CMS / DITA North America 2018

April 23 - 25th, 2018

Denver, Colorado

Booth: Yes

Join IXIASOFT at CMS / DITA North America, April 23 - 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. IXIASOFT DITA experts Leigh W. White and Keith Schengili-Roberts will be speaking at this event, in addition to several IXIASOFT customers, including SAP, Varian, Qualcomm, ARM, Elekta, Invidi, BioMerieux, and Ericsson.

Please visit the event website for more information.


Monday, April 23, 2018

So long, Frank Lloyd Wright (or, How to keep your content from leaking)

Leigh W. White, DITA Specialist, IXIASOFT
Monday, April 23
10:50am - 11:30am

So long, Frank Lloyd Wright (or, How to keep your content from leaking) Frank Lloyd Wright is arguably the most famous name in architecture of the 20th century, if not all time. His designs were visionary and beautiful and he turned his attention on everything from single-family homes to mansions to public spaces to office buildings. He even developed a system of pre-fabricated homes to be assembled on site, and his Usonia was one of the first planned communities in the modern world.

Unfortunately, many of his buildings are not standing the test of time very well—foundations are giving way, roofs leak. The rooms are small and the ceilings low–design features at odds with modern living. Behind the beauty and elegance, many of Wright’s designs were simply not practical; he valued form over function. Still, even as present-day owners invest enormous sums of money into preserving their houses, most of them maintain they nevertheless consider it a privilege to live in a Wright-designed home.

This presentation discusses Wright’s architectural career and philosophy and compares it to information architecture, showing that the same principles that apply to designing physical spaces apply to designing information spaces as well. The same flaws found in Wrightsian designs occur and cause the same problems in an information design. And yet, the strong points in Wright’s approach–scaleability, reuse of individual parts, and customer awareness—are every bit as important in an information space as in a physical space. What can the audience expect to learn? This presentation is a bit of fun and expands on a metaphor that we often use when explaining information architecture and structured content to others… the idea of constructing a building vs. constructing content.

What can the audience expect to learn?

For audience members who are very familiar with information architecture and structured content, it’s a chance to think about those concepts in perhaps a different light. For audience members who are new to those concepts, it ties them together with physical, tangible equivalents that might help make some of the ideas a little clearer. It’s also a chance to learn a bit more about a man who, for all of his personal flaws, changed the course of modern architecture forever.

Meet the presenter

Leigh White is a DITA author, information architect, and DITA Open Toolkit fanatic. She advocates that effective technical communicators need to be more than writers; they need to be part programmer, part designer and part project manager.

DITA is only for documentation? NO!

Carsten Brennecke, SAP SE
Monday, April 23
11:40am - 12:20pm

DITA is only for documentation? NO! You can create more than documentation out of DITA. In this session you will see how you can create graphical journeys through your content. You will find out based on an example of learning content: 1. how you can define your DITA source to contain the necessary data in a form-based way 2. how to make it easy for your SME to define the journey 3. get a graphical visualization of your standard DITA Open Toolkit output that illustrates the journey for your customers and allows them to get all relevant information in an interactive way See how this process works fully automated. SMEs can update their content as needed and test it. And as soon as the content successfully passed the testing, the SME can push it into the productive loop and the journeys for the customers get updated.

What can the audience expect to learn?

We’ll show how you can use DITA in a flexible way to allow your SME’s to create content that is visualized in an appealing way to your customers. Get new ideas how you can enhance the usage of your DITA environment to support new use cases.

Meet the presenter

Carsten Brennecke is User Assistance Architect in the central User Assistance Strategy & Services team at SAP since more than 15 years. He has a strong background and long years of experience in info architecture and coordination of large software documentation sets as well as in DITA-based documentation creation.

Strange Case of Dr. SME and Mr. Author: What happens when you introduce DITA to non-tech writers

Catherine Long & Richard Perry, Varian
Monday, April 23
2:40pm - 3:20pm

The Product Support Engineering (PSE) department at Varian has a different structure from the regular documentation department. We are service oriented and have SMEs writing all the documents. This brings on an entirely new set of issues. We do not know what document type will be needed, which SME will need to write it, and when the end user needs it. We have 70 authors, who are not tech writers, we have approximately 60 document types, and we have tight deadlines – usually yesterday. This means we need to implement DITA with as much structure and as little training and transition time as possible.

Join us as we look at how we have solved some of our DITA implementation problems, including extra efforts for SMEs. We have used templates, dual publication, various training methods, and persistence. We will review what has worked, what has not, and all the levels between.

What can the audience expect to learn?

We noticed more service and other department attendees at the last meeting and believe that this presentation will speak to them, as well as provide possible solutions for DITA implementation. It is difficult and requires much effort and planning to move to DITA, for departments other than typical technical publication teams this is even worse because so much material and advice is designed for typical technical publishing departments. Although both can write, there are major differences between trained tech writers and SMEs. Our implementation has some unique features that may assist others to broaden their solutions.

Meet the presenters

Catherine Long has been with Varian for 6 years. She was brought in to assist the service documentation department with authoring standards and the publishing process, as well as to lead the move to DITA XML. Her challenge is to design a system architecture and provide training for 70 SMEs who write documents as only part of their busy schedules. Her relaxation is to immerse herself in the worlds of Shakespeare, Wodehouse, Wilde, and others.

Rich Perry manages a publication team responsible for processing technical servicing content for a medical device manufacturer. Over the course of his career work life he held various technical positions supporting military and medical devices. These experiences as an end-user of servicing procedures lit a fire in him that lead to his avocation as a technical trainer, curriculum developer, and product support specialist. Rich’s team is in the process of transitioning from an unstructured Word authoring environment to DITA. While he and his team have not fully implemented DITA, Rich is ready to share his experiences as the struggle continues!

Big Win: Automating the process of content conversion from Word to DITA at Qualcomm

TBD, Qualcomm
Monday, April 23

Qualcomm, an American multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company, decided to move to DITA in order to optimize their content reuse and consistency. They also implemented a CCMS to streamline their documentation processes and to bring in their SMEs (in this case, engineers), to work more easily with the tech writers to produce documentation. One of the biggest challenges they faced was converting their Word-based legacy content over to DITA.

By successfully automating their content conversion from Word to DITA, they achieved a “big win” in their ongoing implementation of DITA and importing legacy content into the IXIASOFT DITA CMS. Not only can their writers reuse existing legacy content effectively, but their SMEs—who do the majority of their authoring, reviewing and collaborating—will spend less time having to create new content. And the more legacy content they can bring in and reuse, the faster they see their ROI for DITA and a CCMS. Qualcomm explains how they are automating their content conversion and talk about how the IXIASOFT DITA CMS eases the process of importing the resulting content so that the team can get the most out of it.

What can the audience expect to learn?

The audience will learn from first-hand experience about the opportunities, challenges, and best practices in moving to DITA and a CCMS. This presentation will specifically focus on the best practice for converting content to DITA and preparing it for use within a CCMS.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Automate or die!

Wayne Brissette, ARM
Tuesday, April 24
8:00am - 8:40am

Arm started down the DITA path five years ago. During that time, Arm’s traditional businesses have embraced DITA. The only problem? Arm has started to acquire companies, and these companies are bringing with them different ways of working. In many cases non-DITA ways of working. Terms like, Microsoft Word, Markdown, RST, and LaTEX are now spoken by teams wanting to publish content. In addition, several groups have initiatives to automate some of the processes that involved Tech Comms. I will talk about our internal initiatives and solutions for publishing content without growing the team (much). Our process automates some of the process, using DITA as the common ground that all publishing uses so we can validate all content. This initiative has allowed Tech Comms to interact with engineering teams at a level previously unheard of inside Arm, it has also elevated Tech Comms outside the traditional business publishing model. We learned we had to automate, interact, or we would be left for dead.

What can the audience expect to learn?

This session offers insight into how Tech Comms needs to be more than just a place that writes documentation.

Meet the presenter

Formal electronics training courtesy of the US Marine Corps, with a degree in Technical Communication, Wayne has over 20 years in the Technical Communications field. He has worked for companies large and small. Currently working as Product Information Architect at ARM, based in Austin, Texas. He has previously worked as a technical author at Apple, ATI (now AMD), and LSI (now Intel). One of the co-leaders of the Central Texas DITA User Group, with over eight years of DITA authoring experience.

The First Step: Implementing a CCMS is only the beginning of the journey

Brian McCown, Elekta
Tuesday, April 24
8:50am - 9:30am

After implementing a CCMS, we began to see the benefits, but we quickly realized that our work was just beginning. In addition to more routine problems like training new staff and converting content, we found a whole set of new challenges, including: No one-size-fits all solution. Different approaches work with diverse groups. Some existing processes needed (and still need to be) updated to reflect the new system. Authors don’t always buy into the solution. You need to cajole, convince and herd them into working together in some cases. Constant evolution. Even after you have the system—then what? Are your processes working together harmoniously? Are authors happy? How do you account for changes in corporate policies or staffing. How do you go about reviewing policies? We quickly learned that we had more work that needed to be done.

What can the audience expect to learn?

As we initially implemented our CCMS, we developed a feeling that once we finished, we’d be on easy street. That wasn’t the case. Even as we started developing documents from the system, we faced new challenges: out-of-date processes, unanticipated technical challenges and push-back from various sources. Being aware of these challenges can help you to develop more detailed plans for the post-implementation time. Some of these plans include: building a schedule to review processes and working with our authoring teams to make sure everyone is adapting to these changes, developing a strong working relationship with your vendor, and making sure people feel involved. This will help managers and implementation teams be better prepared to monitor how things are going post-implementation and continue benefiting from their CCMS.

Meet the presenter

Brian McCown has more than 15 years of experience as a technical writer, developing help systems and user manuals. For the past 8 years, he has been involved in implementing a CCMS, and he’s still learning something new each day.

Sculpting an Elephant: Refining a DITA Implementation

Anne Grosvenor & Patrick Wright, Invidi
Tuesday, April 24

Someone once suggested that the best way to sculpt an elephant is to get a huge block of marble, then chip anything away that doesn’t look like an elephant. Several years into our implementation, we continue to chip away at the marble. Join this talk to learn about how INVIDI is getting closer to our finding elephant.

What can the audience expect to learn?

This presentation examines what comes after implementation. In an effort to get started quickly and build in your small wins, sometimes you make decisions that need to be fine-tuned or even reversed as the implementation matures. This presentation benefits those who are considering DITA and those that are attempting to extend and refine their existing implementation.

Meet the presenters

Anne Grosvenor bio coming soon.

Pat is a closet techie enjoying Linked Data, Taxonomy and Python programming. He enjoys running, martial arts, and playing with his young son. Professionally, he used XML in textbook publishing and DITA for several years, specializing in XSLT transforms for PDF and HTML outputs. Born and raised in New Jersey, Patrick received his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and later attended the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business near Dublin, Ireland. He moved from New York to Denver several years ago to start and raise a family.

DITA as a building block for delivering content in new ways

Keith Schengili-Roberts, IXIASOFT
Tuesday, April 24
11:40am - 12:20pm

DITA as a building block for delivering content in new ways We are beginning to see the shift from basic questions (and presentations) about DITA fundamentals and implementations, to realizing the inherent potential of DITA and its role in innovative content delivery and experiences. New and maturing content delivery channels like voice search and chatbots work best with structured content. Similarly, DITA metadata can be leveraged to work with the emerging Industry 4.0 metadata standard iiRDS, and enhance search engine optimization by utilizing

These developments are ushering in a new era for structured content and DITA specifically, and Keith Schengili-Roberts, IXIASOFT DITA Evangelist and Market Researcher, will take you on a tour of some of the new content delivery channels utilizing DITA.

What can the audience expect to learn?

Much of the new content delivery mechanisms that are becoming available—chatbots and voice search, for example—work best with topic-based structured content that can be fetched using descriptive metadata.

Similarly iiRDS and can also be used alongside DITA content. DITA is the best candidate for creating content that these new delivery mechanisms can utilize, and this presentation will make it clear to the audience that DITA is the common link between these technologies.

Meet the presenter Keith is the DITA Evangelist and Market Researcher at IXIASOFT. Keith is also an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture at the University of Toronto’s School for Continuing Education. He is also the company’s liaison with OASIS, Chair of the OASIS DITA Adoption Committee, and an active member on both the DITA Technical Committee and the Lightweight DITA sub-committee. Keith can often be found presenting at conferences, researching how DITA is being used and sharing those results with the DITA community. Keith’s popular industry blog has become a focal point on DITA resources and best practices. Connect with Keith on Twitter @KeithIXIASOFT.

Our rollercoaster ride to implementing a DITA CCMS for highly regulated products

Yamina Dessein, Frederic Fontbonne, BioMerieux
Tuesday, April 24
2:00pm - 2:40pm

Within the bioMérieux documentation team, we manage medical devices docs with strict requirements: cutting-edge PDF output, standardized content & version control, and translation in over three dozen languages. In 2016 we finally boarded the DITA CCMS roller coaster car. We’re still on the early stages of our ride, but we’ve already overcome quite a few bumps: some we’d foreseen, some we’d underestimated, and some that we could not foresee. We’ve gained expertise along the way and we’d like to share with you the lessons we learned.

What can the audience expect to learn?

During this session we’ll share our feedback on how to turn the rollercoaster ride into a smoother cruise.

Meet the presenters

A Content Strategist & Stylesheets Developer at bioMérieux, Yamina supports a documentation team of around 30 in creating and migrating Instructions for Use in a DITA CCMS. Frederic Fontbonne is a Content Planner at bioMérieux. He is responsible for planning migration activities, managing CCMS configuration and supporting tech writers and translation coordinators in their use of the system.

DITA Reuse Metrics as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Sari Eklund, Ericsson, and Keith Schengili-Roberts, IXIASOFT
Tuesday, April 24
4:50pm - 5:30pm

DITA Reuse Metrics as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) By now it is well known that you can derive useful DITA production metrics. But measuring reuse in particular is tricky, since there are many ways to measure it. Do you measure reused topics between incremental versions of the same document or not? If a bookmap shares the same map as another, do you count the map along with all of its topics? And what about images—would you consider using your company logo and an illustration of a part for a product to be equivalent instances of reuse? Recently an IXIASOFT customer, Ericsson, approached IXIASOFT to create a function within their CCMS that enables them to establish a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for consistently measuring DITA content reuse across their company.

This co-presentation with Sari Eklund, Information Architect at Ericsson, and Keith Schengili-Roberts, DITA Evangelist and Market Researcher at IXIASOFT will discuss the creation, rationale and use of two separate but complementary DITA metric methods that focus on content reuse. What can the audience expect to learn? One of the most challenging DITA production metrics to nail down is that of effective content reuse because there are several ways of measuring it. IXIASOFT has added a function for easily determining content reuse—the children intersection export feature—that can be replicated even by those who do not have IXIASOFT CCMS. The audience will also learn about the specific reuse metric KPI formula IXIASOFT created for Ericsson, as well as gain insight on how and why it was created and subsequently deployed within that firm. It is hoped that the information from this presentation, demonstrating two different but complementary ways of measuring DITA content reuse will stir discussion among technical documentation managers seeking effective ways of measuring content reuse at their own firms.

The presentation also allows IXIASOFT to publicly reveal and discuss our own DITA content production statistics for comparison.

Meet the presenters

Sari is an Information Architect and System Manager at Ericsson. Sari has been part of Ericsson’s customer product information organization for almost 20 years and has a deep knowledge in the area. She has taken part in Ericsson’s DITA journey from the start and also in the first migrations to DITA at Ericsson. Main focus areas have been DITA Way of Working and aspects of measuring information reuse. Sari is very much involved in the information architecture, tools, requirements, and studies within the product areas. Reusing information in a structured way and being able to tailor the information for different needs are really giving new possibilities for delivering customer product information to our customers.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

How to implement good agile practices in difficult environments 

Daniel Mehaffey, SAP
Wednesday, April 25
9:40am - 10:20am

If your agile culture lacks awareness of user assistance (writers, trainers, and support), you aren’t alone. We often need to prove our value and teach agile teams to work with us. It’s a long process, but you can show business value and teach your agile teams how to get the benefits of working with you. Come hear our ongoing experience, how we are pushing ourselves into agile teams, and how we have proven our value.

What can the audience expect to learn?

If you aren’t yet fully incorporated into your agile team or if you are facing resistance to being part of the agile team, then you will get the most benefit from this session. You will learn the metrics that build momentum and you will learn what to ask for to meet the metrics.

Meet the presenter

Dan Mehaffey has worked in knowledge management or user assistance for twenty years with all kinds of teams and all kinds of companies. He is currently a User Assistance Architect at SAP SuccessFactors.

Agile + TechComm tools = happy writers and business success!

John Lahr & Mitch Kogan, Invidi
Wednesday, April 25
11:40am - 12:20pm 

Agile + TechComm tools = happy writers and business success! The benefits of Agile practices for development teams are well known, but how can your technical communications team become a successful part of the process? We would like to share our tools and processes that improve our daily collaboration with all departments and result in a consistent, value-added product…all without working overtime!

What can the audience expect to learn?

By sharing our own experiences with tools and our process development, it can benefit those individuals or teams who may be looking to: implement an Agile process incorporate their technical communication team into existing Agile processes improve or adjust their current processes to better work with their own internal teams

Meet the presenters

With over 20 years in the field, John is the Lead Technical Writer at INVIDI Technologies with experience in Agile methods, content management, user experience, and DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture). A Colorado native, John enjoys movies, baseball, and short stories in his spare time.

Mitch, a Senior Technical Writer at INVIDI Technologies, has experience in Agile environments, cross-team collaboration, readability assessment, and authoring in DITA CMS. Mitch is a native Nevadan and likes music, hockey, media, and current events.