • 64% of ITSPs lose up to 20 hours per month of billable time for data entry into multiple systems
  • 55% lose the same due to an inability to accurately capture billable time
  • 52% lose the same because of an inability to optimally schedule their technicians’ time

Recapturing lost hours through automation is the key to booking more billable time with the same resources, thereby increasing revenues without raising rates.

Automation does more than take the task out of technicians’ hands. It can:

  • Reduce manual errors, which drag down internal productivity and customer satisfaction.
  • Trigger actions and notifications at predetermined thresholds, so things like an out-of-balance schedule don’t silently undermine performance.
  • Ensure optimal planning and decision-making are taking place.
  • Provide a knowledge trail of what has happened and what is planned, which improves accountability and insight into operations.

As an ITSP grows, having an automated business platform ensures that growth is as profitable as it can be. Also, through the knowledge gained by tracking and benchmarking, an ITSP can set realistic utilization rates based on a competitive hourly rate.

Before looking to your customers to boost your revenues, take a look inside your business. Automation might be the answer.

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