To some, it can be difficult to differentiate between aligning clients with standards and best practices and documenting client environments. MSPs should consider both of these areas significantly important, but understand the difference between the two. To put it simply…
Documentation is how things are right now & Alignment is how things should be compared against your standards
Documentation –How things are
Every company should put processes around documentation. Professional services should be creating documentation so that the support desk has reference material when reactive tickets are submitted. Support desk should make note of any missing documentation throughout their day to day efforts. While doing technology alignment reviews, the Technology Alignment Manager often finds that documentation needs to be updated or created. These items should be noted and submitted to a shared list, and then queued up to be completed. At every organization, someone should be held accountable to ensuring documentation is delegated to the right team(s) and we are all actively working on completing it. In many instances, it makes sense to have someone in the Service Desk delivery area own this process as they are actively using the documentation when completing reactive tickets.
Alignment – How things should be
The Technology Alignment process is meant to continuously align clients with standards and best practices. The box and the blob (pictured below) analogy explains this in a simple way: if our standards are the box and our client’s alignment is against our standards is the blob, we want to constantly attempt to push our clients into the box as much as possible. While we know that clients will never be 100% in alignment, we continue to proactively review their environments to drive down reactive noise and notify the vCIO of misalignments. Creating, updating, and modifying standards and best practices should be a collaborative and deliberate process among multiple different functions of the MSP. Each delivery area has a unique perspective, and can offer value as we consider the standards that define our organization’s ideal client environment.
The processes MSPs put in place around technology alignment and documentation are key to a high value, strategic vCIO process that differentiates TruMethods MSPs from the average MSP. They enable the vCIO to easily reference key information and map out a strategic roadmap that helps business owners and leaders understand technology’s impact on their business. While that is what demonstrates the value of your service to clients, it is not doable without a strong foundation of technology alignment and documentation!
Think about this: What internal processes or systems has your company put in place for technology alignment and documentation?