New System Improves Production Cycle, Speeds Time-to-Market for Global Company
To keep pace in the hotly competitive telecommunications industry, one leading global mobile phone manufacturer continually introduces products with new features into the marketplace. This strategy strengthens their brand image as an innovator, particularly among business customers who upgrade their phones at least every two or three years.
But this strategy also carries significant costs. The company sells almost 400 million mobile phones every year. And each phone must be accompanied by a user guide. In turn, each document also needs to be customized for local markets in which the company operates. This includes translating the user guides into one or more of 50 national languages for those markets.
Moreover, the industry’s unrelenting price wars put the company under intense pressure to control costs. While the company needed to maintain adequate staffing levels in its technical publishing department to support product launches, they also wanted to streamline what had become a cumbersome process to produce documents for both the print and web.
Since first converting its product manuals to SGML in the late 1990s, the company had developed a dual work stream for publishing electronic and print versions of the product manuals and user guides. The documents were created in SGML, and then converted again for the different formats, which forced the team to follow the same steps for those formats.
The company also recognized that by restructuring this process, they might not only save costs, but also improve time-to-market. To eliminate this extra step, the company decided that its best option was to bring in Innodata Isogen, an experienced content solutions provider, to implement a content management and publishing system. This would enable them to reuse content in multiple formats.
After analyzing the client’s authoring and publishing process, Innodata Isogen deployed an authoring environment and content management and publishing system that enabled the company’s technical publishing team to create documents in XML. Innodata Isogen also developed custom interfaces and editing tools, which were later integrated with the content management system.
The authoring system enabled the company’s technical writers to create and modify the source documents. Once the documents were created in XML, the file could be converted automatically to HTML and XSLFO using XSLTs, an XML style sheet. For example, the style sheets are capable of interpreting metadata tags within XML to generate outputs customized for different needs. This made it a relatively easy step to move the documents into final production.
The HTML fi les, for example, were used primarily for the Web, while the company used XSLFO to create PDF fi les for both printing and Web delivery. In addition, the content was also converted to a format that delivered product information directly by mobile phone to customers.
To ease the process of publishing documents in foreign languages, Innodata Isogen also created one publishing process that could support most languages using only one toolset. A separate desktop publishing tool was required for complex script languages such as Arabic, Hebrew and Thai.
The new solution boosted the morale of the production team, which had grown increasingly frustrated by the previous authoring environment. The ability to go directly to print and web from the same format also saved them significant time.
Even more important, however, this solution promises to generate impressive annual cost savings in lower production costs and staff time. And by shortening the time it takes the company to produce a user manual, the new content management system helps the company introduce new mobile phones into the marketplace faster. In an industry where lifecycles are measured by weeks, not months, gaining even three to five business days can be a source of competitive advantage.
Innodata Isogen is now helping the company fine-tune the system as it moves to continue meeting the rapidly evolving needs of its global customer base.