What you need to know about management system documentation toolkits

iStock_000017873999XSmallAnyone who has been involved in implementing a management system such as ISO 27001, ISO 9001, ISO 22301, ISO 20000 or similar will know that it requires certain aspects to be documented. The whole process of figuring out what needs to be documented, how to document it, and how all of the documentation ties together can be a struggle, even for people with extensive experience. This is where documentation toolkits come into play.

A documentation toolkit is a set of fit-for-purpose and field-tested customisable document templates that have been designed to meet the specific documentation requirements of a given management system.

If you are considering using a documentation toolkit, here are a few useful points:

Why use a toolkit?

First, you need to be clear about the benefits of using a toolkit and what it will do for you.

Toolkits are designed to minimise the amount of time and money organisations and project owners spend on writing and developing the documents themselves. So, if you are looking to save weeks or months of work, to substantially reduce room for error and to achieve complete coverage of the documentation requirements, then a toolkit is right for you.

A documentation toolkit can also help you understand the environment of the management system and make proactive changes to any workflows. By saving you time, toolkits enable you to focus more on making sure the necessary processes and procedures are being executed and propagated through the organisation.

What not to expect from a toolkit

Toolkits are not an out–of-the-box solution. More work will be required to ensure compliance, such as defining the scope, setting risk acceptance levels and running a risk assessment.

Free templates vs paid documentation toolkits

Unfortunately, free web sources aren’t always reliable or guaranteed to correctly reflect the management system’s documentation requirements. You may be doing yourself more harm than good by using free templates, especially if their origin is unclear or if they come from different sources.

Paid documentation toolkits like the ones developed by IT Governance Publishing (ITGP) are consistent in their appearance, and are written and reviewed by acknowledged authorities in the area. You can also receive support and guidance on using the toolkit.

Will a toolkit work in your organisation?

If you are buying a toolkit, check with the vendor that it is the right toolkit for your organisation. ITGP’s documentation toolkits will fit any size and type of organisation – public or private sector – and each document is fully customisable and adaptable to reflect the characteristics and components that make up organisations.

Do the toolkits integrate with each other?

If you are implementing more than one management system, it’s best to ensure that you use documentation toolkits from one source that can be integrated and cross referenced with one another.

If you are considering buying a documentation toolkit, you can download demo versions of some of ITGP’s most popular toolkits

Offer: 10% discount is available for website purchases of the ISO27001 Documentation ToolkitITSM, ITIL & ISO/IEC 20000 Implementation Toolkit and the Complete ISO22301 (BCMS) Toolkit Suite. This offer closes on Friday 27 March 2015.

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