fbpx

Eureka Process hosts a peer group round table joined by Terry McAdams of MacTech Solutions, Tracy Hardin of Next Century Technologies and Erick Anderson of NetworkTech. Topics of discussion: getting staff involved in documentation, documentation accountability, tools for efficiency and consistency in documentation and more.

Video Transcript

Allen Edwards
Welcome everybody to the it documentation user roundtable discussion with special guest, Tracy harden, Eric Anderson and Terry McAdams. For those of you who may be tuning in, outside of the it Doug Facebook users group, that’s what we are is we are a Facebook users group, the direct URL is fb.com slash group slash it, Doug, or within Facebook, you can just do at it, Doug and tag us or find us anywhere. Our group is all about users of it documentation, systems sharing and learning tips and tricks from each other, which is also exactly what today’s webinar is about. And if you want to find any of our past webinar recordings, or documentations, you can find them at Eureka, process.com, slash category slash it, Doug. And we almost got that shortened to where you can go to Eureka process.com, slash it duck. A little bit about our founding how they get started. Tracy harden, who’s also one of our guest hosts today, founded the group back in 2018. She wanted to learn it glue, because she had it and felt like she didn’t know enough about it and couldn’t find any other help. So formed this group, August 2018, she expanded it to all types of it documentation, not just ice glue, and edited into co admin, by September of 2019, around 1000 members 10 months later, 2000 and now we’re over 2500. And we might even be able to break 3000 by January. The more members we have, the more people we have to share ideas with and from and to help solve our issues. So keep in mind, I am that new co admin. So I’ve been helping host this webinar series and maintain the group with our team. I’ve been in it since 1994. Not that I’m that old, I just started young. I’ve owned an MSP sold an MSP run some others. I’m also an EOS implementer. And I run a company called Eureka process. Eureka process is what we do all day long. It’s a lot about coaching not only in documentation, button processes, dealing with issues and working with tools that msps provide. So I would like to just give you a quick introduction to our team because they’re all going to weigh in on some various issues. They have pre planned. But if you have issues you would like to see covered, please send us a chat. Send a email if you have to get a next time or use the IT group or just raise your hand and unmute your microphone. So first up, we have Eric Anderson. I met him about a year and a half ago I think doing one is the exact roundtables. Uh, Eric, can you give us a little more about your background?

Erick Anderson
Sure. As you can see from the slide, I’m currently Service Delivery Manager for network technologies here in Kansas, I’ve had a couple different msps I’ve worked for in various different roles over the years. Lots of different documentation systems, we currently use it glue here for our documentation system and I’m always looking to seek and improve our processes and how we’re getting that information and where that information lives. Of course work Microsoft Certified Connect wise ITIL for net so far, so have a wide, wide range of of experience. And right now I’m I’m a leader of a group of 16 proactive team and a reactive team. So

Allen Edwards
amazing. Thank you very much for lending your experiences to us today, Eric. Sure. And then up next we have Terry McAdams he and I think actually met during the same exact presentation like this we did about a year and a half ago we had a great planning session but Terry’s the one that taught me to use tools like calendly and outlook because we’ve messed up on time zones and he he was an hour after the presentation or like Terry Murray’s like I thought it was now and I have even yesterday I just terrible timezone math for New Zealand and I’m in the Pacific Time timezone. So it’s it’s difficult, Terry, glad you could make it today. Could you give us your introduction, please?

Terry McAdams
Well, Terry McAdams, Mac tech solutions we are an apple authorized reseller and service provider. We have started this business in my spare bedroom in 1996. When I moved here to Wichita Falls, I was in the Air Force I was active duty at the time and can only do it help stuff part time. And then I retired from the Air Force in 2004 and hired myself and said okay, let’s get this going full time. And so we took it from there. I had been working on relationships with through Apple for a long time and basically got was able to establish myself with Apple in the reseller side and on the service provider side. And so fast forward to you know, the last few years have been, I’m a budding MSP. We don’t have a lot of actual MSP customers only a handful, literally, I think I have, I’ve got two or three. I mean, that’s it, you know, and then I’ve got some subscriptions and things I’ve been sort of beta testing all these things. And it glue is our documentation platform. And so we use that. And then, and he has on the slide here that I actually don’t do the Terry’s tech minute anymore, but I am on Friday mornings spectively doing the same kind of thing. So Friday mornings, between six and eight, he was taught 1290. And we are streamed, so you can kind of check it out. I will warn you it is a it is a conservative right side of the political spectrum. radio station. So if you’re not into that, don’t listen. But if you’re if you are just if you like to hear and learn things, regardless of political view, then then come on, and check it out. But you can download their app and all that stuff. So But anyway, but that’s, that’s all we’re doing. And so

Allen Edwards
very interesting. Jerry, thank you for sharing, glad to have you on board. And I always hate the phrase, this person needs an introduction. So Tracy, introduce yourself.

Tracy Hardin
Well do. Hi, I’m Tracy Arden, founder and president of next century technologies here in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky. I started off working out of my car. Almost 20 years ago, I got started hiring employees in 2012. And I got my first documentation platform in 2018. And that was it glue. And like, as already stated, I couldn’t find any forums on even helping you get started with documentation and processes. So pain started Facebook group. I’ve always done really well in English. And that’s kind of why I gravitate towards processes and writing because English was my power subject in school, not math. Despite the fact that I have a CS degree. I’m English is my thing. So I take I do a lot of our documentation, but I can’t do all the documentation without my staffs help, which is won’t be the topic I’ll be talking about today is getting your staff involved. Anyway, love technology. I have six folks on my staff and getting them motivated to do documentation has been a bit of a challenge. But we’ve been quite successful. So I’ll be sharing with you guys today. Very cool.

Allen Edwards
Thank you for sharing with us today and agreeing to be on here. I do you see that we’re kind of all it glue heavy here, I will do my best when possible to interject some other systems that might work the same way with some of the ideas that we’re talking about. I also use it glue. But I also store our internal stuff in a file structures with Word documents and Excel documents. I have some folks who are on SharePoint past portal ocular. Some homegrown systems, and I’m hearing a lot of other new names in the market too. So if you guys have other systems are using, feel free to weigh in and let’s let’s talk about it and figure out how this information can translate. I do believe most of these ideas can work in other systems. All right. Well, Tracy, since we have you. Here’s the slide we picked out for you. Would you like to share your thoughts on your tips and tricks for documentation?

Tracy Hardin
Sure. So this is a getting the staff motivated, I see a lot on our group came, you know, I’ve got it glue, nobody’s putting in documentations, nobody’s updating stuff. And I think I’ve been pretty successful at getting the staff to do it. And I sat down kind of made some notes for the slide on on how I pulled it off. First and foremost, as the leader of your organization, you’ve got to love documentation. Well, okay, nobody loves documentation, let’s just be honest. But you’ve got to believe in it, you got to believe that it’s going to help your company. So what was really critical is that myself and my service manager are onboard and we actively do documentation ourselves. We both do it, we believe in it. It goes great because it tells you who was doing the documenting gives you you know, credit to the author. So, one of the most important things you can do is believe in the product and use the product. I don’t know what it would be like to buy it glue and then try to hand it off to a staff member. I’m sure you can. If that person And believes in it and really takes it. But the leadership really has to play that role, we really got to believe in it in want to do it. The reasons for having the great documentation are easy. It allows the owners to take vacations and not have to worry about how things are going at the office. So having great documentation, also, it gives you peace of mind. Plus, if you ever go to try to sell your company, having all that stuff documented, your processes, clearly identified, it’s going to make it’s going to add value to your company. So documentation is a win win. Believe in it and lead by example. So me my service manager, I found it glue. You know, I’ve tried it out, we did a lot of testing, and we both loved it. That’s the other key. If you try to glue and you hate the search on it, then find something else, you’ve got to find something that works for you. I like to search in it glue, I like the way things are organized. It took me a little while to get the hang of it. I did use their online help well read articles, watch videos, and also use their coaching to help get started. And then it made sense, and it clicked and we really like it. It blew likes, they make searching easy. If you can’t find what you’re looking for switch platforms, there’s something out there for you. There’s something out there for everybody, I believe. The other thing that my service manager and I did is we made sure documentation is expected right down to when we interview people, we stress that we do a lot of documentation, and that is part of their job description. In other words, the unwritten part of that is if you don’t document your book, we’ll get fired. Because we have got to have documentation. And we have, even though we have this in place, we’ve had employees leave and come to find out they didn’t document the device or whatever. And now we’re going to have to reset to factory defaults and start over. And that just causes time, money and headaches for my company. So we met we are very clear that documentation is expected. And we totally expect all employees to be on board with it. That is right from day one, right from the interview process. So highly recommend that you you do that as well. Um, the other thing I did that was very handy is do assignments and ownership. So documentation is like it’s huge. It’s not something you can do in a week, two weeks, or even year, we’re still documenting stuff. It’s it’s a process that’s ongoing never stops. So one of the things I did was I looked out across all the clients and saw that was really hit and miss on how the firewalls were documented. So on the company meeting on morning, I said this week, everybody is going to document the firewalls they’re responsible for you have seven days to get these items lined out. So on I we got on there, I share my screen. So this is how it’s supposed to look, I had a model set up how I wanted it documented. And then each person had their clients in my organization, we assign lead text to each of the clients. So that was their job was to go out there and document it. So you know, week one was firewalls. week two, with switches and switches to contents can take you have a lot more switches that take a little longer. So maybe I gave them two weeks, another week came up and I say backups. This is the model. This is how it’s supposed to be done. Get all your backups done. Another week I said photos, we like to photograph and take pictures of the racks and the equipment. If for larger size clients, I made that assignment. So doing the assignments means we can get that documentation elephant down to a much smaller size, one tiny bite at a time, not trying to do it all at once. It made it a lot easier.

Allen Edwards
When you first rolled this out, did you have pushback like this is costing me more time or I don’t have time to do this.

Unknown Speaker
I didn’t

Tracy Hardin
I didn’t really hear that complaint from my staff. We put so much into glue that you to work at my company, you have to log into it every day when I mean everything is in there, even information on our vendors is in there. You just got to be in blue every day just to do your job. And I think when the employee saw how easy it was to find stuff in there, we have a little knowledge base to problems that keep popping up. And before you Google, a lot of times you go to our knowledgebase and look for that, oh, we’ll help each other and say, Hey, we fix that problem. It’s in the knowledge base in the knowledge base. We’ll even reference the ticket numbers. If you want to go back to autotask and find it. You can. I didn’t get a lot of pushback. Maybe I’m lucky and I just have a real good team on that. Or you know, I know some members on my team probably didn’t like as much and you know just didn’t say anything but weren’t as thorough and put their documentation And like I said, it came back to burn us on a couple climb on a couple of client equipment when that person left, we didn’t have the credentials we needed to get into it.

Allen Edwards
What one thing you said I think is paramount that once there is a natural reward for using a documentation system, like they literally their questions are answered by going into there. And if they have a reason to open it, because they don’t have to ask you they don’t have to stop what they’re doing. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy when you hit that point. Yeah.

Tracy Hardin
Everybody’s doing it. To me, I do documentation and you know with it glue it tells you who added what and when who the last person was that edited, it gives you that little update in finance right up there to it, you know, I’m not excluded

Allen Edwards
from this. Good. Up, Erica, Terry, anything to add or comment on? a turd muted. Maybe Terry’s telling us he’s muted. Eric anything.

Erick Anderson
Yeah, just reiterate all of that. That’s, that’s great information. And I think, you know, getting that buy in. And, you know, having having everybody understand that it’s a shared responsibility. And to make your job easier, and to make you less on call for things, and the ability to step away. And, you know, there’s also an integrity thing there, right. So as an MSP owner, you’re hiring people, and that person just left with the creds in their in their brain and not in a system. So when that becomes a problem evident to a client, now, you got to go back and go, you know, sorry, Mr. Customer, you know, we need to reset this or interrupt your, your infrastructure for a few hours so we can get this reset. And that will ask why. And it’s like, well, we didn’t document Right. Yeah. And that’s a, you know, that erodes that trust that we have as MSP stewards? Right, with our clients. So.

Allen Edwards
All right. Well, thank you very much for that. don’t see any questions in the chat as of yet. So let’s go on to our next special guest. If that is okay. We will go to Eric. Eric, please let us know your thoughts. I know we had a little pre workout on this, and I love some of the stuff you’re saying I look forward to hearing more.

Erick Anderson
Yeah, so you know, in my, in my various career, I’ve been part of, you know, small groups, large groups, pods of Tech’s working specifically with clients. So just kind of go over that a little bit. So, you know, to echo what Tracy was talking about, it’s really important to kind of create that, that buy in from the team. And it’s everybody’s job, you know, there’s, there’s nothing that’s in glue that’s permanent, it’s a living, breathing thing, you know, and everybody needs to contribute to it, and, and be aware, and when you come across something that’s not right, you know, flag it or fix it right there on the spot, you know, so the way we currently are set up. And my current job is we have a company, as we have two different teams, we have a proactive team and a reactive team. So the proactive team is the team leads on those accounts for documentation. So they are the ones that it’s their job to go through and make sure the firewalls are set properly, and, and all the passwords are in there. And the switches are config, set up the right way. And we have work instructions in there that basically outline how to do different tasks for certain clients, you know, so yeah, we’re consistently adding to it, but we also need the support from the reactive team to be able to flag it and say, Hey, wait a second, this thing that’s in there is two years old, doesn’t apply in this case anymore. And, you know, the team leader of that group may not know that, you know, so, you know, it’s got to be a constant communication to improve it. And it’s, like I said, it’s a shared responsibility. So from a from a client ownership to the tech to small groups or pods. You know, there’s, there’s varying different degrees of that and you know, having that creating the champions of the product, you know, whatever you end up picking, if it’s glue or pass portal or even OneNote or SharePoint, you know, you need those people who are passionate about it, who can answer questions Who can help guide or direct so it is important to develop Those on your team, you’re not going to be able to get everybody feeling that way. But getting them subscribed to groups, like, you know, Alan and Tracy here have, you know, following what people are talking about are around documentation, we always need to improve it, you know, we always need new ways to, to document or to figure out a better way of how we handle those. So we have a lot of flexibility with it glue and overwhelming at times what we can do in it. But we have our core, you know, non flexible assets that have to be, you know, really tight and incorrect. So we rely on it, you know, every single day, and I can’t think of a ticket that we open that we don’t open it and use it somehow, another less, you know, keeping it closed all day long.

Because we’re just using it that much.

Unknown Speaker
And then go into the acquisition

Erick Anderson
there. So I was part of two different msps that merged, and we had two groups of documentation that needed to be merged. And on paper, it’s great. It’s it, glued it glue, and you would think everything would transpose easily. However, if Tracy and I compared our it, Lou, they would be very differently set up and very differently configured. Same with Terry, you know, I can compare what we’re doing to him. And it’s, it’s very different, you know, so those are the challenges. And we had challenges, you know, just outside of glue, but our ticketing system or our end product, you know, it was it was all like, like on paper, but then operationally, how do you go through and make those changes, and we did really best, you know, best practice around each of those things. We looked at the firewalls, when we said, what’s the best of this one? Or what’s the best of that one? Let’s take the two and, you know, put them together and make a new way. So yeah, it’s just a constant, you know, improvement, and in constant growth around it, you’re never done, like Tracy said.

Allen Edwards
So one thing that both you and Tracy have in common that I don’t know how common that is, is you might go back and define these terms, but you’re both set up what I tend to call pots. There are lots of methods for delivering services, pods is usually something you do that as you’re scaling a little bit, you’re suddenly too big for everybody to know everything about everyone. So you say I still want that level of service, I’m gonna break my clients up into smaller groups of clients and assign a technician or a set of technicians to that group or pod. And that’s an alternative to having like, for example, a live answer help desk or people call in and they get anybody who asked, or strictly tiered system where tickets just grow from one tier to the next, no matter your client. How did you? What do you think about the pod system? I know I’m definitely seeing positives from a documentation perspective. And both you and Tracy, if you can both wait on wipeouts?

Erick Anderson
I can go first. You know, for us? It was it was part of that right? What is a manageable number that is expected that everybody knows about everything. And for us, it’s really in that 50 to 60. You know, from the helpdesk, I can probably manage 50 or 60, from an account level team lead spot, really 10 or 15 at a time, you know, it’s based on a couple different numbers and workstations and how much MRR they bring in and things like that. But it’s it’s really a you know, it depends how you want to, you know, I don’t look at the way we’re doing things right now as a pod. But it really kind of is, to your point, Alan, because we do have specialized team leads in those spots.

You know, and they’re responsible for the proactive piece. So

from a customer standpoint, when we moved to pods, and a whole, you know, help desk situation where we had a four person help desk or 5% help desk with varying different levels of tax. They were getting our clients were getting so much better service, right? So instead of having that large group of anybody calls and answers the phone and have has to know, I might have worked on this ticket for I might have worked on this client a month ago, but haven’t touched it since. You know, so I don’t know all the different changes and what’s, what’s in there and what needs to get done. Whereas if I have that same small group of four or five people, they’re bouncing ideas all day off of each other, they’re in teams communicating, they’re updating documentation, they have a documentation champion on their team to lead that effort, you know, so there’s a lot of positives to it. And then to your point, as you scale even further, you sort of outgrow pods and then the pods change into a No role based pod. So that was your desktop team and your firewall team and your, you know, your infrastructure server team. So yeah, I agree that there’s, regardless of how we set it up, we we fall into a pod system at some point, and then maybe grow back out of it or just have a different variation of it.

Tracy Hardin
Tracy, additional thoughts? Well, I’m not, I don’t set we’re half the size of Eric’s organization. So we’re not quite at the pods. part yet, we’re still have a couple of people to help us answering all calls. We don’t have that we’re not really we’re not at that high number yet. But we feel like we have to break that into smaller groups. But I can understand how that would work. Definitely having my senior Tech’s having ownership or, you know, being a we call them champions of a client is, is very important. They’re the ones that know everything about that client. And there is some overlap, somebody goes on vacation, other people need to know, and they will pull in my text really good about tapping each other on the shoulder to get help with projects.

That’s really nice. And so everybody knows a little bit about the other some moreso. But having that one champion is really key and giving them quote, ownership, unquote, they really like that I got really good feedback on that. But a thing a question for you, Eric, because you’re kind of doing the same thing. You’re having all these people, you know, helping out with the documentation, what do you do to make sure it’s getting done? I mean, what there was an old saying that says if it isn’t measured, it isn’t. If it isn’t measured, it isn’t done. So how do you make sure that they’re actually doing what they’re supposed to be doing?

Erick Anderson
So with icy glue, specifically, because that’s what we use, there is a way to track engagement, right? Alright. So we’ve, I’ve had teams in the past where we’ve done either monthly or words or quarterly awards for most engagement are most documents created or most modified or changed? Sometimes that tends to be the same person over and over again. So we put a, you know, you can only win once rule every quarter. So somebody new wins. But yeah, that’s how we encouraged it. You know, and I think it’s, you can gamify it a little bit around that, because you’re getting some metrics off of it. I haven’t seen anything crazy, like, you know, a bright gauge dashboard. That’s measuring documentation. Sure they exist. I’m sure people are using they do. I’m sure. Ellen could speak to that. We don’t use that. But that that could be something that if we’re not getting that you can go that way and make it a KPI and make it something that they’re responsible for for their job.

Tracy Hardin
So do you have somebody on your staff that goes and looks to make sure they’re doing it? I mean, did that firewall get documented? Do you have a way to tell when? Or do you have a way to tell when? Yeah, missing? Let’s that’s maybe that’s a better question.

Erick Anderson
Yeah. So part of our proactive team is to do a an annual.

We call it a mighty process, which is, which is from true methods, right? So they have some templates that we go through that have a set of hundred plus questions for all of our customers, and documentation is a good part of that. So we go in and verify that those things are documented, we have a backup system section of that, that has 20 questions, you know, and 10 of those are is a documented in it glue, what was the last time it was tested? Is there a ticket that fires off for testing. So so we’re going through that annually for most clients semi annually for some others, depending on what we need. So we do have some checks and balances there. As a manager, I’ll go in and check on new clients that are getting on boarded and make sure that that documentation is looking up to what we should see elsewhere. So the onboarding team has their responsibility to get as much information on that in there as possible before we hand that off to the the helpdesk team. So yeah, there’s there’s checks and balances with it. But yeah, it is it is hard to look at that. I know glue has that global feature where you can look at all categories and whether or not you know you have any documentation in there or if it’s a exclamation point or a red Plus, I think it’s it is where it’s missing. So you can get some standardization across that too. Okay.

Allen Edwards
Very good. And alternative I have, instead of following the true methods, which is a great program, if you haven’t checked it out and somebody is asking about it on Facebook. They they come in with basically do it this way. Here’s where it should be. Here’s how you get there. Here’s all the numbers metrics you need to get there, since it’s a really, really well, detailed vault system. I believe that client onboarding is where you catch most of your documentation. And I also do an annual client re onboarding or as Brooke likes to call it a hospitality visit, because the onboarding them a second time shouldn’t take as much effort, but you are checking all the boxes again, or if you have new security standards, you haven’t had a chance to roll out yet, that’s when you do it when you’re when you’re onboarding them. Each year, that’s also we usually make it a party bring doughnuts, t shirts, t shirt, cannons, cash, wind tunnels, I’m exaggerating just a little bit. You make it a fun event, you get them on board. And that’s your chance to catch up on documentation. And I will add to specific equipment, the last ticket on any project that we might do, such as installing a firewall or setting up a new site is the the post where the where the service manager or project manager is checking all the documentation before we close the project. At least in those areas. Terry? Anything else, dad?

Terry McAdams
No, I think I’m actually here. I guess you can hear me now. Cuz man, I was having all kinds of wacky things going on. But, but it’s all seems to be moved out. So no, that’s all great information. And hopefully what I have to offer can make that more efficient for your, your employees. Well, let’s talk about that, shall we? Okay. So well. So I discovered while I knew about TextExpander. That’s one of the specific apps that I’ve run across. We’re going to talk briefly about, but it’s also I guess, a term text expander. It’s a general term, like Coke. No, it’s, it happens to be a pop or a soda drink, and also a brand name. And, but they used to be just by the license, just the traditional licensing method, but they don’t know. They’ve gone to a monthly fee or an annual fee. But I did find on the Mac side, one called type inator. And, and so we’re going to talk briefly about those. And then a neat little device. Right here. It’s called the stream deck. And you’d think, Well, why would I use that in documentation? Well, I’ll show you or at least, maybe, maybe not specifically documentation, but automating certain processes with a macro, just with a button. So it’s pretty cool. So I guess we’ll just get started. I want to share my screen so that I can kind of actually show how we use this in our day to day basis. I guess I can click the Share button here. No, but it won’t let me so I’ll show you mine.

Okay, there you go.

Alright, so then let me bring that on the show my desktop, you’re gonna fall end up hiding. See, make sure everything’s there. Okay, so there we go. Alright, so don’t laugh at my desktop. I’m sorry,

Allen Edwards
instinct.

Terry McAdams
Yes, it’s no. But anyway, so we use an application. This is type inator. And I’ll even bring up our now this is primarily been used in the break fix side of things. But if I’m going to

blur that out at the

let’s see here, okay. So I’m going to log into our, our system that we use called lightspeed. It’s our it’s our point of sale. It’s it’s our we do service repair orders with this. So so what we will do is basically pop up here and open up a new document. Well, I’m going to show you on the left side here, you have type inator. And then our Well, you don’t have to bring that up, by the way, but you you will see what I’m talking about here shortly. So the problem with our service repair order feature of our point of sale is is that it’s very open it there’s no it’s not specific to our business. It’s used in a lot of different places, a lot of different types of businesses, you might repair motorcycles, you might repair clocks, you might whatever, but this system allows you to use that well. We found out that we weren’t having consistent documentation with regard to our service tickets when somebody would bring in a Mac or an iPad or whatever. And so we discovered or I discovered type inator So if you look over here on, let’s see service, service check in. So here, if you see, I, we refer to this whack, whack slash, slash, whatever. And then you have a shortcode that you need to type in. So if for instance, we were going to check in and iPhone for service, we would do slash slash check in iOS, and there goes a nice little. Now, this is program, this is a feature of type inator. it, you can create this form. And we, you know, you can write up and guide the technician through the process of getting things checked in, and it will be consistent. And so this is prompting, so you can do drop down menus. The yes, no, or in the case of you know, what carrier are they using? You know, which iOS version, we need to get 14 here. It but you get the idea is, is it’s a form where a form that exists within your own software. And so it’s it’s super handy to do, and it just, it’s there. So let me show you what a real ticket would look like. And sorry, this rose there it is always.

So if

Unknown Speaker
so we

Terry McAdams
open this up, and here we go. So there is an iPad checked in? And all the information all documented like that.

Allen Edwards
So like standard notes on steroids.

Terry McAdams
Yes, it’s it’s really handy. And now I also use it for emails. So if so let’s let me bring up notes here.

So if I had a

if I had an email that I wanted to send about a, I think it’s an iPhone, that Yeah, there we go. Okay. So this is somebody who has inquired via email about getting their iPhone battery replaced. So I, obviously I type in their phone number, or their phone number, their, their name, and click on OK. And boom, there’s my email. And of course, I can go in and modify this if they had an additional question or something like that. But it’s consistent. And it provides just an easy way to, again, that you’re not spending all that time rewriting that same email over and over and over. And it’s quicker than going and finding a template and copying and pasting and all of that as well. So that’s, that’s really the gist of what we use type inator for. And the forum’s pieces is I’m not fully utilizing this at all. But here’s the other cool thing about it within the application.

Let me pull that up.

Cuz I got a lot of menus up here. There it is. Okay. So, type inator lives up in your menu bar only. But what’s cool about it is that you can see, like, see where that’s it now I’m looking in the wrong place. You can share

these.

Yeah, here we go. So you can set up and share a, a particular shortcut or group of abbreviations here. So let me Yeah, see automatic publishing. Anyway, the bottom line is you can share it through Dropbox or through your favorite cloud storage or even in theory, you can do it locally, but I found it through Dropbox is super easy. But then you you have one person that that maintains these, and then you update them and everybody gets that immediately. So they’re on a read only status, whereas the you, whoever’s managing it can can make those changes. But we as you can see, I’ve got you know, my personal ones right here. There’s a built in autocorrect. That’s a little bit better in some cases than a given text, or given the application in word processing and whatever. There’s some other autocorrect options, double caps and then we’ve created these you know, the service check in. There’s even some JSX you know, present service provider we use JSX with Apple and then ordering things that I have created that make my ordering process to integrate And Tech Data, and wherever, a lot faster. And then other things. So and then my email stuff. So that is, are there any questions so far on this? I mean, is anybody else using a text expander or anything like this? I mean, you know what, Facebook, if somebody can chime in on that I know that the question Veronica had put out a question on Facebook.

Allen Edwards
And the answers were, they were there were pretty cool. I see like a plus one for text expander. I see another person who said the word, the application texter. But it looks like it’s nothing updated. At autohotkey had two people mentioning it, which is not very GUI friendly. But this is quite powerful.

Terry McAdams
Right? Well, there’s, I just did a quick Google search. And apparently, there’s one called phrase Express here. There’s something there’s a plugin for Chrome. And then of course, the big kahuna, I guess, as well. So just yeah, just just search text expanders. And there’s, there’s a whole it looks like there’s a lot more than I ever thought. And there’s articles out there about it. But on the Mac side, you have TextExpander and type inator. And, and there may be more. Actually, there are a couple more that I was reminded about out there, but just look for your, whatever you think you want to do, but most of them have a free trial and all that. So I would definitely have you look at this kind of thing. So but are there any questions at all with regard to anything we do? Or any suggestions? I mean, I’m, this is a learning process? For sure.

Allen Edwards
Absolutely, I know that. I keep looking at Brooke because trying to enforce technicians to put in a very common thing for us as next steps. We have developed so many little text based forms and connectwise and templates with autotask to say, tell us why this tickets not closed, so and so needs to do something. And for each one of our clients, we end up putting in specific questions they have to answer about what’s next. And I can see that helping us get that filled in a form and populated the same way, every time it’s in the ticket. So a dispatcher or a service manager can just act versus having read the whole ticket.

Terry McAdams
Right. And just as a, if you again, if you happen to be a Mac shop or or now the only thing about type inator is it’s all Mac and Mac only. But I believe a text expander you’ll be able to do cross platform. And there may be others. But again, that but I was just going to give you an idea of the cost this this is it’s I mean, it’s cheap, compared to Yeah, you can I guess that’s euros and I don’t know what that translated into. It’s about

Allen Edwards
times that about about one and a half for us and two for Canada.

Terry McAdams
Okay, so save $35 there. And then if you buy eight, I think it or there’s a certain number that you get, you get, like a 20 30% discount or something on it. So it’s per and again, this is you own the license in this case, and they do updates quite often. And so that again, that gives you an idea that so well, there no questions on that. I want to show you my latest little tool that’s really, really awesome. I think and I don’t I’m fully exploited it. So

Allen Edwards
but you held up you held that device and the tech news like Yes, yes. Let’s go there first. Okay,

Tracy Hardin
I have a question on your type inator, your text expanders? Um, is there a way to take something like that and drop it the information to individual cells into an Excel spreadsheet?

Terry McAdams
Or does it Oh, yeah, at least with type inator know what type inator you can actually issue or expand with tabs and most of what you could be typing on the keyboard can then be put programmed in I mean, I’ll show you just what it looks like. Any IT person and what they’re worth the salt should be able to do this. This is it looks weird, but Okay, so. So here’s the let’s see, let me find I had one for me fine at Terry’s type ordering. Okay. Yeah, here’s, here’s what I use to fill in so that I don’t have to. It’s on a website and so on. It starts in one place and starts putting stuff in different places. And you can see that there’s the tab. So you can so yes, it In theory, if your whatever keystrokes you’re doing within the spreadsheet, then they’ll have, but it’ll have to be the same way. I mean, it, it’s not smart enough to know what, what you’re gonna exactly do you know that at least with Excel, sometimes it knows what direction you’re going. So when you hit enter, it’ll go the direction to the next cell, whether it’s horizontal or vertical. I don’t I don’t know that this would know if you ever ran into us a case like that. I don’t know if it would know. But I think tabs and other keys. So again, I’m not familiar with techniques, expander, specifically, but I can’t imagine that that these guys don’t have many overlapping features. And there may be some platform specific things. You can’t move a mouse that that’s the one thing that I would like is for it to move the mouse, but it won’t move the mouse for

Allen Edwards
real lights. You guys don’t need a mouse.

Terry McAdams
That’s right. So

but that Yeah, so this is, let’s see, there’s that one’s probably you can I mean, it’s, there’s so many things you can do. And it’s just a matter of getting it and seeing the examples and taking those examples and move and expanding on that. So, but good. All right. Any other questions? Does that answer your question? Tracy?

Tracy Hardin
Yes, it did. Great. At some ideas there.

Unknown Speaker
That was cool. Thanks. All righty.

Terry McAdams
All right, well, then, no, quit no more questions on the test. txt expansion. So this guy little right here, okay. It’s called a stream deck. And if you see, and I’ll try to do this real time here that there’s another icon, at least on the Mac, it lives up in the let me I may have to make this miss that. Okay, right here, there it is. So this little icon, and the configuration is identical on Windows as well. But let’s go to configure stream deck, okay. So you can create little profiles. And profiles can then be assigned, say to an application. So you can have an application that has its own set of buttons. So I’m going to go back, I’m going to go to the default profile. And you notice there are the buttons mirror what’s on the screen. And you get those in this, these are just little color LCDs. I mean, it’s, it’s really awesome. You see the Mail icon? It’s right there. So what these are is basically a series of macros that you program. And literally I am just getting started with this. But one of my favorite ones if the timing is correct, is this one that’s that’s labeled distributors. So I’m going to show you what that does that you can’t activate anything through stream Deck, the app, okay, it’s only programming. So I’m going to close that up. And now watch what happens when I hit the

the distributors button. So I’m going to hit that.

Now it opens a new window. It goes to Ingram. Now there’s some timing things here. It may or out. That did not okay, I don’t have my one password unlocked. See, there’s a there’s an imperfection in this. Let me unlock my one password real quick.

Allen Edwards
Don’t click that I button. And

Terry McAdams
yeah, so let’s see. Okay, so let’s try that again. That but this is actually kind of fun to to play with too. But there is a wait, this doesn’t this is the bed depending on how fast the internet is that that time. So let’s see, there it goes.

Allen Edwards
And you can’t multitask while you’re doing this. Because it needs to have control.

Terry McAdams
Right? It would Yeah, it would certainly interfere during that time. You could go get a drink some coffee, or whatever, whatever you want to do. And see I basically am taking advantage of my the fact that the way. Type inator works with fields, the login fields, not type in eight or I’m sorry, one password. So let me let me back up. Let me log back out here sign that Where’s inground Okay, now they changed their, their site a bit here. But so that Yeah, so basically if we’re going to log in here we are on the login page. So see how One password, the plugin for edge for the Mac

puts our

puts our, the thing here and automatically and puts it the cursor right there when you log when you go to that page. And so then with that, one password reveals that so all I’m doing is typing my name. And I’m hitting the down arrow and hitting Enter. And then click I think I’m tabbing. Maybe I forget exactly. And then I hit spacebar. I don’t know, whatever it is I, I’m logging into,

Allen Edwards
does your stream deck programming require you? Is it going to record what you do? Or do you have to like, tell it what you do?

Terry McAdams
Now, you you pretty much have to tell it but let me show you how what that looks like. When I’m in edge overlaps my icons up there. Okay, so let’s see what that looks like. On. Okay, so it’s 18 actions. And you you drag and drop things over. So first thing it does is it opens edge, which then creates a new,

a new window.

You have your hotkey command in No, I’m sorry, I did Command D and I bring basically this brings it forward or opens it if it’s not already open brings it into focus, then the hotkey command in, I go to this website. So you can specify go to this website and it basically goes there, I delay four seconds, I then I have my login I am I tell it to type Terry, I do a down arrow. I then hit a carriage return, I then open a new tab. And in I repeat the process for each of the websites. So that again, there’s so many things but look on the right side here, you’ve got a lot of stuff that’s already already done. But but you can on the Mac, you can also run Apple scripts. So if you have created an apple script that does something which I have yet to really learn Apple script, but it then can do some things. And I mean, it just I discovered this thinking stream deck. That’s great. It works for OBS and some other video related equipment. That’s where I’d really seen it. And then I ran across a video that talked about its capability for just doing keyboard commands, nothing to do with video. So is that does this make sense? I mean, I’ve also

Allen Edwards
is now it is now the only item on my Christmas list to say it. It’s 100.

Terry McAdams
Okay, guess how much this cost? If you haven’t heard anybody already looked it up? She’s looked up the price. Yeah. Anybody? You have? Okay, it’s $150 for this one. It’s 99 I think they have a really small one. But I didn’t. I mean, that’s a price of a really good keyboard. And yet it’s so programmable. And oh, and I have a delay of 30 seconds. 32nd countdown. I mean, just look at it updates. The little display. I mean, it’s like it. monitors. Yeah, exactly. And you can have page you can create one of these. That’s a page to go page within you can create groups of these. I mean, it’s it’s amazing. And then when I if I want to bring mail to the front, I hit that. And no mail was not open. So it opens mail for me.

I heard it was that sound? Oh.

Oh, what that was? Oh, no that Did you hear the sound? No, No, you didn’t. Okay, so when the when the timer

quit it?

It didn’t it got to the 30 seconds that made the sound on the computer. So I made your device. Yes, you did you hear that Veronica as well. So anyway, so that’s, that’s really I think that’s enough to whet your appetite and start checking it out. But But also, I’ll say when I switch to lightspeed, okay, watch what happens. So now I have a lightspeed so I can, you know, it just I can have a series of lightspeed only buttons that work. And so as I switch applications, it will automatically detect that application that you program on here, and it’ll have its own set of screen. Very cool, I think. I think I’ll call that unless you ask questions if you want.

Allen Edwards
We are short on time. Let’s get let’s get a few questions in there. And let’s also ask them for a check to sponsor us next time.

Terry McAdams
Oh, okay. Not really

Elgato

Allen Edwards
any other quick questions on the stream deck?

Terry McAdams
All right, that looks sorry.

Yeah. this nice little stand, by the way. And it also calls on it like this, and you can set it at different angles. And this anyway, there you go.

Allen Edwards
Right. How do I steal screensharing from you, Jerry? Oh, you’re gonna stop sharing Stop

Terry McAdams
it. I’ll click on it. And there you go.

Allen Edwards
That was Terry, thank you so much for showing us all this really cool gadgety stuff. Now, we are short on time. But if you have tips and questions, you can keep posting them on Facebook. On the IT group, we will get back to answer them. Every single one of us here is a member of that I try to look at it every day. So post them they will keep the conversation going. So thank you, Tracy, Eric Terry, for joining us today. really appreciated you joining us. Here are the resources you can get for more information about documentation and process you can reach out to us directly, the Facebook group, and on our website. We have all of our group history on there. As far as the videos webinars go. We are we have decided not to have a webinar in November and December, because sticking roughly to our cadence puts us toward the end of the month, which comes up with American Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. And we are going to start again in January and January’s topic will be client asset documentation. It is a repeat topic from year and a half two years ago. However, it’s the one topic we failed to record, but was well received. So I felt like since our group membership has quadrupled, plus since then, that we would give it another go client asset documentation. So how to document what your clients have. We talked a lot about that today in our tips and tricks and how to get it done. We’ll probably have some more details about that in there as well. Terry Eric, Tracey’s love to have you back in participating in those as well. So look for announcements on that coming up soon. Uh, any last comments or thoughts before we adjourn?

Erick Anderson
No, I don’t I appreciate the the effort that goes into organizing these and getting the information out.

Good, great discussions this afternoon. Really appreciate it.

1 Comment

  1. Veronica Dunn

    Great talk, you guys! I learned so much, I really want a Stream Deck now!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *