iSeries/AS400 Documentation: Now is the Time to Work on it

Feb 03, 2021 Rima Dutta

When IBM introduced the Application System 400, known as AS400, in the late 1980s, system documentation wasn't considered an essential part of the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC). This has led to a scarcity of comprehensive IBM AS400 documentation. Over the years, various CIOs have managed the system, leading to a situation where only partially documented AS400 systems exist, which falls short of meeting today's business requirements.

The challenge is compounded by a dwindling resource pool, a consistent issue over the past decade, significantly hindering the effort to produce thorough AS400 documentation. The advent of 2020, with its unprecedented challenges, underscored the importance of structured processes and well-documented systems, especially as remote work became the norm. The lack of detailed AS400 system knowledge and documentation made it tough for IT teams to navigate system uncertainties, train new programmers, address issues, and plan for future IT enhancements. This scenario has underscored the urgency for businesses to prioritize AS400 documentation, enrich AS400 system knowledge, and create a comprehensive AS400 user guide, especially considering the AS400 end-of-life concerns.

Why firms aren’t are able to kick-off AS400 system documentation?

  • Recoiling resource pool: The existing IT teams with end-to-end AS400 system knowledge are on the verge of retirement, and there isn’t much inflow of skillset to replace them.
  • Tedious & expensive: AS400 system documentation is a cumbersome process that demands time, effort, and capital. Enterprises often fear that the cost of documentation may undermine its value.
  • No real need: Since the RPG programmers have a thorough understanding of the system, they generally choose to skip the documentation aspect.
  • Long request queues: The IT teams are always busy with firefighting system issues, while on the other hand, user requests pile up the size of a mountain. All these factors leave zero bandwidth for AS400 documentation.

The more enterprises make do with partially implemented existing system documentation, the more challenging it becomes for new members of the IT team to step in and understand the system from scratch. While there might be a million reasons that stop firms from pursuing AS400 documentation, the repercussions that they hold are even more grieving

Challenges due to lack of AS400 documentation

  • Training Inconveniences:Without a documented system in place, training the scarce set of new programmers with the technicalities and functional work flow of the AS400 system becomes a complex grind to accomplish.
  • No clarity on system functionalities: The non-technical employees who operate on IBM iSeries systems on a daily basis, need documentation to fully understand the functional specifications in order to steer clear of disruptions. Without system documentation, the learning curve is reliant on the availability of in-house trainers.
  • Long Query-Resolution Time: The average time required to resolve user requests escalate because there’s no comprehensive guide that elucidates the structure and function of the system, as a result of which, teams need to inspect a lot of unknowns before they resolve a user request.
  • Minimal Future Endeavors: Minimal Future Endeavors: Lack of AS400/iSeries documentation narrows the spectrum for growth by leaps and bounds. CIOs & the other concerned authorities do not have clear visibility into the system as a result of which, planning future endeavors becomes a tough nut to crack.
  • No room for changes: To keep up with the trends and stand up to competitors, AS400 enterprises often feel the need for modernization and/or migration. Now, for these options to be viable, an in-depth prognosis of the architecture is a mandate.

Tackle these challenges today!

Benefits of a Well-Documented As400 System

  • Strong Maximized Resource Use: AS400 documentation facilitates straightforward knowledge transfer sessions, acting as a pivotal guide. This enables leadership to judiciously delegate tasks based on AS400 system knowledge, leading to enhanced productivity and resource allocation.
  • Strong Accelerated Learning Curve: The AS400 user manual makes it easier for new system users to grasp the AS400 architecture and workflows, significantly reducing the time to become productive.
  • Strong Quicker Issue Resolution: In moments of system uncertainty, programmers can refer to the AS400 user guide to find swift and accurate solutions, streamlining the problem-solving process.

Our Approach

We, at Nalashaa, follow a simplistic yet effective line of approach wherein we identify, plan and execute iSeries/AS400 system documentation.

  • IDENTIFICATION: In the first step, we identify different areas and list down all key functions, processes & tasks. This is followed by a scale inspection of the AS400 system and its associated stakeholders, thereby, forming a complete, comprehensive guide to the steps that follow next.
  • Documentation Plan: As cliche as it may sound, chalking out the purpose and range of documentation beforehand saves us a ton of time, energy, and resources. The step then involves creation of a holistic blueprint of all the processes and data flows within the AS400 system that needs to be documented.
  • EXECUTION: At Nalashaa, we provide you with an elaborate system action plan and create end-to-end documentation that includes both, the functional as well as technical flowsheets with their diagrams. Once you give a sign-off, that’s when a document is finalized.

Why should you trust us?

When a task is as tedious as documenting an entire AS400 system, it is better to get an industry expert by your side. We have spent over a decade helping enterprises with their iSeries document management needs and can help you too, to ace up your efficiency by deploying AS400 documentation solutions that resonate the best with your needs. Our Subject Matter Experts nullify your assumptions and answer to all the Ifs & Buts that might be holding you from taking that final decision. Connect with us and leverage our years of experience to stay one step ahead in the industry.

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Rima Dutta

Made my favourite sandwich using the best of both worlds - Technology & Writing. The girl next door who talks to the camera, cries watching K-dramas and has an unhealthy obsession with momos & fictional characters.