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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.

Welcome to the Saiff Solutions Blog!

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

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Below you will find our latest and greatest blog posts.

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

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.

Outsourcing Technical Documentation Projects: Documentation Managers Meetup

Oct 15, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   News  //  No Comments

Are you interested in overcoming the challenges of outsourcing? Contribute to the discussion and demystify technical communication outsourcing in a documentation managers meetup.

 

 

Join Barry Saiff, founder and CEO of Saiff Solutions, and Scott Abel, the Content Wrangler, on November 8 at 6 PM, for an insightful discussion about outsourcing content development. Take this opportunity to learn from your colleagues and find answers to your questions about the approach. Register here!

2017 Recap: Saiff Solutions’ Best Year Yet!

Jan 9, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

FINAL-BANNER

2017 was an amazing year for Saiff Solutions – our best year yet! Here’s how our year went:

Quality Still Matters

The year started with the biggest project in the six-year history of Saiff Solutions. We provided text and graphics for a vehicle diagnostic and repair software company. To meet the needs of this client, we grew from 11 full-time employees at our office in Tagaytay City, Philippines, to 51 employees in a period of only six weeks. We were able to manage this rapid growth while maintaining excellent quality. This client was not the first that has effusively praised our quality.

By the end of the year, we started projects with three more clients, expanding our scope to marketing content creation and motion graphics – animations, videos, and e-learning modules, while also adding technical writing and technical illustration work.

This growth was only possible because there are companies that still care about content quality. We have found that to many companies, but not all, quality matters. We have our best successes working with clients who care deeply about the quality of their content, and understand that their customers also care.

Our Growing Presence

We were Platinum Sponsors of the largest LavaCon to date. LavaCon, the leading global conference on content strategy and technical communications management, had over 350 participants at their November 5-8 Conference in Portland, Oregon. On November 5, Barry Saiff and Dave Wilks led a 4-hour workshop, Achieving the Extraordinary: Content Development Management Success, with 29 active participants. Later that evening, Saiff Solutions hosted the Speaker Reception for 80 LavaCon speakers, and the Participant Reception for several hundred participants, both at Kells Irish Bar in Portland. These were the best LavaCon parties ever! All week people thanked us for hosting the receptions. The attendees had so much fun that Saiff Solutions has decided to host the LavaCon opening night receptions every year!

On Monday, November 6, Barry led a one-hour session, Content Development Estimates and Proposals: The Groundwork for Success, with over 40 participants. This was a very illuminating discussion. To find out more about our LavaCon experience, read our blog post here.

Saiff Solutions hosted four webinars in the second half of 2017, with hundreds of registrants each month – over 1,500 in all. We’ve covered different aspects of technical documentation, ranging from leadership and management to intrapreneurship and project tracking. Find out more about the webinars here.

Here is a direct quote from someone who took us up on the free phone consultation we offer at the end of each webinar: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Your advice is much appreciated! Thank You!!!”

Would you like some assistance with your content strategy or team challenges? Would you like some ideas on how best to navigate bureaucratic hurdles? Let us know.

6TH Anniversary - version 4-01A Happy Community

Saiff Solutions grew in many ways in 2017. Our community engaged in various activities that enhanced professional development, team effectiveness, and personal well-being.

We conducted a variety of skills trainings with local and international partners. As part of one training, writers created ebook drafts that delved into interviewing SMEs and working in an Agile environment. Weekly grammar trainings helped writers and illustrators brush up on their English skills.

 

In addition to regular trainings in client products and services and the tools and technology of our trade, our training program for 2018 will focus on five areas:

  1. Mathematics, logic, and critical thinking
  2. Graphics: technical illustration, graphic design, animation, and film
  3. English: speaking and listening effectively
  4. English: writing – basics, grammar, and technical writing methodology
  5. Transformation/Change: how to adopt new habits and gain freedom from past limitations to achieve greater effectiveness

Saiff Solutions treasures the bonds between our staff. On May 29, we had an all-day company outing focused on fun, to help us unwind from work and get to know each other in new ways. Then on October 28, we went to Gratchi’s Farm Getaway for a day of team-building activities, to improve our teamwork and discover strengths we didn’t know we had. On December 22, we celebrated our hard work and success in a 70’s-themed year-end party. These activities didn’t just spice up our busy work lives with fun and excitement, they also gave each member of the Saiff Solutions community a sense of growth, fulfillment, and belonging.

Thank you for supporting and believing in us over the last 6 years.

Here’s to an awesome 2018! Happy New Year!

Saiff Solutions In The Media

- TechWhirl
- Nominated for 2015 Rice Bowl Asean Start Up

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Testimonials

“After Symantec acquired Brightmail in 2004, Barry played key roles in integrating the information development team and their content into Symantec’s then-developing Unified Content Strategy. Barry [Saiff]’s experience, product and content knowledge, and leadership qualities helped the Brightmail team to become a trailblazer within the company. The processes, tools, and practices they helped to develop for content management are used throughout the company, thanks in large part to Barry’s participation in numerous cross-departmental teams. Barry is a natural leader who can effectively contribute to any endeavor. He has a passion for serving customers that drives him to create and evangelize process improvements and to collaborate effectively with diverse groups and individuals. I would be glad to work with Barry again.”

Alexia Idoura (nee Prendergast)
Senior Manager, Symantec
February 16, 2011

Read more testimonials here.