“Energetic Eaglets LLC” makes a suite of social media analytics tools. When the company got started, they had only one product—a tool for tracking business mentions on MySpace. But today, Energetic Eaglets offers a variety of products for dozens of social media tools, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and, most recently, Pinterest. Larger companies generally license the enterprise tools, but a web-based light version is also available for small businesses.
Technical authors have been using HTML editors to create separate sets of web pages for each product. However, that approach is no longer sustainable because the product variations have increased substantially. Currently, there are approximately 16,000 pages of HTML documentation. The 20 technical authors cannot easily determine if another author has already written content about a feature shared across product lines, so there are multiple versions of what should be identical content.
With customers licensing lots of different product combinations, Energetic Eaglets needs the ability to quickly deliver tailored web content to customers who can switch product licenses whenever they want—and the technical information users receive should change accordingly.
A component-based product line requires a component-based content strategy. For Energetic Eaglets, this means rethinking information as belonging to various products, identifying areas where there is reuse or overlap, rewriting information to maximize the reuse possibilities, and then developing a system that delivers information based on a customer’s current list of products.
- Component-based content that matches the architecture of the product lines.
- The ability to assign metadata to content that reflects product variants.
- The ability to filter information based on customer characteristics and product variants.
- The ability to generate customized information collections for each customer profile.
To meet these requirements, Energetic Eaglets will convert (and in some cases, rewrite) its content into XML-based chunks containing the metadata for filtering. The company will use a cloud content management system to manage the source files. Based on a customer’s licensing profile, an automated process will dynamically create web pages from the source content.
The business case
Energetic Eaglets will implement a cloud-based content management system that has annual licensing, so cost estimates include both the one-time initial implementation costs and CMS licensing for the first two years.
|Item||Year 1||Year 2|
|Cloud CMS (licensing for one year; includes web-based authoring tool)||$30,000||$30,000|
|Analyze content to determine metadata approach and shared information||$5,000|
|Convert HTML source pages into component storage (XML) with automatic addition of metadata based on file names||$25,000|
|Add metadata to XML topics where automatic conversion fails (2,000 topics x 5 minutes per topic @ $50/hour)||$8,000|
|Design and implement dynamic HTML output||$25,000|
|Follow-on support (refinement of dynamic HTML output)||$5,000|
|Web services support for dynamic output (maintenance and tuning, 10 hours/month @ $100/hour)||$12,000||$12,000|
|Author training on component-based content||$6,000|
|Item||Cost savings and revenue generated|
|Elimination of maintenance of redundant content (2,000 topics @ 1 hour per topic @ $50/hour)||$100,000|
|Eliminate manual production of variants based on licensing changes (100 changes per year, 4 hours per variant, $50/hour)||$20,000|
|Add ability to change documentation immediately based on user profile and metadata instead of waiting for manual update, thus reducing technical support calls (2 calls fewer per change at $50/call)||$10,000|
|Improved customer satisfaction and market share based on sophisticated content support system that matches company positioning (for a $10M product, a 0.5% increase in market share)||$5,000|