SaaS is being used more often, which means that system updates are more frequent than ever and companies have less control over when UIs change.
It also means that any additional documentation built around these systems, such as operations guides and admin guides, need to be updated more often. An outdated operations guide can have serious negative effects within an organization and can be extremely costly.
Here are four signs that your operations guide is outdated and in need of a refresher:
1. The look and feel of the guide is no longer relevant.
If the overall look and feel of your guide no longer accurately represents your company’s branding, then you might want to consider a cosmetic update.
2. Documented step-by-step directions are incorrect.
Whether it’s due to updates or incorrect initial documentation, your ops guide is useless if the steps aren’t correct. Skip the confusion and keep your step-by-step instructions up to date.
3. System navigation has completely changed.
If the system has changed its navigation, all the former directions and documentation are rendered obsolete.
4. Your company has undergone a merger, acquisition, or recent rebrand.
After a merger, acquisition, or rebrand, your operations guide will need to be updated. In order to have comprehensive branding, no old logos should be used (screenshots may also feature the former logo). Processes also often change during a merger or acquisition, resulting in outdated directions and documentation.
The repercussions of not updating your operations guide
Lost money, time, and resources
A delayed update to your operations guide, or neglecting to update it at all, can be an expensive and time-wasting move. Oftentimes, knowledge is lost in employee turnover. By not recording everything when it’s stored in people’s minds, you’re likely to lose some or all of that information if and when those employees leave.
In addition, training new employees takes significantly less time when information is documented in one place instead of scattered or stored in people’s heads. You’ll save time and money by having a seamless onboarding process with these new employees.
Creating extra work for your teams
If some actions are only performed on an annual or semi-annual basis and aren’t updated in the documentation, the steps can easily be forgotten. By properly documenting these directions, employees don’t have to relearn how to perform these actions, ultimately saving your teams time and money while also reducing stress.
In addition, when you bring in third-party support, documentation gets them up to speed immediately so they know what’s already been done as well as what’s worked and what hasn’t, resulting in even more saved time and resources.
Update your operations guide regularly to limit risk
In addition to saving time and money and lowering stress levels, updating your ops guide regularly also reduces the risk of catastrophic errors that can result in frozen payroll systems, inaccurate reports, and incorrect calculations.
Make take time once a year to walk through all your documentation and confirm that the steps, logos, and terms are correct. This should also be done after any large change, like a system update. This way, you won’t be stuck with a huge annual overhaul, and your employees will always have up-to-date resources.