Software and Data Administration Operations and Maintenance Manuals

A young man sitting near a desk, wearing a headset, working on lines of code on two monitors

What is an Operations and Maintenance Document?

Also known as an “O&M document,” an “Operation and Maintenance Manual,” and an “Operations and Maintenance Procedure,” this form of technical documentation provides all of the details necessary concerning the operation, maintenance, and demolition of a physical plant (such as a building). Although it is not mandatory by law, having an O&M document allows the maintenance staff to keep everything running smoothly. 

Similar to most forms of technical documentation, the result of operations and maintenance documents is increasing the level of clarity readers have regarding the rather complex nature of a process. Thus, operations and maintenance manuals can also reduce operating costs since there will be fewer workplace errors and inefficiencies when there is proper documentation. These detailed manuals can also extend the lifetimes of assets and equipment when the maintenance staff knows how to best care for their appliances. The most common types of O&M manuals are product installation manuals, software and data administration manuals, user manuals, and quick reference guides.

What is a Software Maintenance Manual?

This form of an O&M document describes the procedures for installing and maintaining the software for a particular piece of equipment. But this manual can be used to improve performance, adapt the product to a modified environment, correct errors, and modify the software product after it has been delivered. The goal is for a programmer with knowledge of the software environment (such as the operating system, database system, and compiler), but not necessarily familiar with the software, to maintain the product properly. Typically the document will include a list of all the software used, data flow diagrams, and a detailed description of all software systems and sub-systems. All of this is done to help describe the software architecture, controllers used, the databases used, and device handlers. The operations and maintenance document will also include the necessary files and/or programs that are needed to install the software, as well as the hardware prerequisites. The manual may also include a procedure conducted to execute data handling. 

The process of creating this document starts at the beginning of the planning cycle, and followers the programmers to the end of the project. This ensures that the programmers can include all the necessary steps needed to resolve an issue, particularly because maintenance can take up the bulk of the project costs. Therefore, focusing on maintenance will significantly reduce operating costs. 

What is a Data Administration Manual?

Similar to a software maintenance manual, data administration manuals are extremely tedious to write up, but are one of the most necessary documents an IT Department may have at their disposal. These documents are so vital to a company’s success because it acts as a bridge between business decision makers and IT personnel, through the use of a common language and flowcharts. This also reveals another important use of these manuals, since they can be used to pinpoint the most troublesome parts of the system, thus allowing businessmen to put more resources in particular areas. Also, this form of technical writing can reduce training and maintenance costs by reducing the likelihood of costly misunderstandings by using commonly understood terms and strategy patterns. 

What EDC Can Do To Help

Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of software or data administration documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or

Written by Alexa Do


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