A day in the life of an editorial department

In 2015, the SIEMENS AG Locomotive Documentation department wanted to introduce a Component Content Management System (CCMS) to optimize its editorial process and chose COSIMA go! from DOCUFY. In this article, system administrator Tobias Zieringer describes the introduction of the system:

… I had only just arrived in the office when my mobile rang. The sales department wanted to know when the documentation for our new customer would be ready, oh, and they needed replies to the review comments from last week as soon as possible.

My colleague gave me a questioning look: “How will we have time to introduce a new CCMS? What are the aims of the new system? Should we choose an off-the-shelf product, or start from scratch? And how does publication configuration even work?”

“Enough questions, let’s just get started,” I replied: “There no such thing as the perfect moment!”

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Making space for information

DOCUFY Guest post for the doctima blog

Current trends like digitalization, industry 4.0, mobile computing, social selling and big data will influence the products of tomorrow and, ultimately, impact the future development of our entire society.
Technical documentation is not immune to these changes, of course. On the contrary – information is increasingly becoming the lubricant of our digital world, and who is better placed to provide it than the technical documentation sector? It now has a unique opportunity to leave behind its traditional wallflower image and become a major player in corporate structures.

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The most important department at the company

I have a dream: that technical documentation will become the most important department at a company.

When I presented this dream during my opening speech at our 2016 DOCUFY User Meeting, the audience was exhilarated. But we all know what the reality of today’s documentation work looks like. The technical documentation department rarely has a lobby on the management board and is viewed by many as a mere cost factor that needs to be kept at a minimum. I remember making a visit to a large producer of household appliances. The technical writer there had managed to invite her boss to a meeting about their content management system. He opened the meeting with the words: “I personally think that technical documentation is superfluous. We only have a documentation department because we are required to by law.”

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What are the Advantages of Multi-Level Documentation?

As a specialist for company and product positioning, claudiusbähr+friends helped DOCUFY develop its Multi-Level documentation strategy and translate it into communication initiatives. The one-and-a-half years in which we accompanied DOCUFY on this journey were exciting for us for two reasons:

  1. The time was quite simply right for Component Content Management to “take off.” The idea of liberating technical documentation content from its own limits of utilization was an answer to the fundamental challenges facing innumerable companies in the future. Discovering a market perspective of this caliber together with a visionary customer can feel a little like Christmas.
  2. The idea of Multi-Level documentation counts for nothing if there is no technical basis on which to implement it. But it was precisely this basis that was inherent to the DOCUFY product portfolio – in particular, due to the redevelopment of TopicPilot as a mobile publication platform. The strategic and creative task was getting to the heart of this using the term Multi-Level documentation, thereby helping DOCUFY to occupy its own market category.

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What? Another blog?

If you ask Google about good reasons for starting a company blog, you will receive over 307,000,000 results: “5 good reasons for writing a company blog,” “10 good reasons,” “Why companies should have a corporate blog,” etc. According to them, a blog promotes customer proximity and makes those interested more aware of your company. It might even generate some enthusiasm on the part of highly qualified potential employees.

So every company with a healthy sense of self-esteem urgently needs a blog? Perhaps. But we are concerned with one thing above all. At our company, we work with a lot of experts that have a great deal of specialist knowledge about their respective fields: IT experts, technical writers, consultants, marketing experts, support staff, a number of partners from the higher education and private sectors, and – last but not least – our users. All of them have a lot of important expertise that we want to make available to everyone on our new blog. Our motto: No empty blah blah blah, just content with real added value.

Our goal: No background noise, just informative content

Melanie Kunas, DOCUFY GmbH

We see a blog as the ideal medium for exchanging specific information. And for us it is also explicitly about exchanging information between experts on the user side and experts on the DOCUFY side. There is no imminent danger of “content shock” (many channels, a lot of drivel about nothing). We’re not interested in background noise. What we want to do is take our stores of knowledge out of the basement and make them available to our users and anybody else who is interested – quite in line with the concept of Multi-Level documentation.