Anne Bovard, Comtech Services, Inc.


We’ve received a record number of submissions for this year’s Rare Bird Award. Our community members are pushing the envelope—striving to do things better, faster, and more efficiently.

Entry 1: NXP Semiconductors, Extraction without Pain

Submitted by David Reid

NXP designed, built, and implemented a solution to automate content conversion. The script converts EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) files into an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) format, searches the resultant files, and compiles the results in a manageable CSV (Comma-Separated Value) file ready for upload into their CMS (Content Management System). In an early proof of concept for an internal customer, the script was developed, tested, and run against 500 EPS drawings in three and a half days. The Extraction without Pain Team estimates that the same work completed manually would have taken over 3 person-months and would have been susceptible to human error.


Entry 2: Motorola, Know Thy Customer Know Thyself

Submitted by Bob Ryan

Using a Six Sigma tool, the Motorola team analyzed customer satisfaction and importance rankings to determine what content improvements to focus on. They organized a team of more than 85 people from ten organizations to ensure that all information products were reviewed. By assessing and ranking issues, they were able to make immediate changes that resulted in the delivery of critical information three months earlier than originally planned. The group now meets regularly and has confidence that their focus is accurately targeted and they are meeting their customers’ requirements.

To learn more, please visit with Bob at the Best Practices 2008 Showcase Tuesday afternoon.


Entry 3: Symantec Corporation, Dewey: XML-Based Topic-Oriented Publishing

Submitted by Robert Lee

Symantec reported the successes associated with the implementation of their recent topic-based publishing strategy. Source XML files are quickly converted to How-To topics and are published directly to Symantec’s website without the assistance of the IT organization. By using a topic-oriented architecture, Symantec has bypassed the previous PDF-based book paradigm, and their content is now retrievable by search engines like Google, with customers finding it easier to navigate in and around. Additionally they are enjoying immense success from the use of search-engine keyword analysis. By studying this rich feedback, Symantec has new found insight into what their customers want.

To learn more, please attend Robert’s talk on Wednesday morning at Best Practices 2008.


Entry 4: ILOG S.A., ILOG OneContent Platform

Submitted by Virginie Ahrens and Eric Mazeran

Faced with increasing requirements (additional delivery formats, platforms, languages, and other customizations), ILOG recently moved from a manual and labor-intensive workflow to the OneContent platform. After analyzing current content and conducting a series of customer studies, ILOG designed a custom information model and developed a single-sourcing strategy. OneContent was created collaboratively by the IT team (platform infrastructure) and the Product Information team (information model). Today ILOG is able to reuse most of its existing documentation and now translates only new or edited text. As a result, ILOG’s localization costs have decreased by 40%. Additionally, ILOG has realized time savings (localization work can occur in parallel with documentation work) and has a stronger team environment (the Product Information team is now working collaboratively to reuse content and develop content that can be repurposed).

To learn more, please visit with Virginie at the Best Practices 2008 Showcase Tuesday afternoon.


Entry 5: Alcatel-Lucent, Standardizing the Collection of All Project-Related Data

Submitted by Stephanie Macauley

Alcatel-Lucent was challenged with capturing project- and budget-related data from 46 product-development groups. The possible variations in reporting as well as the time associated with collecting the data were producing unnecessary overhead and inefficiencies. As a result, Alcatel-Lucent developed an easy method to consolidate all of the raw data that anyone generating a report might need, from individual information developers who must monitor their workloads to the manager who needs a stakeholder report on budget spending. Data is collated daily (in less than 10 minutes) and posted on the intranet for all to use. This standardization ensures that Alcatel-Lucent’s reports are comprehensive and accurate.

To learn more, please visit with Stephanie at the Best Practices 2008 Showcase Tuesday afternoon.


Entry 6: Innovatia Inc., Innovatia SSM

Submitted by Peter Wallace & Blair Morgan

Innovatia implemented a single-sourcing methodology (SSM) that guides writing project management from design to publication. With a series of 10 steps, Innovatia ensures through the SSM that projects are planned, scoped, and executed efficiently with cost and time savings. They report that authoring time has been reduced by 20 to 30% and annual document maintenance by 10%. Innovatia is also better able to output to multiple formats and reuse content in multiple deliverables.

To learn more, please visit with Peter & Blair at the Best Practices 2008 Showcase Tuesday afternoon.


Entry 7: Juniper Networks, Designing and Delivering Modular Content

Submitted by Renu Bhargava

When Juniper Networks created the Ethernet Products Business Group (EPBG) in 2006, the new manager and her information architect recognized the opportunity for a major paradigm shift. Though the technical writers at Juniper had been authoring in XML for several years, they were developing content in a book-based methodology. The EPBG group decided to design and develop its content in a modular fashion. During their initial information design, they involved representatives from other groups. These representatives served as reviewers and SMEs for other material at Juniper that would need to adhere to the EPBG’s model in later implementations. The EPBG group has realized new efficiencies in content development, updates, and publication. And they’ve found that their accuracy has improved.

To learn more, please visit with Tim Harrington at the Best Practices 2008 Showcase Tuesday afternoon.


Entry 8: Siemens PLM Software, Shared Content Development for Documentation and Courseware

Submitted by Laura Readdy & Wanda Applegate

Traditionally documentation and courseware were planned and authored separately in the Siemens PLM Software group. In response to customer feedback, the Siemens Group recently centralized these two organizations. With a shared process and guidelines, the group is now developing content once and sharing it across their Documentation and Courseware enterprise. The Siemens PLM Software group is seeing benefits from the strategies that they have employed to drive this initiative: minimalist principles, an information model, common terminology, and training.

To learn more, please visit with Wanda & Laura at the Best Practices 2008 Showcase Tuesday afternoon and attend their presentation Monday afternoon.


Entry 9: Cisco Systems, Cisco DocWiki

Submitted by Paul Zimmerman & Neville Fleet

Cisco is enjoying the fruits of a collaborative Web 2.0 technology: the DocWiki. The DocWiki provides opportunities for content creators to collaborate with internal customers, end users, and each other. Delivery of information is faster, and customer interaction is encouraged. The collaboration innovation is captured in the DocWiki environment.

To learn more, please visit with Paul & Neville at the Best Practices 2008 Showcase Tuesday afternoon.


Our esteemed Rare Bird Judges have deliberated and selected a winner. Please join us for the announcement of this year’s winner at the Best Practices 2008 Banquet in Santa Fe, NM.