SOS Support Stresses the Importance of Documentation
Imagine you’re an explorer, and you’ve been asked to chart and navigate a newly discovered network of caves. As you excitedly start to grab your explorer hat and the Indiana Jones theme begins playing in your head, you’re told that you will be completing this task without any light source. For some reason. No lanterns, no flashlights, nothing. You’re dumbfounded. How on earth are you supposed to navigate the pitch darkness of a cave without light?
OK, perhaps a bit of an extreme example, but this is what doing anything without documentation is like. Blindly searching. (Indiana Jones would probably agree).
Documentation is one of your most vital tools, and should be a foundational aspect in any organization. It allows you to react more quickly and to be more agile. It’s also a huge timesaver. Not only is it important to have a comprehensive set of standard operating procedures (SOPs), but you should also document client environments meticulously and thoroughly. This helps you deliver customized, high-level service and builds trust with your client.
For SOS Support (No. 487 on the 2018 MSP 501), documentation is king, and a key differentiator. In 2017, the company adopted the popular IT documentation software IT Glue (being acquired by Kaseya), and it has slowly but significantly transformed its business.
“It is well worth the investment of man hours, and we are seeing it benefit us daily,” says Jason Kidman, president and CEO of SOS. “I don’t know how we functioned before. When I’m consulting with a prospective client, I explain the value of robust documentation, tapping into the relatable pain point of the difficulty of switching IT providers. We tell them that if they ever choose to switch from us to someone else, we will provide the necessary documentation, reports and everything they will need for an easy transition. That is now part of our regular services, and it’s been met with a very positive response.”
A large part of the documentation process is compliance. In the case of SOS, which has a large focus in the health-care industry, compliance is vital. Needless to say, you need it in place to ensure you’re following the rules. It is necessary to stay within industry regulations to ensure the safety of your staff and customers, and to make sure that your staff can carry out their work effectively and without a hitch.
“Without the necessary documentation in place, you run the risk of serious consequences like fines, shutdowns or legal action,” warns Kidman. “We have always been strong in the health-care industry, and we had to learn and grow with our customers through the HIPAA enforcements and enhanced regulations. It’s second nature to us now, but that’s something we really had to pay attention and get used to.”
Documentation might seem overwhelming, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s necessary. It can’t be a side project or something you’ll get to eventually. It can be complicated and tedious, but documentation (particularly compliance documentation) tedium and woes present a huge opportunity for MSPs who want to help their clients avoid costly and damaging penalties.
You’re going to want that light in the cave. So are your clients.