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Quarterly Business Reviews: a guide to MSP success

A quarterly business review is a prime opportunity to align your future business plans with your MSP provider. This is essential for managed service success.

Quarterly business review, business review, technical business review, executive business review –while names are often used interchangeably, regardless of what they’re called, they mean the same, and are incredibly important to your business.

The basics

At its most basic, just as the name describes, a QBR is a once-per-quarter meeting with your MSP provider. The review on a quarterly basis, looks at the existing state of your business and how your MSP provider is helping you achieve your goals.

A QBR should be strategic, rather than tactical in nature

If done correctly, it’s the perfect opportunity to open up honest discussion – if done wrong it will be a waste of everybody’s time.

A QBR strengthens the partnership between your business and your MSP provider, enabling them to become a trusted advisor rather than just a vendor. Your provider can show the return on investment you are achieving with their partnership, and through meeting every 90 days you can ensure this is maintained.

It’s a chance for open honest discussion and allows for you and your provider to gain a deeper understanding of each other’s vision and strategy helping to create a real partnership. This deeper understanding can help strategically align your MSP provider with your values, whether that be eco friendly, tech savy or people orientated. 

Achieving a first class QBR

Ensure all key stakeholders are present

A big question often asked is who should participate in QBRs? For QBRs to be the most effective, it’s beneficial for executives from both sides of the relationship to be in attendance. This is advantageous as not only does it mean executives are actively involved in the process, but they’re the ones who have the authority to sign off on opportunities, ensuring the outcomes from the meeting can be implemented.

Timing is key to ensure it’s convenient for all decision-makers to attend.


A face-to-face QBR is a different kind of touch point and an opportunity to explain things in detail and have your questions answered that wouldn’t necessarily come up from emailed reports. This facetime is a more personal approach which can help improve the business relationship with your managed service provider.

With an increasing number of services becoming more remote, this facetime personalises your experience, and help create reassurance that you have real people to rely on in the case that something goes wrong. It also allows them to demonstrate their value as a trusted partner and advisor, by explaining the work they are doing to help drive your business goals.

Set a clear agenda

If you go into a QBR without a concrete set of goals, a QBR will not be an effective use of anyone’s time, and has the potential to damage the relationship rather than strengthen it. Ambiguity can lead to miscommunication and dissatisfaction.

It’s not about the nitty-gritty details of day-to-day operations but rather one of the rare opportunities that executives from both sides get together. By taking a high-level approach to the subjects you discuss, it will show your managed service provider the direction your business wishes to take, with them being able to make plans to help you achieve this.

What a QBR should include:

A Review of the previous quarter

The first step in a successful quarterly review is the review itself. The review of the previous quarter should be an honest appraisal. Data is critical. Concrete examples and numbers will strengthen the review and demonstrates in-depth analysis on the work that has been done.
The review must be an honest reflection with accurate evaluation to create an open honest relationship. Your MSP provider should be transparent – if something has gone wrong, or they have not reached a target, they should address it directly. You can use the service level agreement as a basepoint for this discussion. This can help you assess how your MSP is performing, and help you quantify how they are helping you achieve your business goals.

A review of your roadmap

In the fast-changing world of business, demands can dramatically change in 3 months – by reviewing your business demands it enables you both to stay up to date and make sure the partnership is still providing benefits to your business.

Looking back over the past quarter is only part of the QBR agenda. It’s also important to look forward to the next quarter and set goals. Identify areas that are about to change and identify how your MSP provider can work to help you achieve your goals for the future.

A QBR should be a two-way dialogue

While your MSP provider provides a review of the work they have done in the previous 90 days, it’s also an opportunity to voice your concerns or share praise in a productive manner. This can help your provider understand how you view the relationship and hopefully prevent any lingering issues appearing in the future.

Provide clear actionable takeaways

Providing clear actionable takeaways will go a long way to promoting a healthy and long-term relationship. This means you and your MSP provider are on the same page when it comes to what to expect in the next three months.

It will improve alignment and show how you wish your MSP partner to drive value. It also ensures a good starting point and with measurable actions for you to discuss at the next QBR.

The end of the meeting is a good time to schedule the next QBR while all decision makers are present.

Your MSP should be more than a vendor, they should be a partner

Creating a successful partnership with your MSP, and gaining the status as trusted advisor doesn’t happen overnight. If done well a QBR will result in a stronger business relationship.

A QBR is a way to future proof and grow the partnership. 

It’s not just the service they provide that makes for a successful partnership, but the relationship that you have. At Guidant Global we recognise that an MSP solution isn’t just about saving money, it’s about building partnerships that help you grow your business long-term. Your MSP partner needs to be someone you can trust, with your provider becoming an extension of your existing team.

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