Comtech has worked with Xylem (formerly ITT Fluid Technology) for more than five years to develop and implement a new corporate-wide information architecture. The architecture development has included a complete content inventory of four business units, an analysis of common content across document deliverables to facilitate reuse, and the development of an Information Model based on the OASIS DITA standard.
The information architecture was developed with the participation of an Information Architecture team comprised of individuals from the business units who were knowledgeable about the current content and interested in developing a new approach to that content.
To support the new information architecture, Comtech developed a comprehensive Information Model, assisted in creating Authoring Guidelines, developed templates in Arbortext Editor for new authors, constrained the use of DITA XML elements not appropriate for ITT FT content, and trained engineering, marketing communications, product managers, and technical writers in the new writing standards and template use.
Comtech managed the pilot project that implemented a unified model for Installation, Operations, and Maintenance manuals in multiple languages. Included in the pilot project was the implementation of Idiom World Server to handle translations and the use of Scalable Vector Graphics to support direct translation of text in graphics.
Comtech is working with ITT on a standard catalog design. In the first phase of our project we reviewed the catalog copy for various business units, examined other sources non-catalog of content for commonality and reuse potential, made an inventory of potential information and content types, and studied the current process for information development and design.
We are currently investigating the potential for single sourcing information for catalogs, product bulletins, and an interactive pump selection tool. Subsequent phases of this project will include creating sample information/content types, developing a repository structure, and creating stylesheets.
Comtech designed a solution to integrate the software strings of an XML database maintained by Engineering into the ITT Global Enterprise Content Management (GECM) development environment. Comtech defined the initial information architecture and process needed to support the use of the software strings in GECM. Comtech also wrote the transforms to roundtrip the strings from the database to component content management system (CCMS) and back to the database and developed a automation plug-in to customize ITT’s CCMS. Future plans include a pilot to test the prototype.
Comtech developed the prototypes, process, and infrastructure to enable ITT Shared Services' technical publications team to extend its reach beyond technical publications, into the realm of sales and marketing and other cross-functional groups at ITT in need of publishing capabilities.
Comtech’s developments showed that it is possible to access and consume content from a single repository of DITA XML using various interfaces, formats, and applications. Starting with a repository of DITA residing in a component content management system (Astoria CCMS), the integrations Comtech put in place pushed content to various destinations, including:
- A web interface (Sharepoint), with DITA metadata intact and fully searchable
- A non-technical, web-based “order” form, where users can search, locate, and assemble DITA maps and topics into a customized output, in the format of their choosing
- Mobile outputs, only DITA-Open Toolkit transforms
- An .INX package for editing in InDesign
The integrated prototypes resulting from this effort showed ITT leadership that their considerable efforts of the past several years could reap benefits beyond the gains realized by ITT’s technical publications team, which were considerable to begin with.
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