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.
Do you think you need a central writing and publishing solution for benefitting from content single sourcing? Maybe you think you need to change your authoring tools or implement a new CMS first?
If so, you’re wrong!
We regularly meet companies telling us that they want to switch to dynamic content delivery and adopt Fluid Topics, but that 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.
This is certainly not the easiest way to go, and could even be a big mistake. Instead, you should start by setting up a modern delivery solution first, and once in place, you’ll be free to adapt your tools and writing processes, if still needed, at your pace, with no risk.
Let’s see why.
1. People don’t care about the tools you use for writing.
Whether you use a super advanced DITA or simply use Word does not matter to them as long as they can easily find and read the information they need. This counts double for your top management that is more interested in the outcome than how you it is achieved. Hence, your focus should be fixed on the elements that deliver rapid results for user experience.
2. Choosing and putting a CCMS in place is complex and time consuming.
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. Just imagine the disappointment of your executive team that doesn’t see any change two years into your project and after all this money spent if you are still delivering PDF or static HTML just like before.
You can write in DITA but still publish PDF and continue to frustrate your users in terms of findability. On the other hand, a modern delivery solution can process and render Word files as if they were topic-based content and provide a great UX. In other words, there is no correlation between the tools you use for writing and the way you deliver.
3. Putting a Content Delivery Platform (CDP) in place:
- Is fast: we’re talking week usually, a few months at the most.
- Works with whatever content you have today. A good CDP ingests any type of content, structured and unstructured, and is also able to process unstructured documents to make it look like topic-based content by automatically chunking them.
- Combines content from multiple sources, in multiple formats, and creates a single source of truth: a unified repository of enriched and normalized content. A CDP hides the multiplicity and disparity of your tools and sources and adapts to your IT landscape feeding all of your apps as needed.
- Has an immediate impact on your company by changing the way people find the information they need, and upgrading the user experience in customer support and field operations.
- Buys you time: once you have delivered visible and valuable results for your company, you will have the time you need for changing whatever else might be upgraded with regards to your content writing tools, processes and strategy.
4. It’s difficult to have a single centralized team of writers producing all your content.
The accelerating pace of product releases, the willingness to associate customers, partners and wide ecosystems to knowledge production – all of this makes it increasingly difficult to have a centralized team of technical writers produce everything. 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.
Trying to impose on SMEs the use of structured authoring with a CCMS is doomed to fail, even with lightweight interfaces. We have to accept that multiple tools will exist simultaneously and that imposing one solution on all is nonsense. We must instead allow each team to write with its preferred tool: sales using Word, developers in Markdown, support agents with wikis, and so on. It is the role of the CDP to aggregate all these sources, to bring consistency and to create a single source of truth that will serve content to all channels and touch points.
5. There are many other important benefits in going delivery-first:
- 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 thanks to what the CDP will teach you.
- The analytics that are provided by the CDP (such as most and least read content) will help you choose where to best spend your time and how to optimize your content migration investment.
- The capacity of the CDP to integrate any type of content will allow you to keep some of your content in its legacy format because it does not make sense to migrate it (for example, if the product is not evolving anymore). Here again, the CDP will hide the diversity of formats and create a seamless user experience while sparing your budget.
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.