Past Webinars

  • 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: February 27, 2018 Join us to learn how companies are using Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) as the single source to power their learning content, including leveraging learning objectives to drive personalized learning. Dawn Stevens, President of Comtech Services, and Amber Swope, President of DITA Strategies, are co-chairs of the Learning & Training OASIS subcommittee and will explain how DITA can provide the structured foundation for your learning initiatives. Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services and Amber Swope, DITA Strategies 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. Amber Swope is an internationally recognized expert on the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) who specializes in helping teams develop their information architecture and implement DITA. With over 20 years of experience in the information development field and 12 years of DITA expertise, Amber helps teams design and optimize their environments to improve efficiency and reduce costs. When she’s not busy helping to change the world with XML, she can be found playing soccer, walking her puppsters, and enjoying Portland, OR.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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: February 22, 2017 Although traditionally businesses may still regard technical documentation as an afterthought, there is a change as product information is more and more regarded as an integral part of the product, businesses are looking for more efficiency gains and cost savings, and the future role it will play in the way information will need to be delivered using technologies like Augmented Reality, but also how content connects to IoT. During this webinar, Berry will discuss how content quality plays an important role in achieving these goals, as well as discuss how the use of Simplified Technical English and other documentation standards facilitate product marketing and help make content future proof. Presented by: Berry Braster, Etteplan Berry Braster is the global Sales Director of Technical Documentation Services 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, how to effectively communicate technical information and apply universal standards for content, including Simplified Technical English and DITA.
  • 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: January 18, 2018 The experts will discuss the evidence of trends for more SME-authored content, and investigate the forces driving the trend. They will also share good practices for safeguarding quality content and efficient production when more and more documentation is written by people outside of the information development team. They will also discuss potential benefits to using more SMEs, and raise some questions around the real cost of using SMEs to author content. What does it mean for the tech writing profession if “anyone can write technical documentation”? If you feel as though you have to fight to have information development specialists write your content, come and hear how others are experiencing changing patterns of content development. Share good practice regarding handling SME-authored content as we look for ways to build collaboration without sacrificing standards and efficiencies. Discuss how to leverage your Information Developer experience and skills when folks from other teams are writing content, and brainstorm with the panel the new skill sets we must nurture to be successful in a collaborative environment. Presented by: Sharon Figueira, Toni Mantych and Joe Pennachio Sharon Figueira has eighteen years’ experience as a technical communicator. For the past few years, the main focus of my career has been DITA XML, content management, and migrating content into DITA and a CCMS. My team won the RFQ to migrate Ericsson’s content to a DITA XML/CCMS solution. Since then, we have migrated thousands of pages of content, performing pre-migration analysis, restructuring content, maximizing reuse, and producing variant output. Sharon recently joined IXIASOFT, a leader in the content management software industry. Toni Mantych describes her professional purpose and passion as “Solving client problems with content, and content problems with technology.” She is currently Director of Information Experience at ServiceNow. She has taught numerous courses in the graduate Technical and Professional Communications program as Portland State University and speaks regularly at content industry conferences. Joe Pennachio is a skilled professional with experience building and directing technical teams globally. Significant strategic and operational experience with a strong bias towards executing organization-wide transformation, achieving increased efficiency, and reducing cost. Proven ability for identifying and analyzing critical customer and business needs and implementing change. Joe joined QUALCOMM in January of 2016 as a Senior Director of Technical Communications.
  • 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: 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.
  • April 30, 2019 Consumers have more avenues than ever before to find the content they need. Are you trying to decipher how content trends are impacting your business? Do you need to respond to a rapidly changing digital marketplace? Join us to discover how changing content development and delivery requirements are affecting your business today. Learn how others in the information-development community are planning to respond to new customer demands for innovative approaches to development and delivery. In its seventh year of collecting data, the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM) and Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) asked managers, information architects, writers, training developers, and more how they are addressing the challenges of meeting customer information needs. During the webinar we walk through the results of the 2019 Trends Survey, a study we have been conducting since 2012. We trace the changes in how we think about developing and delivering content. Presented by:  Dawn Stevens, President, Comtech Services and Director of CIDM has 28 years of practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. Dawn is the perfect advisor to identify and remove the challenges you face in producing usable, technical information and training content. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines her solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to lead our team of consultants and specialists in providing the expertise you need. 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.