Parata is a pharmacy automation company that is growing rapidly, primarily driven by an expanding customer base. This growth, coupled with the increasing complexity of the products, requires accurate, easy-to-use product documentation, both for customers as well as Parata’s own customer support personnel.
While Parata had invested in an in-house technical documentation team augmented with contractors, product documentation was not keeping pace. The primary reason for the challenge was how rapidly the products were evolving and the speed at which software releases are created. Parata was at a point where the current approach was not scaling, and a new approach to developing and maintaining product documentation was needed.
Parata engaged the InfoPros Consulting Services group to do an in-depth analysis of their current tools, platforms, and processes and develop a plan that would support the company’s business needs.
InfoPros worked with the in-house documentation team, engineers, customer support, and management team to understand needs, pain points, and current processes. InfoPros then reviewed the current documentation, and interviewed customers, as well as Parata field personnel.
As a result of the analysis, InfoPros recommended modifying the toolset and putting more focus on moving the Parata documentation online. InfoPros was also able to identify what documentation was critical to customers and support personnel and recommended more effort be placed on these documents, reducing the effort expended on less-critical documentation.
InfoPros also recommended changing the process for developing and maintaining documentation by including the technical writers in the engineers’ development process. This integration was critical to ensuring that the product documentation reflected the most current versions of the product, i.e., the frequent software releases.
After reviewing these options, Parata management engaged InfoPros to implement the recommendations and then assume responsibility for all product documentation process for the entire company.
InfoPros put in place a team, led by one of its project managers, that had the skills and experience to immediately begin implementing the recommended changes. The team started working more closely with the product development teams, establishing priorities and developing a roadmap for updating the backlog of product documentation.
Two years into this partnership, InfoPros has reduced unit cost, put most of the documentation online, and made product documentation an asset instead of an impediment to growth and the partnership with Parata is growing.