Where your IT documentation resides is essential

The first time customers asked questions about their IT environment that you couldn’t immediately find answers to, you saw the importance of first-hand IT documentation. A formal IT documentation strategy ensures that the information you and your customers need is stored searchable and organized, and it doesn’t take hours to find warranty information or passwords. Additionally, IT documentation integrated into your technician’s workflows solves the problem of siled tribal knowledge and knowledge that leaves employees when they quit or retire.

How MSPs Manage IT Documentation

However, when solving the challenge of ensuring that information is available to your team whenever they need it, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) need to make sure that you don’t create new problems. One of the best ways to make sure that you can manage IT documentation and get value from it is to use the right software.

This topic surfaced on Reddit system administration thread recently and based on feedback, the technical teams are turning to:

Some of the most positive reviews regarding the IT documentation were about Atlassian Confluence for Jira. It is a wiki, functioning as a knowledge base. It gives teams the ability to store a lot of documentation, but it’s not formatted as a shareable document. One user said they use Confluence for documentation and Docs for sharing outside of the organization.

IT Glue is software specially designed for document management for MSPs. This SOC 2 compliant platform provides you with a framework and templates to organize information based on industry best practices.

Powered by Markdown, this solution allows team members to write documents and publish them online. It also offers offline functionality and support for mobile users.

Wiki.js is customizable open source wiki software. One of the IT pros who weighed in on Reddit pointed out that Wiki.js’ WYSIWYG editor makes it easy to use.

Mediawiki, the document management platform that powers Wikipedia, helps organize information and make it available to your team. One of the Reddit users pointed out that it is easy to use and is a viable option if flat permissions are acceptable to your organization.

Sphinx is a Python document generator that can be used for computer documentation and a range of other types of documentation.

This multi-tenant IT documentation platform gives MSPs the ability to store and access information, create repeatable processes and checklists, and use personalized assets.

This solution is based on the organization of a book shelf – information is organized in volumes, chapters and pages.

This open source wiki software does not require a database and is easy to maintain. One Reddit user said that it is easy to extract and move information or display information on their own.

A few people who weighed in on Reddit also commented on platforms with broader functionality that included documentation, such as Microfocus atmosphere and Dynamix team.

Beware of note-taking solutions

Even with so many options for saving and sharing information, siled data remains a challenge. Techs can still save customer-specific notes and tips and tricks in a note-taking app and not share that information with the rest of your team, going against your plans to have information easily accessible. Additionally, if you need to share information from a note-taking app with a client or third party, it will likely take some work to reformat it before it looks polished enough to send.

Find what is right for your business

When you review the options that other organizations choose for IT documentation, it’s easy to see that you have a wide range to choose from that are highly structured and designed for MSPs that incorporate the integration of professional services (PSA), remote monitoring and management (RMM) and other business tools to open source wikis that allow you to develop your own format for organizing vital information.

Evaluate your operation, identify the challenges your team faces with IT documentation, and choose the solution that will provide you with the features, functionality, data security, and low total cost of ownership that will bring the greatest value to your business. Most importantly, implement an IT documentation strategy to collect, store, and organize the vital information you need.

Former owner of a software development company and with over a decade of writing experience for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of XaaS Journal and DevPro Journal.

Sam D. Gomez