If data is truly the new oil, then helping your clients make sense of it without a lot of technical understanding could be a key part of running a successful MSP business in the coming years.

Every business has a ton of data about customers, products, sales, revenue and so forth. As a business grows, it’s important to understand key business metrics that make sense for any particular venture.

Chances are, if you’ve been following us in 2020, you’ve learned about a number of tools for tracking customer data, that small businesses can take advantage of like HubSpot and Google Analytics. Finding easy ways to pull data from various sources and displaying your client’s key metrics in a visual business intelligence dashboard, can help keep the business on track, and provide deeper understanding of customer needs on both an individual and aggregate level.

MSPs can play an important role in finding the right tools to help clients gather and visualize data. Like so many tools today, this capability used to be only in reach of the largest companies with big staffs and deep pockets. Today, due in large part to the cloud, these kinds of services are available to any business, regardless of its size.

As your client’s IT advisor, you can help them gain a deeper understanding of their businesses beyond using spreadsheets and accounting software.

Dashboard as a Service

As you look at these tools, you need to find ones that meet the particular needs of an individual client. You should look at startups and established players balancing the data sources, metrics and price tolerance of your clients.

While you can spend a great deal of money and get highly sophisticated tooling, you should also look for a solution that meets the client’s needs and gives them room to grow without being more complex than they need.

One example is Zoho Analytics. Zoho makes a suite of free and low-cost tools for small businesses. The analytics tool lets you connect to 500 other tools your small business might be using like HubSpot, MailChimp or Google Analytics and create a business dashboard simply by dragging and dropping components.

There are many other options available, and like any software service, it pays to do your research and understand the market, so that you can make solid recommendations for your clients. Having the right data, especially now during the pandemic, can mean the difference between success and failure. Being able to visualize that data brings it into much clearer focus.

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Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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