Businesses need a way to capture information and make it readily available. Online authoring provides a methodology for meeting the needs of corporations responsible for meeting goals, app development, policy compliance and more.
Cost Effective Task Management
Is it better to have one employee or more than one employee who can update management forms?
Using online help, the instructions for updating an employee can be readily accessed online instead of looking for a specific chapter in a document. Information can be separated by task and steps with instructions like the manual below.
Click Update Employee on the left pane and Update Employee instructions display on the right.
If you are running an Oracle application, instructions can be generated in Oracle Help. For Java, Java Help is available as well. Anyone with computer skills and security authorization can update the employee information.
What other ways can I use online help?
Each year people are finding new uses. From Standard Operating Procedures to Life and Disability Benefits online help can assist employees with a task as long as it is concise, well organized and aligned with a specific task, strategy, goal or mission critical path.
For more information use the links below to see if online help is a cost effective tool for your company.
Now that the four day week is becoming more popular, so is remote writing. Investing in a laptop can make remote writing much easier. A laptop with an internal network card can provide Internet access for online publishing at any remote location with wireless access.
For certain types of writing the writer may need to be on location. But after the meetings, product reviews and engineering changes have been completed, writing can begin at any time or location.
Some of our writers attend all engineering meetings via conference call. After hanging up the phone the writing begins and the team begins to collaborate on the content of the documents. Writers go on-site one to five times a year depending on the need of the client. In some cases, the writer meets the client once, and writes for that client on an open-ended contract.
Just think of the money saved by the client and the writer at a time when gas prices may soar higher than we have ever imagined.
The clients and writers can focus on their business instead of worrying about what the price of gas will be tomorrow.
Layoffs are at an all time high. How do you know if your job is in jeopardy? It is difficult to tell for sure, but we have collected a few phrases from employees and freelancers that may be of interest to you.
Here are a few phrases you really don’t want to hear.
Your department should be immune to the layoffs
We want you to bring Sayeed up to speed
You got a minute?
We are concerned….
Stop by my office before you leave today and make sure you bring your coat
There is nothing to worry about; you will not be affected by the buyout
Salary reviews will be postponed this year
Bonuses have been rescinded
There’s no truth to the CFO being indicted
Please report to HR ASAP
If you have a phrase you would like to share with us, please do.
Writing projects require some management by the technical writer.Implementing the document life cycle can ensure continuity of effort and more successful writing projects.
Freelance writers need to help their clients understand this process prior to starting projects. SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and other necessary resources should be identified and ready when the technical writer is hired. Sometimes we find the other resources were never identified thus making the continuity of effort more difficult. Of course, there are ways to handle these issues but the more issues that can be avoided the happier the writers and the clients.
For example, systems development documentation may require that the technical writer be involved during the time the system is being developed.Our manufacturing clients have found that having our technical writers involved during the development process improves their bottom line since our writers can work closely with engineers on-site or remotely. If the writer isn’t included during the development phase alternative document life cycles can be implemented. But, of course, like with many things, knowledge is power, so the initial meetings held prior to contracting should discuss these issues.
Depending on the document life cycle needed to ensure continuity of business effort a client can determine if the technical writing should be done in-house or utilizing a freelance methodology that suits their documentation needs.
The big news on July 3, 2008 was 62,000 jobs lost. This has sparked several discussions on-line and we would like to add our two cents.
We will deal with this issue using the alternate definition of the word insourcing, since in theory, everything is possible. Since we are currently in America, this term will refer to transferring jobs to local contractors and facilities that are physically located in the United States of America.
This is an election year, and there is talk from both candidates about putting America back to work. Each candidate states their commitment to this but maybe small businesses can lead the charge for their respective industries. With supportive government policies, that are enforced, the number of jobs located in America just might increase.
For example, since free trade isn’t always fair trade, how about having product documentation targeted at the American consumer, written in America? Our company has rewritten product guides that were originally written in a country where English was not the first language. It turned out that outsourcing wasn’t appropriate in this case. In short, they had to pay to have the same work done twice. Where is the savings here? We don’t see any and neither do our clients.
Supporting policies and infrastructure may assist in avoiding issues like this and promote a win-win for both the corporate bottom line and the American worker. But this is just a theory, and in theory, everything is possible!
Take your online help documentation and your user manuals to the next level!
Save time and money doing it the right way. Using Microsoft and Adobe software for documentation development and implementing effective technical communicator standards wasted time and money can be eliminated from documentation projects.
Why keep spending the extra money, when you don’t have to?
We have remote technical writers available to make this one time transition for you, so you can start saving money, today!
Documentation is required for a company to move forward in the development of critical systems and business processes. RUP, UML and SDLC can all come into play here for larger projects so it is good to have a solid analytical and proven methodology for providing quality systems and business documents.
Corporations invest time and money to learn these methodologies and sometimes the benefits and monetary gains are intangible.
Let us say you have a team with expertise in the critical systems and business processes. Their knowledge of the critical systems and processes are accurate and exceeds expectations. The team’s technology skills consist of word processing, spreadsheets and some graphic illustration. From the technical communicator’s point of view, this may very well be a team of SMEs (Subject Matter Experts). The technical communicator with graphic illustration and writing skills can meet with your SMEs and start producing system and business process diagrams after each meeting is completed.
But let us take a closer look at your team. Do they have the time to produce the diagrams? Is there an easy to learn graphics illustration package in-house that a team member can use to illustrate and document the critical paths? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then this may be a technical communicator project that you can do in-house. If the answer is no, consider a freelance writer to document your critical systems and business path, using the SMEs with a clear understanding of the critical paths.
Clients allocate months for projects that may only need a few weeks if enough thought is put into constructing a documentation solution for a project.
Save time and money by looking at all of your options first.
Sometimes the answers are right in front of your nose!
Technical communication and writing includes a variety of skills. The basic approach of most technical writers is to add to their skills in a manner that is suitable to their career development.
Our technical writers have a liberal arts education (art and photography) as well as application and web programming experience. Therefore, it has been easy for them to add web skills to their training curriculum.
To date, we have been contacted for freelance web design as well as writing a variety of business manuals (on-line help and print) for the company website and personnel. This has been a very interesting experience since old documents and sketches become on-line help or PDF down-loadable documents from their website. The business analysis skills used for technical system and application development are useful for analyzing and organizing the new documents our clients are developing.
The old and the new are coming together to build a tomorrow, on the Internet, for many companies.
Analysis related to business writing has evolved through many phases. When looking for freelancers capable of this kind of analysis don’t forget that SDLC (Systems Development Life Cycle) is very similar to UML (Unified Modeling Language) and RUP (Rational Unified Process).
If the writer you have chosen has written for SDLC projects they may be worth considering for your business writing projects that require business analysis.
Remember, there are also similarities between business writing, technical writing and copywriting so don’t reduce your chances of finding an economical business writer by limiting your choices too much.