Alan Sage, Digabit, Inc.
The new generation of information sharing is here. Internet-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is fast replacing CD-driven computer programs, and SaaS is making its own fast track to Cloud-computing.
The benefits of transitioning to new technology include
- real-time processing of information with no delays
- reaching all users at the same time, no matter where they are located
- responsive social collaboration to enhance user experience
Consider Adobe’s new Creative Cloud Membership. Buyers can still order CDs or download software to their laptops. However, Adobe urges buyers to get “Everything you need, everywhere you work” with their new Cloud offering1.
Why push out information individually in printed documents, PDFs, or CDs when going global, online, and in the Cloud has the ability to instantly impact all users? Old software versions and outdated information don’t lurk around causing missteps and mistakes for companies to pay for again and again.
Novalog Informatique, producer of the CatBase software technology, recently made such a switch. Although CatBase was the cutting-edge technology of its day with electronic parts books and illustrated parts catalogs, owner Roch Burton retired the software in favor of the new technology of Documoto.
To previous CatBase users, Burton stated, “I believe you will find Documoto to have many compelling capabilities. Web delivery, support of 3D models, mobile and disconnected support, integration with ERP and CAD—and other 3rd party applications via Web Services—are all supported by Documoto.”2
Web-based technology not only impacts the end-user, but production staff as well. Adobe’s “Everything you need, everywhere you work” applies to an expanding number of web-based applications. Similarly, Documoto allows content managers the administrative access to produce, manage, and update information by simply logging on. Content takes on its own form of social media with related content, user comments, and tracking reports. Changes are seamless to the end-user who always has up-to-date information at hand.
“Technology plays a crucial role in speeding up business processes,” says Kevin Jones, Vice President of Dell Services. “It is no longer acceptable to delay a major company initiative for months so the IT department can spec out, purchase, test, set-up, and provision new systems.
“At Dell, we call that the ‘Yes, Now’ culture.
Jones continued, “Cloud computing can help businesses optimize the resources they have at hand, reducing the cost and complexity of their datacenter. And it can do all this while putting the right amount of computing power at the fingertips of every worker, no matter where they are and when they need it. Cloud services, whether private, hybrid, or public, can achieve significant efficiencies in making IT operations much more responsive to business needs.”3
The transition to online technical information creates a new route that circumvents taking electronic information, like CAD data or ERP parts information, and publishing it as static documentation. Web-based information is changing the future of technical documentation.
With new technologies, electronic information stays electronic and malleable, easily molding to different formats for different uses. For example, the same bill of materials can be used in Web Services for mass pricing updates or in parts catalogs for use in online shopping carts. CAD data for 3D engineering diagrams can be preserved for parts identification and ordering in online catalogs for aftermarket sales. This stream creates a cross-team use of data that removes the need to reformat information for different uses.
The move toward online and social interaction is pervasive, creating a culture of users who expect “everything they need, everywhere they are.” Business applications are not exempt—to their own benefit.
Transitioning to new technologies for content managers reduces production time and allows information to be updated without a cumbersome revision calendar and print review. For end-users, the ease with which information is gathered and understood makes a straight path to decision making with the end result of increased sales.
Talk of Internet-based Software-as-a-Service with Cloud-computing is making its way into every company striving to be relevant for today’s users—and reliable enough to preserve a positive future for a business model.
Appealing to the “Yes, Now” mindset of today’s culture means moving your documentation online and making it real-time, reachable, and responsive.