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Why Most IT Documentation Fails

  

Most documentation efforts fail, especially in smaller IT service providers or understaffed internal teams. But there are different points of failure, which means that solving one issue might not get you anywhere near where you need to be. In fact, you might find yourself playing a game of whack-a-mole, with a new problem scuttling your documentation dreams just as you solve the first one.

To solve the many different IT documentation problems, you’ll need to know what they are. Let’s go over the big ones.

Point of Failure #1 – It’s Flat

A common mistake a lot of IT folks make is thinking that the documentation process begins and ends with ‘writing stuff down.’ If only it was that easy. Flat documentation, that is to say, documentation that lacks any meaningful structure, just doesn’t have that much value. It’s not easy to find, and near impossible to navigate. Not a big problem if you have infinite manpower at your disposal, and your clients are totally chill when their systems are down. Flat documentation simply does not serve your needs or your customers’ needs. Structured documentation does.

Point of Failure #2 – It’s Out of Date

Do you wake up in the morning excited to spend several hours doing data entry? Yeah, me either. A lot of IT service providers, trying to save money on documentation, concoct these crazy kludges using multiple different applications. That’s fine, except that in the overwhelming majority of cases it’s all manual. Which means that the minute things start to get busy, or you lose a key person, you don’t have time to keep everything up to date. Out-of-date documentation is almost worse than none at all because you are counting on it, only to find out that it’s actually not going to help you. Automation and integrations allow you to document more stuff in a lot less time. Does it cost more money? Sure. But what’s your time worth?

Point of Failure #3 – The Team Doesn’t Want It

If you’re an owner or senior tech, you’re probably all-in on documentation. But is everybody in your company? For most IT service providers, the answer is no. People either like squirrelling away information in their heads because they feel more powerful, or they don’t like manual documentation or whatever their excuse is. The reality is that if your team doesn’t buy in, your documentation efforts will fail. But with a formal system, targets for documentation, and a dashboard for building engagement, you are in a much better position to motivate your team – carrot, stick or otherwise – to buy into documentation culture.

Point of Failure #4 – It’s not Centralized

This is another reason why kludging it up doesn’t work for documentation. I mean, sure, you could document everything just fine. But how easy is that system for a new person to learn? Do they take 3-6 months to figure everything out, or do they take 3-6 weeks? And what does that workflow look like? I can say, entirely without any marketing hyperbole, that it’s about a million times easier to find everything you need to close tickets when all that information is in the same centralized location, and linked together, versus having it spread across multiple applications, with no linking structure whatsoever.

Point of Failure #5 – It’s not IT Glue!

IT Glue gives you centralized, structured documentation. We’ve got 30+ native integrations and a bunch more that other channel vendors have built with our API. It’s easy, takes less work than other systems, and delivers more value. On top of all that, IT Glue comes with tools such as flags, checklists, and workflows, which you can use to ensure that all the work gets done, it gets done according to your precise specifications, and that your team is fully accountable for the work that has been assigned to it.

If this was six years ago, it would be easy to see what so many IT service providers were struggling with their documentation. But it’s 2019, and there’s no logical reason for any IT service provider to struggle with documentation. Not when there’s IT Glue.

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