Where Your IT Documentation Lives Is Essential

The fact you need to collect and store information about your clients is obvious. But where to keep it? Not so much.

IT Documentation

The first time clients asked questions about their IT environments that you couldn’t immediately find the answer to, you experienced first-hand IT documentation’s importance. A formal IT documentation strategy ensures that the information you and your clients need is stored in a searchable, organized way, and it doesn’t take hours to find warranty information or passwords. Furthermore, IT documentation built into your technician’s workflows solves the problem of siloed tribal knowledge – and knowledge that leaves with employees when they resign or retire.

How MSPs Manage IT Documentation

However, when you solve the challenge of ensuring information is available to your team whenever they need it, managed service providers (MSPs) need to ensure you aren’t creating new issues. One of the best ways to ensure you can handle – and derive value from – IT documentation is to use the right software.

This topic surfaced on the Reddit sysadmin thread recently, and based on the comments, tech teams are turning to:

Some of the most positive comments on IT documentation were related to Atlassian Confluence for Jira. It is a wiki functioning as a knowledge base. It allows teams to store a lot of documentation, but it isn’t formatted as a sharable doc. One user said they use Confluence for documentation and Docs for sharing outside the organization.

IT Glue is software specifically designed for document management for MSPs. This SOC 2-compliant platform provides a framework and templates for organizing information based on industry best practices.

Powered by Markdown, this solution allows team members to write docs and publish them online. It also features 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 made it easy for people 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’s easy to use and a viable option if flat permissions are acceptable for your organization.

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

This multitenant IT documentation platform allows MSPs to store and access information, create repeatable processes and checklists, and use custom-built assets.

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

This open-source wiki software doesn’t require a database and is easy to maintain. A Reddit user commented that extracting and moving information or viewing it on its own is easy.

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

Beware of Notetaking Solutions   

Despite many options for saving and sharing information, siloed data is still a challenge. For example, technicians may save notes and client-specific tips and tricks on a notetaking app and not share that information with the rest of your team, working against your plans to have easily accessible information. Additionally, if you need to share information from a notetaking app with a client or a third party, it will probably take some work to reformat it before it looks polished enough to send.

Find What’s Right for Your Business

As you review the options that other organizations choose for IT documentation, it’s easy to see that you have a broad range of choices from those that are highly structured and designed for MSPs that integrate with professional services integration (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 functionality, features, data security, and low total cost of ownership that will deliver the greatest value to your business. But above all, put an IT documentation strategy in place to collect, store and organize the vital information you need.

Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of Managed Services Journal (formerly XaaS Journal) and DevPro Journal.