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February 15, 2012

Essential Documentation for System Operation and Maintenance

Why Document?

Have you ever purchased a new car and attempted to open the hood but could not figure out how the latch works or where to find it? How about the release button for the trunk or fuel inlet? Same problem? Chances are the first thing you reached for was the Owner’s Manual. Put another way, it is nothing more than the system documentation for your car or truck.

You surely would not want a mechanic to randomly replace parts on your car or truck until the right one was found to fix an existing problem. I am quite sure the same holds true of your EDI system.

You would definitely not allow someone to make changes to Trading Partner setups, maps, file paths, etc. without completely understanding not only why a change is necessary but also the impact and results of the change that is instituted. This is where the importance of system documentation comes into play.

If your system is updated, your system documentation should be updated. If your system remains static, then your documentation should also. Maintaining the documentation in an easily accessible location promotes best practices and is essential when trouble shooting a system, especially a system with which you may not be entirely familiar.

Anyone that may be required to use a system should also have access to the documentation on how to use a system. Keep in mind that it may be wise to store a backup copy of your system documentation on a drive other than where your EDI system resides for disaster recovery in the instance of system machine failure.