Over the last several years, now that all the pieces needed for dynamic information product delivery are under one roof, PTC has been working on an application that erases the boundaries between the mix-and-match components that have traditionally made up single-sourcing systems over the last decade.
But that was then and today, things are different. I answered a posted on another blog last month. The poster had been part of an evaluation and implementation team for a large-company dynamic publishing project years ago. He’d recently changed companies and missed the convenience and power that an XML publishing system brings. The technology had changed over the years; his new company was a small company; the budgets, resources, and everything was different.
Still, he knew what a system like this can bring. My advice to him?
While working on the presentation that Single-Sourcing Solutions gave at a conference earlier this year, I spent a year talking to companies — large and small. I’ve seen successful implementations at companies with teams as small as 2 people or as many as 800 writers. Their needs are as different as the resources available to them — including hard and soft costs. Regardless, each one had seen their ROI returned to them many times over and they all felt that it gave them a strategic advantage over their competitors.
I agree that the cost can look a bit intimidating at first blush. Just as with any other business, you need to analyze the business needs first: What are you trying to solve from the bigger picture?
Then you need to look at ROI. ROI gives you an idea as to when you will reap the benefits from the outlay of cash. Choose your solution wisely based on your company needs and not what appears at first to be the least expensive. Don’t be fooled by the cheap ones, there are usually a great deal of hidden costs. This trap happens even in the most successful companies…
Things to look for: Ease of use, Ease of implementation, Support for training, Is there an active user community that is willing to give advice, Updates and upgrades for licenses, Does it solve the needs end-end, One vendor vs. many, Available skills among existing staff, etc.,
The world is different today than it was 10 years ago. There are end-to-end solutions; there are disparate pieces you can mix-and-match, and there’s the good old DIY model. If you understand your needs, can articulate the ROI, you can navigate these waters and find a solution that resolves the bigger picture.
If you saw our websession on the ROI of XML, you heard similar comments from the presenters. It’s a story we hear from anyone who’s seen success over the long term, and it’s the story we hear, in lament, from those who took the tools-first approach (without fail).