Addressing the hidden costs in your MSP business

Part 1: The hidden cost of information

“IT workers spend 20% of their time looking for information”
(Eric Ligman, Microsoft)

Based on this and other expert opinion, documentation specialist IT Glue has calculated that “a 10 person MSP could waste $200,000 every year in lost productivity.” This is largely as a result of the challenges they experience in accessing, storing and managing information.

If playing information hide and seek is a problem for you, the knock-on effect for us as your NOC or Service Desk Partner is of a magnitude greater: after all, we don’t just have one set of clients’ details and credentials to worry about but multiple sets for each of our MSPs.

That is why I was so delighted to discover IT Glue.

For 13 years as an MSP I had struggled to find a documentation system that would do what we wanted it to. We tried spreadsheets, SharePoint and we built our own. As a partner to MSPs, the situation became even more complex as a result of the different systems being used by our customers to store documentation and credentials.

Last year I saw IT Glue for the first time and realised that the system ticked all the boxes.

But don’t just take my word for it. Ask yourself the following five questions to see how the ‘hidden cost of information’ could be affecting your productivity, impacting your bottom line and restricting your company’s growth.

Then see how IT Glue can help.

1. How much time do you spend looking for information in your MSP business?

Do you recognise any of the following scenarios?

  • Constantly searching for information but unable to locate it in a timely manner – often because it is stored in multiple places and systems (no golden source) or, even worse, in somebody’s head.
  • Having to recreate documentation because it takes longer to find and access what already exists.
  • Going through the same information with clients time and time again – even though the issue in question may have been raised and resolved previously.
  • Lack of control over different versions of documents and lack of clarity as to what is the most up to date information.
  • No standardisation or centralised storage of documents.

2. How much is this lost productivity costing you?

If any of the above are familiar, it may be time to work out the real cost to your business of all this wasted effort.

IT Glue has developed a tool that will help you to do this. The calculator takes account of both the productivity loss resulting from time wasted looking for information and also the opportunity cost of having highly skilled engineers bogged down in repetitive searches rather than working on fee-paying projects.

Put in your data and see how your business stacks up.

IT Glue: Wasted time cost calculator


3. How long does it take before a new hire in your company becomes productive?

Based on a survey of over 100 MSPs, the average onboarding time for a new employee is around three months[1]. This is a costly process – not just because he or she is not actively generating revenue over this period, but is probably also taking up the time of other employees who are bringing them up to speed.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

Companies with strong documentation have been shown to reduce this three-month period to three weeks on average, according to IT Glue. That’s a nine- week saving. Success relies, however, on having well-documented, consistent internal procedures combined with fully documented client environments. With both in place new employees can become productive more quickly because they will have ready access to the information they need to do their job.

Also, with strong documentation and process, many routine tasks can be given to less experienced engineers, freeing up their more skilled counterparts for higher-value work.

4. Are you putting your clients’ data at risk?

A big concern for MSPs is the risk of their clients’ credentials getting into the hands of unauthorised third parties, who can then access clients’ systems. If your password management system is not fully secure and not properly managed, you could be putting your clients’ data at risk.

Client information needs to be centralised yet easily accessible to your own people and service partners. If you have documented client details and credentials, but are storing this information in multiple places, it will take longer for your engineers or partners to obtain the information they need to resolve client issues, often resulting in lower first call resolution and a greater need to escalate.

Ultimately you could risk missing your SLAs and being perceived as inefficient by your clients.

And of course, if vital client knowledge is stored in someone’s head, you always run the risk of that person walking out of the door – possibly to a competitor, and taking it all with them.

5. How long does it take to onboard a client?

A speedy, efficient client onboarding process is essential for scalable growth and relies on having standardised procedures and centralised information.

If you have a database that has been cobbled together to hold all of your customer information and credentials – or worse, if the information is scattered across different locations including in peoples’ heads, the data you need is not easily accessible. And it’s not secure. So onboarding new clients will take longer and be more resource-intensive, making it more difficult to grow.

This scenario will cause problems for us too as your NOC and Service Desk partner, as when we onboard your clients, we will need to look in many different places to find the information we need  – and then find somewhere to store this information once we have obtained it.

Why do we recommend IT Glue to our partners?

If you are using IT Glue, we can be confident that your information is being managed logically and that we can access it easily when we need it.

We benefit because we spend much less time extracting the information we need so we can start to provide your service more quickly, while you, our partner, benefit because you don’t have to find the information, collate it and supply it to us.
This is particularly important during client onboarding.

If you are not an IT Glue user, the onboarding process is more cumbersome: we have to send you an invitation to log in to our IT Glue system directly to upload information. Once the information is entered we revoke your permission.

If you are an IT Glue user, you can simply export the data to us directly into our IT Glue system.

And with the arrival of GlueConnect™ our lives just became that much easier. This new feature allows you to grant other IT Glue accounts or IT Glue Certified Providers access to your IT Glue data securely and totally under your control: you can restrict access to selected clients so we, your NOC and Service desk partner, only see onboarded clients. As one of two official certified providers for GlueConnect™, we are delighted to be able to work with this game-changing new facility.

The ability to have direct access to data is particularly important for partners like us who provide 24/7 coverage, as we can have rapid access to the information we need at all times.

We can obviously still offer 24/7 support if you are not an IT Glue user – but its use, particularly with GlueConnect™, enables us to help you quickly and with less involvement from your team.

The bottom line

Time wasted by your engineers in searching for the information they need to do their job is reducing productivity, impacting your margins and hurting your bottom line. Business research firm IDC puts wasted time at a cost of $19,732 per information employee per year. That’s a loss of 21.3% in an organisation’s total productivity. [2]

We are operating in an industry where margins are shrinking anyway. If by getting your documentation house in order you can address an area of significant hidden cost and stem the bleed – it must be worth a shot.

IT Glue fulfils a massive need. It’s simple to use. It holds critical information and credentials in a standardised system. It is easy to search and it is very secure.

One of the first questions we ask an MSP we are about to partner with is – do you use IT Glue? If they don’t, we recommend that they take a look at it. It can make such a difference to the service we deliver them on top of the internal benefits they gain.

I just wish it had been around when I was an MSP!


[1] Quoted in IT Glue: ‘5 Tips for Reducing Time Waste in Your Business

[2] Quoted by IT Glue,

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