Did you miss the introduction to this series? Find it here: What is Component Content Management?

Real-world use cases of component content management

We’re presenting real life examples of component content management (CCM) and its practical use in the enterprise today. We define the space and provide insight into the benefits of automating technical authoring and information transfer using CCM.

Component content management in the automotive industry

The automotive industry faces some of the most complex challenges in terms of documentation. Not only do they deal with the different vehicle types and body styles, they have to address a variety of supplies, options, and the international market. This presents different regulations and languages.

CCM is a must-have for the automotive industry.

Imagine you’re a potential supplier for the auto industry, and your products go into multiple vehicle lines. This means that the accompanying technical details need to go into multiple publications. This includes owner manuals, parts repair guides, and training materials. All of this content is subject to approval on a market-by-market basis. 

Imagine that each year there’s a new vehicle product line. You need to maintain multiple versions of segmented content for each vehicle. It must also be translated into several languages. Now imagine you’re the auto manufacturer who must assemble all the content for their various suppliers. You have to address how their customers consume this information from a variety of mediums including print, mobile devices, and desktop. Plus, specialized machinery is now expanding to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Why companies like Tesla have moved to component based publishing

Tesla is one example of an automotive company that has adopted component content management to address this challenge. If you look for technical writer career postings at Tesla, you’ll find that aside from strong technical writing skills, they require proficiency in structured topic-based writing. Three of the biggest reasons more companies are moving to component based publishing include:

  1.  Cost savings by removing duplication of effort 
  2.  Cost savings in translation services
  3. A time-to-market advantage    

Even with just four vehicle models, there’s a great deal of variety in content.  There is a tremendous amount of duplication in creating documentation on an annual basis. Changes come from internal departments and suppliers. For example, think about how many times statements like safety notices or task instructions are reused in the different models. Regardless of vehicle year or model, you can imagine that even a simple change to an instruction can easily become costly. 

Once more, if you consider that each time a change is made to a vehicle, the respective documentation is sent off for translation. The costs for that translation can grow rapidly when you consider the number of documents multiplied by the number of localizations needed. Companies that leverage CCM can dramatically reduce the translation costs by sending the portions that changed, not the whole document.

The multiple benefits of CCM

Meeting product release deadlines is always a challenge. So is customizing content for specific customers. CCM allows companies to break each document into topics. This allows the information to be used in two valuable ways. Firstly, when it comes to production readiness, breaking content into topics makes it easier to swap content. It also makes it easier to work with specific vendors or subject matter experts to create and update content. Secondly, content can be tailored to specific customers. Thus, this makes it easier for consumers to find and select content, particularly when viewing on the internet or mobile applications. 

Component content management in financial institutions

If you review a 401K annual statement or investment performance document, you’ll notice there’s a large amount of financial data that’s mixed in with some analyst or executive commentary. Also, you’ll notice that the format of the information usually remains consistent over each reporting period. 

To produce these documents, a great deal of information must be combined from a wide variety of sources. While a large portion of this information may come from internal or external data sources, other information comes from the interpretations from subject matter experts. Regardless of the source, there’s little time between publications to orchestrate how to create the information assets. As a result, this is where CCM plays an important role.

Using CCM, data from multiple sources can automatically organize into a central repository where subject matter experts can search and locate the data and details needed to complete their part of the process. As they add their contributions, others can be automatically notified and review or approve the updated changes. As updates are made, the previous versions are stored and can be used as a reference or reverted back if the updated changes are not accepted. All components go through their own approval cycle with its change history recorded for compliance purposes. Once the document components are approved, they can be published to multiple mediums and repurposed. 

In many cases, you might find the same publication in PDF, DOC, E-book, HTML, XLS, and XBRL formats. These last three formats are most interesting when you consider that they in turn lend themselves to additional B2B or machine processing.

Component content management in government

When governments issue rules and regulations, they apply to all of their citizens. They aim to ensure compliance, strengthen enforcement, and decrease infractions. To do so, they need to make information accessible. Accessibility is not just producing content in hard copy and HTML. Accessibility means that the public can find content quickly and understand it easily.

Government entities are converting to CCM systems to replace obsolete publishing tools. This is in support of technology that allows multi-channel publishing formats including PDF, Word, iBook, Kindle, HTML, and DITA. They’re also converting to CCM to promote rule of law through transparency and fairness. CCM facilitates this by creating topics representing statements of fact. Then, they reuse these statements with their interactions with the public. For example, when a rule or policy is created, it’s published to pertinent guides. It’s also repurposed as part of Q&A topics. People can find this content online or on related applications. If someone is found to be out of compliance, the correspondence will reference the topic. 

In closing, CCM improves content re-use across agencies. It reduces the total amount of paperwork burden the federal government imposes on private businesses and citizens. It streamlines critical communications processes between businesses and government for compliance purposes. In fact, the benefit for both businesses and government is improved information flows through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). This uses a standardized format, and companies can now interact with the government electronically through automated filing where machines do the work.

 

Find more posts in our The Value of Structured Authoring and Component Content Management series!

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