Ali Peracha, Vice President and Founder of ITBoost, a ConnectWise solution, explains how modern IT documentation platforms can help technology service providers become more productive and profitable
To keep customer environments running smoothly, technology service providers (TSPs) are always switching between multiple platforms – one for IT documentation, another to run analytics, yet another for tracking. Toggling between different platforms doesn’t just affect productivity; it also introduces security risks and could compromise SLA response times.
With more and more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to optimise returns from their managed IT infrastructure, TSPs are coming under increased pressure to boost how they support and extend customer environments. This means eliminating fractured work processes and initiating proactive support measures that save clients time and money.
Today’s IT documentation platforms can help TSPs become more productive and profitable by streamlining IT document procedures and bringing everything together to boost operational efficiency. As well as reducing downtime, systemising and standardising documentation processes gives TSPs and their customers peace of mind that their data is always fully secure.
So, what are some of the key characteristics and functionality a TSP should look for in an IT document management platform?
A centralised knowledge-base of everything
Leveraging advanced technologies to deliver the professional services automation and remote monitoring and management TSPs rely on, today’s IT documentation platforms link critical information across companies, contacts and assets in one central point.
Alongside relationship mapping, these systems make it easy to incorporate everything that relates to the extended support environment, including client feedback and password vaults, as well as integrating ticket, asset and data monitoring from external platforms and services.
Top-tier platforms will provide a number of versatile centralised dashboards and advanced tools. Ideally, these should include:
*An organisational dashboard that gives TSPs a snapshot of every contact within the customer’s organisation, together with all activities within the business. These activities can be organised and categorised, ideally using unique and customisable icons.
*A configuration dashboard covering all servers and workstations integrated with RMM, detailing charts, metrics and statistical information relating to each configuration. This should feature matching rules that make it convenient and easy for TSPs to identify any pre-existing records held in their PSA software.
*A knowledge repository that makes it easy to import and categorise documents, providing tech experts with a searchable knowledge-base that is easy to navigate.
*External services integration that allows TSPs to connect to external software, programmes and tools for faster turnarounds and easier collaboration. With VoIP integration, e.g. Ring Central and Jive, TSPs can provide teams with on-screen prompts that support the delivery of seamless and consistent client service experiences.
*A customer feedback dashboard that enables TSPs to capture customer sentiment and implement corrections that improve service to drive customer satisfaction.
*Robust security and backup that enables administrators to control who can access and see various areas of the platform. This should include being able to track, edit and restore all assets, passwords, domains, SSLs and knowledge base articles.
*For enhanced security, a password vault that enables users to pull up, view, edit, alter and audit the trail of another user’s password is vital in preventing data breaches, improving employee productivity and boosting compliance.
*Finally, an optimised IT documentation platform should enable TSPs to create custom templates for configuration, so that standardised documentation processes can be built for customers.
Why IT documentation platforms matter
The tumultuous events triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic have placed unprecedented demands on TSPs tasked with keeping services up and running. As remote working became the norm, cybersecurity issues came to the fore as a top operational priority. With so much data now being shared externally via the cloud, TSPs – and their customers – need certainty that documentation is always current and can be securely shared.
Today’s dedicated documentation tools enable TSPs to address this challenge and more, for example by making it easier to support customers through crisis landscapes by ensuring internal teams can continue to collaborate and operate smoothly from anywhere.
Ultimately, IT documents represent an important asset that directly impacts the customer experience. When a TSP’s tech experts have to waste time and money hunting down resources that enable them to effect the shortest time to resolution for common challenges, standardising documentation and bringing everything together in one place will be key to driving performance and profitability.
As we move into the COVID-19 recovery phase, the economic challenges facing SMBs make it likely that they will carefully scrutinise every spend decision, using cost-benefit analysis to identify which high return expenditures they should continue to prioritise.
For TSPs that want to fortify their business and eliminate unnecessary expense for customers, including the need to employ additional in-house personnel to cope with infrastructure maintenance demands, today’s all-in-one documentation platforms not only significantly extend the capabilities and capacity of TSP operations, they also deliver the real-time customer feedback metrics that can help TSPs monitor the health of their business and identify where they can deliver the proactive support customers need.