Runbooks, Services, and Tasks Overview

Runbooks, Services, and tasks comprise the three foundational components of the MSPComplete platform. MSPComplete helps you simplify your business processes, increase efficiency, manage resources, standardize your processes, and helps to protect your intellectual property. It does all of this by structuring business process in operational templates called Runbooks.

 

Sections in this article:

 

 

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About Runbooks

A Runbook is a business process template that breaks an end-to-end business operation down into a sequence of individual tasks. A Runbook may describe an operation as simple as adding a new user to a corporate network, or as complicated as performing a large-scale mailbox migration. The Runbook may include as few as four or five tasks, while the latter may have as many as thirty-five or forty tasks.

With your MSPComplete subscription, you have access to a huge number of BitTitan Runbooks that you are free to make your own from the MSPComplete Library. You can customize these Runbooks, if necessary, and then store them in your own Runbook store.

You can also create your own Runbooks from scratch. This is valuable for capturing business processes that are unique to your business, or that are menial and time-consuming. Doing so lets you capture and secure intellectual property that might otherwise be lost when, for example, a key employee leaves the company. Runbooks also allow you to automate some of these processes, increasing efficiency and lowering operating costs. There is more about automation in the section below about tasks.

 

About Services

Runbooks are business operation templates; they are simply a collection of discrete tasks assembled in a logical sequence. When you put a Runbook into action by assigning it to an agent, then instantiating it, the Runbook becomes an MSPComplete Service. The distinction between Runbook and Service (template and instance of the template) may seem trivial; however, the difference is substantial.

When you launch a Service, you can assign the sequence of tasks it contains to any number of your employees, whom we call agents. You can also assign level-of-effort (time) as well as cost estimates to each of the tasks. This allows you to track both resourcing and costs to a very precise degree.

 

About Tasks

Tasks are the actions that, when performed in sequence, complete a Service. You can assign tasks to specific people, which allows you to distribute workloads and manage resources to ensure that the right person is performing the task.

Services are made up of both automated and manual tasks. Manual tasks contain prescriptive guidance that an agent can follow to manually complete the task. Automated tasks, on the other hand, execute PowerShell scripts that run the tasks programmatically.

You can configure automated tasks to start automatically (for example, upon completion of a previous task), or you can require that an agent launch the automated task by clicking a button, for example. Some tasks are “input tasks,” which require the user to provide an input or make a selection before the task can run. For example, an agent may need to input login credentials before running a certain task or may need to select a specific endpoint before a task can run.

The following illustration shows an abstracted view of the MSPComplete Runbook/Service/task hierarchy. The illustration shows how a Runbook may contain a mix of both manual and automated tasks, and how you can incorporate user inputs into the task sequence.

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You can even have a hybrid task, which permits both automated and manual execution. The use case for a hybrid is having a task that under some circumstances has the information it needs to run automatically, while in other circumstances may require manual intervention. This is useful if, for example, you can’t be certain at design time whether login credentials are available programmatically at runtime.

 

Terminology

To help make sense of the MSPComplete platform, we’ve provided definitions of some of the key terms we’re using:

  • Runbook: A Runbook is a sequence of executable tasks that are packaged as a template to support the execution of an end-to-end operation. A Runbook is used to launch a Service.
  • Service: A Service is the instantiated state of a Runbook. That is, once a Runbook has been launched, it becomes a Service. Put another way, a Service is an instance of a Runbook.
  • Task: A task is a single operation that, in sequence with other tasks, makes up a Runbook. tasks can be either manual – that is, an agent performs a task manually by following prescriptive guidance – or a task can be automated using the BitTitan PowerShell module. Some tasks may be input tasks, which requires the agent to provide an input (a string value, for example, or record selection) before the task can execute.
  • Agent: An agent is an MSPComplete actor who launches a Runbook, or who is assigned to perform one or more of the Service instance tasks. An agent is typically an employee in an ISV or MSP firm.

 

Articles for Managing Runbooks, Services, and Tasks

The articles listed below will help you manage Runbooks, Services, and tasks in MSPComplete.

Title

Description

View Runbooks in the Library

The Library Page in MSPComplete contains preconfigured runbooks published by BitTitan or Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

Save a Runbook from the Library

Saving a Runbook from the Library is the fastest way to start offering Services to your customers. Look through the Library for Runbooks that apply to you, and customize them to make them your own.

Create a New Runbook on the Runbooks Page

Create a new Runbook from scratch if the preconfigured Runbooks in the Library don’t match the technologies that you work with.

Create a New Runbook from Existing Documentation Create a new Runbook from existing documentation by copying and pasting the instructions into a new Runbook, and then splitting the steps into separate tasks.

Edit a Runbook or Service

Fine-tune a Runbook or Service by editing the name, start date, due dates, assignees, cost estimates, and individual tasks.

Export a Runbook or Service

Export Runbooks to modify them offline with markdown and XML.

Import a Runbook File to the Runbooks Page

Import Runbooks when you’re done modifying them offline.

Duplicate a Runbook on the Runbooks Page

Duplicate a Runbook so that you can edit an alternate version without modifying the original.

Delete a Runbook on the Runbooks Page

Delete obsolete Runbooks to keep agents from launching Services that are outdated.

Customize and Launch a Service from the Runbooks Page

Launch a Service from a Runbook and add all assignments and time estimates to get the estimated cost and effort to complete the Service.

View Services on the Workgroup Delivery Center

The Workgroup Delivery Center contains all active and completed Services for all Customers across the Workgroup. The Delivery Center is where you can view the status of Services and their associated tasks.

View Tasks on the My Tasks Page

The My Tasks Page contains all active tasks assigned to you.

Complete Tasks for a Service

You are responsible for completing Services and tasks assigned to you. Tasks assigned to you must be completed within their prescribed start date and due dates, and within the time estimate, to ensures actual cost doesn’t run over estimated cost to complete the Service.

View the Service Report to Evaluate True Costs for a Completed Service

The Service Report appears in the task list for a Service after all tasks are completed. The Service Report provides a high-level overview of the Service estimates against actual cost and effort.

 

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