How to Use Technical Writing Software to Optimize Documentation

May 11, 2023
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image shows woman concentrating on technical documentation

Are you looking for a way to optimize your company’s documentation and knowledge management? How do you know which is the best technical writing software for your content operations? Without the proper platform for technical writers, companies often face significant struggles that can cost them both time and money.

The importance of technical writing software in businesses is often overlooked, but it can be the difference between ‌success and failure. While there are many solutions available to help with technical documentation, having a unified technical writing platform, like Paligo, for efficient collaboration and document management can be a game changer.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why it’s best to have a technical writing platform that is also a Component Content Management System (CCMS) for both knowledge management and product documentation in companies. We’ll discuss the struggles of not having ‌proper technical writing software and why it’s beneficial to invest in one. So let’s dive in.

Why do you need technical writing software?

As market demands rapidly expand and the need for cost-effective solutions increase, companies are turning to platforms for technical writing software. This is why having a CCMS for documentation projects is essential for any company that produces instructional-based documents. A CCMS is a technical documentation platform that allows authors to create, manage, and store content in an organized way. It offers many benefits over traditional document management systems, including improved productivity, collaboration capabilities, and cost savings.

Using a CCMS also allows you to save time when creating documents by providing one central repository for all documentation with easy access to pre-existing content. This helps eliminate redundant work while providing accuracy and consistency across all documents produced. With the ability to search through archived versions of documents quickly and easily, you can find what you need without wasting precious time sifting through unrelated files stored in various locations on your computer system.

Complex documentation needs a single source solution

When documentation involves managing multiple products with similar content and you find yourself creating hundreds of versions of the same documentation just to account for different sizes or regulatory requirements, it’s time to simplify your documentation process.

To clarify, a single source documentation system allows for the reuse of content, thereby reducing the amount of time and resources spent on redundant tasks. This also reduces the need to employ multiple writers to work on different versions of the same document. For example, if a document needs to be updated for a new version of a product, the technical writer can simply reuse most of the content from the original document, make the necessary changes only to the specific parts of the document, and republish it (technically this is called “branching”). So what was previously a time-consuming and expensive process, is now a straightforward task. Document maintenance and updates are done in minutes, freeing up resources for other more important tasks.

Aside from increased productivity, having ‌technical writing software with single source documentation, especially if the product is based in the cloud, provides better collaboration between teams. It does this by allowing multiple people to edit documents simultaneously while maintaining version control over each iteration of the document being worked on (more on this below). You want to ensure that everyone involved in your project is working with up-to-date information at all times – no matter where they are located geographically. Furthermore, each member can easily track changes made by other users, so there’s no confusion about who made what change when questions arise. In other words, there’s a full audit trail of all changes.

Topic-based authoring as part of knowledge management

When deciding on your documentation strategy, a main focus should be to greatly reduce the time spent manually adjusting your documentation for every customized section of content. Paligo uses topic-based authoring, which means content is modular, just as your products may be modular and configurable. So it’s easy to make updates, new regulations, or any other changes quickly and consistently across all your documentation. You can imagine your content is built from something like Lego pieces to build different ideas. However, different to jigsaws, you can reuse the pieces in a lot of different ways.

When we talk about modular content, we mean content that can be easily reused, edited, and repurposed in many different contexts. You often see this in product manufacturing, where there are a multitude of variations for different items. You can also see this with medication product labeling (IFUs), where labeling requirements may be different depending on regions, as well as for policies, procedures, software and regulatory agencies.

Another way to refer to modular content used as topic-based authoring, is “conditional text”. This can also be referred to as profiling or filtering. Conditions allow you create a single source of content for a product, which is then automatically transformed into multiple variations of content. This means you can develop a single document that can be used for multiple products, multiple versions of those products, and multiple languages. That same single document can be published in PDF, HTML5, mobile, help desk portals and more, while ensuring your content remains consistent, relevant and up-to-date. Additionally, it makes it easy to reuse content across multiple documents, allowing you to make sure all your documents have the same look, feel and message.

The best technical writing software made for complex documenation

You don’t need to be writing product documentation to take advantage of ‌the Paligo CCMS. As mentioned above, Paligo is used by companies in the life science, financial and software industries, just to name a few. The common denominator is that every one of these companies needs to produce complex documentation with a variety of versions, languages, and publishing channels. The technical writing software offered by Paligo can be used across the board, in a one-source system.

How Paligo helps simplify your documentation

Streamlines Content Creation and Editing

The Paligo editor is made to be as easy to use as possible. Paligo is XML-based, developed using the DocBook standard – an established open-source technical documentation format. This means future-proofing for any current and future applications is ideal because it can be easily edited and modified, and translated into multiple languages.

Lets you automate processes

Automation can be used to help streamline common tasks, such as uploading content to multiple publishing channels. With the Paligo CCMS you can automate a lot of the documentation production process, including scheduling publishing and syncing content from external sources so the content in Paligo is always up-to-date. There is also a comprehensive REST API that you can use to do the above, and more.

Tracks Progress

To ensure that your projects are completed on time and to the expected standards, it’s important to have a documentation platform where you can track each stage of the workflow. In Paligo, you create assignments to request other users to contribute to your content, such as a subject matter expert (SMEs), to provide new information or check for technical accuracy. Your assignments are tracked so there is an audit trail of who has been working on it and the current progress.

By following these processes, your complex documentation will maintain consistent high quality while always being up to date.

Take the Leap and Reap the Benefits of Technical Writing Software

So, the answer to the question of whether technical writing software is beneficial to your team, and company‌, is a resounding yes. Paligo’s software for technical writers provides a number of advantages that will help your team’s documentation efforts run more smoothly and efficiently.

Overall, investing in a reliable technical writing platform with the Paligo CCMS will prove invaluable for your team’s documentation efforts and provide numerous benefits such as streamlined collaboration, improved document retrieval, and automated processes. And if you’re interested in seeing how our customers have benefited from the Paligo CCMS for their product knowledge and technical writing, read some of our customer case studies.

The uses and advantages of Paligo are far beyond what is described here. Schedule a demo if you would like to learn more about how Paligo can be tailored to your documentation and technical writing needs.

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