Recently I read a discussion thread at a LinkedIn Tech Comm group in which Aaron, my CEO, claimed MindTouch didn’t support single sourcing. He was promptly contradicted by a MindTouch customer, Amanda Cross of ExactTarget, and prominent Tech Comm leader who just kicked off a guest blog series here at the MindTouch blog. Later on another MindTouch customer from EMC echoed Amanda’s call that they too use MindTouch for single sourcing.


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Recent studies concluded by Greenfield Online, Datamonitor, Ovum analysts and Genesys, concluded that companies in the United States lose about $83 billion annually in product abandonment, customer churn and defections due to customer support failures. Globally, across the 16 largest economies, the total loss to support failure was $338 billion annually. The main reason these losses continue is a lack of actionable insight to the consumers’ support expectations and the real customer experience with products. Companies using twenty year old static support architecture, commonly referred to as Help 1.0 environments, are virtually blind to their customers’ sense of product and support fulfillment and are considered by support industry experts to be particularly vulnerable to support failures.

Many companies operating these Help 1.0 environments today are managing their help documentation through CMS platforms like IXIAsoft, SDL TriSoft, SDL LiveContent, DocZone, Astoria, Componize and other DITA XML based products. Though these are powerful tools, and represent a significant investment in document and knowledgebase asset management, they have fallen short of their full ability to empower support leaders with insight because they’re typically tasked to publish to static Help 1.0 dead end publishing points like PDFs, CD-ROMs, and HTML.
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I’ve just returned from the 2011 Lavacon conference in Austin, TX where I presented "Who Cares About Your Live Content?". The audience at the conference included content strategists, techpubs, elearning and techcomm managers. There were great sponsors present, such as: Adobe TCS, Astoria, SDL LiveContent, IXIAsoft and Madcap Flare.

I’m sharing my deck with you here because I think it’s a great crash course on the real world benefits of help and product content across an entire organization.

Also TechWhirl provided a great overview of my talk.

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Today MindTouch announced new product capabilities for enhancing CMS and CCMS vendors like Astoria, DocZone, SDL LiveContent, Trisoft and IXIAsoft.

Better customer help, happier customers.
Socialize existing publishing pipelines.
Replace PDF and static content outputs from current publishing pipelines with a social publishing endpoint.

XML and DITA based CMS’s have proven market value by decreasing the cost of authoring, maintaining and translating content. While powerful in lowering costs, CCMS platforms are publishing value laden content into obsolete pre-Web formats such as PDFs, static HTML and first generation knowledgebases.

End users’ expectations are higher than ever. Twenty year old static formats are still the primary mediums used today and these fail to meet the needs of end users. Recent studies (Greenfield Online, Datamonitor, Ovum Analysts and Genesys) estimate the failure to meet customers’ support needs is the publishing-flow3primary cause of customer churn and this creates as much as $83 billion of annual losses caused by product abandonment.
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