Documentation is the unsung hero of IT operations. It’s not sexy, but it touches everything that an IT tech does. MSPs that have upgraded from the world of word docs and wikis are unanimous and enthusiastic about the power of MSP documentation. But not all documentation solutions are created equal. So what are the key things you need to look for in a documentation platform to help maximize the value it provides for your MSP.
First, any documentation tool worth considering has to have a few basic features. It has to be structured and centralized. Without structure you can’t scale and without centralization you can’t enforce adoption. Structure makes it easy for you to find what you’re looking for. Centralized means you have a single source of truth, rather than 10 of them. Furthermore, you need to be able to access this single source of truth, whether in your office or at a client site. Information you can’t find just doesn’t have the same value.
Second, your documentation platform needs to prioritize automation. If the time it takes to build out your documentation is greater than the time saved by using it, you’re not getting value. A truly valuable documentation solution needs to integrate with the tools you use, and should ideally have an open API so that you have free reign to automate as much documentation as possible.
Third, security has got to be priority number one. Compromising on security to save a few bucks could very well be the worst decision you ever make. You’re storing a lot of valuable information in your documentation platform, and MSPs are increasingly targeted in cyberattacks specifically for this information. A documentation solution that’s not investing in a full range of security features shouldn’t get anywhere near your short list.
Fourth, you’ll want a solution that’s going to grow with you. The most viable solution will a sizeable (and growing), dedicated development team and a continuous development cycle. These are key signs of a mature product, one that will not only be there with you on your journey, but will continue to get better as you go.
Finally, you can’t reach cruising altitude if you don’t have a documentation culture in your MSP. The support you get from your documentation provider should include an extensive Knowledge Base for self-service, certification or education programs so your techs can build expertise and have clear visibility into how and when your entire team is adopting and utilizing your documentation solution.
Here’s how some of the channel’s documentation solutions stack up: