Past Webinars

  • Recorded: October 13, 2016 Change is difficult and often avoided, and everyone knows insurance companies are risk averse. However, that didn’t stop a small team of technical writers from upending the way they created content for California Casualty. By embracing modular structured content, unproven in their industry at the time, they were able to dramatically increase content findability which had a ripple effect on their entire business. Now California Casualty is an example to other insurance companies on how change can sometimes be a good thing. Join our webinar with Susan Lalor, Senior Information Designer at California Casualty, to find out how her team was able to accomplish this transformation. See how internal stakeholders and content users are just as important as customers. And most importantly, learn best practices for sowing your own seeds of transformation. Susan Lalor wrote her first computer user manual in 1982 when she wondered how the big blank screen sitting on her desk actually worked. She knew then that technical writing was her passion. For the last 13 years, she’s worked as a Senior Information Designer for California Casualty where she is a champion for single sourcing and user experience. She’s also been lucky enough to dabble in web and graphic design, project management, and business analysis over the past 30 years. Susan has a B.S. degree with a concentration in professional writing and has been a STC member since 1998. Chip Gettinger is VP, Solutions, SDL. He manages a team working with SDL customers to maximize their own customer experience by deploying SDL Knowledge Delivery applications. Chip has over 20 years’ experience in global publishing, content strategies, customer experience management, business management, and content management solutions, working closely with industry organizations, partners, and customers in technology solutions and deployment.
  • Recorded: August 23, 2016 Standards are as old as human societies: their forebears are the coins and weights that were used for trade as far back as the historical record goes. In this presentation, JoAnn Hackos explains how information development managers can adopt standards that are relevant for our world. Know how standards demonstrate that we are part of a worldwide community dedicated to ensuring that we define and adopt recognized best practices. Learn how we can work together globally to ensure that we define and implement best practices to develop information and deliver it effectively. Dr. Hackos explains which standards are available and which are under development. She will help you learn how you can benefit from standards in your company or organization. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc. 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.
  • Recorded: July 27, 2016 Over the last decade, corporate technical publications departments have invested heavily in migrating their content away from proprietary authoring and publishing tools (e.g., MSWord, Adobe FrameMaker) and implementing the DITA standard for content markup. These companies have invested millions of dollars into content conversion and implementation of DITA-based authoring and content management systems. In many ways, these DITA implementation projects have proven to be hugely successful, particularly with regards to content reuse and reduced cost of localizing content to multiple languages. However, one promise of DITA has often fallen short: the goal of true “single source publishing.” The majority of technical publications groups are still publishing to print as the primary output format, followed by online help, and in some cases, eBooks. But, one major gap is still present for most technical publishers: automated publishing to mobile devices. Even though smartphones and tablets have dominated the industry for the last several years, virtually no one is publishing content in a way that fully uses the native capabilities of these mobile devices. Instead, they are settling for the inherent limitations of PDF or HTML files. Dan Dube outlines 5 tips to help technical publishers go “the last mile” to fully leverage their DITA investment and deliver content to popular mobile device platforms like Apple iOS and Android. This webinar will also help to answer the burning question: “Why aren’t EPUB or PDF the best choices for delivering DITA content to a mobile device?” Presented by: Dan Dube, Compass Behavior Dan Dube is a seasoned veteran of the XML content management and publishing industry, with over 30 years of experience working with structured content and automated single-source publishing solutions. Dan is best known as the co-founder and former CEO of DocZone, the industry’s first cloud-based solution for XML authoring, content management, localization, and multichannel publishing. (DocZone was acquired by RSI in 2009.) Dan is now CEO and co-owner of Compass Innovative Behavior Strategies, a New England-based provider of behavior therapy services for individuals with autism and other developmental delays. He still maintains a presence in the publishing industry as an independent consultant.
  • 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: May 10, 2016 In the age of IoT, connected devices have opened up a whole new way of supporting your customer. Learn how you can leverage real-time device information to provide your customers with an immediate diagnosis and troubleshooting walkthroughs before they even notice the problem. In this session you will learn:
    • How to create adaptive decision workflows as part of your documentation
    • How to trigger the right workflow at the right time based on device information
    • How to serve the workflow to customers through your web or mobile application
    Presenter: Hannan Saltzman, Zoomin Hannan Saltzman is the Vice President of Product Management at Suite Solutions. For the last 15 years, Hannan has served in senior R&D and product positions, focused on helping organizations extract critical business insights from their information assets using smart analytics. At Suite Solutions, Hannan and his team develop innovative products that help organizations reduce customer effort by providing personalized and consistent product information across customer touchpoints.
  • Recorded: April 19, 2016 In this presentation, we embark upon re-thinking the entire content production cycle, and we use The Toyota Way as our philosophy. Expect fun and engaging conversation that will make you question some or all of the time-honoured content production processes and to start looking for waste. We will discuss the Lean principles in Japanese car manufacturing and apply them to content production. We will debate that not only can this be done today, but also that it can be done well. Finally, we will look how using Lean together with a good quality DITA/CMS solution can lead to incredible results in reducing production time and costs, improving team morale, and achieving superior product quality. By product, we, of course, mean content output.

    Presented by: Nenad Furtula, Bluestream and Galyna Key, Datix

    Nenad Furtula is partner and a VP of Sales and Marketing at Bluestream Database Software. Nenad has been working with XML and bringing XML related products to market for over a decade. Currently his primary professional interest lies in building and socializing a DITA-enabled value-based component content management system called XDocs. Since discovering the field of technical communication 15 years ago, Galyna remains convinced that it is the coolest and most creative discipline out there. Over the years, she stopped trying to figure out whether she is a project manager, product manager, engineer, designer, tester, localisation expert, or a knowledge architect and decided to have fun changing her hats on a regular basis. Galyna is currently leading the transformation of customer learning experience (LX) at Datix. Previously, she did the same at Autodesk, where she built a high-performing LX team from the ground up. She holds two Master’s Degrees; one in Philology and another one in Technical Authorship, and she is a Fellow of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators.
  • Recorded: March 29, 2016 As we look forward to the 2016 Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference in April, we devote time to identify industry trends. We ask managers, information architects, writers, training developers, and more how they are addressing the challenges of meeting customer information needs. Dr. JoAnn Hackos, President of Comtech Services and Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), and Mark Gross, President of DCL, walk us through the results of the 2016 Trends Survey, a study we have been conducting since 2012. With four 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 2016 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: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc. and Mark Gross, DCL 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. Mark Gross, President & CEO — founder of Data Conversion Laboratory, is a recognized authority on XML implementation and document conversion. President and CEO of DCL, Mark also serves as Project Executive, with overall responsibility for resource management and planning. Prior to founding 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 23, 2016 Manuals are rapidly becoming the last items people rely on to find information about the products they have purchased. Leafing through the pages of a printed copy seems too old today. In fact, even finding the printed manual may be difficult in most environments. Instead, we search for answers to our questions using the ubiquitous Google search. Most of the manuals that were in our kitchen drawers are available online but do we really want a PDF of a manual to try to page through? PDF searches are pretty much useless for finding the specific answers to our questions or solving our problems. Instead of a PDF, we’d like a page with the answer, something we often can find without going to the product website. Topics are the new information resource. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services and Nenad Furtula, Bluestream 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. Nenad Furtula is partner and a VP of Sales and Marketing at Bluestream Database Software. Nenad has been working with XML and bringing XML related products to market for over a decade. Currently his primary professional interest lies in building and socializing a DITA-enabled value-based component content management system called XDocs.
  • Recorded: March 9, 2016 What can we as information developers do to help our users sort through the plethora of information available to them and find that small nugget of truth that will help them complete their task at hand, solve a nagging problem, or make a purchasing decision? How can we create an uncluttered path through the forest that takes them directly to our content, eliminating distractions and unnecessary forks in the road? A corporate taxonomy helps make searching simple and increases the chances for users to find the answers they need on their first try. Unfortunately, the effort to create such systems and the tools required to support them can be prohibitive. In this presentation, Dawn Stevens and Joe Gelb will discuss the importance of a corporate taxonomy, outline the process for defining and testing it, and demonstrate its crucial role within dynamic publishing platforms delivering focused content across all customer touchpoints. Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services Inc. and Joe Gelb, Suite Solutions Dawn Stevens is the Vice President of Operations and partner at Comtech Services, Inc. Dawn specializes 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. Joe Gelb has over twenty years of experience helping enterprises implement, maintain and capitalize on structured content. At Zoomin, he has spearheaded the development of advanced technology solutions for content delivery. Prior to founding Zoomin and Suite Solutions, Joe was the CTO at Live Linx, a leading provider of software and system integration services for technical product information, where he designed and implemented solutions for aerospace, defense, manufacturing and hi-tech companies. Joe holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology.
  • Recorded: February 25, 2016 A content strategy may fall short in delivering on expectations for many reasons – among them failure to send a consistent message about what you expect content developers to do with the strategy, and failure to guide developers as they implement the strategy in their content. Until recently, our practice was to develop a strategy, present it to the team, and leave it to managers and developers to decide how to implement the strategy in their content. This approach produced inconsistent implementation of the strategy, resulting in a lot of content that seemed to have been developed by different organizations. Ron explains how Siemens PLM implemented the content strategy team, shares lessons learned and successes thus far, and describe next steps. Presented by: Ron Hickman, Siemens PLM Software Ron Hickman is Director of Learning Media Development for Siemens PLM Software. He has been with Siemens PLM Software (and predecessor companies) for more than 36 years, leading several different teams, including the Americas customer support team and the Teamcenter Program Office. He joined Learning Media Development in February 2011 as senior manager for Teamcenter documentation and courseware, and became director of Learning Media Development in June 2013. When he’s not working, Ron enjoys time with his family, including 5 grandchildren, hiking, and serving in the community.
  • 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: February 17, 2016 As software has moved to the cloud and evolved into Software as a Service, there’s been an increasing need for software documentation to evolve as well. Documentation processes and project management methodologies that relied on long release cycles don’t work in the more agile world of continuous software updates. While working through this evolution, the Microsoft Dynamics AX Content Publishing team was hit with a massive layoff, reducing a team of 40 people to a team of 10. Suddenly, the idea of reinventing how we worked and how we delivered content in a more agile way took on a much more extreme meaning. Over the past year, we’ve worked through a true reinvention. We developed a model where the role of the writer has changed to the role of Content Strategist, the role of the manager has changed to one of empowering the team rather than trying to solve the team’s problems, the role of creating content has moved to a variety of subject matter experts, and the role of ensuring content quality has been distributed across teams who work most closely with customers. We’ve learned a great deal through this reinvention, and this talk shares the highlights of what we’ve learned. This talk looks at how the Microsoft Dynamics AX Content Publishing team reinvented their roles, authoring tools, and content creation and publishing processes in an environment where staffing levels are so low that writers can no longer write. You’ll learn about this team’s experience in moving away from traditional content publishing practices and instead, collaborating with other subject matter experts in planning content, identifying appropriate authors, incenting subject matter experts to create the content, and leveraging teams outside of Content Publishing to ensure content quality. The talk covers aspects of change management, influencing without authority, collaboration, partnering, creative problem solving, and teamwork. Presented by Ann Beebe, Microsoft Dynamics AX Ann Beebe has been leading content publishing teams at Microsoft for 18 years. She’s managed the documentation teams for Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Business Framework, Visual Studio, Home and Small Business Server, and is currently leading the documentation teams for Microsoft Dynamics’ AX and GP products. Prior to joining Microsoft, Ann managed documentation, training, and corporate communications for Barfield, Cauthen & Associates in Atlanta, and managed documentation and usability teams for Sales Technologies, Inc. in Atlanta.
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