Hearts and Minds

You might think that when you have migrated your customer’s content to beautiful S1000D, and it all looks great, that your job is done! Think again. You have created an S1000D XML-based system for people who are almost certainly not XML experts, never mind S1000D experts. While they may be experts in the inner workings of an aircraft undercarriage you should not expect them to feel right at home with S1000D. Probably they had achieved a level of comfort with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat but now you are asking them to start again with XML authoring. Let’s be clear, there are big advantages to having structured S1000D over unstructured documents but the advantages come at a price. You will need to have rigorous procedures around managing, authoring and publishing content. S1000D is not lightweight because the aviation industry and the military need robust information management tools to be able to ensure flight and equipment safety. You may need to rethink your own business process, perhaps by upskilling a core team of technical authors to manage this content.

You will also need to provide quality training materials for your users, which they can refer to whenever they need. One of the big advantages of S1000D in this regard is that it is a document management system so you can use it can document itself! This means that not only can users access training and materials easily but they can see, through real examples in the system, how to do the things they need to do.