One of the first questions we ask when we engage with a client is “Is the documentation of your environment current?” We are then given answers that range from “Yes, absolutely” to “I’m not sure” and “No it’s not.”
Outside of “No”, we have found that more often than not the environment is not accurately documented. And we don’t blame the client.
Many environments have had the same staff supporting their mainframe for many, many years. The staff knows the environment like they know the back of their hand; they know exactly where to go when an error code arises and if the recommended fix will work for the environment. It’s comparable to waking up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water; you don’t have to turn on a light to know that you need to step to the left to avoid the coffee table and you know where the glasses are and how long you have to let the water run until it get cold.
Where this lack of documentation becomes very important is when a key member of your support staff goes on an extended vacation, on sick leave or is retiring. Little if any documentation is available to the person assigned to cover the skill set.
When this scenario happens and an error code presents itself, the person assigned to cover the skill set has to take the time to track down the issue and resolve it without a map to follow. They have to determine if the applicable fix will resolve the issue or if it will have a negative impact on the environment. This may involve reading through a Redbook on a skill set that they have limited knowledge of and hoping that the environment has been setup to follow best practices.
This is not the time for trial and error, especially if the error is affecting production.
There are many obvious benefits with up to date documentation:
- Faster response times to errors
- Knowledge that an applicable fix is appropriate
- Hardware and software compatibility
- The possibility of reducing your mainframe costs
- Peace of mind
If you have any questions or comments about documentation, call us at 1-844-388-IRON (4766), we would love to hear from you!