Where we stand today
Most technical writing departments are already aware of the advantages of content delivery. Content delivery solutions provide an online repository for all types of technical information. This means that the documents stored there can be accessed, saved, and populated from a variety of platforms. ERP systems, catalog systems, or CCMS, for example, store their data there as html or PDF files and thus make it easily accessible to all users. In addition, the data can be delivered in a target-group-oriented manner so that users of a content delivery solution can only see the information that they need for their specific tasks or for which they have an authorization.
What the problems are
Content delivery solutions offer many advantages. As a result, they have become extremely popular in recent years. As is so often the case, however, better is the enemy of good. This is because content delivery solutions allow comprehensive access to the document collection stored in them. Ultimately, however, they are only a distribution platform. For users, it is difficult to see whether there are other useful documents for a document in the entire collection that complement or expand on the topic.
This problem is addressed in two ways in the traditional content delivery solutions:
- One the one hand, traditional content delivery solutions already contain well-developed search functions. However, this does not provide a complete overview. Every document stands on equal footing and unconnected to any other document found.
- On the other hand, many companies solve the task of connecting documents in an editorial way. This means users are able to maintain an overview by using editorial references, naming schemes, and many other things. However, this requires a lot of strategic planning and time expenditure. But an editorial solution can only be as good as the writing department’s overview of the overall system. Since a content delivery solution can be fed non-centrally from a variety of sources, the technical writing department is often not even aware of what relevant content is stored in the system. Useful links, e.g. between the product parts list and online store, then remain unused.
What “Connected” means
Connected content delivery systems now address precisely this flaw in the traditional solutions. To do this, they link the different sources from which the content delivery system feeds itself and link them to each other in a fully automated manner. Authoring interventions are no longer necessary for this. The contents of the content delivery server are automatically interlinked.
Technically, this process is controlled via a common metadata system. This means that a document “knows” that it is relevant for a certain product or product line or that it only applies to certain target markets. The content delivery server reads this metadata for each document and links suitable documents with one another in a fully automated manner. Many CCMS technical writers already use metadata for managing and automating their content databases. This can also be used for the connected content delivery solution without any additional effort.
For users of the connected content delivery server, the result is then presented in the application in such a way that all the individual sources are connected to one another via various systematic links – this also includes aftersales and service information, for example. They can automatically jump from source to source. E.g., in the info area, a user can click on “more info”, then call up the data on a spare part, from there go to the test routines and access a link to the documentation where the information can be understood in depth. This is a clear win for accessibility, which brings lots of important information from the depths of the system to the surface.
Connected content delivery significantly improves access to the content database of the delivery systems for users. This is done through fully automated handling of the content of the system so that no additional editorial effort is necessary and, in many cases, editorial preparation of the content is no longer required.
Connected content delivery is part of the Quanos InfoTwin, a cloud solution that makes it possible to merge technical information and data into a digital twin. If you want to know more about this state-of-the-art software or would like to see a demo, then please do not hesitate to contact us!
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