tcworld conference 2018 – product experts with no prior knowledge now able to use the SCHEMA ST4 component content management system

Modern demands for technical documentation – intelligent information, accessible at any time and anywhere, always up-to-date and compatible with every type of device – have led to changes not only in the way content is maintained in the technical writing department, but also to changes in processes and procedures. To fulfil these demands, technical writers and product experts who are not familiar with technical writing need to be able to work together more effectively. As a result, automation and workflows are at the heart of the latest version of the component content management system SCHEMA ST4 from Nuremberg-based software manufacturer SCHEMA. At this year’s tekom annual conference, visitors can take a look at these new features for themselves at Stand 2/C07.

Lost information a thing of the past

With each new product, product descriptions go through a development process, from the creation of new information, the collation of reusable content through to the final target format. Whether it is a document, online help or an app, technical writers face the challenge of bringing together information from the relevant product experts in various places outside of the technical writing department. This means carrying out processes beyond the technical writing role in order to collate all the relevant information. Information may change at any time while these processes are ongoing. All these different information pathways are often outside of the technical writing department and so outside of the component content management system, which can pose a risk to the completeness of the information.

Workflow Designer and Workflow Automation Library for SCHEMA ST4 are now changing this. From the 2018 version onwards, SCHEMA will provide users with a tool in the form of these functions to collect information for product descriptions using the component content management system – even interdepartmentally. One potential application of workflows is starting review or approval processes in SCHEMA ST4, which can then be completed by the appropriate colleague in their browser – with comment and feedback functions available and no prior knowledge of SCHEMA ST4 required. Even individual pieces of information can be requested using a wizard that guides users who are not familiar with the process one step at a time.

However, there is much more to the software than approval processes or collecting information. As well as these everyday automated authoring procedures, specific processes are also available: for example, the automatic publication of a data sheet as soon as the product data is uploaded. This process can also include another automated procedure that checks whether the data is complete and initiates creation or translation processes for missing texts. Product experts do not need any prior knowledge of SCHEMA ST4 to be able to carry out all these complex processes, but will still receive complete, multilingual product information for their projects.

Added value for workflows

SCHEMA sees the new workflow modules as an important step towards barrier-free cooperation in SCHEMA ST4. In this way, the ability of technical writers and product experts to work together is effectively supported. Complex technical writing processes in the component content management system can be replicated and automated using workflows, enabling those unfamiliar with the system to interact with it directly, without the need for the extra time and effort involved in being trained. This reduces the number of gaps in information pathways while improving cooperation.

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