Browsing articles in "Blog"

Technical Writing Outsourcing: Helping Your Business Toward Success

Feb 14, 2019   //   by Josh Gatus   //   Blog, Content Strategy, Outsourcing, Tips for Doc and Tech Comm Managers  //  No Comments

blue and gold text that reads: outsourcing technical writing: a forum on a banner. Beside the text are four interlinking puzzle pieces with different symbols on them in gold: icons of people and a fountain pen nib.

In-house, outsourced, onshore, nearshore, and offshore outsourcing offers countless possibilities. How can outsourcing help? Companies have resorted to outsourcing for both foreign and domestic contracts for decades. We’ve seen this practice extensively in quality assurance and programming functions.

Technical writing outsourcing comes with a lot of risks and benefits. Many technical writers think that once their company outsources, they must lay-off existing writers, which results in reduced morale of their respective teams. Outsourcing often catches the blame as a cause of disruption, dysfunction, and organizational failure. In many cases, these negative outcomes actually result from poor management, including poor planning and managing of outsourcing.

Outsourcing, if done properly, can help your business improve both in processes and content quality. A multicultural team can give you an advantage. If managed well, it improves global responsiveness, provides quicker response times, and increases your team’s cultural understanding of your customers. Technical writing outsourcing can expand capacity at lower cost, give you a larger team, and produce higher output.

Barry Saiff, founder and CEO of Saiff Solutions, created a roadmap to outsourcing success in his book Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer. In this roadmap, one of the sequences involves Choosing an outsourcing partner. You want a vendor who is capable of meeting your needs, with a broad commitment to excellence. So, how will you choose a trusted partner for your documentation?

Technical Writing Outsourcing: Factors to Consider

Here are some of the factors to consider:

  1. Be careful about the country you choose – Consider factors such as language, infrastructure, economic growth, stability, and cultural fit.
  2. Get to know your vendor – Are they knowledgeable, competent, and honest? What types of quality control practices or systems do they have in place?
  3. Learn about your vendor’s approach to management – Instead of sharing your own management philosophy (which amounts to asking leading questions), ask probing questions about their attitudes.
  4. Take IT and data security very seriously – For example, ensure that their employee and consultant contracts include confidentiality clauses.
  5. Understand the vendor’s ownership and organizational structure.
  6. Ask for references or find them on your own, and be very careful about contracts.
  7. Before embarking on a large, risky project, try out the vendor in a smaller, lower risk pilot project.

Do you want to know more about the Roadmap to Outsourcing Success? Learn more about technical writing outsourcing to give your team an extra boost!

Head on over to XML Press and grab a copy of Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer today. You can also purchase the book on Amazon.

The New Era of Content: Why Chatbots Matter

Jan 24, 2019   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Content Strategy  //  No Comments

A robot sitting crosslegged with a laptop on a blue banner title with the words 'The Era of New content: Why Chatbots Matter'

The way we deliver content has evolved through Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and other similar chatbots. Chatbots, an emerging technology using AI (Artificial Intelligence), have piqued the interest of small and big organizations to provide succinct, correct answers to the user’s queries in a conversation, automatically.

Organizations with content at scale can adapt their content framework to new methods and mediums of content delivery. Organizations who have yet to adopt the use of chatbots can look into how this growing technology can work for them. Ready to use content will ensure a smoother adaptation of chatbots or any other emerging technologies.

Transitioning to chatbots can only be effective if the technology is fed with structured content that it can easily process.  When content is structured and processed well, the chatbot identifies user intent and extracts relevant information, which improves the user experience.

How can we improve content for chatbots?

One way to structure your content is through microcontent. Microcontent is a unit of information structured for human brains and machines to process easily. Information that is broken into chunks can be retrieved, re-used, and re-purposed.

Technical writers document complex materials suitable for any audience. They write for clarity and accuracy. The broad technical skills of these writers help communicate information to users with diverse backgrounds. Using microcontent, technical writers can chunk information into the right context. This makes content adaptable in emerging technology for content delivery.

Technical communicators aim to satisfy our customers by giving them the best user experience and providing the information they need. Whether you’re using chatbots or other interfaces, applying microcontent will improve the accessibility of your content.

There is so much more to learn about chatbots and microcontent. Click here to discover how applying microcontent can impact your transition to using chatbots.

Achieve Inner Mastery in Managing Content Development Teams

Dec 17, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, Content Strategy, Tips for Doc and Tech Comm Managers  //  No Comments

blue banner with a silhouette of a yellow-colored man. Next to him is blue text with the words: "Achieve Inner Mastery in Managing Content Development Teams"

CARVE your way to success! On October 21, Barry Saiff, CEO and founder of Saiff Solutions, led a workshop called Managing Content Development Teams: Inner Mastery for Outer Success at LavaCon 2018. He discussed the power of vulnerability, basic management principles, and the inner strength of a manager. The key message of the workshop is that management is a sacred trust. As a manager at any level, you have the power to build or destroy careers, achieve miracles, or destroy the enterprise. Remember that management matters.

You can use the CARVE acronym to help you in managing your team. Every letter in CARVE stands for an important trait of a manager that serves as a key to your success.

Caring

A manager cares about the enterprise, the results, the process, and the people.

Access

A good manager makes himself or herself available to lessen stress in the workplace and meets one-on-one with each team member on a regular basis.

Being Respectful

A good manager understands how to respect people. This includes having high expectations. A manager does not react. A manager creates. Understanding the difference between passion and emotion is important. Not taking out your emotions on your staff is crucial.

Vision

Without vision, management can be damaging. Everyone wants to be part of something that matters. Keeping the mission, vision, and values of the company alive is essential. Everyone is more productive when they understand the impact of their work on the enterprise. Be inspired and you will inspire others.

Expect Excellence

A good manager does not accept “I can’t,” unless the statement is factually true, based on a generous assessment of the person’s capabilities. Expectations matter. Choose them wisely.

And that’s how we CARVE our way to success.

Did you know that Saiff Solutions is a Sapphire Sponsor of LavaCon? Find out more about our content strategy adventure at the exciting 2018 event here.

Welcome to the Saiff Solutions Blog!

Dec 13, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

blog-banner

Below you will find our latest and greatest blog posts.

Click here for the complete list of blog posts sorted by title

How can Technical Writers Support Voice Automation?

Dec 6, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions  //  No Comments

What is voice automation? Voice automation enables digital devices to interact with users via sound. Chances are, if you own a smartphone, you’ve already conversed with Siri, or one of her sisters.

Voice automation is everywhere these days. It’s proven to be successful for GPS navigation programs and even home automation systems. Thanks to voice automation, we now have intelligent assistant technologies such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Bixby.  The potential of voice automation doesn’t stop there. Medicine, engineering, and finance are just some of the industries that can integrate voice automation into their processes, products, and services.

Some might think that voice automation will eventually take over the functions of a technical writer. However, Saiff Solutions’ webinar with Precision Content on neuroscience, chatbots, voice, and microcontent suggests otherwise. In our previous microcontent blog, we discussed how we can narrow down content into its most simplified form through microcontent.

Microcontent

Microcontent is a unit of structured information that can be easily processed by both the human brain and machines. This is exactly what we need to feed voice automation with more precise information. Technical communicators are best equipped with the skills needed to produce voice automation-ready microcontent.

Now, how exactly can technical writers support voice automation? Here are three good ways:

  • Technical writers can identify user intent.

Technical writers are known to be experts in audience analysis, and audience analysis is the best method to identify user intent. User intent is one of the most crucial parts of microcontent. The intent declares the function of the information.

  • Technical writers can apply user intent to content.

Once technical writers get a full grasp of their audience’s intent, they can determine the writing structure needed for microcontent. According to Saiff Solutions’ and Precision Content’s webinar “The Future is Now: Neuroscience, Chatbots, Voice, and Microcontent,” microcontent sentences change tense and perspective depending on reader intent. This shapes the authoring of your content, thus enabling voice automation to be more eloquent and conversational.

  • Technical writers can adapt to any business that  requires the development of voice automation.

Technical writers can adapt to any technical field, and the same goes for microcontent. Won’t it be interesting to experience voice automation everywhere? The adaptability of technical writers opens endless possibilities for voice automation.

Imagine the possibilities of this growing content delivery system! With voice automation, you can:

  • Expand the capabilities of AI
  • Contribute to the development of eLearning
  • Enhance your marketing and technical content

So, if you want to learn more about how voice automation can make your content shine, see our previous webinar with Precision Content here and view the slide deck here.

Watch out for our microcontent blog series on the Saiff Solutions blog page here.

Breakthrough: Saiff Solutions Kicks off LavaCon 2018!

Nov 29, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Events, LavaCon, News  //  No Comments

Lavacon 2018 at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Orleans, LA, was the largest LavaCon yet! From October 21 to 24, over 550 content strategy experts and enthusiasts participated from all over the world. The participants were in for four days of educational and fun sessions on technical communications.

Saiff Solutions unloaded a lot of firepower in this year’s LavaCon! Barry Saiff, Founder and CEO of Saiff Solutions, was accompanied by two of our strategic partners: William Schwartz and Darryl Dobin. William Schwartz is the representative of Alpha CRC. Darryl Dobin is the representative of Fitch Group. We were also joined by Michelle McNabb, Owner and Event Marketing Strategist of Emenee Marketing and Events.

Barry’s new book, Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer, was available for the first time at LavaCon! The book was published on October 20, 2018 by XML Press, as part of the Content Wrangler Content Strategy Series. Barry signed copies of the book as requested by delighted recipients. In addition to Barry’s book, Saiff Solutions also debuted short videos showcasing our Multimedia and Technical Writing services.

Barry showcases his new book, Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer, at Mag’s 940 bar.

On Saturday, October 20, Saiff Solutions met with our partner and fellow LavaCon sponsor, Precision Content, to deepen and expand our strategic partnership. In this year’s LavaCon, we also welcomed our strategic partner and guest, Panviva, represented by Stephen Pappas. We were pleased to be situated next to our partner, Adobe.

Saiff Solutions led and hosted two breakout sessions and a workshop, and sponsored events throughout the conference. Saiff Solutions sponsored a coffee table, providing complimentary coffee for all the participants during the conference. On Sunday, October 21, at 9:00 AM, Barry spearheaded a workshop on how to effectively manage documentation teams. Participants engaged in exercises and lively conversations.

On Sunday night, Saiff Solutions also sponsored a fun opening reception at Mag’s 940 bar along Elysian Fields Avenue. Barry spoke for a couple of minutes to welcome the participants.

The reception featured a drag show by Princess Stephanie, which set the mood and paved the way to a delightful night for the 100+ speakers and conference participants.

On Tuesday, at 12:45 PM, Barry read excerpts from his new book, Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer outside the Astor Ballroom. During lunch, Barry led a Q&A session in the Astor Ballroom, where five people won chocolates that he brought all the way from the Philippines.

On Wednesday, at 9:00 AM, Barry went deeper into the misunderstood yet exciting world of outsourcing technical writing. A dozen people attended and the participants had a variety of experiences – from people working at outsourcing firms to managers of technical writers to technical writers. The participants shared their experiences and asked excellent questions. The breakout session was very active and informative.

Saiff Solutions is grateful to everyone who attended our events, drank our coffee, took home a book, talked to us, or in other ways made this our best LavaCon ever! We are excited by the new relationships we started and the existing relationships we deepened. To everyone we met at LavaCon, and to all of those we haven’t met yet, we stand ready to support you, assist you, learn from you, and grow with you.

If you want to know more about Saiff Solutions, let us know here. We’d love to discuss with you the latest trends and innovations in technical communication.

Is Your Content Driving Away Readers? Try Motion Infographics!

Nov 13, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Content Strategy, Reference Articles  //  No Comments

You work hard to develop your text content, only to have readers click right past it. How can you transform the content from a slow read to catchy eye candy? Motion infographics might be the answer to visually and quickly relay your message to your audience.

After all, the problem isn’t necessarily with the content. Instead, the form of the content could make reader comprehension less likely. On average, humans only read 20% of the text they see, and just scan the rest. With visual information, however, people remember 80% of what they see. What’s more, they understand visual information faster – 60,000 times faster – than they understand text!

In other words, if you want to communicate effectively with your audience, text-only strategies represent an enormous wasted opportunity.

Want to learn more about motion infographics and how they can help you present your content for maximum impact? Check out our blog. Our multimedia team has also collected several great articles on the subject:

13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics
By NeoMam Studios
This explains why infographics are digested by the brain more fully  than other types of content.

5 Reasons Why You Should Use A Motion Graphics Video
By YumYum Videos
The article describes how motion infographics can be an effective tool in turning your complex information into an enticing read.

3 Ways to Turn Your Infographic into an Engaging Animated Infographic
By Column Five Media
If you’re already familiar with basic infographics, check out this article and learn how to add animation.

The Power of Visual Communication Infographic
By Wyzowl
This article describes the relationships that infographics create between writers and readers.

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How You Can Use Motion Infographics

Nov 8, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Infographics help readers understand complex concepts. Given the plethora of infographics available online, how can you make sure your content stands out?

We have shown you what makes motion infographics different from stationary infographics and how to create motion infographics. Now it is time to learn how you can use motion infographics to build a memorable brand for your business.

Whether you are explaining how a car engine works or explaining how a cheetah is faster than a greyhound, using motion infographics can help your reader easily visualize any concept.

Here are some useful links from our multimedia team on using motion infographics to create memorable content:

  • Types of Motion Graphics

From Motion UX
This article contains several examples of where you can use motion infographics, from explainer videos to product marketing. Read it here.

  • 5 Ways You Can use Motion Infographics

From e-m marketing
This article introduces 5 ways to use motion infographics in your digital marketing content. Read it here.

  • How to Promote Your Business with Motion Graphics

From Renderforest
This article explains how you can incorporate motion graphics into your marketing strategy. Read it here.

  • 20 Creative Branding Examples Using Motion Graphics

From Advids Video Creation Service
This article provides 20 examples of using motion graphics to represent your brand. Read it here.

If you missed our free webinar on September 13, click on the links to view the recording and the slide deck. Learn about the future of microcontent with host, Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, and his guests, Rob Hanna of Precision Content Authoring Services, and Barry Saiff of Saiff Solutions.

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What is Microcontent?

Oct 25, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, Content Strategy  //  No Comments

Companies often overlook content organization. Some companies publish content on their websites without proper planning and analysis of the structure. Some websites have a pile of PDFs, and Google doesn’t search within them. On far too many websites, audiences grope blindly to find the content they need.

Online readers forage for information, hopping from site to site until they find what they need. So how do you get them to stop and notice your pages? By delivering easy-to-read content that actually answers their questions.

Microcontent makes that possible.

Not only does microcontent address specific questions, but it also assesses the reader’s context and intent. Microcontent presents information in the simplest and most concrete way possible. The question remains: where do technical communicators fit in this new content delivery?

This may seem like a big leap from traditional authoring, but microcontent demands the skills of technical writers even more. The world will always need translators and documentation teams for content creation. Precision Content’s post The Rise of Microcontent perfectly explains how technical writers shape this new delivery of information.

Want more information on microcontent? Watch BrightTalk’s recorded webinar The Future is now: Neuroscience, Chatbots, Voice, and Microcontent.

 

Top 12 Companies Attending Lavacon 2018

Oct 17, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

LavaCon 2018  is almost here, and the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel will soon be filled with content professionals from different countries, October 21 to 24. It’s a much awaited event for technical communicators everywhere. Make sure to check out our top twelve companies at LavaCon.

Check out the top twelve companies that attend LavaCon.

Check out the top twelve companies that attend LavaCon.

In alphabetical order, here are our top twelve:

Adobe Technical Communication

Adobe, one of the world’s leading software corporations,  is expected to promote Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2019 in the conference. The toolkit includes five of its leading content creation software applications: Adobe Framemaker, Adobe Robohelp, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Acrobat, and Adobe Presenter. As a plus, Adobe will hold a free certificate-granting workshop about content creation on Sunday. Be sure to check that out!

For more information visit www.adobe.com

EasyDITA

EasyDITA is a next generation, enterprise-level content platform. EasyDITA centralizes authoring, editing, and the digital distribution of knowledge products and assets. Their method makes structured content easier for writers, content managers, companies, organizations, and their end-users.

For more information visit www.easydita.com

Iridize

Iridize provides a unique employee learning module called the Context Aware Product Learning Mastery Suite. This learning module specifically orients employees to new web applications. Iridize makes sure that the learning experience is perfectly fit to the needs of the learner.

For more information visit www.iridize.com

Oxygen

The oXygen XML editor offers ready-to-use DITA support including visual editing, DITA-OT integration, DITA maps manager and much more. Its change tracking and annotation support, coupled with the possibility to create simplified user interfaces and its availability across platforms make it an ideal tool for capturing content from SMEs or for reviewing DITA documents.

For more information visit www.oxygenxml.com

Precision Content

Precision Content Authoring Solutions Inc. is a full-service solution provider to medium- and large-scale organizations around the globe. Precision Content helps their customers to better understand and solve their content challenges. Their core services involve designing and implementing innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions for authoring, managing, and publishing high-value content.

For more information visit at www.precisioncontent.com

Saiff Solutions

Saiff Solutions is a technical writing outsourcing company based in the Philippines. They provide superior process and product documentation efficiently and effectively at prices that yield extraordinary value. Join Barry Saiff, Founder & CEO for “Managing Content Development Teams: Inner Mastery for Outer Success” on Sunday, October 21 at 9:00 AM. Stop by the Saiff Solutions table to pick up a copy of Barry’s new book, Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer, being published on October 20, 2018 by XML Press as part of the Content Wrangler Content Strategy Series.

For more information visit www.saiffsolutions.com/home

Scriptorium

Since 1997, Scriptorium Publishing has been helping companies solve business problems and achieve strategic goals. They evaluate content challenges, recommend solutions, and implement tools and technologies that make solutions possible. Their services include content strategy, localization strategy, implementation and training, and support and maintenance. Join Sarah O’Keefe, Founder & Chief Executive Officer for “Minimum Viable Infrastructure for Enterprise Content ” on Tuesday, October 23.

For more information visit www.scriptorium.com

Stilo

Stilo International provides exceptional tools to help organizations implement structured content solutions using XML. Their tools help organizations to automate the conversion of content to various source formats including FrameMaker, Word, InDesign, RoboHelp, and DITA XML. Stilo also offers AuthorBridge, a new Guided + Fluid DITA authoring solution for SMEs and occasional contributors.

Learn more at www.stilo.com

Vasont Systems

Vasont is one of the leading content management software providers in the technical communication industry. They provide content management to a variety of industries, including manufacturing, technology, publishing, financial, and healthcare. As a matter of fact, Vasont has been included multiple times in the EContent 100 list of “best and brightest digital content companies.”

For more information visit www.vasont.com

Webworks

Webworks is the flagship publishing brand of Quadralay Corporation. Webworks believes that publishing is the first step to three goals: increasing product value, creating customer loyalty, and realizing documentation potential. Thus, they provide automated delivery of online content to multiple formats, languages, and devices. Webworks excels at conversions. Their tools can assist you in converting between almost any two formats.

For more information visit www.webworks.com

WittyParrot

WittyParrot is a knowledge automation, collaboration, and communication platform that makes accessing information easy with just a few clicks, without navigating complex portals. More than a file sharing and storage solution, it enables you to discover, classify, assemble, deliver, and track all the content you need to work more effectively. Witty Parrot centralizes all of your company’s messaging, marketing assets, and best practice communications, enabling your organization to speak with one voice.

For more information visit www.wittyparrot.com

Zoomin

Zoomin is a publishing solutions company that is primarily focused on enabling companies to deliver dynamic content to their customers. They can take structured and unstructured content and turn it into one format, creating a unified content experience for customers. As a matter of fact, Zoomin has been recognized by EContent Magazine as one of its Trendsetting Products for 2017. Join Pam Goodrich, Technical Documentation Manager, Cherwell, and Joe Gelb, Zoomin Software on Tuesday, October 23rd for “A Journey to Intelligent Content Delivery.”

Visit www.zoominsoftware.com for more information.

Never miss the opportunity to meet the best content strategists, documentation managers, and other content professionals at LavaCon. For more information, visit Lavacon 2018.

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Saiff Solutions In The Media

- TechWhirl
- Nominated for 2015 Rice Bowl Asean Start Up

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Testimonials

“Barry [Saiff] truly is a force of nature – he is a consummate professional with deep technical expertise when it comes to technical writing which lets him just “get it” right out of the box. Barry pairs very strong writing skills with the ability to easily speak both “business analyst” and “software engineer” in the same meeting. Barry was the lead information developer for my product at Symantec, and I had the utmost confidence in his abilities and work ethic. On top of all that, Barry has a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious laugh that can transform the work environment in an instance. I strongly endorse Barry’s many talents and would welcome working with him again in the future.”

Angelos Kottas
Principal Product Manager, Symantec
December 17, 2010

Read more testimonials here.