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Software Documentation and Training Case Study

Software Company

Challenge

A data analytics software company serving the healthcare industry approached InfoPros looking for a partner to help them navigate the challenges of creating timely, relevant documentation and training that would support both customers and key groups within the company.

Because of the complex nature of the software platform, engineers were often asked to use their technical expertise to help create the technical documentation, which meant less time for the engineers to work on development. Stakeholders were eager to ease the burden on the engineers and wanted to see rapid improvements in the documentation process. The goal was to have documentation and training completed for several key applications within a very short timeframe.

Solution

The first step was for InfoPros to do an analysis—learning the platform, understanding the environment, and identifying the needs of the user groups. Based on this analysis, the InfoPros team developed a roadmap for the company that addressed key areas for improvement in their documentation and training development. InfoPros emphasized that the best path forward was to reorient content development from focusing on application features to focusing on the needs of the different user groups.

Documentation is most appropriate for providing on-demand, task-based information that people can refer to whenever they need help getting things done, like adding a patient to the system or running a report. So, InfoPros refocused the company’s documentation to explain how to accomplish specific tasks.

Training is most appropriate for building knowledge and skills, particularly around transitional times (during platform upgrades, organizational changes, or skill advancement). It provides measurable learning that improves capabilities, providing context around when and why tasks should be performed. So, InfoPros refocused the company’s training to explain the introductory concepts and the workflows that governed the timing and decision-making related to performing tasks.

To be most effective, InfoPros recommended that the training and documentation be created as complementary pieces of the overall solution. That meant creating the documentation, then using chunks of the documentation as reference points throughout the training. This content strategy makes it easier to use and reduces the cost of maintenance. The main benefits are:

Combined, the framework of user-focused documentation and training worked together to provide critical support to user groups—including engineering, technical support, sales, customers, and others.

In addition to establishing a content strategy, the project included four key components:

Due to the rapid growth the company was experiencing, there was a need to implement these improvements as quickly as possible. InfoPros’ project team approach was key to making it happen on time and within the budget.

The InfoPros project manager facilitated the workflow management and provided weekly status reporting. Plus, the rest of the InfoPros team focused on building strong working relationships with stakeholders at all levels, providing timely communications to ensure everyone was part of the process. Because of the InfoPros team-based model, scalability was seamless, which meant that the company did not have to worry about staffing the documentation effort. InfoPros team members were brought into the project, as needed.

To accomplish such a big change in a short period of time would have been difficult without a highly functioning team to handle the ins and outs of creating application documentation in a fast-paced technical environment. The InfoPros team delivered the technical and process expertise that was instrumental to achieving the success of the project.

Results

Soon after InfoPros began facilitating key improvements, the company’s stakeholders could see the changes making a positive difference.

As more and more content was created to explain how the platform should be used to complete tasks, it revealed a clearer picture of how the platform worked. InfoPros’ practice of bringing people together to talk about the platform also helped to establish a common language—terms, phrases, and agreed-upon definitions—that were used throughout the business to build awareness, guide conversations toward mutual agreement, and support a stronger business culture around the capabilities of the platform.

The company’s leaders made it a business imperative to support the improvements InfoPros implemented, driving engagement across functional areas. They reinforced this directive by holding internal team members accountable for their part in supporting the documentation and training development process.

With InfoPros as its partner, the company’s internal groups could focus on growing the platform while feeling confident in knowing that InfoPros would work side-by-side with them to develop critical documentation and training—delivering quality results on time and on budget.