Elevating standards, expanding knowledge
Now that it can develop new content twice as fast, the Empowered technical communications team uses the time saved to reimagine processes and to develop standards that enhance content quality and consistency.
For example, instead of sending entire documents to various reviewers, such as the Aflac legal team or technical subject matter experts, the Empowered team can simply share relevant DITA topics. That has helped shorten review turnaround times from weeks to days.
The technical communications team is also working to capture more of the company’s institutional knowledge and share it with new audiences. A lot of it is still in the mind or on the hard drives of long-time company employees, so the team is gathering their information and building a knowledge base with Adobe FrameMaker.
“We’ve had a lot of people ask us how to do something or where to look it up, so we recently began authoring internal documentation with Adobe FrameMaker,” McLean says. “Now, if someone moves off a team or leaves the company, the information doesn’t go with them. From a training standpoint, we are also getting people like coders and business analysts up to speed on processes quicker.”
Preparing for publication
Now that the Empowered technical communications team created and formatted DITA content in Adobe FrameMaker, the company is focused on optimizing publication. Only Empowered and Aflac audiences have had access to information through Sharepoint and Confluence. The next step is to acquire a component content management system (CCMS). It would enable the technical communications team to manage, organize, and publish its new DITA content at the component level.
“Adobe FrameMaker gives Empowered the ability to execute multichannel publishing,” Bodek says. “Once we told Aflac that we could deliver content to any device and any screen size at any time in PDF or HTML5, they asked how quickly we could brand it. Not being a coder, it was great to find out that I could go into the FrameMaker template, add a few color codes, and call it a day.”