In a recent webinar sponsored by Scriptorium Publishing Services, Tristan David Bishop, Senior Principal Business Analyst at Symantec, describes an emerging new role for technical communicators, as knowledge integrators.
According to Bishop, the knowledge integrator “partners with other teams across the organization to gather content that can proactively solve customer issues, reducing the need for incoming support calls.”
For technical communicators, knowledge integration involves these four steps:
Gathering content. Seek key topics missing in the doc, Bishop advises, by reviewing customer comments on published topics, studying web search results, and monitoring Tech Support Forums.
Ensuring accuracy. Through close relationships with Dev, QA, Support, and other SMEs, coordinate rapid cross-checks of the documentation.
Ensuring compliance. Through close relationships with Marketing/Branding, ensure repurposed content is compliant with corporate branding requirements.
Delivering repurposed content. As examples, Bishop suggests posting the repurposed content to the knowledge base for browsing, pushing updates into local installations, and optimizing for mobile viewing.
Bishop goes on to describe the key skills, required for successful knowledge integration: topic-based writing skills, XML publishing skills, and social media skills.
For background on the forces driving knowledge integration as an essential new responsibility for technical communicators, see the informative Scriptorium presentation, about the future of technical communication. There, Bishop provides specific examples of how Symantec is incorporating knowledge integration into its business processes, with some noteworthy results.