The Cost of No (or Poor) Configuration Documentation (Workbook)

In any organization, software configuration management is essential. It involves documenting the configuration settings of software and hardware systems, including the operating system, databases, ERPs, web servers, and application servers, among others. Configuration documentation is crucial for ensuring that software systems are correctly implemented and set up. Unfortunately, many organizations do not document their software configuration or do so poorly, leading to a wide range of problems. Many of them consider documentation as a cost. In this blog, we’ll discuss the cost of no (or poor) configuration documentation from another angle. 

1. Time and Effort Wasted in Troubleshooting

One of the primary costs of poor or no configuration documentation of SAP SuccessFactors instance is the time and effort wasted in troubleshooting. When a problem arises, SAP SuccessFactors must diagnose the issue and determine its root cause. Without documentation, this can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. The HRIT folks may have to spend hours, if not days, trying to figure out the root cause of the problem. This can lead to a decrease in productivity, delays in resolution, and even project failures. 

2. Higher Support Costs

Another cost of poor or no configuration documentation is higher support costs. If HRIT/SAP SuccessFactors Admin cannot diagnose the problem, they may need to escalate the issue to higher-level support. This can lead to an increase in support costs, as more resources are required to solve the problem. The more complex the system, the higher the support costs will be. Even punting the problem to SAP SuccessFactors may not resolve the issue in timely manner as these teams are completely blind coming in the client instance.  

3. Increased Risk of Security Breaches 

Configuration documentation is also essential for maintaining security especially in Role-Based Permission. Without proper documentation, it can be difficult to identify security roles, security groups, grants to population in the SAP SuccessFactors instance. This can result in increased risk of security breaches, which can be expensive to remediate. Additionally, companies may face legal and regulatory compliance issues if they fail to maintain adequate security measures. 

4. Difficulty in Scaling and Expanding

Another cost of poor or no configuration documentation is the difficulty in scaling and expanding software systems. Without proper documentation, it can be challenging to replicate the existing environment or set up new environments. Cloning down an instance is a solution but it involves a lot of scrubbing of PII to make that instance usable. This can make it difficult to migrate to another instance. As a result, organizations may face scalability issues, which can hinder their growth and competitiveness. 

5. Negative Impact on Knowledge Management (Restoring Lost Knowledge)

Configuration documentation is also critical for knowledge management. Without documentation, knowledge transfer can be challenging. When a SuccessFactors Admin leave an organization, they take their knowledge and experience with them. This can lead to knowledge gaps, which can be difficult to fill. Proper documentation can help ensure that knowledge is transferred and retained within the organization. We have seen this over and over, when an SAP SuccessFactors Partner steals an SAP SuccessFactors Admin from a client. 

In conclusion, the cost of no (or poor) configuration documentation can be significant. It can lead to wasted time and effort in troubleshooting, higher support costs, increased risk of security breaches, difficulty in scaling and expanding software systems, and negative impacts on knowledge management. Therefore, organizations should prioritize proper configuration documentation to avoid these costs and ensure the smooth functioning of their software systems.