Gilbane Boston 2010: Content assets permeate every aspect of an organization

Single-Sourcing Solutions at Gilbane Boston 2010 will be talking Content Strategy for Today’s Information Lifecycle

We’re headed to Boston, MA for the Gilbane Conference tomorrow. We’re looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. After more than a decade in the industry, we’re looking forward to sharing stories, lessons learned, and thoughts about content strategy, management, and delivery!

We’ve got two presentations. One’s a product lab where we’re talking about how you can “Transform Your Content Strategy for Today’s Media and Beyond” (Thursday 2 December 8:30-9:30 AM). We’re going to show you how to take your content from creation to multiple media channels, such as social media. Instantly publish it and connect with your customers anywhere they’re looking for you.

The other is a panel. We’re honored to be included in panel T7 XML Implementations & Information Lifecycle (Thursday 2 December 2:00-3:20 PM) organized by Dale Waldt, Senior Consultant for Outsell’s Gilbane Group. XML and content tools need to be thoughtfully configured to create feasible processes that produce the desired business benefits. This session explores the XML information lifecycle and how XML and content tools and systems can be deployed to their best advantage.

As we did for several events this year, we’ll be tweeting throughout the event. We hope you’ll join us virtually, if not in person at the event. You can find us in the exhibit hall!

Is your business OK with OTK?

Do you want to become a software development company specializing in customized Open Source toolsor do you buy a solution that someone else has to maintain?

By Janice Summers

I love DIY projects! I find them truly irresistible. I relish each and every facet of them. From concept to completion, there is nothing I don’t enjoy. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing something I created being brought to fruition. Perhaps it is the influence from my early years and being raised in a family of DIY practitioners.

Recently I undertook a new DIY project. I needed a fairly specific type of bench / book shelf combo unit with customized features. Rather than hire someone to do it or get a readymade out-of-the-box solution, I decided this would be a perfect opportunity for a new DIY project. So I set out with an idea and started drafting the specifics of the design, selected the materials I would create it out of, and dove in. Having been an engineer by trade and training years ago, I always look forward to getting my hands into a physical project.

Now, I am not a wood worker by any stretch of the imagination but I thought, “How hard can it be?!” I have a hammer, a hand saw, a good pencil, and an accurate tape measure. Besides, I figured it would be a whole lot cheaper if I just did it myself.  Or so I thought….

Eventually I did finish the project and I did finish it on time (just in time) but I did blow the budget. The end product, even though I do like it, is flawed and not “production ready” by any means. It’s fine for the limited application I need for it and, since I am the only user, it’s good enough.

The experience got me to thinking about the correlation between building customized furniture and building company specific solutions for content creation and delivery.

Just like me, there are the DIY people out there who relish the opportunity to dig in and create their own solution. After all, there are Open Source tools out there for anyone to take advantage of. Better yet, they really don’t cost anything to use. There open for all and you think, “Hey I can save our company a ton of money?” All you need is a little ingenuity and a well laid out plan to get things rolling. Right?

Well, not so fast. You will need a bit more than just a plan drafted out. You will need some really stellar programming skills for starters. Then you will need the time, lots of time. But don’t forget, business doesn’t stop and wait for you to catch up so you may need a consultant or two or three to help you along the way.

Eventually you will get there…well, at least most of the way. You will need to fine tune your creation along the way and add features and functions because all you really got out of the initial hours and hours and hours of work was the bare bones. Then you will also need to go back and fix those little tweaks you over-looked in the beginning because the point of the tool is to have it ready for production. Of course, once you release it into the wild for others to use, in come the stream of issues and function requests. So you’ll need to start building those fun little “features” and then rolling out the new revisions. Cross your fingers that it won’t break something else along the way because that means hours in chasing the elusive “bug”.

Oops, I forgot to mention that your OTK will need to play nicely with other tools. Well, you need to spend time integrating that too. While you’ve been busy chasing the finish line, time has passed and those other tools you need to integrate with have been juiced up and, well, now you need to upgrade. Crap! Now that you have upgraded, it’s back to development because your Open Tool needs to keep pace.

Fast forward a year down the road and suddenly you realize you are on a treadmill that never stops and you never get finished. Not really. The cost in consulting fees and man hours for your company is too embarrassing to look at. Then you realize, this is not the career you signed up for so you dust off your resume and bail ship.  But hey, you got to sharpen some programming skills and that looks good on your resume. What about the company?

You see, my advice, unless you really want to become a software development company specializing in customized Open Source tools for product information, buy a real solution that someone else has to maintain and keep the DIY projects for your “Honey Do’s” on the weekend.

Advisory Line Can Get You Through a Tough Spot

Today we’re excited to announce the launch of the Single-Sourcing Solutions Advisory Line. The Advisory Line is designed to help resolve issues for customers who are facing tight time lines or who may have limited resources.

We wanted to provide our customers with a scalable solution that would fit their needs on demand. We think that the Advisory Line is the best way to provide just the right amount of support for customers right when they need it.

Think of it as mini-consulting.

The service is easy to use. Anyone can use the service. Current customers and members of our Mastermind Groups receive 45 free minutes per month and a discounted rate for additional time as well as many other benefits.

The service covers a broad array of topics and tools. We’ve leveraged the knowledge of our staff and combined it with with experts from nearly every PTC product to provide a comprehensive resource all in one place.

Here is a list of some of the topics our expert advisors can help you with:

  • Arbortext
  • Arbortext for Aerospace and Defense, Milspec authoring and publishing
  • Arbortext Content Manager & Windchill integration
  • Antenna House
  • DITA authoring, legacy data conversion, best practices
  • XSL, XSL-FO, XQuery, and other XML Processing Technology

Personally, I am excited to be able to expand our services this way. Our customers are in the SMB market space. As such, they often lack the resources and the budget required for larger consulting projects. The Advisory Line is a great way to give you the support you need to get through.

To find out more about the Single-Sourcing Solutions Advisory Line, please visit