Building the business case for change to your documentation system
Elkera® plans and develops complete solutions for enterprise
document publishing needs, particularly for product, service, procedure and compliance documentation.
Content managers are
finding that previous approaches to the creation of documentation do not meet
evolving business needs. Many businesses now need to produce new kinds of
output, reduce duplication, improve relevancy to users, manage content
translation and produce documentation in multiple languages.
Elkera has extensive experience helping content managers develop a
clear, business oriented and realistic vision for documentation projects.
If your are contemplating a change to
your documentation system, Elkera offers a step by step approach to plan
changes to documentation systems to set it on the path to success. This process
begins with a free, two hour consultation with an Elkera consultant.
Contact Elkera today for your free consultation.
Enterprises such as
equipment and software manufacturers, financial service providers and many
others may encounter a range of problems with existing documentation systems.
• Current software tools may be
opportunities may require production of documentation in multiple languages.
support calls may be excessive because users cannot find the information they need.
• Documentation may be
holding up the release of new products.
• There may be excessive duplication of content
across documents, making it difficult to maintain and update.
• Translation to
other languages may be excessively time consuming and expensive.
• When changes
are made to corporate styles, output requirements or software systems, it may
be necessary to re-format large volumes of content at very substantial cost.
• Content authors may
waste time dealing with presentation issues that should be handled
These problems are
widespread. They result in production delays, high content production costs and
excessive support and training costs for many enterprises. Each is an
opportunity to improve services and reduce costs.
Don't start at the wrong end
Documentation managers may recognize some or all these problems
but where do you start the journey to develop a solution? Documentation
managers are now flooded with new technology and vendor offerings. How do you
filter these inputs to determine what you really need?
Adding to this problem in many organizations, documentation
systems are seen as ancillary to core business functions. Management may not
recognize the costs of outdated documentation practices or the opportunities to
use documentation to improve customer satisfaction, drive sales in new markets
and reduce training and support costs.
In this environment, it can be a struggle to get the resources to achieve meaningful
change. Documentation managers may attempt to work with inadequate budgets and
without clear business objectives. It is common to use tool selection as a way
to discover requirements. This almost never works.
If the project begins as a tool selection exercise, there is a
very high risk of project failure, incomplete solutions, cost overruns and
costly disruption when problems are discovered.
Elkera's planning process enables documentation managers to avoid these problems.
Plan with a strategic vision
The solution is to take a more business
oriented and structured approach to project planning from the outset.
Management support will be secured only if
it can be demonstrated that improvements to documentation systems can save
money and improve revenue. The mechanism for this is a business case.
A good business case can
only be prepared after a lot of analysis, collaboration and research. It must
align business understanding with a knowledge of relevant technology and
product options to present a practical vision for change. Key components of the
business case include:
• an analysis of the
existing circumstances, problems and opportunities;
• a realistic description of how the opportunities can be realized;
projected financial benefits, covering expected revenue gains, cost reductions and future costs avoided;
• the projected costs;
• financial return and benefits realization;
• the risks and how they will be managed.
Unless the project is
initiated by management, it will be necessary to gain management support to
incur the costs of analysis, collaboration and research that will be required
to develop a business case.
The first step to success is to develop a white paper or vision statement that will sell the need
for change to management. The vision statement must describe the problems and
opportunities, outline a realistic solution and describe the expected benefits.
Commonly, it will include a budget request to undertake the business case
development. Development of the vision statement involves relatively little
work and risk, compared to later tasks. If the vision statement is supported by
management, the next step is to develop a formal business case.
The Elkera solution
Elkera has extensive experience with a wide
range of document publishing technologies and in planning and managing complex
documentation system developments. Elkera provides a complete service from
requirements and design to the start up of applications that automatically
create all desired published outputs from a single source.
Elkera offers a step by step process starting with the vision
statement to help content managers develop and present their vision and gain
management support for change.
Elkera's step by step
process is a low cost and low risk strategy to get support from management and
other stakeholders and to secure the resources needed to develop the business case.
Typically, a vision statement will be less
than 10 pages. It will broadly describe the current situation, the
opportunities that exist, the expected benefits and a likely strategy. The
vision statement will also include a budget proposal for the business case
development. It will be completely vendor neutral.
Elkera's free introductory consultation
You can get started at absolutely no cost or obligation. Elkera
offers a free, 2 hour introductory consultation with one of its senior
consultants. This consultation will provide a preliminary analysis of your
existing systems and business needs.
At the end of
the consultation it should be clear to both parties whether it is worthwhile to
proceed to the next stage. At your request, Elkera will then provide a free,
written proposal to develop a formal vision statement for the project.
Elkera's vision statement proposal is
designed to be submitted to management as the first step to formalize the
project. Elkera's proposal will clearly explain the objectives of the project,
based on the opportunities identified during the initial consultation. It will
include fixed price options to develop the vision statement using different
levels of contribution from Elkera to match your budget and internal resource level.
Elkera's step by step, business oriented
approach will maximize the prospects of project success.