Often business documents, such as sales proposals and annual reports, are a joint effort between various people and departments. It involves collaborative writing and incorporating existing content. For printable documents, this collaboration can make it really difficult to maintain a consistent level of quality, writing style and “look and feel”.
For Technical Communicators, there’s an opportunity to provide their organisations with systems that produce key business documents in a more efficient way. They have the skills and experience to build systems that can (a) guide a writer through the process of developing a new document, and (b) enforce content and layout standards.
The advantage of a such a system is that writers who might not be familiar with writing a particular document are no longer faced with a blank sheet to begin with. It’s possible to create a system that can build the bulk of the document in a matter of minutes, leaving the writer with the task of customising the information to suit the requirements of each particular situation.
The result of this approach is that:
- A document is pre-structured in the appropriate format
- Mandatory information is included automatically in the document
- Actual writing time is greatly reduced
- The skills required to produce high quality documents are significantly lowered
- People can contribute easily, and can be guided on how to best write their contributions
- The organisation creates more consistent documents
To build a system like this, the organisation needs to:
- Create a global design for the document, including contributions from other departments
- Define the workflow and sign-off procedures
- Develop base content and reusable content objects from various departments
- Create boilerplate documents for various situations
- Deploy the system to the contributors and editors
The good news is, if it has a Technical Author working for them, then the organisation already has someone with the skills and experience to carry out these tasks correctly. If you don’t, then don’t forget Cherryleaf can help.