IT Documentation - The Blog

IT Documentation – is it enough to have the right tool?

September 4, 2014

Suppliers of various software solutions promise their customers an out-of-the-box solution, even for specific tasks. Unpack, install, start up, run, that’s it. Does this also work for a more complex topic such as IT documentation?

There are requirements where this would work, but it also depends on what you want. What is perfect for you might be a bit of a workaround for somebody else. It is certainly possible to cover basic requirements, but very often a great deal of potential is squandered. By exploring the solution you are relying on and using the initial results to build on, you can even enhance the value added by the tool.

Unpacking the software, installing it, and having a perfect IT manual at the push of a button simply won’t work. At least not in full, unless the document already meets your IT documentation requirements. You would waste enormous potential for you and your company, however.

Quite a bit of time is needed to set up and maintain detailed IT documentation. Otherwise such a solution doesn’t add the value that is possible and desirable. That’s why it is important to keep in mind that it’s not enough just to buy software such as Docusnap. This applies to many projects, not just our example. Out-of-the-box IT documentation only works to a limited extent. It creates basic documentation, but more work still needs to be done. Unfortunately, only installing the software and scanning the network is not enough. It is a start though, and better than nothing.

Buying software is only half the battle

Buying it gets you off to a good start. But at some stage in the future quite a bit of data will have to be entered manually and edited by system admins.

– Changing IT relations

– Adding new systems to system groups

– Checking the inventory of an IT system or service is correct

– Checking the result is plausible

– Setting up license management

– Documenting your passwords

– Checking the documentation is complete

– Update service for the inventory data

No software can do that for you so experts will have to play a part in IT documentation. Network plans or overviews of an Active Directory directory service can be created from the inventoried data at the push of a button, but IT relations and system dependencies have to be set by system admins. For example, no software package in the world can know the application for which a database is operated. Most of the time, such dependencies have to be set manually, but information found by the software can be used. If you had to find a separate solution for this too, IT documentation would be even more complicated. The Docusnap documentation suite will help you with these tasks. It is an optimum tool for creating your IT documentation – no more, but certainly no less.

What’s the point of all this?

Let’s get back to my statement at the beginning of this post: whether a solution will provide the desired results without great effort really depends on your objectives. What can complete and up-to-date IT documentation be used for? You can mainly use the data to create IT concepts in the form of IT manuals, IT contingency plans and recovery plans. What else can you do with it? You can analyse your network and check whether permissions are set correctly. If VLANs are configured correctly on the network switches, only desired users can access mailboxes, etc. so you can add great value to your company with a tool like that. But this goes beyond the capabilities of an out-of-the-box solution. Adapt the application, and configure time-controlled inventory jobs. You will have to spend time on it and might have to slightly adapt other systems. The software will provide great support here, but you will have to deal with the technical side of things yourself.

Manual work and expert knowledge is often necessary

Establish the relations and dependencies between your IT systems. This involves a lot of manual work, even though the Docusnap software tool can offer you considerable support.

Include software license management in your IT documentation. You are required by law to document your software being licensed correctly so you might as well do so using a single software tool. Here, you will have to specify company-specific information, however, which again goes beyond a simple out-of-the-box solution.

So just get started and extend your IT documentation with knowledge gained over time. IT documentation can be fun!