RE: Installation guide for Enterprise application

Subject: RE: Installation guide for Enterprise application
From: "King, Shelly" <Shelly -dot- King -at- kanisa -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2004 09:45:52 -0700

Thank you all for your replies! I realize that in my effort to be brief, I left out some crucial information. The installation of our product is actually very simple, only six steps. It's the installation of all the prereqs and other integrated systems that takes so much time. It's the whole thing (installation of all apps and integration) that management thinks should be 30 minutes. What I'm being asked to do is document the installation and setup of all the prerequisites and other apps which which we integrate. This is six different apps outside of our product. The installation and setup of these apps are completely separate from our product and must be purchased separately by our customers. Because the configuration with our app and the others is highly customized, I say in the install guide that we support all configurations as long as they meet xxx requirements and provide an example of a common configuration. What management wants me to do is provide details on installation and setup of all the other apps, including screenshots. My viewpoint, and the rest of engineering, is that a person with a high level of skill (our PS team or a partner) will need to do the setup, not because of our product but because of all the integration points and that the documentation provided with the other apps is sufficient. This all got stirred up because the sales engineers, who don't meet the skill set requirements stated in the docs, can't do the set up themselves using the documentation from the other apps. OK, sorry, I'm bordering on venting.

Many thanks!


-----Original Message-----
From: King, Shelly
Sent: Mon 8/30/2004 12:43 PM
Subject: Installation guide for Enterprise application

Hi everyone,

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 analysis.

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.

Shelly King
Technical Publications
Kanisa --
shelly -dot- king -at- kanisa -dot- com


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