Last time, we discussed the various Business Case Considerations. This week we will discuss what is Involved with Implementing an S1000D Implementation and the Technical Publications Cost and Value Drivers.
Data Conversion for Legacy Programs
If you are working on a legacy program, you will probably need to consider the requirement for data conversion. Depending on the data format, this could be a potentially expensive process. So, it is important that this is done with S1000D expertise and that the data analysis is performed correctly.
XML and S1000D Skill Set
Your technical authoring team will need an XML skill set and an understanding of the specific XML authoring requirements involved with S1000D.
S1000D Business Rule Development
Depending on where you are in the supply chain, you may also need to develop S1000D Business Rules before you begin authoring.
Finally, S1000D requires technology to take advantage of all the opportunities for cost savings that it provides. This is not something you want to try to do on a file system. You will not see the cost benefits without using technology that leverages S1000D with automation, content reuse, and multichannel publishing. Two critical pieces of technology are needed for you to leverage S1000D fully:
- An S1000D Common Source Data Base (CSDB) is critical to S1000D production. A CSDB is a content management system that manages S1000D data and addresses the requirements prescribed for a CSDB in the S1000D specification.
- Interactive Electronic Technical Publications (IETPs) may be a required deliverable for your S1000D project in addition to paper or PDF. Fortunately, S1000D was designed with multichannel publishing in mind —so a good CSDB can quickly provide outputs to both PDF and IETP from the same S1000D publication module. An IETP will allow you to fully exploit the capabilities of S1000D by letting your information consumers filter data by aircraft tail number, conditions, or equipment type, as well as providing a platform for many different types of S1000D content, such as animations, simulations, 3D models, video, and more.
Technical Publications Cost and Value Drivers
A CSDB is Needed
The S1000D specification calls explicitly for a CSDB right on the front page. Some of the most significant cost drivers faced by technical publications organizations today include:
- The need to document multiple configurations of multiple variants of numerous products: If this leads to the duplication of content (and it often does), the effort and cost to maintain that content are also duplicated.
- The requirement for multichannel publishing to produce a variety of formats such as PDF, IETP, HTML, or XML and a growing list of devices such as smartphones and tablets: Multiplying the number of required output formats can also multiply the cost of producing your documentation.
- The need to interchange and track data deliveries across multiple organizations within a global supply chain: Manually managing and tracking data deliveries can lead to mistakes, incorrect deliveries, the need to repackage and redeliver data numerous times, and worst of all, data loss—all of which drive costs upward.
S1000D was developed with these specific problems in mind and can help you realize significant cost savings if implemented correctly. To do this, you need to focus on the following value drivers:
- Reduction of the effort and cost to author, manage, publish, and maintain technical publications; this can be accomplished with S1000D-driven content reuse and automation
- New additional revenue coming from advanced IETPs and parts ordering
- Being able to charge a higher price as a result of improved quality
- Generating significantly more revenue by increasing the availability of mission-critical systems.
With this in mind, let’s look at the traditional way of handling projects—either a Defense Logistic Organization or a Systems Integrator.
Typically, a prime contractor gets logistics support information from several suppliers. These suppliers, in turn, get their logistics support information from several sub-suppliers. This would comprise a total system, except that the defense organization or systems integrator will likely have several projects with similar characteristics.
For example, a helicopter manufacturer may have several programs but several common components (from the same sub-supplier). The defense logistics organization may have several Army programs and several common units across a system platform. In such a traditional setup, interoperability is poor. It is inefficient. And it is expensive. Let’s contrast this with a “standards-based” approach using S1000D.
In this case, a “standards-based” approach refers to Integrated Logistics Solutions based on industry standards such as S1000D for technical documentation, PLCS for Product Data Management, and SCORM for Computer Based Training. Using this standards-based approach, all projects use the same methods, tools, and interchange methodologies between sub-suppliers, prime contractors, and customers, making all processes unified and standards-based. Likewise, updating and exchange of information follow predefined rules.
Business rules define how a project exchanges information and what kind of validation checks are done on information transferred between parties. This ensures that the information imported into your CSDB is always correct. All incorrect or invalid information is rejected and should be returned to the sub-supplier for correction.
In this scenario, the systems integrator or defense logistics organization has one common system across all projects. This means one software infrastructure, one viewing tool, and one set of user competencies that need to be developed. This enables personnel to be used across multiple programs and provides the freedom to choose from various COTS IT suppliers and consultants.
Next up: Establishing the ROI for implementing an S1000D Solution