When doing Kaseya classes and seminars we always say: ”When it comes to Kaseya Agent Procedures, anything goes”. Anything you can do with the command line, registry, files and folders, services, file content, wmi, powershell, keyboard or mouse can most certainly be put in a Kaseya Agent Procedure. Imagination, innovation and the constant strive for improvement is the main ingredients for automation success. In this blog post we put down the 7 best tips for creating brilliant Kaseya Agent Procedures.
Keeping structure of things is often easier said than done, therefore the most important tip. We often see chaos in the structure of Kaseya Agent Procedures and we call this ”Chalies best procedure” syndrome. Nobody’s got a clue what the Kaseya Agent Procedure does or why it exists but Charlie. You can imagine what happens if Charlie leaves your company and all his knowledge and automation skills is poorly documented. Let’s create som structure.
Develop a habit of documentation and structure. Keep the naming standard consistent. Keep a structured folder tree to make it easy to find any procedure. Educate your team on the importance of keeping this structure.
Try to match the names and folders of the Kaseya Agent Procedures with the different services you deliver to your clients. For example: a folder called ”Daily Maintenance” could contain the most common tasks for keeping the workstations and servers healthy by pro-actively fixing common issues.
Customer specific Kaseya Agent Procedures should be in a separate customer folder with the customer name on it.
Set proper access rights. Don’t let anyone in your team be able to edit and change the Kaseya Agent Procedures.
Let development of automation utopia be a teamwork under a shared ”In Development” folder rather than lone ranger development. Instruct your team what is needed for a Kaseya Agent Procedure to be accepted such as name, purpose, developer in charge, documentation, tested on what OS.
Put one person in charge of keeping the structure intact over time. As in physics, everything strives to be in a state of disorder. The job is to keep it together.
2. Pro-active thinking
As described before, imagination, innovation and the constant strive for improvement is the main ingredients when creating automation with Kaseya Agent Procedures. Develop a company wide mentality to solve problems pro-actively. Service Desk, sales and techs alike. When incidents occurs (and when incidents are solved), break them down from being a typhical incident all the way down to a problem, root cause and solution. Incidents need to get solved by any means, no questions asked. However, you will be amazed how most incidents are reccurring and thus making it a problem. Problems should be solved by asking questions like:
Identify the problem (the recurring incident) and create a name for it.
What is the root cause? It can be both technical and behaviour.
What is the action to eleminate the problem? As above, it can be both technical and behaviour.
Could this happen to any other customer, or all? Investigate.
What are the business values and gains if the problem is solved once and fo all? This is important both for your IT staff, end customer or board members. Prove your value!
Who is responsible for creating the automation? Many can contribute but only one should be responsible for making it happen, or it will not happen.
How and when will it be deployed? Naming standards and documentation is key here.
What will be the key metrics?
When to do the follow up? Is the automation a success based on the metrics?
3. Don’t underestimate what you DO know
It’s tempting, but you can’t do everything at once. Try it and you will find excuses not doing anything. The most common mistake is that you underestimate yourself or your team by thinking ”I/we don’t know anything about scripting, therefore I/we can’t create any Kaseya Agent Procedures”. Truth is, you don’t need to know everything about scripting or Kaseya Agent Procedures to get started. A simple command line, registry hack or service restart can do wonders. Your team are all sitting on unique ways of solving daily tasks, why not start there? Translate what you DO know right now to step-by-step Kaseya Agent Procedures and you will be amazed how much you can do. The key is to take small steps. Download the Upstream Kaseya Power Pack and visit the Kaseya Community for inspiration.
4. Weekly staff meetings
Talk to each other. Organize weekly staff meetings where incidents and are broken down to problems solved with the help of Kaseya Agent Procedures. Document every new solution and keep track of the innovations in the team. Set a clear goal to solve at least one irritating problem a week. Give appreciation the the problem solver of the month. Write a check, buy a beer or some movie tickets. Just do something to keep the spirit (and competition) alive.
5. Calculate saved time
Take some time to save time. Kaseya Agent Procedures is a very important part of the total IT-service delivery and the backbone of the Kaseya autmation platform. Track time spent and saved by automation and pro-active maintenance is one of the most important keys when measuring the performance of the delivery.
Keep a spreadsheet of every task needed to be done on you clients and estimate the manual time spent on each. This can be a group discussion.
Highlight the tasks that can be automated immediately with any of the Kaseya modules such as Microsoft patch managment, common 3:rd party software updates, AV updates and just do it (like the famous shoe brand).
Look at the manual task being done such as restarts, registry checks, restart one specific application each day, clean up a transaction folder and so on.
Let every technician describe the routines at the customers and let them estimate the manual time spent on each task.
Collect all the hours spent and keep this as the main number to lower down over time.
Break out the human factor and not be tied to a specific technician (remember Charlie?) for a specific task or customer.
Bottom line, do more with less.
6. Translate the automation to customer value
One thing that many IT-service providers have a hard time with is translating the hardcore automation into a selling customer value proposition. The wikipedia definition is: ”A good customer value proposition will provide convincing reasons why a customer should buy a product or service, and also differentiate your product or service from competitors”. What good is the service if the customer does not understand the value? What value do you bring to the table? As much as tip 5 indicates that time and money can be saved with automation, the need to communicate this with the customer value is also very important. What seems rock solid for us techies is often jibberish to the customer or end user.
7. Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop trying. Ever!
Good enough today is not good enough tomorrow. That’s the hard truth. Both as a team and individuals, practice constant learning. Stay educated on topics that can help you get the best out of automation. Take classes, read blog posts, listen to podcasts, visit the Kaseya Community. Catch up on general IT news at least once a week. Discuss all of this during weekly staff meetings or company held lunch-and-learn sessions. Most importantly, don’t stop trying. Ever!
Implementing these 7 tips in the organization will do amazing things both in productivity and company spirit. Get rid of the boring tasks and do what really matters. Stop being the IT plumber around the block, they are a dying breed. Be a professional advisor to you customers and talk about improving their business IT, not keep IT floating.
Happy scripting and automation!
/The Upstream Tech Team