Documenting the Details with Automated Runbooks

This is the eighth installment in a new series on the BitTitan blog, “The Complete MSP,” built to help IT professionals stay ahead of the Azure curve and accelerate the evolution of your customers’ solutions.  In previous posts, we covered the growing professional and managed services opportunity around Azure (“Blue Gold: The Azure Gold Rush and How to Cash In”) as well as best security practices (“Azure Security: Five Planning Tips For New Environments“). See all posts in the series here.

 

Are you so focused on protecting “big data” that you don’t even notice when the high-value “small data” slips away?

It happens quietly. That fantastic engineer who had every IP address in the data center memorized and knew every configuration setting on every device? Yeah…great guy. But he just quit.

That superb manager whose teams always fired on all cylinders because she kept them disciplined in the proper procedures to get everything done? She went to another company.

When key people leave, they take operational knowledge with them: how things get done, how to fix things that break, how to respond to emergencies, etc. Oftentimes, we don’t realize the value of this knowledge until it’s too late. Suddenly, things start to break, or project timelines slip. When people have questions, they don’t know who to ask. When new people are hired, they may sit idle for weeks until somebody properly trains and onboards them.

Having a disciplined documentation strategy will bode well for both the MSP business itself and service delivery to customers. Here’s how MSPComplete from BitTitan can help.

 

Preserving Processes

While BitTitan Automated Runbooks increase efficiency in every digital system, they also provide an excellent platform for preserving and protecting corporate knowledge:

Configuration Information: As new servers, storage, switches, routers, even desktops, laptops and other client devices are added to your network, their IP addresses and configuration settings are recorded in the runbook. If anyone ever needs to restore a device and needs configuration information, there’s one source of truth for them to turn to. The runbook.

Workflow: A system consists of more than just digital devices. People are also integral to most systems. When we identify tasks that need to be performed periodically in a specific standard sequence, that becomes a workflow that can be tracked by a runbook. The runbook then contains every task or step that must be executed for the workflow to be performed. When new employees join, the runbook can become the tool they need to learn how to do their job.

Wizards: Users often request support to get things done on their own client devices. Just as software products and platforms provide wizards to automate their installation and other functions, the runbook can provide users with wizards that walk them through many common and some not-so-common activities.

 

The Quest for Consistency

There’s a larger shift needed away from “there’s never time to do it right, but always time to do it over” to a scalable, repeatable model built around a single standard of success. And you already have those processes within your organization – the problem is, they are scattered amongst your people and probably not consistently followed.

No longer does the solution for consistency have to lie solely in training. Your runbook can guide your people through each process as it looks when it’s done properly. This dramatically increases the frequency of getting things right the first time which increases employee satisfaction while reducing costs and driving efficiency.

 

Leveraging Runbooks as the Best Place to Document Everything

The BitTitan Runbook Library gives you a tremendous jump start on creating your own comprehensive runbooks. Just browsing through the library will fire off great ideas for you. MSPComplete was designed to be the ideal toolset for managing services. Those services may be provided by digital systems, or by human beings, or better yet – a combination of both. By turning your corporate knowledge into a consistent, actionable runbook that gives everyone the blueprints for success and ensures your end customers receive the best managed service experience from your team. Want to learn more about MSPComplete? Reach out today!

 

 

 

About the author

Howard M. Cohen

Howard M. Cohen is a Senior Resultant and Contributor to the Bits & Bytes Blog. He is a 30+ year executive veteran of the Information Technology industry, an authorized CompTIA instructor, and a regular contributor to IT industry publications.

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