One key lesson every Compliance department can learn from Dyson vacuum cleaners

Some industry sectors, such as finance, often require strict adherence to specific policies and procedures. Compliance departments have to ensure these are kept up to date and accessible, from both a legal and industry perspective.

The problem is that governance can be expensive, really expensive.

Unfortunately, the volume of written content continues to explode, and the regulatory demands are increasing year by year. The traditional linear based approach to writing documents is part of the problem: it takes ages for auditors to go through all the documents to check if inefficiencies, errors and potential risks can be identified, averted or contained. It’s getting harder to manage, and it’s costing more.

So what does this have to do with Dyson Vacuum cleaners?

Manufacturers, such as Dyson, face similar regulatory pressures, in that they have to prove each product they sell is certified safe to use. With a large product range, that can involve a lot of time and effort to prove that’s the case.

One of the approaches manufacturers take to address this problem is to break a product down into a series of components. They then reuse the same component, such as a wheel on a vacuum cleaner, across a range of products. Once the wheel is certified for use, they can include that certificate when they submit their application for the new product.

In a similar way, it’s possible to break documents down into a series of individual components that are re-used to build pages or documents. As the same component is used in lots of documents, by fixing one component you’re also fixing all the documents that include that component.

Compliance teams love the ability these systems provide for an audit trail. They can identify where particular pieces of text are used – tasks, procedures, paragraphs, even sentences and phrases, when it was changed and by whom.

By adopting a component-based approach to Compliance documentation, it means the business can audit and manage documentation, quickly and efficiently - slashing the time needed to check if documents are compliant with the latest regulations.

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We value your opinion, so your response would be really appreciated.

When will the Technical Author become the Customer Engagement Manager?

Rahal Baillie posted on Twitter a link to an article which, in passing, made reference to “Customer Engagement Management“.

Julie Hunt described it as:

The activity of monitoring of brand and customer conversations on corporate websites, as well as bi-directional communication extensions to external social sites.

In essence, it’s about creating and managing content that may appear on Web sites, forums, social media sites and similar places. Some of this content may not have been originally posted onto your company’s Web site. It’s sometimes described as Web Engagement Management as well.

In another article on CMSWire, Barb Mosher outlined her five pillars of Web Engagement Management:

1. Content Optimization

  • Analytics
  • Content and experience personalization
  • Search Engine Optimisation.

2. Multi-channel Management

  • Delivering same message/experience to customers across devices and channels, both online and offline

3. Conversational Engagement

  • Corporate Web site-based communities
  • User Generated Content
  • Commenting and managing trackbacks
  • Micro-blogging
  • Social media integration
  • Analytics
  • Social media monitoring.

4. Demand Generation

  • Customer engagement/experience through targeted marketing
  • Increasing the number and quality of relationships, through need recognition, relevancy enhancements and engagement triggers.

5. Sales Automation

So could the organisation’s Technical Author become the Customer Experience Manager or the Web Experience Manager? They have many of the skills needed to do this role, particularly in content curation, content strategy and the creation of content.

The biggest leap for a Technical Author would be in adapting to conversational content, instead of monologue content.  It’s more likely this role will fall to someone with a marketing background (as that’s the department that would probably drive such an initiative), but we could well see some sort of hybrid role emerge: part Marketing Manager, part Information Developer.

Aligning documentation with the business – free guide

The Projects team at Cherryleaf has just finalised a second free guide. This one is for documentation managers and technical authors - it’s a guide for aligning documentation with your business objectives.

This will be sent out as series of emails (one email per week). Each week, we’ll look at aligning documentation with the objectives of the key departments in a business:

  • The CEO
  • Marketing
  • Support
  • Development
  • The CFO (Finance)

Use the form below if you’d like to receive this guide:

Vacancy – API Documentation Writer, Maidenhead, £42K-£50K

Our client is looking for someone to join its documentation team and be responsible for developing the documentation required by software developers using its software. This is a fast growing company, at the front in its market sector, so you need to comfortable working in the challenging, rewarding and informal environment that this successful start-up company engenders.

This documentation covers software architectures, and it also provides information on how to develop software applications using the Software Developer Kits, APIs and developer tools. The role involves deriving documentation from the project source code and leading this aspect of the documentation process within the Technical Documentation team.

You need to have:

  • A degree in Computer Science, Technical Communications or any other relevant technical subject
  • At least 1 year’s experience of technical writing in the technology sector
  • The ability to read and/or write in Java (and ideally other high-level programming languages)
  • The ability to develop code samples and applications
  • Experience of working in a commercial software development environment

Ideally, you will have experience of working in a Single Source environment and Open Source programming environments.

Contact us if you wish to apply.

Free guide for Project Managers on planning documentation projects

The Projects team at Cherryleaf has just finalised a free guide for Project Managers on planning documentation projects. This will be sent out as series of emails over a number of days.

Use the form below if you’d like to receive this guide: