Re: Installation guide for Enterprise application

Subject: Re: Installation guide for Enterprise application
From: bcliver -at- manu -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2004 08:37:57 -0400

Hi Shelly,

Yes, it's reasonable to expect users to install, configure, and
troubleshoot their own enterprise software because cost constraints demand

However, you should say up front that before installing, users must have a
strong knowledge of their operating system, including registry functions,
setting environment variables, and editing configuration files (or some
similar wording). If your enterprise suite requires a database, then
recommend that a dba participate in the creation or migration. Include a
section listing prerequisite hardware, software, network requirements, and
so forth. Add a section on verifying a successful installation.

Do not write an installation doc with 99 steps. Break it up into smaller
pieces with links telling installers where to go next. Not all steps apply
to all installations, so you'll need to be creative in guiding installers
to the next logical step. For example, a step may be necessary on UNIX but
not Windows.

>I work for a company developing an complex enterprise application that
integrates with several other systems >including databases and CRM
systems. Most people in the company expect to be able to install and have
the software >running in 30 minutes or less and because that's not
possible, are asking for an overhaul of the installation >guide. My
viewpoint, from having worked at other enterprise application companies,
is that installation for these >systems are a tricky business and usually
are implemented by professional services, offering a generous revenue
>stream for the company. Others in the company, including product
management, disagree saying that customers should >be able to read the
documentation and install and integrate this on their own with no IT
experience. I'm the only >writer in the company and am looking for some
industry comparisons that I can take back to product management to >help
set their priorities. They are basing all of their assumptions off of
internal users and won't consider going >to customers for a needs

>Does anyone else out there work on enterprise applications? Do you offer
an installation guide? What assumptions do >you make regarding the user
experience? Any information is greatly appreciated.

Barry Cliver
Lead Technical Writer


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