As the “baby boomer” generation approaches retirement age, IT Executives are beginning to see the gaps that their departures will leave. The talent pool entering the workforce are trained in modern technologies and have no knowledge or interest in understanding or learning systems that were developed in yesteryears.
Unfortunately, most large organizations still run a significant part of their operations using software applications that had been developed decades ago. This evolution from an older, loyal, highly-experienced workforce to a younger, mobile, demanding employee base poses significant challenges, particularly in the context of maintaining and supporting legacy systems that still account for a sizeable portion of most organizations’ application portfolio.
The retirement of experienced staff threatens to leave many organizations without access to their vast wealth of knowledge gained from years of experience working with systems that they inherited, or wrote to help the business grow. In most cases, this knowledge, which was developed in a time of rapid technological advances and covered a wide range of technologies, is extremely difficult to re-create. This is because significant portions of this knowledge will not have been formally documented because the existing staff ‘just knew how to do it’.
Unfortunately, the only way that their successors are finding out that they are missing critical information is when things go wrong or when they need to make detailed changes to existing systems. This is leading to costly mistakes, poor quality, service interruptions and project delays.
Organizations are often being affected for months or years after an experienced worker has retired; and all because there is no documentation of the knowledge that was stored in that worker’s mind. The problem is further exacerbated by the current trend towards outsourcing application support to third parties who will only have a very narrow view of the overall portfolio, and whose only focus is to manage the immediate problem without due consideration to a larger issue that may remain unresolved.
The result is that replacement staff has to work in an environment of missing knowledge and be involved in time-consuming knowledge recovery and retention when they could be undertaking productive work.
So how can organizations create a repository of knowledge that is currently embedded in the minds of key employees?
At EvolveWare we believe that automated documentation is the solution.
Capture the knowledge through documentation, before it walks out of the door.
Businesses that hope to maintain their efficiency during a time of change must implement a solution for capturing application knowledge and making it accessible to those who need it. Failure to do so can result in project cost over-runs, the inability to respond to market or regulatory change, a deterioration in customer service and ultimately the loss of reputation.
By using automated application documentation to capture and keep current the knowledge embedded within software applications of their IT Department, organizations can avoid having to ‘reinvent the wheel’ and minimize the associated cost, time and risk factors associated with maintaining their application portfolio.
This documentation also creates a “corporate brain” that can ease the transition of applications from the current state to the future state.
How can an automated documentation process help an organization secure this knowledge?
EvolveWare’s Intellisys Platform can automatically extract metadata from software applications and create easily readable documentation that can be understood and used by the organization for maintenance, support and training purposes.
This enables the existing staff to understand and share the inner workings of the applications, without having had first-hand knowledge of its creation and subsequent changes over many years. Whether it is the newest member of the staff, the most seasoned veteran, the detailed technical specialist or the business analyst, automated documentation allows them to understand the full picture so that they can intelligently manage the application portfolio.
Will your new hires be able to benefit from the knowledge source that their predecessors leave behind? Have you provided your retiring employees with the tools needed pass on their valuable knowledge?
EvolveWare can help you answer “yes” to those questions.