I was fortunate enough to reconnect to an old friend. I reached out to Greg Johnson from Medtronic and had an amazing conversation about their dynamic information delivery system.

Medtronic implemented Arbortext in 1999. They have been the subject of a case study and a customer success story. I’ve seen them present at the Arbortext user conferences (AUGI) over the years. In fact, I never missed one of Greg’s AUGI presentations. I learned a lot from them in the early days and I still have his slides on my computer.

It wasn’t so much that I wanted to do what they did — I had to do what was best for my situation — but I could see what was possible, where I could go, and at least one way to get there. I always left inspired by the possibility and exhausted by the prospect of the work ahead.

Greg still presents at conferences world wide. And he will be the first to tell you not to do what they did. Technology has changed, your goals are your goals, your capabilities are your own as well. But definitely join the conversation. The payoffs really are this great. The implications of moving to this kind of system are way bigger than you can imagine.

It was great to catch up with Greg. Over the years, Medtronic has increased their investment, continued to develop, and seen the ROI returned again and again. It was great to see that the payoff is definitely there — and that it continues to be there if you keep at it.  It was also humbling because this is not a short path, it is a long, long journey to get there. It’s good to know that if you keep at it, your ROI build upon itself every step of the way.

After 10 years, their project has started to reach out to:

  • software objects and applications
  • specifications that need to be published
  • technical services
  • training and education

They’re still driving toward cradle to grave information development. As a medical device company, they chose to take their project down a difficult road: they wanted to have their dynamic information development system validated as if it were, itself, a Class 3 Medical Device. They wanted to validate the content coming out of the tool so that their information development would pass FDA audits.

He said that XML publishing addresses three main points essential for Life Sciences companies and anyone interested in producing efficient technical publications:

I’ll be addressing each one of these in the posts to come so everyone can learn from what they’ve achieved at Medtronic.

Greg says, “You don’t want to do how/what we did. It’s 10 yrs later. But I want to encourage you. There are vast savings and vast reductions in cycle time and vast improvements to do in this field, if you do it smart, build your vision, and go be passionate about it.”

Next: The Quality Driver


Series Articles:

  1. Benefits of dynamic information delivery for life sciences
  2. The Quality Driver
  3. The Time to Market Driver
  4. The Cost Savings Factor

Related Articles:

  1. Dynamic information delivery systems reduce translation costs
  2. The Benefit Content Reuse Brings to Business

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