Implement a Four-Step Content Conversion Strategy and Save More Than Money
How to Significantly Cut Your Conversion Costs and Successfully Transform Your Content
Greg Fagan, Sales Director, Data Conversion Laboratory
Believe it or not, when you open the door to content conversion, you open your organization to opportunities to save more than just money. From repurposing legacy content into new outputs that can be accessed anywhere in the world on any device to improving the overall quality of your content, we recommend following a four-step process to the conversion that includes analyzing, optimizing, automating, and reviewing your content.
If you are tasked with implementing a content conversion strategy to open up new revenue channels with organizational content, you’ll likely face two tempting options. One, going with a low-cost vendor to reduce the initial spend. Two, handing over all materials to a conversion vendor and staying out of the subsequent conversation, strategy, growing pains, and discoveries. Instead, consider another, clearer choice—partner with a conversion expert that not only provides additional value throughout the project engagement, but brings most costs upfront to reduce rework later.
WHAT FORMATS AND REUSE OPPORTUNITIES EXIST?
Government agencies, aerospace firms, publishers, and high-tech companies, and others uncover opportunities for cost reduction, productivity, entry to new markets, and new revenue channels when they analyze current sets of content and repurpose them. We are content conversion experts and can take content in any format, including scanned images of paper documents or older versions of extensible markup language (XML), and turn that content into optimized digital outputs that can hold up to emerging technologies. Add rich metadata to the conversion effort and your content also becomes easier to find, use, and share.
The opportunities are unlimited and our services include numerous ways to make the most of them:
- Document Digitization
- XML and HTML Conversion
- eBook Production
- Hosted Solutions
- Big Data Automation
- Conversion Management
- Editorial Services
A FOUR-STEP APPROACH THAT LEADS TO CONVERSION SUCCESS
Tackling a content conversion initiative requires thoughtful planning, detailed analysis, and a great deal of work. Over years of successful efforts with a wide range of organizations, we have found that a four-step approach gets organizations to the goal.
Step 1: Analyze – There Are No Shortcuts!
The first step to a successful conversion is to analyze the content you already have and determine a plan for converting/improving it. We can help you identify your end goals – recognizing that they are different for every customer. Do you simply need to make raw data available on the web to meet regulatory requirements, or do you want to repurpose legacy procedure documents as robust training modules that can be accessed on mobile devices?
Different goals require different tactics, and we don’t think you should go it alone. We’ll help you determine the best formats and outputs for achieving your goals along with the best resources to get the job done. Chances are that you’ll have some of the required expertise on your team, and we can supply the rest. We can also determine what technologies you already have and can make use of, and our customized automation tools can simplify the conversion process even further.
The right vendor can truly partner with you to produce the best possible conversion outcomes, from the initial analysis to quality assurance (QA). A thorough analysis considers not only content type but poses questions about who the users are, how they will interact with the content, and which platforms and devices they will access it from.
Step 2: Optimize – Eliminate Risk from Garbage In, Garbage Out
The often-mentioned phrase, “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” certainly applies to content conversion projects. If you just push all of your content forward without analyzing or optimizing, you’ll miss opportunities to reach new markets and improve customer experiences with your content. Clean up your content before you convert it! How do you achieve that goal? One key consideration: think about eliminating redundancies (repeat offenders just take up essential space) and reusing consistent language to drive home brand messaging. Fixing the content upfront not only saves you money later on, but free up your resources’ time. It also reduces the set of content that will actually need to be converted. Optimizing your content is critical to cost reduction, so whether you do it yourself or outsource it to a vendor, do not skip this step.
We can streamline the process with our proprietary Harmonizer™ solution. It’s our robust, cost-effective tool for analyzing and cleaning up content and can reduce the size of your content set, eliminate redundancies, and find errors BEFORE conversion. This tool helps determine reuse potential, which gives you an idea early on how much return on investment (ROI) you’ll gain in your conversion. It also provides insights on how you can combine currently disparate documents into meaningful documentation sets. And it identifies and cleans up typographical errors to make future content updates nearly painless.
Step 3: Automate – Reduce Manual Errors
No matter the size or complexity or number of content collections, if more than one person has a hand in creating and maintaining it, you have introduced the potential for human error. When you automate content conversion processes, you greatly reduce the number of people who have to touch the content, thereby greatly reducing the number of manual errors that are introduced.
Automated processes should be designed to be repeatable and scalable to match the size of project scopes. Choosing a vendor who can help with additional layers is key. Rather than throwing additional headcount at tasks like rekeying information, your conversion partner should work with you to develop smart, automated solutions that realize a level of significant savings on a large-scale conversion. Manual processes mean labor-intensive processes that result in too many errors, but a repeatable process that scales up easily sets the stage for conversion success, and for additional refinements and configuration.
An effective automated process requires little to no manual intervention, scales up easily, and handles all the different content types identified during the analysis phase. The more automated the process, the more cost-effective it will be.
Step 4: QA Review – Quality Guaranteed Even in Large Quantities
Even with a well planned and executed conversion, a thorough quality check is essential for validating the success of the conversion. Much of this quality check can be automated, which saves time and reduces headaches related to manually checking each item. Of course, some manual spot checks are typically required, usually related to specific issues such as checking that zeros are converted and looking like numbers instead of the letter ‘o.’
A good vendor builds quality assurance into the process, whether performing on-site QA or remotely, before the converted content ever reaches your doorstep. QA throughout the conversion catches any errors early on, reducing expensive and time-consuming rework later on.
Absent this step, you would have to handle the QA internally, and that involves substantial staff and management time, particularly since the converted content would not have going through front-end analysis or optimization. Working with a reliable vendor gives you the added of access to the production tracking, so you can stay on top of the current status and due dates for upcoming milestones.
End-to-End Service = Conversion Success
Our deep experience, sophisticated infrastructure, and ferocious commitment to quality are what set us apart from other vendors that provide some piece of conversion. When you work with DCL, you get end-to-end services and support rather than just sending your valuable content assets offshore. The steps identified in green below illustrate our additional services, which are essential to any successful conversion project.
All of these services lead to well-structured, error-free deliverables. Clean-up and rework, which can lead to cost overruns of nearly 100%, are eliminated. All things considered, DCL’s holistic approach to conversion SAVES you money, time, and headaches.