The Next MSP Toolset: Documentation?
For several years now, documentation has been an “almost hot” topic for managed services providers (MSPs). But somewhere in 2015, it seems like documentation and better process management went from “should do” to “must do” on many MSP priority lists. That’s where IT Glue enters the conversation.
IT Glue promotes a documentation platform that roughly 1,000 MSPs and 10,000 IT professionals have adopted, according to founder and CEO Chris Day. Now that PSA (professional services automation), RMM (remote monitoring and management) and BDR (backup and disaster recovery) have proliferated, Day sees documentation as the next natural platform to help MSPs recover time, improve customer support and boost margins.
The IT Glue platform offers four major benefits, the company claims:
1. MSPs can develop and retain best practices forever: The result is a secure, sustainable, long-term documentation platform that protects the business even as employees come and go. In other words, your knowledge doesn’t walk out the door with an employee who resigns. The best practices — for your help desk, customer onboarding, etc. — remain in the documentation system forever.
2. Write once, use forever: MSPs can create a knowledge base that describes how specific customer issues have been handled, so that “repeat” problems are either eliminated completely or minimized.
3. Shared Knowledge: MSPs can share the documentation and knowledge base with key stakeholders — help desk employees, NOC experts, customers, etc. — based on well-defined access controls.
4. Predictable Costs: IT Glue has a flat monthly fee based on the number of people who manage, create and update the IT documentation.
Documentation: From Scattered to Focused
Of course, IT documentation isn’t a new topic. Corporate IT departments and IT service providers have used a hodgepodge of tools to “document” their “processes” for decades. Familiar options include shared Google Docs, Atlassian Documentation, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft OneNote and various Wiki platforms, among many others.
In the IT service provider market, numerous companies have been striving to help MSPs and VARs to document their processes. ConnectWise, for instance, in 2013 invested in BizDox but overall that platform hasn’t caught fire with MSPs.
More recently, Process Plan attracted MSP attention during IT Nation 2015. No doubt, IT Glue has been attracting plenty of attention, too — winning an IT Nation Partner’s Choice award at IT Nation. The platform already integrates with ConnectWise, and a range of RMM (remote monitoring and management) integrations should arrive around January 2016, according to CEO Chris Day.
IT Glue: Looking Back, And Ahead
Day certainly knows his way around the MSP market. He previously built Fully Managed, one of Canada’s most successful MSPs.
Now, he’s heads-down building IT Glue. The company leveraged some seed funding to get started, and now has roughly 21 employees — 14 of which are software developers.
Overall, it sounds like IT Glue is on firm financial footing — meaning that it’s well-positioned to serve MSPs for the long-haul. The wildcard involves the corporate IT market. Just how far will IT Glue push in that direction? To find the answer keep an eye on platforms like FreshDesk, Spiceworks and Zendesk. If integrations with those platforms pop up, it will be a clear signal that IT Glue sees corporate IT opportunities accelerating as well.