LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
7 Reasons Why IT Documentation Matters
ERIC ACKER, ESCALATION ENGINEER
It is easy to let your IT documentation strategy fall to the bottom of a to-do list since it isn’t an income-generating activity. However, solid documentation is just as valuable as hardware and software in the IT environment. Below we will define what you should document and the benefits of doing so.
What Is IT Documentation?
IT documentation involves the structured recording of everything involved in an IT configuration. This includes hardware such as servers, devices, switches and workstations. It also includes information like internal standard operating procedures, contact information, licensing and firewall configurations. The information can be kept in any format you choose, although diagrams and visuals can be helpful for quick reference.
What Should You Document?
Here are essential items that should be documented and made available to your internal technology team:
- Network map
- Cloud Architecture Diagram
- Server Diagram
- Hardware Directory
- Software Directory
- Wi-Fi Diagram
- IP Address Allocation
- Cable Diagram
- Recovery Plan
- Common Issues and Solutions
- Organization Chart (Include all employees, their job titles and key responsibilities)
7 Reasons Why IT Documentation Is Essential
Documenting your hardware and processes enables you to monitor systems and how they function at each stage. It optimizes and streamlines operations by instructing teams to work consistently and correctly. It also serves as guidance for critical events, such as a disaster recovery plan. Here are eight reasons why IT documentation is crucial for businesses:
1. Enhancing Efficiency
When a technician faces a challenge and no established protocol exists, they may have to reach out to several people for help or research the issue themselves, which can take a significant amount of time. This inefficiency can lead to poor service delivery and wasted time.
Well-documented processes establish structured and efficient ways to complete processes. By sharing the documentation with team members, the organization operates much more efficiently and with less confusion about a standard procedure.
2. Emergency Management
IT documentation prepares organizations for unpredictable emergencies such as natural disasters, server outages or cybersecurity threats. A plan that can be enacted quickly can ensure business continuity or secure information.
3. Minimizing Errors
Maintaining up-to-date IT documentation removes the guesswork, and support staff can follow established protocols more accurately. This allows them to address support tickets faster while minimizing errors leading to higher revenue.
4. Meeting Legal and Regulatory Compliance
Up-to-date IT documentation is required by regulations such as ISO/IEC 27001. Adopting a clear and updated documentation policy is the accepted best practice and shows that you hold your information management responsibilities to a high standard.
5. Providing Detailed IT Infrastructure
Proper IT documentation provides the technology team or partner with a clear view of the network, allowing them to enhance support. If there is ever a need to switch MSPs, the onboarding process will go smoothly with less exposure to risk. It is also helpful if there is ever a sudden turnover in staff. If one person knows everything about the department and they leave suddenly, the IT department would need to start from scratch, which is a lengthy and difficult process.
6. Defining Roles
Have you ever had a problem but didn’t know whom to turn to for help? Written documentation can pinpoint who is responsible for given functions and elements and how to contact them. An organization chart or department guide enables you to get in touch with team members in charge of specific tasks and roles in case of an emergency.
7. Lowering Training Costs
It can take approximately three months for a new tech staff to attain an 80% efficiency rate, according to itglue.com, resulting in a training cost of around $35,000. With good IT documentation, you could train new hires to be 80% effective in as little as four weeks, cutting training costs to approximately $12,600. The already busy team members spend less time on training, and new hires feel more confident with a detailed roadmap to follow.
For the reasons listed above, proper IT documentation is crucial for maintaining organized records that result in faster service, fewer errors and a well-equipped team. Lutz Tech is here to help you with any questions. Contact us with any questions!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ERIC ACKER + ESCALATION ENGINEER
Eric Acker is an Escalation Engineer at Lutz with over 20 years of experience. His primary responsibilities are to manage escalation issues, provide onsite technical support to outsourced IT clients, and assist in mentoring and leading the service help desk.
AREAS OF FOCUS
- Lutz Tech Helpdesk
- Technical Support
- Outsourced IT Clients
- AS in Information Technology, Lincoln School of Commerce, Lincoln, NE
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