Technical Documentation Moves Toward Live Product Content

The Internet and mobile channels are fundamentally changing how customers expect to find and engage with information related to a company’s products. To provide an outstanding experience for their customers, a company must provide quick access to relevant, up-to-date technical information in compelling forms. By doing so, companies can increase revenues, improve out-of-box experience, increase self-service, drive down call center calls, and ultimately increase repeat buying and word of mouth recommendations.

To improve customer experience, companies are moving towards a practice of what might be labeled “live product content”. Live product content offers a number of valuable business benefits that cannot be achieved with traditional documentation. Continue reading Technical Documentation Moves Toward Live Product Content

10 Steps to Save Time and Money During Translation

For companies doing business globally, the availability of properly translated documentation is critical for success. But translation can be expensive, time consuming, and cumbersome, and companies often limit translation or skip it altogether.

With proper planning, translations costs can be significantly reduced. However this requires more than just extracting the best deal from your translation vendor. It requires proper planning at the time of content creation. Following the steps below can cut your translation cost by 50% or more without diluting the value of your content. Continue reading 10 Steps to Save Time and Money During Translation

BYOD and FIYS: The Consumerization of IT

The consumerization of IT has spawned two linked trends in the corporate space – Bring Your Own Device and Fix It Your Self – as employees increasingly use personal devices of all types and platforms to complete business tasks, and also fix their own devices when something goes wrong. Both trends bring opportunities, challenges, and risks for companies who must decide whether to embrace or resist the change. Continue reading BYOD and FIYS: The Consumerization of IT

Phoenix Tech Pubs Update: April 2012

Time to catch up on documentation! Many of our clients put technical documentation on hold during the economic slump and are now facing a daunting challenge to bring it up to date. With over twenty-five years of experience, Phoenix Tech Pubs is providing efficient and cost-effective support to clients such as General Dynamics, Applied Materials, and Cepheid as they update their documentation.

XML/DITA

We are completing a major transformation of documentation for a leading semiconductor company from static PDFs to fully searchable, customizable XML and DITA based online-technical content. Check back soon when their site is up and running!

See our blogs “An Introduction to XML and DITA” and “Technical Documentation Moves Toward Live Product Content” for more information.
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ROBOTICS

Autonomous motorized devices grow in popularity for both military and commercial use. We recently completed a doc set for an exciting new robotics device for a Silicon Valley start-up.

CONSUMERIZATION OF IT

Bring Your Own Device is the newest trend in corporate technology use. Phoenix Tech Pubs recently wrote a white paper for a IT software company about their solution for mobile device management.

See our blog “BYOD and FIYS – The Consumerization of IT” for more information.
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Phoenix Technical Publications has provided complete technical writing and documentation services in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 25 years.

McKinsey Quarterly: Time to Rethink Offshoring

McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, recommends that its clients evaluate the total cost of offshoring to determine if current economic conditions warrant bringing some manufacturing back to the States. See our blogs “Boeing 787 Dreamliner Illustrates the Dangers of Offshoring” and “GE, NCR Lead “Reshoring” Trend” for more perspectives on this issue.

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Time to Rethink Offshoring?

Changing economic conditions may have undermined some of the benefits of offshoring. For managers of global supply chains, this could be the time to reevaluate.
September 2008 • Ajay Goel, Nazgol Moussavi, and Vats N. Srivatsan
Retrieved March 15, 2012 https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Time_to_rethink_offshoring_2190
Source: Business Technology Office
 

The production of high-tech goods has moved steadily from the United States to Asia over the last decade. The reasons are familiar: lower wages, a stable global economy, and rapidly growing local markets. These factors combined to make nations such as China and Malaysia favored manufacturing locations. In the last two years, however, the favorable economic winds that carried offshoring forward have turned turbulent. The new conditions are undermining some of the factors that made manufacturers of every stripe, including those in high tech, move production offshore. Continue reading McKinsey Quarterly: Time to Rethink Offshoring

Maria’s Alcatraz Swim, September 2011

Me and Jim, ready to swim. My daughter Nina and husband Andy are behind us.

A few years ago my brother Jim convinced me to sign up for the Alcatraz Invitational Swim. A swim event (it may be a race for some but not for me) which consists of taking a ferry to just off The Rock, jumping off, and swimming as fast as you can back to Aquatic Park. Lest you think my brother was hoping to increase the size of his inheritance, he was actually looking for company. Jim had done the event a couple times with our niece Nina and assured me it was good fun. Continue reading Maria’s Alcatraz Swim, September 2011

Jim’s Alcatraz Swim, September 2011

This was my final event of the year, The Alcatraz Invitational Swim from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park. It’s about 1.25 miles if you swim straight. In the past I haven’t been so lucky, either because of the currents, the fog, my crappy swim technique, or all of the above. This time conditions were ideal: beautiful day, minimal current, slightly improved swim technique. I was hoping to improve on my time of 1:01:57 from last year. I again had the company of my sister, Maria, and my niece, Nina, as well as quite a few friends at San Jose Swim & Racquet Club in my Willow Glen neighborhood. And this time I stopped to take plenty of photos, using a $20 disposable waterproof camera. Continue reading Jim’s Alcatraz Swim, September 2011

An Introduction to XML and DITA

XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based documentation is getting a lot of attention as a better way to develop and disseminate content than tradition technical writing methods. Bob Boiko, from the Society for Technical Communication, writes that XML-based development can “transform what you do from documentation to delivering information products that drive your organization forward.” (Intercom, April 2007) XML offers many potential benefits, not only for the traditional end user – the customer – but also for support personnel, marketing staff, engineers, and more. Continue reading An Introduction to XML and DITA

Ironman Canada, August 2011

This is the third of my four events this year. I was exhilarated after completing the Boston Marathon and the California Death Ride. I felt comfortable that my training would get me through the event: My speed work was done while training for the Boston Marathon and my endurance training was done while training for the Death Ride. And most important, I’d gotten through all my training without injury. But I must admit that I was feeling the fatigue from training that had started before Christmas last year. When it came time to tapering for this race, I had no problem taking it easy. I was glad to have the training behind me and looking forward to the reward of racing.

 

Continue reading Ironman Canada, August 2011

The End of Email?

How many emails do you receive at work each day? How many are mass distributions that you don’t need to be copied on? How many are outright spam? Do you waste time reading through long, wordy messages to find the one piece of information (if any!) that you need? Does the sheer volume of email impair your ability to get your job done?

ATOS, a major IT company, has had enough with email. ATOS plans to eradicate all internal email in the next three years . Labeling email as part of the new “information pollution,” ATOS CEO Thierry Breton says, “The volume of emails we send and receive is unsustainable for business.” ATOS has decided that the usefulness of email is outweighed by the amount of time employees spend just reading and replying to emails. Breton even laments the encroachment of email into personal time. Continue reading The End of Email?