Nilear makes software that lets MSPs manage their techs’ time more effectively, and for now, at least, is focused solely on the ConnectWise platform.
Timesheet management software specialist Nilear was in attendance at the recent ConnectWise Explore event in Orlando, bringing its message to a show it has attended many times before, but making connections with new MSPs.
“Our interactions with people at the show have been awesome, “ said Chris Schalleur, Nilear’s CEO. “We have met a ton of new people that we haven’t met before, who we didn’t even have anyone from their company in our database.”
Like many – perhaps most – companies in the managed services tools space, Nilear started out as an MSP, which built software for their own internal use, and then decided to take it to market broadly. Where they differ from many is in continuing to run both businesses, with the software company being a division of the MSP.
“By day, we are Christo IT, an MSP in Harleysville PA,” Schalleur said. “We find continuing strength by keeping the MSP – living it and breathing it on a day-by-day basis.” The MSP started in 1999, and the software package appeared in 2007.
That package, NilearOS, is an all-inclusive Operations Suite that provides Automation, Performance Metrics and Document Management for ConnectWise. Their focus, however, is on one component of this, timesheet management.
“We started using ConnectWise in 2004, and we wound up developing this out of our own pain, Schalleur said. “We had engineers who we couldn’t get to enter their times, and others whose time sheets were always late. The ticket quality also varied depending on the engineer. We wanted to create a consistency of ticketing, by using gamification, for our own use. In 2010, we started selling it to other MSPs.
“Unlike other documentation platforms, we are all around time entry,” Schalleur added. “Our key focus is getting the data into ConnectWise on the tickets in real-time, and consistently filled out. It’s all about getting better date going into ConnectWise, as opposed to using it as a gloried time and billing system.”
Scorecarding is fundamental to the system, with both the Timesheet Analysis and Ticket Timesheet Analysis modules. Timesheet Analysis focuses on billable and project time entries, while Ticket Timesheet Analysis calculates employees scores based on minutes charged against tickets and then removes points when time entry mistakes are found. Both remove points for not setting the correct Work Type on a time entry, providing no notes for a billable time entry or having the time entry notes modified by the company’s time approver.
“We are really the only ones who scorecard like this,” Schalleur said. “This provides visibility for MSPs into what their techs are doing. If u look at P&L, their biggest cost by far is payroll. If you have that much money in your people, why would you not do this. It’s 60 per cent of your costs. We have run into some MSPs who said that as long as the time gets in, and the customers are happy, why do they care. They say the techs tell them they are busy, but how do they know if that’s true.”
Schalleur said that their solution brings value to MSPs once they get beyond a certain very small size.
“We really start to make sense around or 8 people or up,” he indicated. “Until around 7 or 8 people, the methodology they used up to now – yelling over the cube wall – works till then. After that. It’s too many moving parts.”
ConnectWise was their first integration, and Nilear attended their first ConnectWise event in 2011. Today it is their only integration.
“We did partner with Autotask, but when they got purchased, we could not keep the API going,” Schalleur noted. “The whole API team changed when they got bought. A lot of things changed and things got more formal. So for right now, it is just ConnectWise.”
Within the last year, the product has been moved entirely to REST platform for the APIs.
“We also moved to a new front-end platform,” Schalleur said. “The UI was completely overhauled last November. The biggest ask we get now is the capability to direct somebody – live supervision over a ticket. We have the capability now to drill in, but this would be more of making it available to a service manager. The service managers are the key for our product. That’s who we deliver the greatest value to. They are our champions.”