The DITA standard has gotten a lot of press in the last few years, making lots of people wonder if DITA is something they should pursue. There are many organizations who have successfully implemented DITA, and many tools support this new standard. But is it right for you? Here are some things to consider when deciding if you should use DITA:
How to Keep Your Content Management Strategy Moving in the Right Direction
If your organization builds content with a CMS, you’re undoubtedly reaping the benefits that an effective content management system can provide.
You’ve put a lot of work into implementing your content management strategy and got it just the way you want it! The momentum is high and everyone is still excited about the positive results they are seeing. Better quality! Faster cycles! Lower costs!
Now what do you do? How do you maintain these results? Or improve them? Here are some things you can do to ensure you continue to move forward with your content management strategy:
Content audit trails are critical in regulated organizations, but they can also come in handy for any organization that has a need to track down specific content versions or changes. What changes were made to the content? Who made the changes? When were the changes made? Who approved it? Why were the changes made? Unlike file systems or word processing files, all of this detailed information can be easily found if content is stored and maintained in an XML content management system.
Here are a few tips to quickly get the historical information needed about a content component, topic, or document:
Encouraging Your Team to Love Your CMS Strategy
As a manager, you’re excited because your organization is going to buy a content management system (CMS) and implement a new strategy to help streamline your writing and publishing efforts – YEA! Now, you have to get your writers on board with the idea. Hmm. This could be tough, because some writers aren’t real receptive to change, and this will definitely rock their world. They won’t be able to do their jobs the way they have always done it anymore. Now, they might own content modules, but not entire books. They will have to share their content – oh my!
Implementing a component content management system (CMS) is a big endeavor, and choosing the right tool to fit an organization’s needs is critical to its success. It can be tedious to compare and contrast CMSs to be sure you choose the right one, but when you finally make your decision, it’s exciting to know what possibilities exist for your future! Big benefits await you!
You’re all ready to move forward, but then, something happens that postpones the purchase. The management team changes, and now you must justify your CMS choice – again. Or quarterly financials come out below forecast, prompting the inevitable “spending freeze” announcement. The list of reasons for delaying a CMS purchase goes on. But is it really smart to postpone your implementation? Here is one BIG tip to help you justify the decision to continue moving forward with your CMS implementation:
You want a content management system (CMS) to get a better handle on your content base. The purchase is a bigger expenditure than you have the authority to approve. Now, you have to go to your management team to get funding for the project.
One of the phrases that bothers me the most is when someone says, “that’s the way we’ve always done it“…argh! That’s a sure sign of someone who is afraid of change!
Several years ago, I did a joint presentation with a client about how to implement a content management system (CMS) in an organization. We based the presentation on the book by Robert Fulghum called All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It’s amazing how those simple principles, like “Play fair,“ can apply to so many aspects of life, including a CMS implementation. One of the principles from Robert Fulghum’s book that can help with the change management issue of implementing a CMS is this: “Flush.”
Content management systems are all about content reuse, because content reuse can provide faster production cycles, major cost savings and greater content integrity. If you publish to more than one language…if you publish to more than one media channel…or if you create content for multiple products that have a lot of similarities, then you want to get the highest content reuse rate possible.
Many organizations that create lots of content to support the products they sell or to educate people with the latest information in their field are finding big savings by investing in a content management system (CMS). Developing a good content management strategy can save thousands – even millions – of dollars in editorial, production and translation costs. And, it will reduce cycle times to get the content in the hands of the consumers.
Many organizations install a CMS, but then struggle to determine if they are getting a return on their investment. Before installing a CMS, develop a plan for how you will measure its success. Take measurements of the time and costs you are spending using your current process. You can use these numbers to compare against the new measurements you take after you install a CMS. The key: Remember to take the benchmark measurements before you change your processes!