One of the biggest barriers to getting lean is the Frankenstack. Sometimes, reality gets in the way of the ideal. Each little piece of your stack is added, one new client at a time, one tool at a time. Taken individually, no one piece seems particularly egregious. But taken together, they’re a monster.

The Frankenstack contributes to two forms of waste in particular: inventory waste and production waste. Inventory waste is simple – the more tech you use, the more money you’re spending on tech. Whether it’s licenses for SaaS applications or just the time it takes your team to learn each part of your stack, you’re tying up time and money in your stack. If you’re using two or three different things to perform the same task, when you could just use one, that’s a lot of extra waste.

The other issue is production waste. It is far easier to train your techs on one firewall versus five or six firewalls. Plus, they’ll be able to attain a higher level of skill on that one firewall if it’s the only one they have to know. Instead of trying to remember how to do something in each one, or having to look up the SOP, they can just learn the task and be able to perform that task without trying to remember it, and without having to look anything up.

The ideal stack is pretty hard to achieve – if you keep adding clients you might never quite reach that perfect zen stack. But you should aim for it. When you onboard, make sure new clients understand that they will need to migrate to your stack. They are trusting you with their security and IT performance; your expertise in this matter is one of the reasons they’re paying you.

Depending on what they’re working with, it might still take a year or two to get them off all the legacy tech. That’s okay. Every step is improvement. You can’t force the issue because that risks being too disruptive to their business. But over time, piece by piece, you get rid of the legacy stack and build their stack your way.

If you’re selling on low cost, stack management is even more important because it’s hard to deliver a low-cost service profitably when you have a Frankenstack. If you’re selling a premium service, then eliminating the waste associated with a Frankenstack is a critical component of service delivery. As IT Glue CEO Chris Day explains in this conversation about retention, “If you have a few unstandardized clients that are preventing you from reliably delivering service to the rest of your clients, it may be time to ask the hard questions and determine if this is a sustainable strategy.”

Eliminating the Frankenstack is a pretty good example of the lean methodology at work. It’s focused on an objective, is the result of incremental steps, and requires that you have a cohesive strategy that encompasses many different aspects of your organization in order to work. But get it right, and you’ll have a much more efficient organization. That means happier customers and higher profits.

IT Glue is an award-winning documentation platform that allows for efficient storage and retrieval of all the documentation you need to help your MSP run better. By integrating PSA and RMM data, we can help increase your efficiency, and reduce onboarding times by even more. By eliminating wasted time from your business, IT Glue gives you more time to focus on what matters – growing your business.

View Features