The business case for better tech comm


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Sarah O'Keefe discusses how you can improve business results with better technical communication.

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The business case for better tech comm

  1. 1. background image flickr: spierzchalaThe business case for better tech comm Sarah O’Keefe (@sarahokeefe) Scriptorium Publishing (@scriptorium)
  2. 2. Sarah O’Keefe @sarahokeefe❖ Founder and president, Scriptorium Publishing,❖ Based in North Carolina❖ Coauthor with Alan Pringle of Content Strategy 101 (September 2012!)❖ Interested in collision of content, publishing, and technology
  3. 3. Before we begin…❖ Everyone is muted except for the presenter❖ Please ask your questions through the Questions area in the webcast interface❖ The presentation is being recorded; attendees do not appear in the recording
  4. 4. Agenda❖ Business case components❖ Typical tech comm business cases ❖ Address legal and regulatory issues ❖ Control cost of tech comm ❖ Improve marketing and product visibility
  5. 5. “They’ll never pay for that.” flickr: johnloo
  6. 6. They don’t see the value. flickr: jamescronin
  7. 7. Justify your approach. flickr: bagsup
  8. 8. Business case components❖ Current situation❖ Recommendation❖ Costs❖ Benefits❖ Risk assessment
  9. 9. Business case patterns❖ Address legal and regulatory issues❖ Control cost of tech comm❖ Improve marketing and product visibility
  10. 10. Legal and regulatory flickr: jdickert
  11. 11. Legal and regulatory❖ More efficient compliance❖ Avoid legal complications
  12. 12. Control the cost of tech comm❖ Efficient content development❖ Reduce the cost of technical support❖ Content collaboration
  13. 13. Myth: Cheap documentation flickr: mjryall
  14. 14. Typical problems❖ Content is available only in a single output format (usually PDF)❖ Content is useless: ❖ “In the Name field, type the person’s name.”❖ Content is hard to understand, not available in right languages
  15. 15. Cost of bad content❖ High call volume to technical support❖ Product returns; lost sales❖ Regulatory submission delayed or rejected❖ Contradicts marketing❖ Huge globalization costs❖ Content duplication
  16. 16. Efficient content development❖ Reuse❖ Formatting and production❖ Localization
  17. 17. Reuse flickr: mikecogh
  18. 18. Formatting and production flickr: a_cooper
  19. 19. Localization flickr: ezioman
  20. 20. Scaling your content workflow
  21. 21. Reducing the cost of technical support flickr: vitorcastillo
  22. 22. Call deflection flickr: billrice
  23. 23. Some statistics on technical support❖ 6–20% of revenue (higher number for smaller companies)❖ $6–36 per transaction (lower number if outsourced) Source: Softletter and the Association of Support Professionals,
  24. 24. $150,000 $112,500Cost savings (per year) 1% call deflection 2% call deflection $75,000 $37,500 $0 under $5M $5–$10M $10M+ $100M+ Company revenues
  25. 25. Obstacles to efficient phone support
  26. 26. A troubling pattern flickr: pasukaru76
  27. 27. Conflict between tech comm and tech support flickr: jdhancock
  28. 28. Content collaboration flickr: smemon
  29. 29. Tech comm plus…❖ Technical support❖ Product design and development❖ Training and education❖ Software❖ Online help❖ Product interface labels
  30. 30. Collaboration workflow
  31. 31. Marketing and product visibility❖ Supporting marketing with technical content❖ Increasing product visibility❖ Building user community
  32. 32. flickr: shoppeolinaReinforce the marketing message
  33. 33. flickr: bokchoi-snowpea
  34. 34. sell-digital-products-from-your-wordpress-blog-securely-1059
  35. 35. Increase product visibility flickr: frikitiki
  36. 36. Content requirements for product visibility❖ Searchable❖ Findable❖ Discoverable
  37. 37. Building user community flickr: roberto8080
  38. 38. flickr: tadsonbussey
  39. 39. Align tech comm with business flickr: mulmatsherm
  40. 40. Business cases❖ The organization’s business goal is A.❖ Tech comm needs to do B to support/ accomplish/improve A.❖ Doing B will cost X and increase revenue/save Y over n years.❖ Y > X.
  41. 41. Sample business cases❖❖ 8 case studies❖ Sample cost calculations
  42. 42. Content Strategy 101 Transform Technical Content into a Business Asset ❖ Available September 2012 ❖ Currently in final proofreading/production/ panic stages Sarah S. O’Keefe and Alan S. Pringle Foreword by Ann Rockley ❖ Print, EPUB, and Kindle ❖ Or FREE on
  43. 43. Upcoming events❖ Content strategy for tech comm webcast with Alan Pringle❖ To DITA or not to DITA webcast with Alyssa Fox and Toni Mantych❖ Lavacon conference (Portland, OR)❖ tekom/tcworld (Germany)❖ Register/more information at
  44. 44. Questions?