After recognising that their current XML-based authoring process was becoming too complex and labour intensive to maintain, Chris Hadley and his User Information team engaged London’s Mekon Ltd to help do something about it.
- Inefficient use of resources. The publishing and build process were taking up too much time, in extreme cases, more then 50% of an author’s workload
- Poor content navigability (labelling, structure, indexing). Content was available, but it was not organised how users expected, and so finding it was a pain point.
- Limited versioning and reuse across multiple live products
- Engineering input could not be authored directly into the content store
Micro Focus defined an aggressive project timescale in which to:
- Finalise a business case for management
- Evaluate migrating content to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) XML DTD from their custom Micro Focus DTD
- Evaluate a move to 3rd-party-supported Component Content Management System (CCMS)
- Shortlist costs and evaluate suppliers
To achieve these objectives against fixed timelines and budgets, Mekon used components of their proven content project methodology including: a Mekon Content Strategy Audit (CSA), a Project Scoping and Planning Consultancy, and Mekon Conference Room Prototypes (CRPs) for systems under evaluation. The project was completed in eight weeks.
Chris Hadley, User Information Manager, Micro Focus, said: “As a market leader in application and modernisation software, Micro Focus is dedicated to delivering world-class information to its customers. We understood the business need for moving to a CMS, but on our own, we would not have been able to survey such a complex software market quickly or effectively. By combining our specific business needs with their project framework, Mekon helped us to make the most of our available budget and provided an unbiased view of the software available. As a result, we were able to make informed choices on how best to balance financial, resource and time considerations to provide maximum benefit to our customers.”
Mekon delivered a report concluding that Micro Focus should adopt a well supported standards-compliant Component CMS, as well as make the move to the DITA DTD.
- The project moved ahead based on a proven project strategy
- Users were able to do simultaneous training, evaluation and requirements refinement during Mekon Conference Room Prototypes
- Headcount will be avoided due to increased efficiency
- Ease of integration and training of new staff (due to wide acceptance and knowledge of the DITA specification and supporting tools)
- Greatly reduced total cost of system ownership because of out of box tool support and greater DITA community
Micro Focus is an international software publisher with a complex suite of enterprise products. Their customers are the Fortune 500 and demand a high level of excellence in software and its supporting content. Market demands mean Micro Focus has to support multiple platforms (UNIX, Windows, Mainframe), and multiple product configurations. Like all high tech organisations, they leverage previous product designs wherever possible across applications, and thus the supporting documentation features extensive reuse.