SDL – Platinum Sponsor Interview | Andy Bromley (Director Structured Content Technologies)

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SDL has been innovating for more than 20 years. A leader in global customer experience – with a completely integrated cloud solution for content management, analytics, language and documentation, SDL solves the complexity of managing a brand’s digital footprint as it grows across multiple languages, cultures, websites, devices and channels. Seventy-nine of the the top 100 global companies work with SDL to help them create authentic, in-context customer experiences that drive demand and loyalty.

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Andy Bromley | Director Structured Content Technologies

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Andy first became interested in the potential for content technologies when as a Law undergraduate (15 years ago) he built a website for Law students to share content and revision tips.

Since then he has had the responsibility for content strategy and technology implementations at a number of leading content and content technology companies including Lexis Nexis, Oracle and now SDL.

Andy Bromley in interview with TCUK

TCUK: Thank you for sponsoring TCUK 2015. Tell us why SDL is sponsoring the Technical Communication UK Conference…

AB: Firstly let me say that it has been a great privilege for us to participate as a sponsor of TCUK over the last few years and we are honoured to have the chance to do so again this year. We always look forward to the chance to catch up with old friends, and of course make new ones at TCUK  events.

One of the most important considerations for us in sponsoring the TCUK conference is that for a couple of days we are able to get out of the office and away from the whirlwind of our everyday responsibilities. To spend time with our fellow professionals dedicated to thinking and learning about technical communication. It is an opportunity for personal and professional growth that every year sends us back to our jobs with more inspiration, passion and knowledge of the subject that we care about.

TCUK provides a fantastic platform for this to happen and we wouldn’t want to miss the chance to participate.

TCUK: Every year TCUK delivers focused presentations on a special topic. This year’s special focus is ‘Breaking the Boundaries in Technical Communication’. Can you give some examples of how SDL products and services help technical communicators to ‘break the boundaries’ in their professional work?

AB: I was especially excited about the topic of this years conference. Technical communication is on the verge of taking on a much higher profile and strategic role within every organisation and I think we – technical communication professionals – need to be on top of these things so that we can guide our organisations through the changes that they will need to make.

SDL has been tracking these trends for a number of years now and our products have been designed to support the dynamics of these changes throughout the documentation production process. We can give technical communicators tools that allow them to get on-board with the XML revolution and also a way to gradually show the rest of their organisations how to take advantage of the amazing work they are doing.

Specifically there are 3 key trends that I see driving the momentum that will break down the existing boundaries in technical communication…

  • Firstly there is a definite preference emerging from consumers for what I would call “educational content” as opposed to “persuasive content”. This means that technical and educational content will become the FIRST priority for every business.
  • Secondly our expectations as consumers for how easily we can access content has been set very high by companies such as Apple and Google. This means that if our organisations do not live up to the standards being set by these brands they will find it challenging to compete with companies that do.
  • Lastly the evolution of structured content standards and technologies, like DITA is making a compelling case for ALL content to be produced and managed in this way and when this happens I think the expertise Technical writers have already will become a highly prized asset within any business.

TCUK: Technology is constantly changing – what are your biggest challenges and opportunities?

AB: The rapid nature of technological progress is only part of the narrative we should engage with in relation to “change”. It’s absolutely fundamental that we also consider how our strategy – and I mean specifically our content strategy – needs to evolve and then how that strategy will interrelate with and impact on changing technology.

Having a strategy makes it a lot easier to figure out how to deal with the challenges and how to take advantage of the opportunities. And that’s what SDL has been doing now for several years.

Our structured content product family has evolved to first and foremost allow the implementation of a content strategy from one end of the content lifecycle to the other and only then to provide whatever the latest trending technological functionality may be.

TCUK: SDL is delivering a presentation at the vendor exhibition – what products, tools and innovations will you showcase at the exhibition?

AB: Many TCUK attendees will be familiar with our products by the “LiveContent” brand name.

About a year ago SDL completed a redesign and tighter integration of the LiveContent suite of products and we have renamed the new integrated version of the suite “SDL Knowledge Center”.

This new iteration of the product suite is more capable and advanced than ever before and will allow you to seamlessly implement a content strategy all the way from authoring through internal SME review and ultimately to put into place dynamic delivery and collaboration with customers.

We will be showcasing this new generation product at TCUK. Some of the areas where we have made great strides forward with our products, tools and innovations.

TCUK: TCUK 2015 is going to Glasgow, Scotland. What are you looking forward to at this year’s conference?

AB: We are looking forward to getting the feedback from TCUK attendees on include:  Content Optimisation and Collaboration; Rich Media; Rich Data; Mobile Delivery; Optimisation of Global content processes; Social content and last but by no means least Content Discovery.

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