For almost as long as I can remember, pitchmen (especially on late-night TV) have been selling all-in-one gadgets that slice, dice, puree, and do pretty much everything.
In our world of technical communication we have something similar: “soup to nuts” authoring systems that combine all the major steps of the content workflow under one banner:
- Creating content
- Managing content
Vendors have been offering systems like this for several years. The sales pitch is alluring: unify all of your content under the banner of one integrated toolset. Lots of content, a multi-step workflow, and one brand to rule them all.
Yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen a company, or even a decent-sized organization within a company, use one of these single-vendor systems for its entire content workflow.
I’ve used parts of these systems. For example, I’ve used easyDITA for content management and publishing, but not for content creation and reviewing. I’ve used XMetaL, but only for creating and publishing content.
In fact I’ve never used these systems for reviewing. All of my SMEs have said the same thing: “Give me a Word document or a PDF that I can mark up. Don’t make me learn a new tool.”
Do any of you use a single, soup-to-nuts system to create, manage, review, and publish content? If so, I’d like to hear from you. Is it working well for you? How easy was it to set up, get buy-in from content producers and SMEs, and train everyone? Continue reading