Electronic Arts Reduces Labor Costs by 40 percent, Improves Quality of Product Support by Partnering with Innodata Isogen
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) develops, publishes and distributes interactive software for video game systems, personal computers, wireless devices and the Internet. Last year, 27 of their titles sold more than one million copies each.
Because EA must support all its online games, every online title requires extensive internal technical documentation to help service technicians more easily troubleshoot and address customer issues.
For years, EA used local contractors from several staffi ng agencies to create its technical documentation. The result was a fragmented team of contractors, with an ever-changing series of internal managers and no consistent processes for hiring, training or managing the writing staff. In some cases, EA also assigned employees without communications backgrounds to writing projects.
To achieve both better quality and better economics, EA needed to make a change. The company decided to consolidate its efforts and spend with a single expert provider of technical writing and editing services.
After an extensive RFP process, EA outsourced technical communications to Innodata Isogen, since we demonstrated the ability to provide expert technical authoring and editing services at scale, improve output quality and deliver cost savings. Today, we manage the entire product documentation process for EA, from hiring and managing staff to continually revising and updating online support content.
Our writers work closely with EA’s product development team to create content that anticipates and addresses issues that the customer support group is most likely to encounter when addressing customer calls.
To best meet EA’s particular requirements — including type and depth of domain expertise, technical skills and language proficiency — we’re integrating, into one multi-shore team, authors and editors from competency centers across the globe, including the United States, Israel, India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
We immediately began working to understand and analyze EA’s existing processes for originating product support documentation. We suggested a number of process improvements that would enable us to minimize resource-intensive and time-consuming redundancies, and ultimately, accomplish more with less.
We also translated the insights from our analysis into repeatable, sustainable hiring and training processes. We’re now able to recruit skilled writers with the appropriate technical expertise and quickly bring them up to speed.
We used the new hiring and training methods to onboard a group of talented writers, and the new team, spent a month-long onsite meeting face to face with the product development teams. They evaluated everything that had been written previously and determined whether writing projects could be pulled off internal employees’ plates.
After establishing solid relationships with the product engineering teams, our writers returned to their base locations and continued to interact with the client via web conferencing.
All projects begin with a standard set of guidelines, but our writers must use their technical expertise to uncover a game’s unique red flag areas. They question the technical development team to understand how program functionality, e-commerce mechanisms and networking systems could lead to problems. Then they convert the information into technical documentation that the technical support teams can use to troubleshoot customer support requests.
Our team started out replacing the original group of contractors with five Innodata Isogen staffers. Now we’re expanding into areas of the company that previously had no technical writing resources, and our team has grown to seven writers plus a project manager.
Within the first year, EA saw signifi cant cost and time savings. By outsourcing the technical communications to our global team, EA has realized an almost 40 percent savings in labor costs.
And because all work is now performed by skilled professional writers and editors, with relevant domain expertise and technical training, as well as proven communication and writing skills, the quality of the support materials has improved markedly.