Our last post discussed the Promise of Implementing an S1000D Solution. This week, we will dive into the various Business Case Considerations.
If you are working on a new program, the decision to use S1000D will probably be easy. This is because you will likely be mandated to deliver your data in S1000D XML rather than an older MIL-STD or ATA SGML format. S1000D is an excellent choice for a new program as it ensures data interoperability and longevity as the adoption of this international standard continues to grow. Because S1000D is used by both military and commercial programs, data can be multi-purposed for military derivatives of commercial equipment and vice versa. As vendor support and development for S1000D continues to grow and be maintained, the development and tool support for older military and civil aviation specifications will not—especially with limited funds available.
All of these factors contribute to the business case for S1000D. And for a new program, these factors can be enough to justify S1000D adoption, even without showing a return on investment.
Existing Programs in Non-XML Format
If your data is in non-SGML or -XML format, your business case for going to XML will require you to consider the cost of data conversion, retooling, and user training. However, a good business case can be made for adopting S1000D based on the mentioned factors. In fact, an overall cost reduction of approximately 60% over legacy manual production costs is typical for organizations that have converted their non-structured data to S1000D XML.
Existing Programs Already in XML Format
If your data is already in a non-S1000D SGML or XML format, the business case for S1000D becomes more challenging since many of the benefits of S1000D also apply to any SGML or XML-based specification. That said, there is a difference between SGML or XML specifications that are structure-based versus content-based. Structure-based specifications such as MIL-STD-38784 define the structure of a publication but do not classify its content, thus limiting the types of information that can be gleaned from the data. In contradistinction, content-based specifications such as MIL-STD-2361 classify content and define structure.
Since S1000D is a content-based specification, the most significant improvement in data utility is achieved when you convert from a structure-based specification to a content-based specification.
Nevertheless, there are still considerations regarding vendor tool support, data format longevity, and the cost of maintaining multiple publishing environments that contribute toward a favorable business case for S1000D. And in the final analysis, since S1000D is the future of technical publications for military and civil aviation programs, it may make good business sense to standardize on S1000D.
In our next post, we will dive into What is Involved with Implementing an S1000D Implementation.