If you think documentation isn’t your cup of tea, it’s time to think again. While most companies focus a lot of energy and resources on product or business development, they tend to spend little to nothing on the underlying infrastructure. They think investing in documenting the fundamentals is a waste when the opposite is true. Robust documentation always saves time and resources.
As the complexity of our IT infrastructures and data grows, the need to be organized also increases. The information that you are looking for cannot just be “out there somewhere” or just rest with “someone.” It needs to be in a definite place, in a well-defined format, so that it can be easily retrieved and used to achieve business objectives. If documentation hasn’t worked for you so far, there can only be a handful of explanations.
Making sense of the chaos: Why documentation fails
- You are not documenting enough: When your employees or users look through your documentation, they don’t find what they are looking for because the solution isn’t documented.
- You are documenting too much: You can document a million things, but it’s important to focus on critical information and repeatable processes. Otherwise, you can spend more time writing documentation than you save by using it. Focusing on high-value documentation is important.
- Your documentation is obsolete: It is tough to continuously document complex environments and keep all your documentation up to date, but if you can’t manage this, your documentation won’t be useful.
- Nobody wants to document: This occurs when your documentation processes are cumbersome or when your team members don’t see the value of your documentation.
- Your documentation isn’t great: Not every organization gets documentation right. The good news is that your organization can right the ship simply by making a few changes to leverage smart documentation.
- Your documentation tool doesn’t work for you: Maybe your documentation doesn’t get updated in real time or the formatting isn’t right when you import files. It’s also possible that the templates aren’t useful and sharing your documentation and managing access for a large team is difficult. The list of problems can be big if you are using the wrong tool.
Thankfully there is a better way.
Establishing order: Getting documentation right
Good documentation is like a Swiss Army knife — it has several benefits. Not only does it reduce your operational inefficiencies, it also helps you build great relationships with your teams, stakeholders, vendors and other partners. It allows you to continuously improve your business operations across the board by making the right information available to the right people at the right time, so they can use it to achieve their objectives. The trick is to document everything that is essential for your IT team(s) so that it is easily retrievable on-demand.
Here are some ways to establish order among your various IT areas of interest.
Users: Control which users have access to what resources and document everything your users do to mitigate security risks and increase operational efficiency. This is now more important than ever since workforces lay scattered or operate from remote locations. No matter how many users you have to manage or where they are, continuously update records of all users across your organization and regulate their activities with authentication and authorization mechanisms. You can do all this with a good identity and access management (IAM) tool.
Assets: To give your IT team the best chance of scaling up operations, maintaining asset information in a central location is vital. Get a comprehensive view of your entire network by giving it a proper structure. This will also help you make meaningful connections between your assets to increase operational efficiencies. It’s also the best way to stay on top of all your system requirements — whether it’s replacing assets or renewing service agreements, etc. And having a clear view of your infrastructure will also help you plan your budget and get it approved easily.
Policies and procedures: These set the standard for your IT team(s) by clearly communicating what each employee must do with company assets. Having proper policies and procedures helps increase operational efficiency and reduce security risks. It helps achieve greater synergy between team members while allowing you to better manage your IT infrastructure. Your policies communicate your organization’s values and help make decisions that align with your objectives. They dictate and shape your IT work culture by systematically and logically explaining expectations. Procedures help achieve desired outcomes by eliminating confusion and clearly outlining the steps your employees should take in any situation.
Passwords: Do away with obsolete methods of managing passwords. For example, replace spreadsheets with secure password managers. These are easy to use as they integrate well with Chrome and other applications to make documentation automatic and fast. You can say goodbye to manual processes and about 95% of cyberthreats that are caused by human errors. Some of these tools help users become more aware of their password habits and prompt them to make better decisions while setting passwords. You can better manage password documentation with a tool that lets you regulate access to this sensitive information while allowing you to easily reset or perform other critical actions on them.
Vendors: Foster mutually beneficial relationships with your vendors that are in line with the long-term goals of your organization. Choose your vendors based on performance by tracking KPIs and other metrics. Optimize negotiations with vendors based on your documentation. If you get your vendor documentation and management right, you can also mitigate data breaches and other cyberthreats that your vendors may pose.
A smart documentation tool will help you bring these various facets of IT documentation together in a single view so you can make connections between them and exponentially improve your operational and business efficiencies.
Achieving business objectives with smart documentation
The truth is documentation is never a waste of time. It will always reap rewards if you document everything that is critical for your teams in a way that is easily retrievable on-demand, so your IT team(s) can access the information they need, when they need it.
Unfortunately, not everybody is blessed with this insight. Most companies think documentation creates chaos when it’s actually their best chance of achieving order within otherwise complex IT environments.
To discover how your organization can make the most of smart IT documentation, request a demo today.