Yesterday, David Lorenzoni, from Single-Sourcing Solutions, hosted a panel that addressed the ROI of XML. The panel included Charlotte Robidoux (HP), Greg Johnson (Medtronic), Todd Nowlan (Nortel), and Andy Pieper (Toro). They shared their stories of long-time, successful implementations and what it took to get there. Even the panelists said they learned something from talking with each other. It was a great conversation.

In case you missed it, you can sign up to view the recording or, because the event had a live Twitter stream, you can read through the highlights below. Enjoy!

@SingleSourcing Still time to register for free ROI of XML Webinar TODAY. Stories from Hewlett-Packard, Medtronic, Nortel, and Toro
The ROI of XML | Events by Single-Sourcing Solutions Expert panel of industry leaders share a bit of their journey and what the true ROI is of XML.
@AndreaJWenger Waiting for webinar to begin: The ROI of XML organized by @lizfraley
@SingleSourcing Websession–#ROI of #XML–starting! We’re going to live tweet the event, so you’ll see high traffic from us for the next hour.
@SingleSourcing #S3I D.Lorenzoni: Talking today with 4 experts Greg Johnson (Medtronic), Charlotte Robidoux (HP), Todd Nowlan (Nortel), Andy Pieper (Toro)
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: We give a lot of advice about people getting started because people did that for us.
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: There is an effort that has to go into this, it can be significant, but the payback is enormous
@AndreaJWenger Significant effort goes into implementing #xml, but the payback is enormous. #roixml
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Todd is right on. To get started, you don’t need to be a computer genius, don’t be afraid of technology b/c it is technology
@SingleSourcing #S3I: C.Robidoux: Collaboration is extremely important in making single-sourcing work b/c content is _shared_
@AndreaJWenger Reason to move to #xml: team keeps getting smaller, but workload remains the same. #roixml #techcomm
@SingleSourcing #S3I: D.Lorenzoni: Top 10 reasons to go to XML…
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Translations used to take weeks, now 2-5 days; cms automates the process
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: We haven’t saved money on our translation budget. It’s stayed the same, but we went from 11 languages to 21.
@AndreaJWenger Reason to move to #xml: Increase translation volume by 25%, increase worldwide presence. #roixml #techcomm
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Marketing can choose new markets and we can go right in.. b/c what XML has saved us
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: 25% reduction in per-set cost of changes; 37% reduction in single-language cost of translation once we went to XML.
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: even if you’re not serving translating there are still benefits
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: Our ROI was on the reuse aspects
@AndreaJWenger Reason to move to #xml: Reuse of content leads to 25-30% reduction in new text that must be translated #roixml #techcomm
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: agility, more robust taxonomy on our content, end-to-end lifecycle management
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: Big bonus was to produce similar processes and reduce redundant systems
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: we had a co-mingling of technologies that we could simplify into one process. This was a big factor in ROI
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: We could put a single-governance in how we manage change into place
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: Saved on having multiple tools, multiple processes across the organization.
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: The savings were difficult to quantify b/c so significant
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: All the different business units could leverage the techpubs group
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: We converted ~500K pages to XML, and 25% was reuse at that point
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: We’re a pretty high-tech company, sometimes the cobbler’s kids have no shoes
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: We achieved results even before we got a CMS
@AndreaJWenger Single-sourcing & content reuse increase efficiency and bring significant savings even if material isn’t translated.
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: We had to streamline our content, to restructure the content for uniformity between deliverables
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: in the process of doing that, we could see the huge amount of repeated info
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: writers were too close to their work to get perspective across the document set unless they were given activities to see it
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: reduce text, use minimalist principles, we saw improvements just from that before we even got to translation/cms
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: and we were poised and ready to go when the tools came on board
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: We started our restructuring in 2002-2003 and got moved into CMS in 2004, took us about a year..
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: the next stage–breaking into topics–takes longer.
@AndreaJWenger Reorganizing & structuring content gives tech writers a big-picture view instead of a document-by-document view.
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: We are still in the process (started in 2004), we still see results as we continue to work at it.
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: When we start to look at value of being open, the big win isn’t “open source” but “standards-based”
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: Don’t want to have to abandon your data to move into the next set of technology. Focus on the lifetime cost of ownership
@AndreaJWenger ROI of XML: Focus on lifetime cost of ownership.
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: You’ll always be replacing components in the system, but you want the impact to stay on the tools team and not the users
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: want to keep content around for decades to come. Don’t want your entire investment to be for naught
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: We outlived 3 vendors, but b/c they were standards based, we could go to the next vendor and continue
@AndreaJWenger ROI of XML: Select a standards-based solution that won’t be obsolete in 10 yrs, even if vendor goes out of business.
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: if you have to spend an extra dollar on the authoring side to save a dollar PER language, that’s worth the investment
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: ROI is linear to the amount of reuse
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: We calc reuse on various levels –w/in doc suite, across different releases, between diff products and diff releases
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: the 25% metric I gave includes all of those. You have to drive into your content and find where you can reduce effort
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: When we went to XML + CMS/TMS, we saw a change in our hit rate from there form 60-70% to 80-90%
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: high “hit rate” means writers are reusing translated content
@AndreaJWenger Don’t try to reuse everything–focus on reusing content where it makes most sense to eliminate duplication of effort.
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: We have a rigourous formula for determining this (word and module level). Word b/c that’s translation metric
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: how much is reused AND how much is Unique.
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: When we have new doc types, we might start out at 50%, but as we add volume, more of that content gets reused.
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: All of our manuals are exceeding 90% reuse
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: We only send 10% to translation.. They use the TM and we only have 1% of content translated now.
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: If you don’t have a tool to give you reporting, we looked at reusable vs unique topics
@AndreaJWenger To measure reuse, keep metrics on how many modules are unique vs. reused. Over time, up to 90% might be reused.
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: We created a spreadsheet to look at common, unique, what could become modular, so we could project savings
@AndreaJWenger If 90% of content is reused, only 10% of content needs to go to translation.
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: We’ve seen a range from 60-90%, depending on product type and complexity.
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: We did that too, Charlotte. Having a CMS helps the analysis
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: this has really improved the quality, and consistency of our information
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Prior to XML, our authors worked in isolation, lots of inconsistency (naming, order, etc)
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Consistency/Quality improvements have been significant! Every manual now, the content occurs in the same location
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Authors felt constrained at first, now, they love it: they don’t have to worry about all that–ordering, what goes in/out
@AndreaJWenger XML increases collaboration between authors, so terminology and headings are the same across the product line.
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: The writers don’t have to enter data in more than one place anymore. We take all this for granted now.
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: The writers don’t have to go looking for the same values, they put it in the place that makes the most sense
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: The writers can depend on the system to pull content, order it, and deliver it for them
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Staff support? Our IT Dept had issues understanding what our needs were. it took a long time to get the right staff/skills
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: That said, it’s not onerous.
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: We were fortunate, our IT staff really understood our business requirements and we had people who were “in the biz”
@AndreaJWenger Content management requires significant but not onerous involvement of IT. No complete out-of-the-box solution.
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: We worked very closely with IT. I’m IT Proj manager, but I wasn’t in IT when our project began
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: There were a lot of different pieces, from an infrastructure support, a lot of this is outsourced for us
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: You get familiar with all the different pieces..
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: We started so long ago, we chose SGML b/c XML wasn’t ready
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: We have transitioned to XML since
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: Ours wasn’t immediate ROI, b/c of our heavily regulated industry (FDA Audits), but it turned out to be good discipline.
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: about 3 years to ROI
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: We saw ROI almost immediately b/c we could get rid of the typesetting requirements.
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: CMS – we’re still recouping that in this last year. We’ve recouped most in the translation $ already
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: We saw returns before even getting into the tools. Orgs who inherit content.. especially benefit
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: Just b/c we were in XML (without the modular benefits) we got translation cost reduction just from that alone.
@AndreaJWenger XML implementation should be done in phases over time. Start w/ the content, which you can do w/o buying technology.
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: We just got a corporate award yesterday for what we’ve done
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: we got the highest award medtronic has (across a 40K person company)
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: Greg had us in to see what he was doing, it was great. helped us prepare our team
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Don’t try to bite off too much at one time. Find an authoring too, get going, introduce your authors slowly
@AndreaJWenger Introduce XML in a way that’s non-threatening to writers. Consult w/ someone who’s been through the process.
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Once you’ve got that done, data converted, then start looking at the next step
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Make sure to look for a tool that allows you to do true xml authoring rather than one that mimics. Keep content valid
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: Agree. Slowly introduce your authors. We’ve done a lot of planning and phases rollouts
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: Starting with the content is the best place to start
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux: Really map your content and go to that next step.
@AndreaJWenger Make sure the content management system you choose doesn’t have performance issues that slow you down.
@SingleSourcing #S3I C.Robidoux Preparation of your writers is the most important challenge to consider esp if you have a varied writing staff
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: Content can be right everywhere or equally wrong everywhere. This turns out to be really useful.
@SingleSourcing #S3I G.Johnson: No matter where error’s reported (hungarian) can go to the content and immediately track and fix in controlled environment.
@SingleSourcing #S3I A.Pieper: Performance in some tools hasn’t always been fast enough to keep up
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: Agreed. Performance takes more effort than we thought
@SingleSourcing #S3I T.Nowlan: getting all our vendors rolling in the same direction at the same time was a huge challenge
@SingleSourcing #S3I D.Lorenzoni: Big things? Reuse. Translation. Do more with less resources. More control. Automation.
@SingleSourcing #S3I D.Lorenzoni Focus on writing. Customized output effortlessly. Single-source of content supporting multiple outputs
@SingleSourcing #S3I Thanks for attending our session. See you for the next one in October!

Get useful tips and valuable resources every month

Join the thousands who know just how much we share.

Powered by ConvertKit
%d bloggers like this: