Past Webinars

  • August 7, 2018 It's not the same old "here is how to get a CCMS" session you may have heard about or attended before. During this webinar we provide a brief CCMS primer, then dive into core steps to choose a CCMS, and explore a case study of a client who migrated 2 years ago. We explore their drivers for a CCMS, the numbers that make them tick, and where they are two years later. Real data, real history, real ideas. Presented by: Bernard Aschwanden has excelled in technical communication as a trainer, courseware developer, team leader, manager, and business owner. A Past President of the STC and the founder of Publishing Smarter, Bernard works with organizations to create, manage, and distribute content based on technical communication best practices. He guides companies on how to make the business case that content is the most crucial business asset.
  • The CIDM invites you to take advantage of the wealth of industry-related information you’ll find in the Best Practices newsletter. This bimonthly publication, directed by Dawn Stevens, is written by publications managers for publications managers. Following the trends of the industry, the Best Practices newsletter is only available electronically. Please note that by subscribing to CIDM's Best Practices Newsletter, you are opting-in to our publications channel which includes the monthly eNews and also the bi-weekly CIDM Matters via email.
  • Recorded: July 1, 2015

    We talk a big game: DITA helps you reuse content with ease. Business cases are built on this promise, but many find the goal elusive. It seems to take just as much effort to manage reusable content as it did to simply copy and paste it. Sure, we might have missed some versions of that content in subsequent updates, but now we can destroy someone else’s deliverables by unwittingly changing content they were reusing. The problems are different, but the impact is the same, as we fail to realize the promised benefits and cost savings. At least in the “good old days” we understood what we were doing – Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, and voila! Everyone could do it! Now we struggle with the difference between a keyref and conkeyref, we can’t decide whether to use a conditional attribute or a key, and we have never even made a conref push work, let alone find an application for it. Why isn’t DITA delivering on its reuse promises in so many organizations? In this presentation, Dawn Stevens asserts that the promises can indeed be met, but you must use the right tool for the job. Dawn provides guidance for choosing the appropriate reuse mechanism in the DITA standard as she compares and contrasts each feature, including the forthcoming 1.3 capabilities of scoped keys and branch filtering.

    Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services, Inc.

    Dawn Stevens is a Senior Consultant specializing in information development, instructional design, and management consulting. With 25 years of experience, including 13 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training.

  • October 3, 2018 Analysts predict that chatbots will overtake websites and apps as your customers’ preferred interface in the near future. How do you get past the exciting, carefully staged demo presentation into the world of real-life customers? Demos are brief and can be successful with only a few lines of conversation, guided by some simple rules. This is how almost all chatbots work today. But tech content is textual and not rule-based. In fact, it is impossible to revamp the many thousands of pieces of content written for human readers into a formal rules-based system. The problem is how to connect the textual content, in any format or structure, with the inner processes of the bot. One way or another we are going to be having verbal conversations with our devices. We will review the various approaches and what the maturity of this technology allows. Presented by: Fabrice Lacroix is the founder of Fluid Topics, the company that puts enterprise content to work. A serial entrepreneur, he has been working for 25 years on the development of solutions that help customers make the most of their content and enhance their operating efficiency
  • Recorded: November 29, 2016 Continuous delivery (CD) and application release automation (ARA) are usually associated with software. These methodologies can be extended to other parts of your business, such as technical documentation. The output of a build/deploy/test/release software process and a build/publish tech doc process are similar – both produce sets of files that can be executed, uploaded, or published to multiple sites. When companies or organizations think of CD and ARA, they most often apply it to the software build/deploy/test/release process. There are many sources of information about how to do this, such as reference books, blogs, communities, and conferences where information is shared and new ideas arise. Let’s look at another way to apply CD and ARA in a company or organization. The process for technical documentation can also follow the build/deploy/test/release pattern.   At Electric Cloud, the process to build and publish (deploy and release) technical documentation was manual and time-consuming. A typical documentation set for a software release consists of six targets. The build process is run through the authoring tool and can take up to 30 minutes to build only one target. During this time, the authoring tool cannot be used to edit other files, and the PC performance can be adversely affected. To publish the documentation, the technical writer has to manually push the file set for each target and keep track of the progress. The publishing process can take up to several hours, depending on the number of targets to publish, the number of files for each target, and the number of servers to which the targets will be published. In this presentation, Jennifer will show how she modified her documentation workflow from doing things manually to having multiple documentation targets automated and publishing them to one or more sites. Jennifer will briefly describe the manual build and publish processes and how long it took to perform them as well as challenges of running this process consistently. Then she will describe and show how these processes were automated and summarize the improvements (spoiler alert: 50% speed up) resulting from it. This is an example of thinking outside of the box when it comes to improving your documentation processes by implementing DevOps, a methodology usually used in software development and release. CD and ARA can be applied to processes used by enterprise teams as well as small teams or groups in other areas of your business. The implementations are similar – only the process details are different. Presented by: Jennifer Chew, Nuage Networks Jennifer Chew is a senior technical writer at Nuage Networks in Mountain View, CA. Prior to this, she worked at Electric Cloud, Juniper Networks, Cisco Systems, and IBM. She is always looking for ways to combine her engineering experience with her writing projects.
  • Recorded: May 24, 2016 There’s a joke going around that asks: where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Answer: on the second page of a Google search. It underscores the fact that if your technical content does not appear at or near the top of what your users are searching for, it might as well not exist. You can mitigate the problem in DITA content by devising an effective taxonomy and inserting effective metadata into your topics. IXIASOFT DITA Specialist Keith Schengili-Roberts has explored this topic and presents his findings on the processes that can be used to make your DITA-based content easy for your users to find. Presenter: Keith Schengili-Roberts, IXIASOFT Keith is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, DITA evangelist and technical writing nerd. Keith is also an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture at the University of Toronto's iSchool, and Durham College. He is also an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, and can often be found presenting at conferences, working with customers, and researching how DITA is being used and sharing those results with the DITA community. Keith's popular industry blog DITAWriter.com has become a focal point on DITA resources and best practices. Connect with Keith on Twitter @KeithIXIASOFT.
  • Recorded: February 24, 2016 JoAnn Hackos and Stan Doherty, co-chairs of the OASIS DITA Adoption Technical Committee, take a careful look at the DITA standard’s adoption worldwide. Although we have witnessed a continuing growth of industries and companies adopting the DITA standard, we have also seen companies either deciding not to pursue DITA or abandoning an earlier excursion. Join Hackos and Doherty in examining the strengths and the weaknesses of DITA Adoption. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services and Stan Doherty, SimpliVity Corporation Dr. JoAnn Hackos is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1978. She is Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. Dr. Hackos and colleagues are called upon by corporate executives worldwide to consult on strategies for content management, development and organizational management, product interface design, customer studies, Web and traditional information architecture, and tools and technology selection. Stan Doherty lives in the the Boston area and works as a technical publications manager at SimpliVity Corporation. He participates as an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee and DITA Adoption Committee. Stan also supports companies in New England considering DITA. Feel free to contact Stan if you are considering DITA, DITA tools, or DITA-aware CCMSs. In previous jobs at Akamai Technologies, MathWorks Inc., and Sun Microsystems, Stan has implemented DITA-based solutions for manuals, CSHelp, and web-hosted information centers.
  • Recorded: March 15, 2018 The OASIS DITA Adoption TC is pleased to announce Keith Schengili-Roberts presentation on DITA Worst Practices. While people are interested in hearing about successes, we can actually learn more from failure. Not only do we discover what not to do, but also how to avoid the circumstances that led to it. DITA Adoption Chairperson Keith Schengili-Roberts has seen a lot of good and bad things happen to DITA implementations over the years, and part of his job is to investigate what works, what doesn’t, and why. This presentation is designed as an instructive and humorous lesson on what *not* to do when implementing DITA within a documentation team. From constraints that went too far, management decisions that went awry to quixotic tool decisions, Keith will cover DITA tales that are both funny and horrifying. Listen to his best (worst) DITA practices! Presented by: The OASIS DITA Adoption Technical Committee Keith Schengili-Roberts, OASIS DITA Adoption Committee Chairperson / IXIASOFT Keith is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, DITA evangelist and technical writing nerd. Keith is also an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture at the University of Toronto's iSchool, and Durham College. He is also an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, and can often be found presenting at conferences, working with customers, and researching how DITA is being used and sharing those results with the DITA community. Keith's popular industry blog DITAWriter.com has become a focal point on DITA resources and best practices. Connect with Keith on Twitter @KeithIXIASOFT.
  • Recorded: June 8, 2017
    In many industries there’s a shift taking place from the traditional product-focused model to a user focused model. It has become important to bring service information, such as user and maintenance manuals, to this new model as well to get the best possible user experience. This new model contributes to a lower downtime thanks to predictive maintenance, which is a result of IoT initiatives.In this webinar, Berry Braster of Etteplan will explain how business models are changing and what this means for technical communicators and documentation managers.

    Presented by Berry Braster, Etteplan

    Berry Braster is the Technology Director of Technical Documentation at Etteplan, a specialist in engineering, embedded systems, IoT, and technical documentation solutions with over 2500 employees worldwide. Berry has over 16 years of experience in the field of technical documentation and has assisted many global companies with their content strategies, effectively communicating technical information and applying universal standards for content, including Simplified Technical English and DITA.
  • Recorded: September 21, 2017 User guides, technical and reference manuals, installation and maintenance manuals aren’t merely the documentation of your products—they are also tools for winning business, increasing customer satisfaction and building loyalty. By understanding how your product documentation is consumed, you can transform operations and improve your product adoption. To gain this insight, you need to change the way you track and mine the behavior of users when they search, read and interact with your technical content. By combining the latest delivery, text-mining and analytics technologies, you will transform tech content into a sensor and its delivery into a data generator, unleashing a tremendous potential of information innovation.

    Presented by: Fabrice Lacroix, Antidot

    Fabrice Lacroix is a known Web pioneer and the founder of Antidot, the company that puts enterprise content to work. As an entrepreneur, he has been working for 25 years on the development of the Internet and of the Web through several major companies.
  • Recorded: March 30, 2017 As we look forward to the 2017 Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference in April, we devote time to identify industry trends. We asked managers, information architects, writers, training developers, and more how they are addressing the challenges of meeting customer information needs. Dawn Stevens, President of Comtech Services and Director of The Center for Information-Development Management, and Mark Gross, President of DCL, walk us through the results of the 2017 Trends Survey, a study we have been conducting since 2012. With five years of data, we can trace the changes in how we think about developing and delivering content. Join DCL and Comtech Services as we review the results of the 2017 survey and compare it with past results. Learn how information developers are coping with new customer demands for innovative approaches to development and delivery. Learn what tools teams are using and how they respond to technical innovations. Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services, Inc. and Mark Gross, DCL Dawn Stevens is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado. She is also Director of the Center for Information-Development Management, a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. With over 25 years of experience, including 15 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training. Mark Gross, President, Data Conversion Laboratory, is a recognized authority on XML implementation and document conversion. Mark also serves as Project Executive, with overall responsibility for resource management and planning. Prior to joining DCL in 1981, Mark was with the consulting practice of Arthur Young & Co. Mark has a BS in Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from New York University. He has also taught at the New York University Graduate School of Business, the New School, and Pace University. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of automated conversions to XML and SGML.
  • Recorded: March 28, 2018 As we look forward to the 2018 Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference in April, we devote time to identify industry trends. We asked managers, information architects, writers, training developers, and more how they are addressing the challenges of meeting customer information needs. Dawn Stevens, President of Comtech Services and Mark Gross, President, DCL will walk us through the results of the 2018 Trends Survey, a study we have been conducting since 2012. With five years of data, we can trace the changes in how we think about developing and delivering content. Join DCL and Comtech Services as we review the results of the 2018 survey and compare it with past results. Learn how information developers are coping with new customer demands for innovative approaches to development and delivery. Learn what tools teams are using and how they respond to technical innovations. Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services and Mark Gross, Data Conversion Laboratory Dawn Stevens is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado. She is also Director of the Center for Information-Development Management, a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. With over 25 years of experience, including 15 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training. Mark Gross, President, Data Conversion Laboratory, is a recognized authority on XML implementation and document conversion. Mark also serves as Project Executive, with overall responsibility for resource management and planning. Prior to joining DCL in 1981, Mark was with the consulting practice of Arthur Young & Co. Mark has a BS in Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from New York University. He has also taught at the New York University Graduate School of Business, the New School, and Pace University. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of automated conversions to XML and SGML.
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