The Elekta Group (‘Elekta’) creates innovative clinical solutions and medical technology for treating cancer and brain disorders. Elekta required accurate, auditable content that would be created and consumed by a fully fledged ecosystem of internal and external stakeholders.
Elekta wanted to stem their increasing translation costs, drive knowledge sharing across teams, and speak with one voice both internally and externally on their various existing, and future, communication channels.
Elekta is a human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. The company develops sophisticated state of the art tools and treatment planning systems for radiation therapy and radiosurgery, as well as workflow enhancing software systems across the spectrum of cancer care.
With traditional unstructured content tools and proprietary formats, Elekta was unable to keep up with their reuse, production, and delivery goals. Additionally, their rapid growth through acquisitions necessitated the integration of different brands and the information silos in their globally dispersed business units.
Elekta recognized that their technical content went far beyond their technical documentation. They had overlapping sets of operational and reference information with potentially reusable content for internal or external use. The unification and consolidation of content across the entire lifecycle would be vital to reaping the full potential of their technical content as a business asset.
Elekta put together an international project team of internal staff and specialist third party consultants. As a team, we completed a content and process audit to support the development of a unified content strategy, which addressed the challenges with traditional technical documentation but also a wider, long-term vision. We presented the results up the management chain and put a global proposal with project scope to the Elekta executive committee, who supported it unanimously.
We started with an in-depth user and task analysis, followed by content modeling and information taxonomy workshops, in preparation for the move to DITA XML. Later, in facilitated prototyping workshops Elekta selected a vendor for the component content management system (CCMS). The team then outlined a modular project that allowed business units and content sets to be included in a phased approach to avoid overstressing teams.
As a forward-looking initiative, Elekta chose to include a socially enabled dynamic delivery prototype in the pilot project. This prototype showed how it would be possible to capture and rank knowledge created by subject matter experts, such as field service engineers, as well as link it with technical documentation created in the CCMS. Social features like tagging, commenting, content sharing, and creating customized, user-defined documents will eventually improve access for users. In the longer term, the system will feed knowledge-base articles into a formal editorial lifecycle, and even deliver information directly into software or hardware products that have content display capabilities.
We used a structured XML conversion tool to convert legacy content to DITA XML topics. However, ensuring that the content complied with DITA XML and Simplified Technical English (STE), and then having to revalidate it after conversion, proved time consuming. We introduced a faster, more-automated bulk conversion process.
This project demonstrated how a unified content strategy can provide a common denominator for content and branding. This is a strategy that allows everyone, irrespective of geography, language, culture, and business unit, to participate while still meeting specific local needs.
Return on Investment
With estimates in the business case indicating potential savings in translation cost between 40 percent and 70 percent through the use of Simplified Technical English, DITA minimalist writing, and XML for the elimination of DTP, it was encouraging to see a £24K ($38,000), or 30 percent, saving on Elekta’s first, one-document,
14-language translation project.
The Rockley Group
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