Adobe has announced the integration of its FrameMaker technical document authoring tool with its Adobe Experience Manager content management solution for building Websites, apps and forms so that customers can more easily create technical communications and deliver the information on multiple formats and devices.
The goal of the integration is to facilitate better, more compelling customer experiences for users of technical documentation. At the Adobe Summit in March, the company talked about the Experience Business Wave and the need for organizations to think about the digital experiences that they deliver to their customers.
The company set out to transform the way brands provide connected digital experiences across the customer journey, said Aseem Chandra, vice president of Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Target for Adobe’s Digital Marketing business.
Adobe Experience Manager has primarily been used in marketing—to help companies better express their brand and build stronger relationships with customers, Loni Stark, senior director of strategy and product marketing at Adobe for the Experience Manager business, told eWEEK.
However, now Adobe is moving to extend that to the entire customer journey. That means even providing help in support and post-sale activities, Stark said. Often these functions are in silos.
“So marketing and support and help and technical communications are in separate areas,” Stark said. “But we found that the same tools we use with marketing need to expand to the rest of the organization so that they can better support the entire customer journey.”
Indeed, as Stark said in a July 25 blog post, customers expect a broad spectrum of content to be available as they research their purchasing options. “It is becoming ever more common for potential customers to expect to read user manuals, service and repair guides, and other technical documentation before making their purchase decisions—especially, in industries where both the sales cycle and the product is complex,” she said.
The integration of FrameMaker into Adobe Experience Manager allows for technical communications to be better managed in a structured way and to be published more quickly in ways that customers want to consume it—whether that’s a Website or a mobile app or whatever, Stark said.
She said Adobe conducted a survey where the company noticed a huge uptake in structured technical communication, and that uptake was driven by mobile.
“The mobile publishing trend in 2016 jumped to 70 percent of companies looking at making sure that technical communication is available through mobile apps and mobile devices because that’s the way people want to consume it,” Stark said.
Moreover, with the explosion of content, time-starved consumers are increasingly selective of what they’re viewing and reading, she said. Consumers use an average of six devices and consume 12 sources of content; millennials use an average of seven devices and 14 sources. Smartphones are the most frequently used device by millennials. But consumers also quickly lose patience if these dense documents are difficult to navigate or don’t display on their device, Stark noted.
Adobe Integrates FrameMaker, Experience Manager
“Existing customers are demanding technical content that is natively published across all channels, mobile devices and formats, including mobile apps,” she said in her post. “They also want it delivered and displayed faster with useful personalization filters in place to enhance their consumption experience. They want the technical information to be easily consumable, easily searchable, interactive in nature and immediately actionable. These challenges that used to only plague marketers are now extending to technical communicators as well.”
Kathy Miller, senior director at CyberSource, which participated in a beta program for the integration, said the company’s technical documentation team manages a library of more than 200 technical guides, and typically publishes more than 25 guides each month. The company employs an Agile software development methodology and operates on short release cycles, reusing lots of common content across their library.
“To increase efficiency, we wanted to find a solution in which we could author, review, approve and publish all within the same tool set,” Miller said in a statement. “And, since we currently author our content in FrameMaker, it made sense to stay in that environment to reduce the team’s learning curve. Adobe’s solution will allow us to do this, as well as help streamline our localization process.”
Stark noted that companies that have strong technical communication that is readily available in different formats on a variety of devices can attract and convert customers, sustain client relationships, and turn their users into brand advocates.
Adobe also delivered an XML Documentation Add-on for Adobe Experience Manager. That add-on, along with the integration of FrameMaker, “shows Adobe’s commitment to supporting the growing needs of companies by addressing the full XML workflow of creation, editing, review and publishing,” Maria Casino, marketing manager at Intersil, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Stark told eWEEK that the idea for this integration came from Adobe’s customers in the manufacturing and high-tech spaces. Adobe began receiving requests from these customers to be able to better publish their technical documentation with Experience Manager. They had been using it on the marketing side and wanted to use it on the technical documentation because they wanted to get their information out in a multi-channel way, she said.
“They had all of their technical documentation in a separate content management system and they wanted to unify the back ends so they would have one place that supported the customer journey,” Stark said. “It became more of an issue with the proliferation of mobile devices.”
Moreover, Stark said breaking the silos and storing technical documents along with other content in a digital asset management system enables companies to gain insights into how customers are using documents, track what customers are looking for, measure the impact of their tech communication efforts and more.