What is a Content Management Service (CMS)?
A content management service or CMS is an application that facilitates creating, editing and managing digital content. It allows you to have full control over your files and documents, as well as the options to publish, transform and reuse your information. In the end, it is all about getting the right content to the right place at the right time.
Companies take advantage of content management services to increase efficiency across their organization by connecting their business data to valuable content. In this blog entry, we will discuss the benefits of using the latest content management tools and explain why using a proper CMS can help your company.
Power Up Your Field Agents: Mixing Word and DITA XML Topics to Customize Your Deliverable for the Customer
I’ve seen it first hand in several companies I have worked for: Field agents or other colleagues that work closely with individual customers come to me in the documentation department and ask me to make sure that their standard product documentation is always up to date. And then, they want to add a little bit of special information for each customer.
“Oh, and by the way. In the field agent office, we have this standard guide that is only for us internal specialists. Can you make sure that is always up to date as well? Then I only have to go to the configuration database and fill in the form with the customer specific configuration information – by hand.”
This blog post is about your business processes, particularly those surrounding the ways your content is authored, managed, approved, and published. Think about the way those processes look today: the people involved, the tools you use, and finally the workflow, whether that’s an ad-hoc peer review or a highly formalized set of approval gates and feedback loops. What are some words that you might use to describe those processes today?
Who cares about XML editors in the first place? Well, there are many different answers to that question. Ever since XML 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation on February 10, 1998, a lot of people realized that this new standard could be used for cross-platform publishing. The fact that an XML file could be processed by computers, and even transformed into other formats using XSLT stylesheets, was great news.
Today, this XML characteristic of being machine-readable and processable is becoming even more important for new technologies. These include content automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and chatbots or other software robots. Even though these new technologies are very smart and clever, they still need a lot of help to figure out what a text is about and what the relevant context might be. XML tagging with elements and attributes is providing this help.
Pharma is undergoing tectonic shifts regarding regulations, affecting both costs and processes across the board. Millions are spent every year by organizations seeking to achieve and retain compliance, one of the biggest challenges facing the life sciences industry.
As the sheer number of regulatory requirements grows worldwide, the challenge of not only meeting the requirements, but also maintaining consistency and integrity across all submissions becomes ever greater. As a consequence, as stated in Deloitte’s regulatory outlook for 2017, life sciences organizations are under pressure to add more business value by embedding compliance into business processes. Quality, consistency and compliance issues should no longer be addressed after the fact, but instead in real time before they trickle downstream.
One of the main drivers in Open DITA is allowing writers with little or no XML skills to benefit from the most important reuse capabilities of the DITA standard. So let’s cherry pick from the rules of the Open DITA manifest and explain how they achieve reuse of your content.
But before we get to that, let’s take a step back and consider WHY we want to reuse. Let’s be honest. Reusing content creates a certain amount of complexity. For that reason we had better make sure that this complexity is worth our while.
Getting started with structured content management can be daunting: you’ve been tasked with completely overhauling your organization’s content strategy. There are so many things to consider that deciding where to begin can seem like one of your biggest challenges.
There are plenty of clichés appropriate to this situation: the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, don’t try to boil the ocean, and so on. By thinking about the project as a whole, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
In this article, I’ll give you some ideas for getting started in small, manageable steps, without ever losing sight of your vision.
DITA XML makes advanced content development and management possible, but DITA XML itself is a complex thing. For some, this complexity makes DITA XML inaccessible, and for others, the complexity over time becomes a chaotic cobweb of references and dependencies. Just looking at all these tags and attributes scares some writers off.
In a recent survey, we uncovered strong indications that the complexity of DITA XML is hindering the spread of structured writing across departments. For this reason, we created the Open DITA Manifest to make a framework that allows other ways of achieving some of the most important benefits of DITA XML, even for those who do not want to work with the complexity of XML. Open DITA is meant to allow everyone access to the power of structured writing.
“Looks cool, but couldn’t we just stick to what we have?”
“Being able to grab a piece of content like that would be nice, but I don’t have the time to learn this new tool.”
“Yes, I’d like to be able to publish a white paper using parts of your updated documentation, but all these tags and attributes? I don’t know…”
We have all heard these complaints.
Since DITA XML became an open standard and DITA 1.0 was released in 2005, people have been trying to spread the use of modular and structured content beyond the traditional documentation department. Some have been successful, but many have been hitting a brick wall when they present XML templates and XML tools to Marketing and Development departments.
This year at the LavaCon conference in Las Vegas, I followed some very exciting presentations about the very near future role of bots (software robot/intelligent agent) in our efforts to bring exactly the right piece of content to the right person, at the right time.
Current prominent bot examples are Microsoft’s Azure Bot Service and IBM’s Watson Virtual Agent.
Some excellent presentations also talked about the fact that bots need to have access to enormous amounts of rich, structured, modular content that is tagged with metadata. In other words, bots feed on rich structured content and they just cannot get enough of it.
A few years ago, I gave an interview about structured writing to a Swedish journalist. I talked (probably far too much) about consistency, modularity, content reuse and all the other goodies of structured writing.
She asked me, “But what about the writer? Isn’t it terribly boring, being all modular and consistent?”
My answer was – and still is – the following:
“When I am trying to make my new cable TV box work, manual in hand, desperately looking for the information I need – in that situation, nothing in the entire World concerns me less than how the writer felt when creating this manual!”