It was a very good bus to be on, if you were in Tech Pubs. The riders got some great XML technical tools—editors, CMSs, and publishers. And the technical skills and positive results they achieved have improved their careers. Many can speak fluently in DITA. Customers are happy with the information they received. Some call it “intelligent content.” Wow!
Here’s the Truth about That Bus:
The bus went cross continent. It took a long time with many turns and many stops. But the good news is that you didn’t really want to be on that bus. And there wasn’t room time for your colleagues in the rest of the organization anyway. Relax because you didn’t want to be on the XML bus going to XMLand.
But People are Texting from the Bus, Telling Me I Need to Catch up!
Don’t worry. Relax. And here’s why:
You have a job to do and the key success factors are not Technical, not XML, not DITA.
Rather than XML as a destination, you are trying to get to a better customer experience and improved operations with better efficiency.
To get to this place you need information reuse and publishing flexibility and you need to get control of Microsoft Word. As you get that, you will also have XML.
You need efficient, easy to use tools and a straight-forward implementation plan.
And if the people on the bus need your content, you can give it to them from your MS Word authoring tools and you will never have to see the XML.
Take the Jet
You can get to your destination in a jet. XML will be underneath, but you don’t need to see it. Shared repositories, metadata, workflow—you can have it all and on your own terms. Let the techies enjoy their ride and you can enjoy yours. You will see that traveling in style will get you to the same ultimate destination faster, cheaper, and a lot easier. And the best news is that jet travel is less expensive and it flies on your schedule.
Content Mapper Air Travel
Content Mapper was designed for this kind of travel. XML will be in the background. Shared repositories, metadata, publishing, and workflow if you need it and want it. An easy to learn and use information standard implemented across the enterprise using DITA, Simply Structured, or another set of document rules. Otherwise, you can have what you need when you need it leveraging the tools and people you already have.
Is it that Simple?
Yes. And furthermore, if the technical XML bus has not left your organization yet, you can still take the Jet! In any case, you’ll probably be there first. It will save you money. And your customers and your executives will be glad you did.
Perhaps you have heard the story of young King Arthur who was ambushed and imprisoned by the Monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The Monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So the Monarch offered him his freedom as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and if after a year, he still had no answer he would be put to death.
The Question: What do women really want?
Spoiler Alert: If you forgot, or want to read the whole story you can go to this web page.... (http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Love-Jokes-And-Riddles/145902) Answer: To be in charge of their own lives.
To make a long story short, young King Arthur was spared, the witch who provided the answer turned into a beautiful woman, and everyone lived happily ever after.
Obviously young Arthur and the Monarch were both pleased. The Monarch decided to use this process again with three prisoners who were convicted and condemned to death. One was Susan, a Tech Pubs executive who had been imprisoned for crimes of technology misunderstanding. The second was Ralph, a Marketing Genius who had been imprisoned for worse crimes. The third was Frank, a 12 year old dachshund who stole cookies from his master's treat bag. All would be asked a question and their crimes would be forgiven if they found the answer.
The Question Posed by the Monarch: You each have one year from today to find out what CEO's want in their content architecture.
A year passed quickly with the three trying to answer this seemingly impossible question.
Susan, the tech pubs executive, was called first and asked what CEO's want in their content architecture. She responded that CEO's want an XML architecture with multi-channel publishing, conrefs, DITA or S1000D, capable XML editors, proprietary CMS systems, workflow control, and highly technical staff trained at the best universities in the world.
Monarch: The Monarch found this to be incorrect and sent Susan back to her cell for one final meal before her execution.
Ralph, the marketing genius was called second and asked what CEOs want in their content architecture. He responded that they want everything that Susan said plus a fully integrated, multichannel, digital customer experience platform incorporating predictive analytics with detailed customer profiles to produce, contextually relevant, personalized experiences based on intelligent, adaptive content that is dynamically delivered to any and all devices across each touchpoint of the customer journey.
Monarch: The Monarch said that this was a longer answer, but incorrect and Ralph was sent back to his cell for his final meal.
At this point all 4 of Frank's legs were shaking and he was wondering if he would ever be able to steal cookies again when the Monarch asked him what CEOs want in a content architecture.
Frank: Frank said that there are people in the organization who want everything that Susan and Ralph said, but that CEOs want simplicity, ease of implementation, an architecture that could be used by all, minimal change for people in the organization and value.
Monarch: The Monarch asked to hear more.
Frank: CEOs want, and organizations need, to see measurable results in weeks or months and not years. They want to let people work in whatever editor they want, that the technical people want to use Oxygen, but that most people should be able to work in MS Word. They want technology from various vendors to work together with an architecture that can be used for all staff. They want to get control of MS Word and they want to completely hide the XML from the writer. In short, they want simple, elegant, implementable solutions.
The Result: The Monarch and everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that a great truth had been spoken and that Frank's life would be spared. And so it was that Frank was granted his freedom and would receive a lifelong supply of treats.
And, except for Susan and Ralph, they all lived happily ever after.
Simply Tips and Tricks
All of our newsletters provide quick tips and tricks to help you simplify the XML world and beyond. Our tip for September (again!) involves simplicity.
Some people worry about things that could happen, making decisions that not everyone will support, creating unhappy feelings among staff, and potential failure. Sometimes the simplest answers are the best. There is the story of a man who visits a psychiatrist because there is a monster under his bed. The psychiatrist proposes paid meetings every other day for a year. The haunted person retires to a bar where the bartender suggests that he should cut the legs of the bed. Problem solved!
You don't need 200 XML elements and custom metadata and lots of other granularity to achieve a successful information architecture across the enterprise. Beyond the technical areas simplicity is the key. Start with a simple, common sense architecture and teach people to develop content that way. You can add some legs later, if you need them, but we suspect you won't. Keep it simple, smart-person.
There's a reason we call it Simply XML.
Simply XML provides simple, easy to use solutions for creating and publishing XML content. Creating, managing, and publishing content with our XML editor, Content Mapper, minimizes costs and ensures efficiency across your organization. Learn more at www.simplyxml.com.