The Technical Content Initiative at IBM

Tasked to improve the customer content journey at IBM, the Technical Content Initiative was formed in Jan 2018 and focused on 4 key areas:

1.  Design and Development
2.  Discoverability
3.  Metrics and lifecycle management
4.  Tech content discipline and rewards and recognition

For the past year and 1/2, each of these areas had a focused workstream that was asked to uncover and fix why IBMs NPS scores around the digital support experience are so low. Each work stream set out to define tech content at IBM from the perspective of the workstream.

As a result we have:

  • defined IBM content types and set up a one stop shop for any IBMer creating content to have the info they need to create and publish content. This includes professionals and non professionals. The site includes templates and examples as well as a content journey map that highlights what content types are important to each point in a customers product experience.
  • reduce content bloat at IBM by eliminating 30+ million URLs of content based on limited or zero access
  • Improve discoverability by understanding the importance of SEO when authoring, improving the search experience, capture search relevancy and update search results based on past search experience
  • Stand up a content discipline and end to end content collaboration squads to reduce bloat
  • Define MVC – minimum viable content needed for customers to be successful
  • set up content metrics dashboards and make informed decisions on what is useful content, what our customers really need, etc
  • define content lifecycle stages to reduce bloat
  • best practices and governance (though this takes a long time to put in place)

Meet the Presenters

In 2018, Karen Buchanan moved from a 20+ year as an ID manager  into a Sr. Program Manager role in IBM Enterprise Operations to lead squad 1 for the Technical Content Initiative. Karen came to IBM in 2010 through an acquisition where she managed global teams of technical writers for Watson Customer Engagement. Karen spent the last year and half focused on understanding content types at IBM and researching and mapping the user content journey at IBM across the customer experience. She recently moved into the role of Program Director/Product Owner for IBM Knowledge Center.

Janene Franke is a Technical Program Manager in IBM’s Enterprise Operations organization, driving a content-oriented culture and discipline.  Whether at a start-up or a Fortune 500 company, she has worked in different software, technology, and consulting environments over the past 20 years with common threads of problem-solving, process optimization, and transformation.  Her love of problem-solving started early which led her to a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.  She is an accomplished lacrosse player and is currently fostering the love of the game in her oldest daughter.

Mary Brooks is a Sr. Program Manager for IBM Enterprise Content Strategy with a focus on technical content. After a BS degree in Computer Science and an MA in Technical writing, she began her career in the software content industry in 2005. In 14 short years, she has seen the evolution of content from book binding to web sites to cognitive (AI). Ms. Brooks has spent her career in various roles across product content including: Technical Writer, Content Strategist,  Information Architect, Tools Lead, Manager, Sr. Manager. When not, reimagining content she can be found hiking with her rhodesian ridgeback or cooking a meal her toddler will refuse to eat.

An accomplished Engineer, Steve Atkin recently has been tasked with improving the global user experience of IBM’s products by addressing the needs of IBM’s diverse worldwide client base. As part of the Technical Content Initiative, Steve leads and mentors on the acceleration of cloud-based innovations—with an emphasis on using cognitive technologies to improve the discovery of enterprise wide content and the construction of automated chat bots for self service support. Throughout his career, Steve has had a history of contributions in advancing development and testing methodologies for software globalization, maturing the globalization support of computer programming languages, quantum computing, and readying the deployment of cloud and cognitive solutions for a global market.

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