in content update & maintenance time
with robust usage & version reporting
In 2018, one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the U.S. — with more than 8,000 employees serving four million customers across seven states — set out to streamline and modernize their organizational content strategy in order to standardize content production, improve consistency across the organization and drive a better user experience.
Content scattered across teams in different states made content updates cumbersome and time consuming. Instructional Designers had to manually find and update each document and location where the content was used. As a result, content was often inconsistent and out-of-sync, which created a major liability due to the highly-regulated nature of the organization.
With more than 4,000 unique documents under their purview, a lack of consistency and centralization made it extremely difficult for the Content team to reliably find (let alone reuse) existing content, leading to a lot of wasted time and effort.
Multiple internal training organizations dispersed over a variety of locations and supporting a broad range of audiences, including a wide range of clerical, technical, and leadership roles within natural gas distribution, electric distribution, electric generation, and customer operations, made it almost impossible for the organization to ensure consistency – let alone accuracy – across all content.
Early on, the organization determined that merging authoring and content management strategies would be key to successful organizational alignment. As the Content Strategy team dug deeper into the multiple existing content development and management strategies across the organization, they realized that teams were developing in different, incompatible formats and tools.
Centralizing the organization’s content in Xyleme allowed the team to begin to apply standards and consistency across content, and they quickly learned just how inconsistent and out-of-sync much of their content had been.
“Xyleme brought the technology, cloud capability, and structure needed to support our newly-designed content model,” says the organization’s Content Strategy Specialist. In addition to bringing in new technology, the organization reevaluated and redesigned their internal content creation, management and distribution policies and procedures from the ground up.
“The finished process focused more on what happened before designers even started writing, to ensure that what they were creating was not only in line with the request but also would be reusable, consistent, and standardized.”
“We realized that in order to be successful in training, we needed to look at a bigger picture and view the content as a whole, regardless of the delivery method,” explains the organization’s Content Strategy Specialist.
The team ultimately developed their own unique content model, which focused on structured authoring approach to allow for content to be reused in a variety of formats.
“The vision for the future, as we grow deeper into our new content strategy, is to make smarter decisions using standard, repeatable processes by writing content once and using it everywhere. Within one single-source project, a designer can output countless documents, such as instructor guides, learner workbooks, PowerPoint presentations, performance support, online references, manuals, web courses and much more — all through the use of filtered metadata,” the Content Strategy Specialist explains.
And because formatting and design are applied through customized publishing templates, and not tied to the content itself, updates can be made much faster than ever before.
“Prior to Xyleme, content updates could take up to 3 or 4 days, as the Instructional Designers had to first find, then manually update all the locations where the content appeared,” says the organization’s Manager of Curriculum Development.
“With Xyleme, we simply update the source content and then we can seamlessly push the updates to every single location where the content is used, so updates now take hours instead of days – the time savings have been significant.”
With more than 4,000 individual documents under their purview — including instructor-led training materials, web courses, manuals, online references, and individual topics — consistency wasn’t just about how content was created and reused. The team also had to implement consistency and standardization across how they managed revisions, traceability, and content storage.
This started with a foundational taxonomy structure applied across the organization, standardizing content tagging and classifications across all teams in order to make their content searchable, reusable, and easily maintainable over the long term.
Creating a taxonomy for roles also allowed them to classify content for not only company standards, but industry standards as well. Aligning to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for example, allows the organization to run reports on classifications to identify content that may need to change, identify content that can potentially be reused, find related content from associated topics, and determine which employee job roles should have access to each piece of content.
“Before, when a Gas Standard changed, we had to rely on the knowledge of the team to remember where all instances of that Gas Standard are referenced in our content,” explains the Manager of Curriculum Development.
“Today, with a few clicks, we can produce a report that shows every piece of content that has been associated with that Gas Standard, with links and document information.”
“A major key to our success is our vendor relationship with Xyleme,” says the Content Strategy Specialist. “Together, we were able to move mountains as we transitioned to a structured content organization.”
Together with Xyleme’s innovative and proactive relationship management team, Xyleme’s highly-engaged customer community – comprised of local and regional organizations as well as global Fortune 500 companies – has been a valuable resource for the team as they explore new ways to leverage the technology and continue to drive improvement.
“Whether it was for content management advice, questions about the system, or building things that did not exist, Xyleme has been with us every step of the way as a partner,” she explains.
“It’s through their guidance and great relationship management that we are able to thrive not only in their software system but within our processes that the system helped to build.”
This customer has chosen to remain anonymous.
Xyleme, Inc., was founded in 2004 as a platform offering multi-output publishing to a variety of industries. Three years later, the organization realigned efforts to focus exclusively on helping organizations better manage their learning content. In 2020, Xyleme broadened focus and rebranded as Xyleme Component Content Management System (CCMS). Xyleme’s platform facilitates the efficient mass-production of proprietary content and makes updating and maintaining content simpler, creating a truly scalable solution for global enterprises. Visit http://www.xyleme.com to learn more.
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