Implementing simultaneous shipment of product documentation to all target languages is an immense undertaking. Successful simship adoption delivers a host of benefits, and yet, just like any major business transformation, the transition can be disruptive.
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the right approach, it’s entirely possible to adopt simship while maintaining normal production of documentation throughout the transition. A carefully considered, gradual transformation will enable you to continue meeting deadlines as you shift to a more efficient and cost-effective workflow.
For enterprises operating on a global scale, the business case for simship is compelling. Shipping localized documentation to all target audiences simultaneously improves time-to-market and unlocks significant additional revenue. This speed also leads to competitive advantage when it enables you to reach global audiences ahead of rival businesses, and serving all customers at once generates brand loyalty by showing that your organization values each market segment.
However, these long-term simship benefits will be meaningless if the implementation disrupts documentation production in the short term. Fundamentally, simship requires a mature and scalable localization workflow. Getting to that point often involves a substantial process shakeup for technical writers—who can’t afford to be responsible for any kind of delay to product launches or updates.
This puts technical publication managers in a lose-lose situation: either they continue with a suboptimal global content strategy and miss out on the advantages of simship, or they take the plunge and risk falling behind schedule on short-term document production. Fortunately, these aren’t the only options.
Seamless simship implementation is possible
The key to a non-disruptive simship implantation is to take a measured, methodical approach. Instead of making the move all at once, break the transformation down into more manageable pieces that you can tackle on the side while maintaining standard operations.
Adopting the DITA authoring framework, for instance, is an effective path to simship because it supports content reuse, cutting the time and cost required for localization. But DITA represents a major paradigm shift for technical authors—content written in DITA looks more like code than traditional text—so it pays to take your time when implementing it. Investigating DITA tooling, training writers, and running a pilot are all examples of smaller tasks that you can approach as side projects while you build towards a seamless switchover.
To learn more about transforming your international documentation processes, check out our blog on how manufacturing translation fits into digital transformation.
With this kind of incremental transformation, you can continue producing documentation uninterrupted.