Bluestream works with manufacturing companies across the world. Providing solutions to extend the power of traditional tech pubs. So how does DITA and XDocs CCMS help hi-tech manufacturing companies?
Used by Installation Engineers, Users/Operators, Maintenance Engineers and potential customers, hi-tech goods have complex document sets. Equipment evolves with components and systems shared with other products. Also products ship all over the world.
These are just some of the reasons that XML and DITA have been adopted by so many companies manufacturing complex equipment. From Railways and Rolling Stock, Medical Device to Semiconductor the precedent has been set for structured content and DITA. But how do you leverage even more from your content?
For manufacturing companies, XDocs provides a central repository for all information and enhances the creation of complex content through specific modules:
Machine Industry Module
Manufacturing companies invest heavily in technology – they use hi-tech CAD (Computer Aided Design) systems. Together with 3D modelling, fluid dynamic and a host of other cutting-edge systems, such as ERP and PLM. The output demands are also diverse; installation, maintenance and user manuals, or IETM (Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals).
The disconnect between technical documentation and parts databases impacts the efficiency of author teams. In addition, content is often created and updated through systems and processes entirely separated from parts databases. When manual entry of parts information is required, the outcome is inconsistency, errors, and update issues. This is where XDocs supports manufacturing companies.
XDocs MI Module provides a parts-aware platform to manage and simplify the importing of parts information into documentation.
- Capture CAD and BOM data from any source including ERP and PLM systems.
- Automatically combine and link data, improving authoring and the creation of documents including:
- Illustrated Parts Catalogues.
- Installation Guides.
- Troubleshooting Manuals.
- Reuse graphics and BOM assemblies.
- Deliver content through the Bluestream DPP to Knowledge Bases, Portals, third party IPC, PDFs etc.
- Ingest BOM data and diagrams from PLM, ERP and Vendors.
- Structure data into parts database while removing all duplicate entries.
- Ensure data consistency and integrity.
- Automate linking between diagrams and parts tables.
- Scalable to many thousands of assemblies.
- Search and lookup of assemblies.
- Improve and augment imported parts info, for example hotspots.
- Provide access to parts data when authoring.
- Access to parts metadata when tagging topics.
- Generate IPC and IETM.
Branch and Merge
Manufacturers are constantly updating and evolving their products based on earlier versions. This means that some of the core documentation stays the same, while other parts are enhanced. XDocs Branch, Merge and Release provides features for Tech Pubs teams in manufacturing companies to manage content in complex content development environments.
Release management in a CCMS concerns how to manage content for different releases of products over time. It focuses on addressing the challenges that arise when managing content. For example, for parallel versions of a product.
XDocs provides your team with the freedom to ‘time travel’ in content. They can fully access and modify content ‘as of’ any date and time, while maintaining historical integrity. This means histories cannot be rewritten and the links at any point in time remain intact. Additionally, XDocs lets you create and apply labels to mark significant points in the content history.
This means, you can isolate versions of content at a point in time. You can then register those versions of content on a new branch in the XDocs CCMS.
You can isolate content using the Branch Copy feature. Versions of content can then be developed in isolation. Later the content can be merged or consolidated from branch to branch as desired.
Branch Copy provides options to isolate and relocate content as groups of files or as individually, manually selected files. There are options for branching an entire file set as defined in a project and for branching an entire folder of files. You can also branch one or more individual files as selected in the Branch Copy UI or Browse UI.
The Branch Copy feature produces reports on the differences in content on branches. It then allows the merging, or consolidation, of branches in either direction. The report provides mechanisms that allow you to perform the following actions at the time of the Branch copy:
- Fix link errors
- Modify merged and other XML
- Skip existing, identical content
Content reuse needs are now more complex, and so the content management challenge is more complex. With XDocs Extended Metadata Module you have the power to retrieve and deliver your content with precision.
With XDocs Extended Metadata Module (EM) you can harvest glossary terms from your DITA content straight into XDocs. Then, the EM Thesaurus will organize the terms according to your classification structure.
As a result, with XDocs manufacturing companies can browse and search through content using terms, and you can also associate non DITA files with the terminology.
Manufacturing companies are under pressure to get products to market as soon as possible. But they have many ‘moving parts’ both within Tech Pubs and across the company.
Using workflow brings the content lifecycle under complete control. It also lets SMEs outside the tech pubs team easily join in the process.
It is easy to create and modify workflows in XDocs. The module uses the BPMN 2.0 industry standard and Activiti workflow engine.
Subject Matter Expert Contribution
In-depth product expertise does not reside within the Tech Pubs Department; rather it is spread across the organization and multiple roles. Historically, bringing SMEs into the document production process was often difficult. Time is tight, and SMEs have no appetite to learn new software. Again, this is an area where XDocs helps manufacturing companies. Bluestream XDocs 5.1 introduced WEX – a web-based application. WEX can be used to review, amend and even create DITA content from scratch without the need for any training.
When WEX is coupled with XDocs Workflow, SMEs can be notified by email when content needs their attention. Clicking on a link will take them onto a web page. Here functionality mirroring that found in MS Word will let them accept the content, add notes or suggest changes. The intuitive, easy-to-use interface speeds up the process, and once their task is complete the workflow engine advances the project to the next task. For example notifying the author that the review has been completed.
DITA delivers major localization cost savings. However, the process must be fully managed.
XDocs streamlines the process and gives you dexterity in managing the task files in your project. The diagram below shows a simple workflow process. Here, content is authored and then localized into one or more target language. This process can be repeated as shown.
The module generates status reports, seamlessly handling content as a project manager moves the content through the steps.
XDocs supports XLIFF. XLIFF is a standard format between a TMS and the translator’s Translation Workbench. As a result it suppresses useful context from the content and is not always the best approach with DITA.
Advanced localization processes set-up by DITA aware LSPs rely on raw DITA exchange. Taking advantage of DITA, they provide in context translation and in context review for the ‘in country’ SMEs. Therefore, leading to more competitive, more qualitative translations and up-to-date translation memories.
Dynamic Delivery Platform
In today’s world it is no longer enough to deliver just printed documentation. Also with a growing move to mobile devices PDFs can become a hindrance more than a help. Users want to find answers to their problems quickly, preferring a self-service portal over direct contact. Service Engineers require instant access to the latest information, and they need it delivered to a mobile device. Potential customers want to see how a product might meet their needs, often outside office hours and on a mobile device.
Bluestream is unique among CCMS vendors, having developed our own dynamic delivery platform (DPP). Here the content comes directly from the CCMS.
The DDP delivers DITA content to any device or platform: websites, apps, self-service portals etc. Because content comes directly from the CCMS it is always up to date.
The DDP and is configurable for a wide range of solutions. For example, the Knowledge Base Portal shown below.
Alongside DITA, the DDP delivers video and audio content. Users can filter content by product, version, user type, and more. This makes your content much more accessible and also more valuable to your customers.
There is no risk of corruption because content comes directly from the CCMS. Also, the DDP blends seamlessly with your content creation, review, management, and localization tools.
Bluestream design products so that they require little support from us or our partners once deployed. Therefore, your own IT or web team can easily configure the DPP.