Customer Success

The Importance of SOPs for MSPs: How to Create & Implement Them

Here's how to identify and build SOPs as a managed service provider, so your customers can get the support they need in the way they need it.

Introduction

An SOP or a standard operating procedure is a set of written instructions that define the step-by-step process of doing a task from start to end.  An SOP should be followed to the core to ensure that your operations comply with industry regulations and standards.

SOPs play an important role in helping organizations to achieve operational efficiency. It includes proper policies, processes, and standards the organization needs to achieve operational efficiency.  

SOPs have many benefits. It helps to reduce errors, increase operational efficiencies, help to achieve a safer workplace, and create guidelines on how to resolve issues, finally focusing on improving revenue. 

SOP for MSPs

SOPs are a powerful tool for MSPs, especially if you plan to streamline your operations. Whether you want to onboard new staff and offer quality support or need to answer a support call or create a ticket, an SOP can be a lifesaver for MSPs. MSP SOPs help you set a standard procedure for any routine and repeatable task like installation of a new machine, onboarding or offboarding the end user, backup verification, etc. 

Here are some MSP SOP examples: 

 

How to identify & build MSP SOPs

Creating your first MSP SOP may seem daunting, especially if you are doing it from scratch. So, here’s a step-by-step guide to identifying and building your first MSP SOP. 

Understand the requirement

If you want to standardize a process by creating an SOP, you need to define why you need to standardize the process. To find the answer, ask yourself what problem the standardization process will solve and if having an SOP in place will help faster operations with fewer errors.

Pro tip: You don't need to create SOP for even smaller processes. Leave them out of the scope of the SOP with fewer guidelines and frameworks. However, you might want to group smaller tasks under a cluster and create an SOP. For example, you might not need an SOP for ticket creation, but you can create a bigger ticket triage cluster and create an SOP for the same. 

Determine the format

Once you determine the purpose, choose the format for your SOP document. Choose a format that goes well with the content of the document. For example, a checklist format will be the most appropriate if you need to check an inventory. On the other hand, a process flow will have a lot of flowcharts. So choose the one that fits most with your requirements. 

You may choose any of these three approaches to deciding how you want to present your SOP.

Simple checklist

You don't need to create unnecessary complex instructions if you are a small team. A simple checklist for the tasks to be performed should work as well. This works best when you are trying out new processes. 

Complex linear checklist

With a complex linear checklist, you can include all the details you need. In this format, you can break down each task into a sub-task and elaborate on it with a sub checklist. This format works best when you need to include many details and there are a lot of variables to consider. The biggest advantage of this is you can make it as detailed as you need to without making it complex so that even a new hire can understand and conduct the task successfully. 

Process flow diagram

As the name suggests, you create visual diagrams of process flows that will help you to understand the entire process. 

Note down the steps

Your SOP should be an easy-to-understand document with step-by-step guidelines for the process for which you are creating the SOP. This means you must critically analyze all the steps involved and create an easy-to-follow structure. Scribe helps you to create the step-by-step guide in an easy-to-follow format. Check out how Scribe works:

Remember, your SOP document should include the following:

How to begin the process

Ask yourself:

  1. What are the steps that need to be followed to complete the process?
  2. What is the desired outcome of the process?
  3. What can be the possible scenarios of the process.

Then:

  1. Write the SOP document.
  2. Collaborate with other stakeholders

To ensure your SOP is comprehensive, collaborate with all the important stakeholders in the team. Collaboration has double brownies — you create the most comprehensive SOP document, and the employees, too, feel invested in the process. 

Jot down the process & the purpose

Creating an SOP from scratch is huge, and you may get distracted from it in between. Jotting down the process and the purpose of creating the SOP in the first place will work as a guide rail so that even if you get distracted, it will help you get back on track. Also, it will ensure that the process aligns with your internal working system within the company. 

Make the structure of the SOP

The title page covers the basic information about the document — date, creator, version, who is creating it, and what it will cover. it includes:

  1. A short synopsis of what will be covered in the document
  2. The body is where you note down the actual process. 
  3. A list of equipment ( if the SOP needs certain tools to be installed) or a list of glossaries if needed. 

Pick a writing style and stick to it.When writing an SOP for your MSP, choose a simple language and stick to it. Staying consistent with the language and flow is important when creating the SOP. Ensure it's concise and easy to read. 

Scribe top tip: Ensure each statement has an action item and starts with a verb. 

How to share & update MSP SOPs

Now that your SOP is ready, it’s time to share it. Go ahead and do a pilot run with it. If your team finds it easy to work with, you know you are good to go. But if there are difficulties following the SOP, you must go back to the drawing board and relook at it. 

Business environments are constantly evolving, and so is how you do a task. So you need to constantly review your MSP at least once a year and keep the document updated. 

Creating an SOP from scratch is time-consuming, cumbersome, and often overwhelming for small teams. That's the reason many smaller organizations tend to skip creating an MSP SOP. But know that creating an SOP will improve the team's efficiency and help you streamline your MSP operations. With Scribe, you can create SOPs in minutes. Scribe lets you create a step-by-step visual document guide easily.

Here’s an example of how Scribe works:

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