QBRs – Just the FAQs

What is a QBR?

QBR stands for quarterly business review. That said, we recommend swapping the “Q” for an “S” and call them Strategic Business Reviews. One of the reasons we recommend removing the Q is that some clients need a quarterly review but others only annually or bi-annually so the Q is misleading. Also, the S implies the impact of a business review. The review should be an exec level meeting in which the decision-makers come to the table with data provided by the MSP to help make an impact toward the company goals and bottom line.

What is the value of an SBR?

The value of an SBR is establishing the MSP as a strategic business partner and trusted advisor in helping grow the value of the client’s business through the relationship. Reporting on technology needs and budget forecasting helps the client see the value the MSP brings to the company and helps the MSP align their solutions to help their client. This can be done by improving productivity, efficiencies, and profits while reducing risks.

What is the cost of an SBR?

A well executed SBR is expensive and well worth the value. It is a very expensive meeting with the Client CEO, CFO, head of IT, Departments heads and/or project managers. So the cost of an SBR could be upwards of $800 per hour. That said it is a sales opportunity and critical for retention so clients do not get billed for the meeting.

What is the importance of an SBR agenda?

Because the meeting is for high level executives, every minute counts. Therefore, setting the agenda in advance is critical in getting buy-in from the executives that the meeting will provide value and it will help both teams focus on the critical elements. By sending out the agenda 2-3 weeks in advance, it is easy for the MSP to head off any small (or large) service issues/tickets that might otherwise derail a review meeting. Following up on any of those issues before the actual review shows the client that they are valued, sets a positive tone and allows the conversation to focus on business improvements.

What should be included in the agenda? What documents should be included?

There is a great deal written about the contents of a quarterly business review. The common characteristics are:

  1. A review of the client’s systems alignment with technology standards of the MSP 
  2. Summary of technology asset lifecycle/warranty and end of life status
  3. Supported users
  4. Budget forecasting – short and/or long term as they align to goals
  5. Strategic plans/projects

How much time can Lifecycle Insights save me?

Market research told us that MSPs were spending 2-6 (or even more) hours per client per SBR to prepare the documentation. Lifecycle Insights aggregates the data that MSPs were “cobbling together” from various platforms or spreadsheets so that in a matter of minutes the MSP has pulled together the asset lifecycle/warranty and end of life status reports, supported users and O365 lists as well as the budget forecasting reports.

What platforms are integrated with Lifecycle Insights?

Lifecycle Insights currently pulls from ConnectWise Manage and IT Glue, Dell, Lenovo, HP and Office 365. 

What is segmentation as it relates to SBRs?

One of the reasons we didn’t want to call the business reviews, quarterly business reviews is due to the timely nature of quarterly. The insights provided in a strategic business review are a value-add for clients so they should not just be given to some clients. That said, not all clients want or need the same level of review. Segmenting your clients into 3 tiers can help give each client what they need.

Top Tier: 

Hyper-growth or high technology dependent or compliance driven companies get a full Strategic Business Review Quarterly (QBR). This is the MSP executive to client executive face-to-face strategic meeting we regularly hear about in the industry. Now that you have automated reporting available, prep time can be spent ensuring that outstanding tickets are addressed ahead of time so that the QBR can focus on using the quality data to provide business insights that help foster the relationship and help grow their business.

Mid Tier: 

This group consists of potentially more commoditized industries or those less dependent on technology. These clients can now get the same information annually or semi-annually. If they typically get an in-person meeting annually, this is now much more automated in terms of reporting so more impactful in terms of discussion.

Digital Tier:

This tier consists of smaller clients or clients who are not as invested in technology. The goal of a review with these clients is to use the vCIO reports Lifecycle Insights provides as a lure to convince them to invest more in technology and come into alignment with your solution stack. These clients get the automated reports annually delivered electronically.

What tools can help with segmentation?

The critical piece for segmentation is to ensure that once clients are assigned to a tier, they are provided services accordingly.  Either by using our Scheduling tool, or a recurring ticket in your PSA, you can automate the scheduling of your SBRs.

How does data quality impact an SBR?

The data that impacts an SBR the most is the data that is missing. One of the most impactful reports an MSP can provide to their client is the set of budget forecasts. These are based off of estimates of clients current and future technology needs. If information about existing technology is missing, then the budget forecasts are significantly reduced in value. 

How can I improve my data quality?

The old adage “What gets measured gets done” comes to mind.  Most MSPs don’t have any idea how bad the data in their PSA really is, because it’s been created by dozens of engineers over years or even decades.  By utilizing a tool that analyzes data quality, not only will your data quality improve, but that improvement can be performed by interns and tier 1 technicians instead of more expensive vCIO resources. Printing a missing data report to have updated by that tech or intern will impact the data quality and the value of the SBR.

My client has multiple locations or departments with separate budgets - how can I provide that information in a timely fashion?

Lifecycle Insights provides multiple filtering and reporting options including the ability to provide a budget, asset list, or user information by location.

I have one customer who has a large graphic design department that uses expensive workstations. How can the budget forecast account for this?

All of the estimated price settings in the platform are configurable at three levels: the MSP level which acts as the default, the individual company level which overrides the MSP setting and the individual asset level which is set per device.

Can I change the default lifespans of the various types of devices?

All of the swatch coloring (what is colored red, yellow or green to indicate status) is configurable right within the platform. There are global and company settings as well as individual asset settings for lifespan, approaching end of life and approaching warranty that can be edited in the platform.

What is “swatching”?

Swatching is the ability to filter down to a portion of the data by clicking on the colored “swatches” in the column header. For example, if you are only interested in the devices that are out of warranty, then leave the red swatch turned on and click off the yellow, green and blue swatches. Click here to see swatching in action.

What is the cost of the platform?

Pricing is based on the number of clients for whom you are performing SBRs.  In general, the platform costs less than the price of 1-2 hours of engineer time per month, and can save you 2-5 hours of engineer time per client, per quarter. Plans start at $49.00/mo and include a free trial. Here is a link to the pricing page.

How long does it take to onboard?

Initial integration to your data can be performed in 15 minutes.  From there, you’ll need to assess your data quality and make improvements as you review the information with your clients.  Keep in mind that Strategic Business Reviews are forever a work in progress, so while your time investment per client will reduce drastically after the first 1-2 SBRs, you’ll never be done tweaking and strategizing.

Can I see it in action?

Check us out on YouTube. Here’s a link to a 7 minute overview video.

Or email us info@lifecycleinsights.io to set up a demo.

Happy Lifecycling!

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