Jörg Plöger – SCHEMA Consulting GmbH, Sales Manager (Northern Europe)
TCUK: Thank you for returning to sponsor us at TCUK16. Tell us about what motivated you to join us again?
JP: The industrial sector (secondary sector) generates 57% of the United Kingdom’s exports (approx. 11.5% of which go to Germany). The IT and software sector also plays a vital role in that regard. With globalisation and the rise of the Internet of Things, technical communication is playing an increasingly important role in industry. Buzz words such as Mobile Documentation, Big Data, Omni Channel, Content Marketing and Knowledge Management are increasingly influencing the everyday work of the Technical Communicator.
We are proud to be a sponsor of the TCUK event again this year, as this environment offers potential for the use of standardised and cost-effective solutions for content management.
In our opinion, TCUK attendees represent a cross-section of people with a variety of knowledge and experience – from novices to experts. They are open-minded, practical, goal-oriented and are seeking the best and most effective way to achieve those goals.
TCUK provides an efficient platform for exchanging information and obtaining information on trends, technologies and standards. The direct interaction with experts and colleagues from all sectors and different countries also offers added value.
TCUK: This year the TCUK event special focus is ‘From Novice to Expert – Writing Your Career Path as a Technical Communicator’. Are there any relevant trends in technical communication that apply to both novice and experienced communicators?
JP: I began as a novice in 1986, when I took over the management of a service company for technical communication with 20 employees. There were no PCs and we only had a limited amount of information and knowledge in the field of “technical documentation”. Many things could only be self-taught. Texts were typed using typewriters and mounted on a light table.
In the late 1980s, we purchased our first PC in the form of the 486 with a DOS operating system. It was on this PC that we gained our first experiences of Word, Ventura and a simple CAD program. We progressed to working with FrameMaker, Interleaf and Intergraph on a Unix workstation.
In the mid-1990s, we then used one of the first Translation Memory systems, Trados, for translation and we created SGML Data Modules for the S1000D standard. We also developed customer-specific semantic XML DTDs.
Since 2004, I have been working at SCHEMA, the German manufacturer of the Component Content Management System ST4 – a leading standard solution for creating, managing, publishing and distributing multilingual product information.
The backdrop to the various stages of my career was the search for simpler solutions for the complex and rapidly growing demands for product information. Reducing this complexity is still the challenge we face today. The responses from over 400 of our customers worldwide highlight the trends that mark our overall approach:
- Content modularisation and enrichment with metadata
- Content reuse (variables, metadata, terminology, sentences, images, fragments, topics, structures…)
- Variant management with automatic configuration of deliverables
- Multi-language support
- Simple production for multi-media publishing
- User-friendly and flexible out-of-the-box solutions
TCUK: As an experienced sponsor, what words of advice do you have to encourage technical communicators to attend this year’s conference?
JP: I believe that TCUK has once again succeeded in creating a programme with a colourful array of informative workshops and presentations. What’s more, leading service providers and systems providers will once again be attending in order to exhibit their products. That makes it a good opportunity to bring together information and knowledge regarding customers’ requirements and framework conditions and learn collectively. The potential applications and types of process support available are also equally diverse. In short: TCUK is offering precisely the right mix that will enable technical communicators to view, take in and immerse themselves in the very latest developments.
TCUK: The TCUK conference moves to a new location each year. This year, TCUK is hosted in Bedfordshire, England. What are you looking forward to most at this year’s conference?
JP: The industrial sector in the United Kingdom offers a well-trained workforce, a high domestic demand and forms an integral part of the European domestic market. It is supported by a solid scientific base, as well as a highly developed capital market. These are the strengths that it calls upon in order to improve the prospects of the future generations in industrial centres such as Manchester, Coventry and Birmingham and to ensure that the UK economy can compete on an international level once more. It is now a case of identifying innovative, highly technical niches, which can draw from the rich pool of talent that is available in British centres of learning. Bedfordshire is conveniently situated between London and Birmingham, the East Midlands and the West Midlands. We are looking forward to meeting local Technical Communicators, seeing their challenges, answering their questions and exchanging information.
See you in Bedfordshire!
SCHEMA Group was founded in 1995 in Nürnberg and today has around 100 employees. SCHEMA ST4 is an XML-based editing and content management system, offering extensive features for all aspects of the creation, management, translation, quality management, publication and distribution of product information of any kind. SCHEMA ST4’s scalability makes it suitable for small editing teams as well as for company-wide solutions for information logistics. SCHEMA ST4 can be used as a standard product or a customer-specific solution. With the SCHEMA Content Delivery Server, information can be distributed intelligently to all common platforms, independently of SCHEMA ST4.