Managed service providers (MSPs) play a major role in managing and maintaining internal and external business ops.
MSPs keep clients' systems running seamlessly and act as a point of contact when problems arise.
But being an MSP means working with several moving parts, every day. While keeping your customers satisfied should be the number one priority, it's easier said than done.
When you build, organize and templatize MSP documentation, you're able to:
- Streamline processes.
- Speed up response time.
- Train more quickly and efficiently.
- Analyze and optimize your efforts.
... and save your team a lot of headaches. But building documentation is a challenge in itself for MSPs.
To get you started, we've put together what you need to know about MSP documentation, plus tips for how to create and templatize your own.
What is MSP documentation?
MSP documentation is the process creating and keeping written document records that describe an MSP's internal and external processes.
The documents often do one or more of the following:
- Classify and streamline MSP operations.
- Unify approaches across teammates.
- Set up company operating standards.
- Provide a framework for resolving clients' issues.
MSP documentation can drain you and your team of time and effort. Here's why its worth doing it right.
Benefits of MSP documentation
MSP documentation can be tedious from the start, but if you follow MSP best practices and build a knowledge management framework around your documentation, you'll start reaping some major reward.
The biggest benefits of investing in your MSP documentation are:
- Saved time and increased efficiency: MSP documentation saves your technicians and engineers hours spent trying to understand, recreate or invent particular processes for daily tasks. Instead, they can search for the information they need from the organization's knowledge base and use it as a reference guide.
- Stellar customer service: This is twofold. With documentation, you can increase your own team's response time to strengthen customer success. But documentation also allows you to maintain your customers' loyalty by empowering them with relevant information to deal with basic repairs themselves.
Provide comprehensive internal and external MSP documentation by building, storing and sharing MSP documentation in two different categories.
Types of MSP documentation
MSP documentation is divided into what you write and share with your team, and client-facing content. While you might see some overlap in the content type itself, you'll use widely different terminology and framing to meet your audience needs.
Internal MSP documentation
These are documents consumed by MSP staff and teams to perform their MSP roles and functions.
Examples of internal MSP documentation include:
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
- Work instructions or job aids.
- MSA (master service agreement).
- Reference guides.
- Onboarding checklists and plans.
- Passwords and credentials.
- Codes of conduct.
- Managed client assets and locations.
External MSP documentation
External or customer-specific documentation are MSP documents that provide MSP customers with basic support and solutions that reduce their reliance on your technicians.
Examples of external MSP documentation include:
- Knowledge base articles like how-tos.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
- SSL certificates and website information for clients.
- Troubleshooting guides.
- FAQ pages.
- Customer facing SOPs.
- Instructional materials (how-to articles, step-by-step guides, etc.).
- Policies and procedures.
- Client backup configurations.
- Security and network overview.
- Technical support guides.
- Old and existing projects.
How to create MSP documentation
When you're building your MSP documentation, you'll want to follow the following process.
1. Identify the documentation you need
Start from your internal documentation and work your way out. This might seem counter intuitive, but the reality is, you won't be able to provide successful customer service until you have your operations in order.
To figure out what you need, go to your team and walk through your workflows and processes to identify gaps. Are there redundancies in your workflows? Is ramp-up time taking way too long? Are you a team of one, and struggling just to stay afloat?
Chances are, your documentation issues stem from misrepresented processes. Tools like Scribe are a great way to cut that process documentation time in half — so you can build reliable SOPs without losing any time.
Scribe is an extension and desktop app that records your process to auto-generate step-by-step guides, complete with text, links and annotated screenshots. Here's a Scribe in action:
With Scribe writing your process documentation for you, all you have to do is:
- Edit as needed (all Scribe edits are universal).
- Store and organize in the robust platform.
- Share as a link (with managed security) or export to PDF.
- Embed in any of your favorite tools.
- Create and combine more Scribes for any process!
And with Scribe Pages, you have the ability to add as many Scribes as you need to a visual process document, along with video, images and more. Check out our template gallery to see what documentation is already available.
Use Pages to build your own MSP templates for both internal and external teams. Showcase your branding and outline any processes — fast.
2. Determine the document structure
What type of documentation do your teams and clients need? Outline what gaps you're filling and the questions asked.
Then, you can start building a framework for what documentation will go where, and how you'll structure it from top to bottom
- What sections should go in each document.
- What templates you need to build, or can duplicate and use again.
- How (and where) will you organize the content?
- What format will you use?
3. Develop the content
Now that you've laid the groundwork, it's time to build your documentation. Make sure to include overviews for each section, and to be mindful of who you're speaking to. For example, you're clients likely won't understand tech jargon the way your colleague would.
Either way, you want language to be clear, concise and easy to understand.
Use Scribe to speed up this process by auto-generating step-by-step guides that you can quickly edit and share internally and externally. Scribe is SOC 2 Type II compliant and passionate about maintaining security, so that you and your clients can comfortably trust the tool to help you get the job done.
4. Review & edit
Whether you're using an MSP documentation tool like Scribe or manually building your guides, you'll want to have an SME review your content to ensure it's:
Clearly document and manage your review process by using a tagging and assigning system
5. Publish & maintain
Publish the documentation in a format that is easily accessible to your team members and customers. You might build your own customer-facing knowledge base using a platform like Scribe.
Wherever it lives, it's up to your team to keep the documentation up-to-date. Schedule quarterly or annual audit sessions where you review your internal content, and meetings with your client reps to review content and provide them with changes as needed. Remember that every time a process or software updates, it's up to you to identify and change the corresponding documentation. Organization and templatization is key here.
Use an MSP documentation template
An MSP document template is a blueprint for generating MSP documents, whether internal or external. The template defines and outlines what information is to be included in the document and how this information is formatted in the output.
MSP document templates are self-contained archive files that you can duplicate and use to create a particular MSP document.
These templates have both static and dynamic content. Static MSP document content often includes the guiding text (and sometimes images) provided in the template, while dynamic content is information that you can be add or delete yourself.
Check out our free list of MSP documentation templates, that you can take advantage of today.
Creating MSP documentation is a crucial part of running a successful MSP business. You can leverage documentation tools like Scribe to build MSP documentation that:
- Saves time.
- Increases efficiency.
- Boosts customer service.
- Gives team members and customers access to the information they need, when they need it.
What are you waiting for? Start building your MSP documentation today!