In the past, IT service managers might have gotten away with storing important info in their brains; today, having solid MSP documentation is essential to growing your business.

 It may seem obvious, but it’s important that channel partners document their processes to avoid reinventing the wheel and to ensure business efficiency.

If a managed services provider (MSP) has a process that is going to be repeated as its business grows, the company needs to be able to reproduce it so that it remains consistent. In order to do that, the process must be documented, said Peter Kujawa, president of Locknet Managed IT, a division of EO Johnson Business Technologies, based in Onalaska, Wis.

“Effective documentation of your business allows you to look for opportunities to improve that process as you grow and move forward because you learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t,” Kujawa said. Otherwise, you risk flying “by the seat of your pants every time,” especially if it is a process an employee doesn’t perform again for another six months, he added.
Additionally, by documenting processes, MSPs can better train employees and ensure processes are followed. “It’s a sign of operational maturity as an organization,” Kujawa added.
Charles Weaver, CEO of MSPAlliance, based in Chico, Calif., concurred that MSP documentation is important.
Weaver likened process documentation to passing down a grandmother’s recipe for apple pie; either you physically teach someone how to make the pie or you write down the recipe for them. If the MSP doesn’t have that recipe written down, the information can become unreliable.
“If I say, ‘Please bake me your apple pie’ … but I say, ‘I need 100 pies and I need five [employees] doing this,’ what’s the expectation each pie will be consistent? This is where documentation must exist. Otherwise, grandmother can’t scale.”
MSP documentation is all about increasing efficiency, agreed A. Alex Cabral, president and CEO of SI Portal, a provider of IT documentation software based in Lakeland, Fla. “Increasing efficiency increases productivity, which equates to the business doing better.”