Outsourcing Information Design & Delivery: A Viable Strategy for Technical Product and Process Information

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CIDM

December 2001


Outsourcing Information Design & Delivery: A Viable Strategy for Technical Product and Process Information


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In his white paper, Outsourcing Information Design & Delivery: A Viable Strategy for Technical Product and Process Information, David M. Orchard explains that, despite the current challenges, through outsourcing, technical publications organizations can implement best practices to increase efficiency and cost savings.

Organizations today have shorter development schedules while the size of their documentation staff is decreasing. Yet, they must continue to be competitive and develop quality information for their customers. Many organizations have streamlined their processes and have begun single sourcing their information to deliver more information with less staff. However, many organizations don’t have the internal resources or expertise to meet these challenges successfully.

Outsourcing can help organizations meet these new challenges. Where previously organizations would only supplement the work of their in-house staff with outsource providers, now organizations may need to consider outsourcing their work full-time.

Orchard recommends that an organization’s “core functions” should not be outsourced. Core functions are determined by the organization and are what make up the organization’s strengths, differentiate the organization in the market, and drive the organization’s revenue. Instead, organizations should consider outsourcing only those functions that are important to their operation but not to their overall strategy. For many organizations, this means outsourcing information development. For information-development departments, this means keeping the information related to core products in-house and possibly outsourcing legacy documentation. If your department does not have the expertise to complete certain deliverables, that function is also a good candidate for outsourcing.

Organizations should look for outsource providers who can offer global services, strong financial capabilities, and contracting expertise to implement their information-development strategies. Qualified outsource providers should be able to maintain the organization’s existing processes, develop and maintain future processes, and design, test, and implement a single-sourcing strategy. Many outsource providers are now emerging to meet those needs.

Outsourcing information development can increase an organization’s efficiency and cost savings by allowing more time and resources for other tasks, providing access to best-in-class capabilities, and sharing investments and risks with the outsource provider. Perhaps most important, outsourcing can aid an organization in meeting the challenge of improving their processes and strategies while continuing to achieve best practices in information development.

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