Issues stuck on repeat?
If you (or your team members) are constantly experiencing the same problem, logging the same tickets, and repeatedly explaining the same issue – chances are your MSP isn’t doing the best job on documentation. This becomes particularly apparent when their personnel change: whether they’re on leave, been promoted or have left the company.
Documenting to a fine level of detail provides the ability to understand issues in context. It is also a record of your company’s intellectual property: the ‘lie of the land’ so to speak, in terms of your technology estate as well as operational practices. It takes all that ‘institutional knowledge’ out of people’s heads and creates a reference manual.
Complex processes need a manual
The reference manual is good for your organisation, as much as it’s good for us, the managed service provider (MSP). When new people start on our service desk, they don’t have to get to grips with ‘who’s who and what’s what’ when a support call comes in. It’s all in the manual. Got an issue logging in to an application? Network printer playing up? If it’s in the documentation, even a brand-new service desk representative immediately knows where to look, and find the answers to get you going again.
As you might imagine, the documentation belongs to your organisation and becomes a handbook for your operations. As such, the documentation should be made available and accessible at any time (in our case, we routinely go over the documentation in quarterly meetings). After all, IT is dynamic. Your organisation changes. Your documentation must change too. Should the MSP engagement end, that IP belongs to you. It is handed over – either for the use of your internal IT team, or by your new service provider.
Ensure it’s searchable
Great documentation depends on a rigorous approach. It should be set at the start of any engagement, and an ongoing exercise. It rests on the discipline to record interactions and continually updating records as things change. It also depends on using appropriate tools. At CodeBlue, we use Kaseya’s IT Glue, which makes every aspect of your IT estate rapidly understandable and searchable. What this means in practice is fast, efficient service delivery when you need it. We’re committed to resolving 85% of incoming requests at service desk level.
There’s further value in effective documentation, and that’s cross-refencing. When our customers use the same applications, great documentation means we can cross-check and find solutions to commonly occurring problems. This makes support easier, faster and more accurate for everyone.
Review regularly and update
Finally, as mentioned, the documentation we continuously gather and update is a handbook for your company’s IT and operations. As such, we encourage our own people to read the documentation and knowledge bases associated with individual organisations. It helps them understand not only the services we’re providing, but why and to whom. This context is invaluable to providing an awesome service. Because ‘the more you know’, the more effective you become.
By the same token, we encourage regular and thorough reviews of the documentation from our clients; the closer the alignment, the better the service provided.