Blog // Best Practices

Come as You Are

May 12, 2021  |  Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Your organization is being urged to move to a more personalized and engaging user experience with increased content findability and readability. Or maybe you need to feed multiple applications with dynamic information that adapts to the channel. In short, you are being challenged to move to modern content delivery, but you fear you’re miles away from being able to achieve it.

If so, you’re not alone.

We regularly meet companies telling us that they want to switch to dynamic content delivery and adopt Fluid Topics, but they first they feel they need to move to structured content authoring, choose a Content Management Solution, and migrate all of their content. They often believe that they must entirely overhaul their tech doc production process and are concerned about the complexity and risks of such an endeavor.

The truth is you can move to dynamic content delivery and improve user experience without needing to re-architect your content. The most efficient way to go is to start by setting up a modern delivery solution first, and once in place, adapt your tools and writing processes at your pace, and at a lower cost and risk.

Here’s why.

1. How you write doesn’t really matter (to your users and execs)

Whether you use a super advanced DITA or simply use Word makes no difference to your users as long as they can easily find and read the information they need. This goes double for top management teams that are more interested in the outcome than how it is achieved. Hence, your focus should be fixed on the elements that deliver rapid benefits for user experience.

Implementing a CCMS is the sort of project that definitely brings value to your team and company. But it is a complex and time consuming process to achieve: selecting the tool that has the right features, installing it, training your writers, migrating existing content, getting up to speed and productive with the new environment – we are talking months or even years of project work, and millions invested.

For all of this time you are not delivering real change or business transformation for your company. You can write in DITA but still publish in PDF and continue to frustrate your users in terms of findability. On the other hand, a modern delivery solution can process and render a Word file as if it were topic-based content and provide a great user experience – in other words, there is no correlation between the tools you use for writing and the way you deliver.

2. Dynamic Delivery brings fast results

Putting a Content Delivery Platform (CDP) in place:

  • Has an immediate impact on your company. Dynamic delivery changes the way that people find the information that they need and upgrades the user experience in customer support and field operations, whatever the state of you content.
  • Works with the content that you already have. A good CDP ingests structured and unstructured content alike and can process unstructured documents to make that content look like topic-based content by automatically chunking it.
  • Combines content from multiple sources in multiple formats and creates a single source of truth: a unified repository of enriched and normalized content. It hides the multiplicity and disparity of your tools and sources and adapts to your IT landscape feeding all of your apps as needed.
  • Is fast: we are talking weeks usually, a few months at the most

The transition from traditional to dynamic content delivery means you can offer visible and valuable results to your company and buys you time to upgrade writing tools, processes, and strategies.

And that time is going to be proven very valuable.

3. Starting with delivery optimizes the process of restructuring your content

Going delivery-first will secure, accelerate, and reduce the cost of restructuring and migrating your content:

  • It will reveal the improvements that you have to make on your content to increase its findability: which metadata to add, how to organize it into smaller documents – instead of going blindly into the process of re-architecting content, you will be able to define a useful target.
  • The analytics that are provided by the CDP (such as most and least read content) will help you choose where to best spend your efforts restructuring that content, and phase and optimize your investment in content migration.
  • The native capacity of a CDP to integrate all types of content will allow you to keep some of your content in its legacy format, as it might make no business sense to migrate content for discontinued or sunsetting products (but it will still be necessary to make them accessible for a certain period of time). Here again, the CDP will hide the diversity of formats and create a seamless user experience while sparing your budget.

4. Embracing dynamic delivery is the scalable, future-proof choice

If anything is certain it’s that your content strategy, your environment, and your constraints are going to evolve with time. You need to be ready to adapt smoothly and efficiently to unexpected and unanticipated changes. Dynamic content delivery makes it easy to scale no matter the challenges you’ll face in the future:

  • New content production tools constantly emerge. Technical content is complex and rich, and the formats requested for product documentation evolve. Beyond text, audio, video, 2D and 3D have become the norm, and open content delivery platforms such as Fluid Topics are designed to flexibly integrate all sources and prepare the future of technical communications.
  • Diversity of contributors will increase. With an accelerating pace of product releases and the willingness of customers, partners, OEMs, and wider community ecosystems to contribute to knowledge production, it becomes more complicated to have a single, centralized team of writers to produce all of your technical content. New ways of working emerge, promoting agility, collaboration and the distribution of work. Success requires engaging more stakeholders in the process, each of them having their own tools and ways of writing. Imposing a single structured authoring tool to all SMEs and contributors is impossible, even with lightweight interfaces. We have to accept that multiple systems will exist simultaneously and allow each team to write with its preferred tool: sales using Word, developers in Markdown, support agents with wikis, and so on. The CDP will continue to be the solution to deliver content to users across a growing variety of sources.
  • Mergers and acquisitions can change the game overnight. Even in the most stable organizations that have managed to align their stakeholders and streamline their content production, a merger or an acquisition can disrupt the best laid plans. New tools and formats suddenly add to the game and the ability to integrate them into an existing, working solution is critical to a smooth continuity of business.

Under many circumstances, dynamic content delivery has your ready for any unpredicted or unpredictable changes to your content environment.

 


And so…

Having read this, you will surely be convinced why you should set up a modern Content Delivery Platform first before undertaking any content migration or adopting a change in your writing tools. Come as you are, with your content as it exists: it will definitely save you money and time, while delivering immediate benefits to your company and preparing the future of your content strategy.

 

About The Author

Fabrice LACROIX

Fabrice is Fluid Topics visionary thinker. By tirelessly meeting clients, prospects and partners, he is sensing the needs of the market and fueling his creativity to invent the functions that makes Fluid Topics the market leading solution for technical content dynamic delivery.