IT Documentation - The Blog

Who benefits from IT documentation?

November 11, 2015

Why on earth would anyone be interested in IT documentation? It only creates work, costs money, and who will ever consult a manual anyway? It’s all running, the network is constantly changing, new hardware and software is added pretty much every day, so there’s really no time left to document things, is there?

That’s certainly all true, but doesn’t really help. And on top of that, a great deal of potential is squandered. IT documentation, if implemented correctly, adds tremendous value. But who benefits from up-to-date and extensive IT documentation, and in what form? How does the Docusnap IT documentation suite become the analysis and reporting tool which provides tremendous added value to a variety of user groups?

IT administrators are first on the list. In my opinion, this group is the biggest winner when it comes to IT documentation. Unfortunately, this group often has a rather negative attitude towards creating comprehensive IT documentation. But it is IT administrators in particular who benefit most from inventorying the Active Directory, the DNS and DHCP server settings, the database servers, mail servers, and data backup systems. Especially if problems occur within the network. And isn’t it great if you can see at a glance, for instance, how a specific setting was configured before a change was made? Of course there are data backups that can be used to restore settings, but usually this is out of all proportion to the time and effort needed. Other factors that make the IT administrator’s job a lot easier are encrypted storage of passwords, analysis of IT correlations before changing service account passwords, permission analysis of file servers, storage of software licenses, and use of interfaces for exchanging data with other systems.

Second on the list are IT decision-makers themselves, who receive a lot of the information they need to make decisions through IT documentation. License management and permission analyses are factors here too. Generating diagrams and plans, and reporting in general are also very important for IT decision-makers, so is summarising separate pieces of information to create conclusive reports and evaluations. The data required to do this should be based on the same basic information as the information made available to IT administrators. In Docusnap, they are simply aggregated on a different level. That way, both groups work with the same master data, avoiding issues caused by using different data bases.

Security and data protection officers also get a lot of information from IT documentation, which they need for their analyses and audits. Permission analyses related to access rights to file servers and databases are of particular interest to them. But IT correlations can also provide valuable insights. This feature allows them to analyse at the push of a button which systems depend on a specific service, for instance. IT concepts can be used to create manuals and instructions, or even a procedure directory and a data backup concept.

For commercial decision-makers, the extensive reporting and license management features could be of interest. Having permanent and independent access to up-to-date information reduces the amount of work and may optimise internal procedures. This group may be granted limited access to the Docusnap software to query license evaluation reports at any time, for instance.

If you’re an IT service provider, you could offer your customers related services. This could even result in a new line of business for you. You could offer your customers “Documentation-as-a-Service”, including not only the creation of IT documentation alone, but also bringing in your expertise for analysing the inventory data afterwards. That way, you provide your customers with added value which far exceeds mere IT documentation, and which shows how IT documentation can be used in a beneficial way.