Nov 10, 2023

How to Calculate the ROI of RMM Software for My Business

Purchasing RMM software requires both money and time for your organization. Learn more about how to calculate the ROI of RMM for your business.

Oliver Weir
RMM Decision Guide

Purchasing Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) software requires a substantial commitment of both money and time for your organization. While the costs are known, the benefits or savings from RMM software are often less clear. To determine whether investing in RMM software will be worthwhile, it's critical to understand the potential benefits and be able to estimate their impact on your business. This understanding is essential for accurately assessing the Return on Investment (ROI). In this post, we take an honest look at the benefits organizations can achieve through RMM software. Benefits are outlined in high-level ranges because results vary based on organizational factors, but we hope this will better equip you to evaluate the potential impact RMM software can have on your business. 

But First, What Issues or Costs Can RMM Software Help Address? 

For any smart device or hardware solution, there can be 10 to 20 critical components that each must work seamlessly for the device to function properly. When any one of these components goes down or experiences issues, it can cause the entire solution to go down. 

Take a self-service kiosk, for example. There are nearly a dozen different components, like network status, firmware, software applications, hardware health, and payment and scanner peripherals that must function for the kiosk to be transactable. These components all require around-the-clock monitoring and support to ensure the kiosk solution operates smoothly. 

If you are responsible for managing hundreds of kiosks, there can be thousands of potential breakpoints that must be monitored and maintained. Businesses and consumers are increasingly dependent on these self-service solutions. When they are down not only is transaction revenue lost, but brand equity can also be tarnished from the negative user experience.

However, most technical support teams for these devices are completely reactive. Our recent analysis of Support Teams showed that ~93% of support tickets are generated through customer complaints vs. proactive or preventative monitoring. This lopsided reality means longer downtime (potentially causing lost revenue) and more disappointed customers (potentially causing customer churn). 

Beyond these negative impacts, the cost of fixing the solution can require a physical site visit from a support technician – which often carries a steep price tag. Research shows that the average cost for a technician to get onsite and look at a device starts at $150 per visit. Of course, costs can be even higher if significant onsite troubleshooting is required. For some organizations, this can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on physical onsite troubleshooting each year. 

As a result of the high costs associated with downtime, companies will often have large Network Operations Centers (NOCs) or Technical Support Teams to address the high volumes of support tickets and meet customer Service Level Agreements (SLAs). However, high support ticket volume is often just a symptom of underlying issues – and the cost associated with addressing these symptoms (i.e., onsite visits, large technical support teams, lost revenue, and low customer NPS) are the areas where RMM software can help address the root cause issue and prevent cascading costs from growing inside your business.

How can RMM Software Help Reduce or Prevent These Root Cause Issues?

As a general rule, the five most common underlying issues that drive downtime are 1) configuration issues, 2) network or connectivity issues, 3) software application bugs, 4) power failures, and 5) operating system errors. Our research suggests that together, these five issues account for roughly 70% of total device downtime.

Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) software has the potential to address most of these recurring challenges through its core capabilities if implemented correctly. The following RMM capabilities are most impactful in helping reduce downtime:

1. Granular (but Centralized) Visibility

RMM tools provide greater visibility into the status of individual device components, so issues are detected at their true point of failure. Many RMM platforms use agent-based monitoring which means their software lives on the device and can report very granular health status information on components. This detailed information is then reported to a central platform where Technical Teams can view all their devices in one place and precisely identify any issues on a device.

2. Proactive Issue Spotting and Alerting 

RMM software enables you to monitor hardware health (e.g., memory, CPU, hard drive), software services, peripheral devices, and network status in real-time. It also has smart alerting capabilities that flag whenever an issue with any of those metrics is spotted, putting your team one step ahead of customers. RMMs can help you proactively identify issues before they escalate into major problems, which means fewer calls from frustrated customers and less downtime.

3. Enhanced Remote Actions

In addition to visibility (monitoring), RMM tools also allow you to take a wide range of remote actions on devices (management). These remote actions are the first line of defense in restoring a device to a healthy state and can help prevent costly onsite technician visits. 

4. Self-Healing (Automated Issue Resolution)

Some RMM software, like Canopy, go a step further by combining real-time issue spotting and remote actions into an automated self-healing capability. These tools allow you to develop situation-specific responses to errors that are reported inside the RMM platform. For example, if the RMM sees that a certain key software service has stopped running, it can automatically direct a “restart service” action to resolve the issue. By resolving issues automatically before they ever trigger an alert, your Support Team can cut down the repetitive tasks in their day-to-day and only focus on alerts that truly need escalated support. 

5. Performance Reporting and Analytics

Reporting and Analytics are also key capabilities that enable RMM platforms to reduce and prevent root-cause issues for downtime. By making historical performance data from your entire fleet accessible via analytics tools and reports, your Engineering Teams can identify performance trends and prioritize areas of development focus to improve uptime. Without this granular data reported over extended periods, teams will be left guessing on root causes and unable to see trends across an entire fleet. 

How can RMM Software Improvements Translate into Real ROI? 

At this point, you might be thinking, “Sure, these RMM software capabilities sound nice, but how does it translate into real ROI for my business?” The benefits of RMM software will depend on your organization’s utilization of the tool and how your Remote Support Operations are set up today (and in the future). With that context, we will provide data we’ve gathered from market research and our own customers to help provide a range of potential outcomes for your business. Let’s dive into the top four ways that RMM software drives ROI:

1. Preventing Lost Revenue

If your hardware solution has a transactional use case such as a point-of-sale system or a self-checkout kiosk, you can clearly tie downtime back to lost revenue. However, even for non-transactional applications like digital displays, downtime can indirectly cost you revenue, in some cases, the impact can be as significant as a 12% drag on sales. Customers who see a display is down or cannot transact will simply walk away and find another place to take their money.

RMM software helps minimize service disruptions and can reduce total downtime anywhere between 10-40% depending on the organization. The reason this number can be so high is total downtime is not the same as issue resolution time. It could be hours or even days before a failure is noticed and reported, then the issue may remain in a queue behind other tickets before finally being resolved. RMM speeds up that process by notifying teams of an issue immediately and in some cases, resolving it automatically. The result is dramatically reducing downtime and the associated loss in revenue. 

To calculate the potential ROI impact of RMM software on lost revenue, estimate the average revenue produced by your device (directly or indirectly) per hour and then apply the 10-40% uptime increase to your total outage hours during operating hours. Multiply these numbers together to estimate the range of lost revenue that you could potentially recover by applying RMM software. 

2. Reducing Frequency of Onsite Visits

While most device downtime issues may not require an onsite technician to restore health, RMM software platforms can significantly trim the number of cases where “truck rolls” or technician visits are needed. RMM software makes this possible through:

  • Root Cause Identification - RMM platforms allow Technical Support Teams to quickly identify the root cause of downtime and determine if an on-site visit is necessary. When issues are reported by customers, they often lack critical technical details and can result in “over-resourcing” the issue with an onsite visit. This is especially common when on the surface it’s unclear if the issue is hardware or software related. 
  • Remote Troubleshooting – Once a root cause is determined, RMM software provides a range of remote actions that Technical Support Teams can use to try to restore the device remotely like reboots, restarting services, log file exploration, and remote desktop troubleshooting. 
  • Advanced Remote Resolutions – Some RMMs specifically designed for complex hardware solutions can perform more in-depth remote actions such as “resetting” peripheral devices or doing full power cycles via a PDU which can help solve issues that typically will require an onsite technician or physical touch of the device. 

In terms of impact on ROI, our data shows that best-in-class companies (i.e., organizations using powerful RMM software with fully built-out remote support operations) only send trucks onsite 15-20% of the time. This can range as high as 50-60% of the time for lagging organizations or companies with products that require frequent physical maintenance such as ATMs or vending machines. 

Depending on where your organization is on this spectrum, you could see up to ~3x decrease in the number of truck rolls your organization does in a year. However, for the average organization with some kind of remote support toolset, the improvement is typically in the 10-20% reduction rate. 

To calculate the savings, add up the total number of truck rolls your team did over the last 12 months and multiply it by a 10-20% reduction rate. Take that range of annual truck rolls you could prevent and multiply it by the average cost of a site visit (you can use $150 as a placeholder if you don’t have the cost data on hand).

3. Internal Labor Efficiencies and Savings

Another significant area of ROI for RMM tools is the ability to save labor through automating or streamlining the work your Technical Support, Engineering, and Account Management Teams do every week. This enables you to scale the size of your device deployments without having to increase the size of your technology team at a linear rate. Here are the top three daily or weekly activities that RMM software can streamline for your team:

  • Automating repetitive and/or manual L1 Support tasks: RMM tools offer programable task automation, which allows you to build predefined workflows for remote troubleshooting tasks. For example, device reboots or data entry between different systems can consume much of an L1 Support team member’s day. Our analysis showed that on average, between 15-25% of support tickets could be resolved automatically without requiring any L1 labor. We’ve seen customers implement this technology, literally saving their support team a collective 1,000 hours each month.

  • Time savings on weekly/monthly performance reporting: Often leadership or Account Managers will want to see weekly or monthly recaps of uptime performance. Without RMM software, gathering this data can be time-consuming and error-prone. In circumstances where no RMM solution was deployed, we’ve seen individual team members save between 3 to 6 hours per day, depending on how often they need to build these reports. 

  • Upskilling your L1/L2 Support to reduce escalations to L3 Support or Engineering: RMM tools enhance the knowledge and capabilities of L1 and L2 Support teams by broadening their access to device attributes and information. This, in turn, liberates senior engineers to concentrate on solution design and other critical aspects of the business. With increased capabilities, L1 support can handle more intricate issues before the need for ticket escalation, reducing the frequency of reactive alerts and ultimately improving customer outcomes.

To calculate your business's ROI or potential cost savings, analyze how the sizes of your Support, Engineering, and Account Management Teams have increased in relation to your historical device deployment growth. We recommend looking at this over at least two years. Next, project your device’s growth for the next twelve months and estimate how many full-time equivalents (FTEs) you would likely have to hire for each team to support and sustain this growth, based on your current operating model.

While some of this projected headcount growth may be essential to support your business, consider the impact if each team member gained 3-6 hours back in their day. This could potentially reduce the need to hire additional resources. For reference, we’ve seen one customer grow their device deployment from 14,000 to 21,000 devices, a 50% increase, while only adding three new full-time support team members (a 15% growth in the team). The ability to achieve these kinds of scaling efficiencies was only made possible by utilizing RMM software automation, which freed up several hours in their team's daily operations.

4. Lowering the Risk of Customer Churn

There is no worse call for a support team to get than when a customer calls to report a solution is down. In cases like security systems or access control, this can cause extreme distress and frustration if the customer cannot enter a building or sees that a camera system is down, and their facility is unsecured. These kinds of experiences lead to the old “it never works” adage where users look at a piece of technology and associate it with never working as it should. In cases where this happens, customers have low NPS and when time for renewals comes around there is a debate about whether keeping that device is worth the cost. Often in these situations, the solution plagued with consistent performance issues will see higher customer churn.

RMM software can improve service availability and create better customer experiences, reducing frustration, and decreasing the likelihood of customers seeking alternative solutions. Our data analysis shows that when organizations are correctly leveraging an RMM platform, they will produce 60-70% of the tickets themselves vs. coming from inbound customer complaints. Additionally, RMM provides performance reporting that customer success or account management teams can leverage to show customers the health performance of their systems over time. This gives customers the confidence that their solution is being monitored 24/7 for uptime, and they have reports that prove it. Transparent communication builds trust, and well-informed customers feel their concerns are being addressed and are more likely to remain loyal and satisfied.

Estimating the impact of a 10-40% increase in uptime can be difficult to directly tie back to its relative contribution to churn prevention. However, the financial impact of saving just one customer from churning is often enough to justify investing in an RMM software solution by itself. Although this is arguably the hardest metric to measure, it is often one of the biggest reasons teams choose to invest in an RMM platform. 

Selecting the Right RMM Software for Your Business

Leveraging RMM software is a big investment, but it can often pay back big dividends in terms of benefits to your business. If after reading this, you’ve decided there is an ROI for your business and hardware solution to invest in an RMM software solution, check out our blog post about how to select the best RMM tool for your business here.

If you would like to learn more about Canopy (our RMM platform designed to help device operators and technical support teams reduce downtime), you can reach out to schedule a free demo. If you would like to learn more about how to optimize your operations and maximize productivity, download our Unlocking Uptime whitepaper here.

Ready to chat? Let's get started.

Deliver reliable uptime with a remote monitoring and management software tailored for your unique deployment. Canopy works behind the scenes to ensure you can deliver a best-in-class product experience to your customers.

Oliver Weir
Oliver is Canopy's Chief of Staff. His focus is primarily on strategy and operations with an emphasis on organic growth initiatives.

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