I’ve written several articles about network documenting and automating the documentation process (you can see a recent article here)– afterall, our company specializes in IT documentation.
In today’s article, however, I want to break documentation down into simple, easy-to-digest terms so you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to really talk to upper management and make the case that yes, your network needs documentation — and that yep, that documentation request really should earn approval.
Where to begin? From time to time, folks want to know who our competitors in this sphere are. Believe it or not, my response is almost always, ‘our biggest competitor is inaction’!
No IT documentation business on the market today can hold a candle to inaction.
Why is that? There seems to be a perceived connotation that network documentation isn’t that important or just stick with diagramming in Visio or maintain spreadsheets — and hope they are up to date.
When people think of network documentation/network mapping/network diagrams, some correlate this with network monitoring/management. That’s a slippery slope as there is a big difference between network monitoring and network documentation.
While most organizations know that maintaining proper network documentation is important, it seems that people overlook the importance of documenting the regular changes done in their network. When changes are performed and are not tracked with documentation, it is easy to see how network diagrams are almost always-outdated. Let’s face it: outdated IT documentation doesn’t do much good against an outage — or preventing one.
A key reason network documentation is so important is because it makes it much easier for your network support staff to diagnose issues when you know how network devices are connected, or how they have been configured within your network. It reduces costs by allowing your staff to troubleshoot problems, find issues quickly, and if you have remote hands, third-party staff, or outsourced team, help them find the network equipment faster, and reduce their time and money that is being charged.
Beyond just ensuring that uptime is optimized, downtime is minimized, and troubleshooting is easier, proper IT documentation comes with a host of benefits.
Key Benefits of IT Documentation
To sum up, proper IT documentation should be a priority for every organization, regardless of how small or large. Risk mitigation, sharing key info across stakeholders, staying in full compliance with all relevant regulations and protocols, keeping costs right-sized, and providing clear dashboard reports can all be achieved with an automated network diagram software solution (and, more often than not, this solution ends up paying for itself many times over).