An investor and inventor walk into a bar. One says to the other “let’s team up and build a business.” the other says “Sure!”
Not a joke. But the origins of Briggs & Stratton, a Fortune 1000 manufacturer of gas engines. It specializes in a variety of power and outdoor equipment – snowblowers, generators, as well as small engines for leading lawnmower brands.
In the olden days, creatives at Briggs & Stratton would write manuals for their products with XML data, and later convert them into a PDF format to print. Then the company decided to release manuals online in an interactive format, in order for customers to simply browse on their laptops and mobile.
The simple switch to digital may sound smooth and easy, but it’s tricky to pull off – like the old magicians’ trick of swiping the cloth off the table complete with cutlery. Briggs & Stratton clocked up multiple complex customizations over their many years of service to work around limitations to their CMS.
“When we looked at the amount of effort that it would take to publish our existing DITA content to web, we decided to take a step back and rethink our goals,” said John Piechowski, Director, Dealer Support at Briggs & Stratton. “We realized that we needed to migrate… that would position us for the future.”
And there was really only one solution on the horizon. “With XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager, we can author, manage, and publish DITA content for multiple technical publications all within one solution,” added John.
And AEM not only allows better and faster delivery of digital content. It streamlines content translations and quickens the process of reusing content across channels.
The digital transition
Built up over decades, Briggs & Stratton bundled their 90,000 pieces of content from their CCMS and transferred everything into XML Documentation for AEM. This has freed up a lot of locked up content flexibility that was not available when their content was confined to its customized platform. As one example, a cover page was required for all content under the old system. Now it’s flexible enough to cater to the requirements of any type of content that Briggs & Stratton want.
All it takes is a few clicks and content is worked into a PDF format or is published online. And beyond that, the content is responsive so that whether a customer is looking on their laptop, tablet, or mobile, the digital manuals automatically fit smoothly, whatever the screen size.
“It was so easy to turn our DITA content into web content with XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager,” added John. “We used built-in templates with only minor modifications to add branding and compliance statements. It took much less time and effort to set up compared to our old system.”
Their old system – entwined and tangled with customizations – had many challenges, including an easy way to tag content, filter it, and reuse it. And of course, this meant long stretches of time doing monotonous tasks like rewriting content, resizing images, etc.
But now, thanks to Adobe Experience Manager, Briggs & Stratton can now use presets so that content be can filtered and easy to find – no matter who is looking for the content. Think of things like multiple sizes of the company logo to fit across multiple platforms, key company customer support numbers that need to be displayed across platforms and devices.
“Between the time savings for writers and decreased need for translations, we’re reducing translation costs by up to 25% with XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager,” added John.
The reuse of content in AEM also means that if there is ever a need to change a phone number, or a company logo, then once it is changed in one location it automatically changes in all locations, making updates much easier and much faster.
“The reuse report in XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager gives us a much better way to measure, understand, and encourage reuse,” added John. “We saw content reuse increase by 15% in the first six months after migrating to the Adobe solution.
“We have a single solution that allows us to handle every aspect of developing, reviewing, translating, and publishing manuals across platforms for our customers… We’ve regained the power and flexibility that we need to meet any new content challenges we might face in the future.”