The Top 4 KPIs That Every MSPs Should Know

Every ticket, project, and client interaction shapes the story of businesses. So, let’s talk about time, not just as ticks on a clock but as the essence of being a managed service provider (MSP). Are you utilizing your team’s time to its fullest potential? Are your business processes aligned for short-term gains and sustainable growth and well-being? 

We all understand the significance of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs. Most of us can confidently say we’re familiar with a KPI. However, the real question is, which KPIs genuinely make a difference? It’s not just about having KPIs for the sake of it or the superficial satisfaction of tracking metrics. The important aspect is identifying those KPIs that genuinely impact your business, guiding your path effectively rather than just making you feel good about having numbers to present. 

While the MSP industry often focuses on standard metrics like billable utilization, agreement profitability, or SLA performance, four KPIs exceed the typical. These aren’t your everyday metrics but the cornerstones of operational excellence that might need to be added to everyone’s radar. These KPIs provide a deeper insight, steering away from the usual numbers and offering a more holistic view of your business’s efficiency.

Understanding and optimizing these metrics can transform how you perceive and manage your time and resources. It’s about making every day count and ensuring that your team’s efforts translate into tangible successes, not just crossed-off to-do lists. It’s time to reframe your approach, sharpen your focus, and increase your MSP’s performance from surviving to thriving. 

Here’s a list of the 4 KPIs every MSPs should know:


1. Throughput

Let’s simplify ‘Throughput.’ It’s about how many tasks your MSP completes over a certain period. It’s like a health check for your business’s productivity. Like a steady, strong pulse is a sign of a healthy heart, a consistent and growing throughput indicates a thriving MSP.

Imagine your team as a relay race squad. Each task is like a baton passed from one runner to the next. The smoother and faster the handover, the quicker your team reaches the finish line. Throughput measures precisely the rate at which your team completes these laps.

How many projects does your team complete in a month? Or how many support tickets do they resolve in a day? These figures are your throughput. They are concrete indicators of your team’s efficiency and effectiveness. Here are practical steps to increase your throughputs:

  • Address Bottlenecks: Find where tasks are getting stuck and streamline these points. 
  • Invest in Training: Equip your team with the skills to handle tasks more competently and confidently. 
  • Optimize Meetings: Turn your regular meetings into strategic sessions, focusing on removing obstacles and prioritizing essential tasks. 
  • Cultivate a Culture of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Standardize processes to reduce rework and back-and-forth with clients.  
  • Automation: automate routine work to free people up for more of the above.

Improving throughput isn’t just about the numbers. It translates directly to serving more clients and driving revenue growth. It fosters a sense of achievement and momentum among your team members.  


2. Work in progress (WIP)

Imagine juggling, a skill that requires focus, timing, and, above all, balance. Too many objects are in the air, and you’re bound to drop something. This is where the Work In Progress (WIP) concept comes into play for your MSP. It balances what’s being worked on to prevent that overwhelming feeling of having too much in the air simultaneously.

WIP refers to the tasks currently underway – those that have been started but aren’t finished yet. It’s like having several dishes cooking on the stove simultaneously. Each dish needs attention, and if you try to cook too many at once, you might burn something or, worse, serve nothing.

By controlling your WIP, you ensure that each task gets the attention it deserves. You’re not just starting tasks; you’re finishing them efficiently. This approach ensures that projects move through your pipeline smoothly, like cars flowing steadily on a highway, rather than getting stuck in a traffic jam.

Here’s how you can effectively manage your WIP:

  • Establish a cap on how many tasks can be in progress at any given time. 
  • Develop a clear method for prioritizing tasks. 
  • Have daily check-ins with your team to assess the status of ongoing tasks.  
  • Encourage your team to focus on one task at a time. 
  • Equip your team members with diverse skills so they can handle different tasks.  

A well-managed WIP leads to more efficient service delivery, translating to happier clients and a more predictable revenue stream. On the personal front, it means less stress for your team. When your technicians know precisely what they need to work on, without the anxiety of an endless queue of tasks, they can focus better and feel a greater sense of accomplishment.

Managing your WIP is about finding that sweet spot – enough tasks to keep your team engaged and productive, but not so many that it becomes overwhelming. It creates a work environment where tasks are completed with precision and care, ensuring a happy, balanced team.

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3. Lead time

Time is not just a ticking clock on the wall; it’s the track on which the race of service delivery is run. Here, lead time emerges as an essential player. It’s the time from the starting gun when a client raises a ticket or requests a project to the finish line, where the issue is resolved or the project is completed.

It’s the waiting period in a restaurant from when you order your meal to when it arrives at your table. The shorter the wait, the happier you are as a customer. In MSP, short lead times mean swift service delivery, which is crucial to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

No one likes to wait. Quick resolutions are not just a convenience; they are an expectation. Reducing lead time means being agile and responsive, qualities that elevate your MSP’s reputation and reliability. Here’s how you can put your MSP on the fast track:

  • Implement tools like Slack or Teams for quick, effective communication. 
  • Utilize automation tools to handle everyday, repetitive tasks.
  • Ensure new team members are quickly up to speed.  

Reducing lead time sets a rhythm that keeps your business pulsing at a lively tempo. Clients who receive prompt service are more likely to stick around and even refer others, opening up new revenue streams for your MSP.

A certain satisfaction and confidence come from being part of a system that delivers quickly and efficiently. It reduces the stress of backlog and client pressure, allowing your team to focus on the task with a clear mind.


4. Flow efficiency

Flow efficiency is your compass. It helps you move forward with purpose and precision. This metric tells you how much time a task is actively being worked on compared to the total time it spends in your system. It minimizes the idle time a task waits and maximizes the time spent working on it.

Flow efficiency in your MSP creates a smooth, unimpeded path for your tasks, ensuring they flow rapidly from initiation to completion. High flow efficiency means your team isn’t just busy; but productive. It’s the difference between having a team that’s always working hard but not necessarily getting things done quickly and a team that delivers results fast.

Here are actionable steps to improving your flow efficiency:

  • Visualize Work Using Kanban Boards: Kanban boards allow you to see precisely where each task is in your process. It’s easier to spot where tasks are piling up or stagnating and take corrective action.
  • Implement Feedback Loops: Regular check-ins with your team can provide valuable insights into where and why delays occur.  
  • Cross-train Employees: When team members are versatile, they can step in to keep things moving.
  • Process Mapping: Break down each step in your workflow and analyze its efficiency.  

When tasks flow smoothly through your system, it’s not just the tasks that benefit you. Your entire MSP sees the positive effects. Clients get quicker, more efficient service, which leads to higher satisfaction and loyalty. It means a more dynamic and less frustrating work environment for your team. They spend less time waiting for things to happen and more time making things happen.



Your MSP is a vibrant ecosystem. Each part, from service delivery to client interaction, is interconnected. Improving one area has a domino effect, enhancing the entire system. For instance, boosting throughput can lead to more satisfied clients, referrals, and business growth. Managing WIP effectively reduces stress and burnout, leading to a happier, more productive team. These KPIs reflect the health of your MSP at a deeper level. They indicate how well you are utilizing your most valuable resource – time. Are you spending it firefighting and managing chaos, or are you investing it in growth and excellence?

If you’re looking to streamline your MSP operations and enhance productivity, TopLeft is the solution you need. Our Kanban boards integrate effortlessly with ConnectWise and AutoTask, bringing a new level of simplicity and clarity to your workflow management.

Take the first step towards a more organized and productive MSP. Request a demo of TopLeft now and discover how we can help you manage your workflow more effectively and satisfy your clients.


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