DCL Learning Series

Digital Transformation Survey: Results, Analysis, and Projections

Kathy Madison

Hi, good morning or good evening. Welcome to today's webinar. I'm Kathy Madison with CIDM and ComTech. I'll be your moderator today. Before I turn it over to our panel from CIDM/ComTech, and DCL and RWS, I just have a couple of announcements that I want to make. I think most of you know who we are; Dawn will do a little bit of an intro as well. But I just wanted to let you know we do have some conferences coming up. We have our Best Practices conference, which is, as we like to say, the premier conference for information development managers in the industry. We have decided to move this to an online event where we'll have lots of Zoom breakout sessions, Lots of one-on-one sessions to learn from your peers. The theme of this year's conference is all about "A Seat at the Table," using the analogy of trying to get you a better chance to get to your executives' table, making it more inviting for your team members to join your table, but also trying to get your users involved at your table and also getting to see and being more productive with your product teams. So we'll have lots of great, like I said, interactive sessions on that. Registration is still open and you can go to the bp.InfoManagementCenter.com for that.


We also have our European version of our big ConVEx conference. That's the larger conference where we do have our vendors like RWS there, and DCL sometimes go. I don't believe they're able to attend this year. And that's where we have topics on both DITA and non-DITA and lots of different tracks. And like I said, the exhibitors will be there showing off their tools. The call for speakers is still open for that until the end of this month. And of course if your talk is accepted, your registration fee is waived. And we are excited to go back to the same place we went to in Rotterdam a couple of years ago. And if you are involved in the DITA OT, the folks there have agreed to do their event the day before our event, and that will be on the 13th of November. So that's a little bit about our conferences coming up.


ComTech: we do have some workshops coming up toward the end of September; several of them are going on simultaneously. Obviously we have different instructors teaching those: we've got Minimalism, which is one of Dawn's fortes, and has been teaching that for quite some time. That class is on, and we have Editing Essentials, a relatively new class that will be taught by Dana Aubin, and then Developing Content Strategy. Dawn will teach that one as well. And then our Breanna Stevens will be doing the DITA publishing workshop.


So those are the workshops, and then we do have some, lots of webinars coming on; there were too many for me to add to the list here, but we encourage you to go to the CIDM website and click on "Upcoming Webinars." And more importantly, you can find out about these things in advance if you subscribe to our mailing list, and then you'll just get emails about them and can link at that, or join us at that time. You could also use LinkedIn – follow us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter. So that's enough announcements from me. I am gonna turn it over to our panelists, but before I do, let me do some logistics: we are recording this session. And if you have questions for the panelists, please use the question dialog box. If you want to make general comments, feel free to use the chat. We'll monitor both and we'll take those questions at the end. We should have plenty of time to field those questions. So with that, let me turn the screen over to Dawn.


Dawn Stevens

Okay, let me get that set up...


Kathy Madison

There we go.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, but that's way back. Let's see. That's – I gave you a big preview. Okay, so hello, everybody, as you know, we are here to talk about the results of our digital transformation survey that we did earlier this year. It was actually done quite a bit earlier, took us a while to get this webinar set up, but we have all the data to talk about, and Chip and Mark and I are going to share at least the way we're interpreting the data, but certainly we welcome your chat and questions and so forth if you have any specific questions about how we interpreted data.


So just as a quick introduction, I am Dawn Stevens; if you have not met me before, I'm the President of ComTech, the Director of CIDM, and we've been doing all sorts of these types of surveys, a lot with, actually, with Mark and DCL. We're happy to have RWS involved in this particular survey with us this time. And I'll let each of them introduce themselves before we continue. Mark, you want to go ahead and say hi?


Mark Gross

Hi, I'm Mark Gross; I'm President of Data Conversion Laboratory. And as Dawn said, we've been working on these surveys for 10 or 12 years. And welcome, Chip, to the party, and RWS. I think it's great. And we do conversion of documents, as our name implies, and work with all kinds of document analytics and converting documents to DITA and to other formats. And I think this has been a great survey this year and, looking forward to discussing it. 


Dawn Stevens

All right. Chip?


Chip Gettinger

Thank you, Dawn and and Mark, it's – good morning, good afternoon, everybody, and I really appreciate being here today, and thanks to ComTech and DCL for really driving this. So, I'm Chip Gettinger; I work with our customers who are adopting our content solutions at RWS. I really enjoy working with partners on solutions and customers' technical and business requirements and also really enjoy seeing the insights from this survey and appreciate the time that it took to put these slides together by this team. And so I look forward, Dawn, to our further conversations.


Dawn Stevens

All right. Well, great. I enjoy, have already – we've already talked through these data together and I've enjoyed talking to you all, and so hopefully we'll have some good insights here. So, to start with, everybody always wants to know who was involved, and so I do have just this first slide to kind of put this in perspective of who contributed, where were they coming from, and so on. And so yes, even though we are all worldwide companies and we certainly promoted the survey to all of our different customers and so on, we still see, you know, the vast majority of respondents did come from the US, but you also see that we have representation, really, from all over the world: from Asia and Europe and even Africa, you see in there. So we, I think we didn't get any South American but otherwise, you know, we've got representation from all the continents, but certainly the vast majority is coming from the United States. So keep that in mind as we look at the data.


And then in terms of industries, largely, they're all – it's all over the place. People were, you know, are representing all sorts of industries, you can see them here on the slides; the majority, or the biggest part – not the majority, by any means, but the biggest representation came out of people who classified themselves in the manufacturing area. However, really, you see we got a good spread of different industries. In fact, so nice of a spread from the different industries that, one of the things we wanted to, we were doing when we analyzed the data was to be able to say was there any particular industry that is further along in their digital transformation, or who have, you know, particular trends that might be something that everybody else could anticipate, and really because of how well diverse everybody was, we couldn't really say, oh, yeah, this industry is doing much better than another industry. So, you know, if you have any questions about that, we can certainly try to answer some of those, but largely we can't really draw a lot of conclusions from that, but I think it's, in a way, very good because we got good representation to really see what's happening across the entire technical communication spectrum and not limited to a specific industry.


So with that, and understanding where the context comes from, the first thing that we really want to touch on here is this is the digital transformation survey, and digital transformation is indeed a buzzword, really, you know, in not just the technical communication industry, but really just kind of across companies as a whole. People are talking about Oh, we need to worry about digital transformation. And so as a buzzword, I think that means that a lot of people have different definitions of what exactly that term means, and so we've got here just a few little clips of what some of the definitions were that we had people write in. 


And you can see it really goes all over the place. We've got some very specific definitions. I think maybe some people might have gone to the web and because I think we had some word for word definitions of exactly what did it mean. But, so, we had those types of things of just migrating people to some kind of modern presentation of content using digital technologies to better our lives, that type of thing, but I really liked a few of these things specifically, like the little purple ones: the easier life. Like, oh, digital transformation is gonna be make life easier for us. We're gonna move away from paper. It's innovative. So we had a lot of those types of discussions in there of just making it easier for the author. So we had that side of things, and then we also had the flip side of it being easier for the users as well: finding better ways to deliver content to the users, what they need, when they need it, and and making sure that they get a consistent experience and a consistent message and so on. So both sides of it, really, we saw that representation in that definition.


Mark Gross

I would say, you know, I thought it was interesting that it spanned between the very philosophical kind of things like easier life and some much more technical versions, but I would say that digital transformation's been going on for the last 30, 40, 50 years, and it almost, a definition changes every time you – time moves along, right? And it, today it means reuse of content and multi-use and all those kind of things. Twenty years ago, digital transformation meant just being able, people using the internet and getting stuff out there. So an idea, say, in a couple of years, it'll be much more focused on artificial intelligence and things like that. So I think it's a term, it's a buzzword but it changes in time in terms of where we are in our, you know, where we are in the way life is.


Chip Gettinger

And what I see, Mark and Dawn, with the organizations I work with, the digital transformation is very focused on customer experience, and I love the quote here about modernizing content. And we all have suffered the downsides of bad, poor content on the internet and digital deliveries applications. And so I feel it's also a business transformation as well as digital, and we also look at more innovative ways of delivering content out, you know, we've all been working with chatbots and others that, we have voice-activated systems. So digital transformation even means more to me now of how do we precisely provide the content our customers, employees are looking for or don't even know that they should know and things like that.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah. Absolutely. I appreciate both of what you're saying, the modernization and the digital technologies, absolutely. As technology continues to evolve, we should, this should be a constant thing, and I think we'll see some of that in some of the survey things: where are you? Is it a one-and-done type of thing? Probably not, right? Because there's always something more modern and something new coming along. So, yeah. So anyway, you know, again, setting that expectation of it should be easier on everybody, whether you're writing it or whether you're using it, right, that we're hoping that digital transformation will make things easier.


So we asked, then, okay, with that definition, let's talk about what is happening here. And digital transformation, as I said, spans a lot of the industries, not just within our technical communication that we might focus on primarily in our own companies, but every different organization within a company oftentimes has some kind of an initiative. So we asked what's happening in your company, in your organization, in terms of digital transformation? And so it was really interesting to me to see that, you know, the largest group here says Yes, we do indeed have a corporate-wide initiative that someone from up high is saying digital transformation is important and everyone within the company should be looking at what they can do to transform their part of the business. So seeing that everybody has a corporate-wide, I was glad to see that's still seen as a corporate initiative. We see, you know, again, this a smaller percentage, but still that, well, it's, we're doing it, but everybody's kind of doing it on their own, right? So at least they're working on it, right? And I think it was good to see that of everybody who is responding, you know, there's only a few percentage that doesn't, that says well, we don't have a strategy at all right now.


Chip Gettinger

What I found interesting, Dawn – it's great, I agree – it's half of, almost half the organizations have corporate-wide initiatives. Another trend I'm seeing is when companies merge, and acquisitions. And more frequently, now, I'm seeing that their transformation strategies are converging as well instead of keeping the separate business units. And again, it's back to that customer experience that expect that consistency. We may have individual products, but the customer sees an overall solution. So it's great to see organizations seeing that.


Mark Gross

Right. I think part of, when companies merge, part of what they're looking for in terms of the benefit is that they can hook on to whoever has the better initiatives already in place. So that's, so I think that's a big piece of what happens and I suspect even the ones where people are saying each business has its own initiatives there, they still may be, I think that corporate-wide vision might be a larger number because even when people are thinking in terms of their own initiatives, it's probably under a broader umbrella in many cases. So I think it's a big trend in that direction, just from what I've been seeing.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, absolutely, and I would agree that what you alluded to earlier of just each business unit having its own initiative that it might be learning from which one has the best in a merge situation. You know, I think it's the same thing, is that oftentimes maybe it starts as each business unit exploring what can we do from a digital transformation? And then as different organizations are learning and publicizing that out to the rest of the company, then it starts to merge together into a comprehensive initiative for the whole corporation.


Mark Gross

Right. But over 90% have initiatives, which is a lot more than when we looked at it before Covid.


Dawn Stevens

Right, exactly. People are working on it for sure. So, then, I want you to remember this 47% number because one of the things that actually worked remarkably well in terms of consistency within data – and I'm always looking at the consistency in data – is we asked who's involved in the transformation. And so you see the same number: 47, 47, 47 in some of these other different types of groups that we had asked about, so they kind of match. Yeah, if it's a corporate-wide initiative, yeah, everybody's involved. We see a higher number in tech pubs because of course our survey really went majority to people who are in some kind of communication area. So we would expect that to be a little bit high, that they, maybe there isn't a corporate initiative but they have their own. Training: a little low, lower. I think that might just be reflective of all organizations don't have training departments, right? So otherwise, I would expect to maybe see that 47%, but it was really consistent of you know, if we have a corporate-wide initiative we're saying yep, everybody is indeed involved. It is truly a good corporate-wide initiative.


Chip Gettinger

And what I love too, Dawn, that we talked last time, was about the governance that goes into supporting this, and kudos to organizations that, and innovators on this, on our webinar, that think about governance across these systems, because obviously there's silos in organizations, but how do we get that consistency? And digital transformation help provide the infrastructure, still let marketing do some things perhaps very differently than others, but there's consistency that customers pick up on that really do benefit the value.


Dawn Stevens

Absolutely. So we also then asked okay, you're doing it, right, we see that most of them have a transformation, so basically we're asking why. What's driving this overall transformation, especially, again, more from that publication side of things. And so we see here, I think not necessarily surprising information that, you know, the majority here is that while we want to have multiple outputs, we maybe still are delivering in print, which we'll see in a later thing, or delivering in HTML, we're delivering in-product help and so forth. And so part of that digital transformation is to help support that. We saw in the definition that there's a lot of expectation for automation. And so that kind of ties into the delivery time that there's an expectation of hey, we're going to get faster if we have some digital transformation, that we are able to incorporate some automation, and then there's just the reality of well, it's time to make a change and we might as well, you know, change to tools that are going to help us with digital transformation because we have some aging systems and we know we're gonna, we need to just keep up with the times. And then a couple of smaller things, the translation costs, again, kind of related to, even, delivery time, that expectation that maybe by having some of these new technologies we'll be able to take advantage of reuse and things like that that will drive our translation costs down some, and then what you were talking about earlier, Chip, of just, you know, when companies are merging together, is that, okay, we need to all figure out how to work together better and that is being, that's driving that the transformation. So Mark, I know you had mentioned that you thought –


Mark Gross

Yeah, there were a few things that surprised me, but then I realized that it's really, it's the audience – it's, first of all, I would have thought translation cost would have been a bigger factor, but I realized, you know, while we think of us, everybody, as being international companies, not that many companies really translate and produce materials and in lots of languages. I think that's why it's not really a big issue yet, especially since we said most of our audience was US-based and US itself is such a big market that people sort of think it's English-centric, at least today. I think that's gonna change over time because the world is shifting very quickly.


We talked about digital transformation, earlier, changes over time. I mean, I think things are moving around, certainly, in economies and stuff. So some global things going on over here, but I think two big things are multiple outputs and delivery time and they're related. I mean, delivery time, I mean, in every area we're talking about, products developed so much more quickly that, you know, you just can't say well, it'll be 11 months before we deliver documentation. It's like, I gotta have it this week, what a product can shift, right? So, I think delivery time has been a big impetus in all this, and multiple output is just part of that because the way you deliver it is you deliver it on people's phones, and you deliver it on tablets, and yes, you send out PDF documents and occasionally, there's some print as we'll see a little later, but that's really been, I think, the impetus. And aging systems, I mean more and more systems are timing out. It's not just that our system is old, but maintenance shuts down next year. We got to do something. So there's, all those things, there's a sub-story, I think, to each one of those.


Chip Gettinger

I like the dinosaur picture.


Dawn Stevens

I think we talked in our pre-call that we could have just put our three pictures there instead. [Laughter] All right, so what's driving it? Well, how important is it, then? And so we asked just that question. Is it the number-one priority or how, you know, how important would you would you say – and this is, again, really reflective of the fact that, you know, most people are working on it, is that it's either the number one or at least so important, it's not maybe not the number one, but it is very, very important. So we see between everybody who answered, you know, more than three quarters of the people said it's absolutely an important priority and a third of them are saying it is the number one priority. So this is a critical thing for people; they're trying to figure it out. We're trying to work on it and make this a reality. And we did have some interesting comments of that, that people said well, it does depend a little bit on the business unit in which you live as well, that many of the tech comm-oriented people did say It's really important to us, but maybe not as much to some of the rest of the organization.


Mark Gross

Right. Or, a variation on that is, well, sales is number one, but this is really pretty close after it. I mean, it depends on your orientation. I mean –


Dawn Stevens

Exactly. 


Mark Gross

...the goal of the business is number one, but this is the most important support area. So I think that the two together really tell the story. It's important across the board.


Chip Gettinger

Yeah, and a common thread I like is driving aligning with business goals in your organization. So one group, you know, customer support, may be able to drive it and then it could be adopted, but aligning with business goals really do help get executive buy-in on these initiatives.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, absolutely. All right, so we know how important it is. We know what's driving it. So then we said okay, so now where are you? And this is, you know, probably the most revealing when we really take a look at this of just, everybody's kind of figuring it out. Right? And we gave some choices here of implementing and planning and refining and completed. You see only a very brave few, seven percent, said yeah, we're done. Right? Everybody else is somewhere in that implementing or planning or refining or, you know, a lot of comments about all of them, right, that we're in some, we're implementing some pieces. We're planning some pieces. We're finding some pieces. We're going back and forth between all of them. And so really we see pretty much the, everybody who said yeah, it's important to us and we're doing something is really still in the process of doing something. Planning it, implementing it, refining it. You know, I think that it's key here that we see only three and a half percent have said we haven't started. Right?


Mark Gross

I think it's remarkable that seven percent, seven and a half percent, said they're completed because, obviously, I think we're never done. So I think even here it depends on where people are in the – and it cycles; you're done and then new technology comes along and new concepts come along, so it's – but it's, very few are not involved. I mean this is, again, I think, a big change from the way we were before Covid, before the stone ages.


Chip Gettinger

And as a vendor in CCMS, I think this reflects the amount of business we're seeing as far as RFPs, RFIs, people looking for implementing and planning. We're also seeing a number of second-generation projects for people who are remodeling their content. They're really, you know, they have originally moved to DITA or something years ago, and now they're taking advantage of things like taxonomies; Dawn, we've talked about that. So it's exciting to see, you know, what roughly two-thirds recorders are implementing and planning and refining. So this is really exciting.


Dawn Stevens

Absolutely. I think, Mark, you had pointed out too that part of the Am I implementing? Am I planning? It kind of depends on where's the – what do we mean by "you"? The person answering the question, or the whole company? Because in larger companies, potentially, they're implementing in one area and planning in another area.


Mark Gross

Right, right. And I think also, I think Chip's point is very good. I mean, it's like you've implemented but now content reuse is pretty important. Let's do content reuse. Let's do a taxonomy. Let's handle a new tech – you know, tag it better so that you can use artificial intelligence. You're constantly –


Chip Gettinger

Yeah. 


Mark Gross

...upgrade, upgrading your content and what you're working with, and to Chip's point, I mean, second – we're places where we're like on the third and fourth division over the last 20 years. So things are constantly changing, and content is a, in many organizations, content is a major asset that constantly needs to be improved. So some, like, products may only have two- or three-year lifetime but others can have a 20-, 30-, or 40-year lifetime. The B-52 bomber is on its, had its 60th birthday five years ago. So it's not the same, right? Everything has changed on it, but it has a very long lifetime.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah. Good point.


Mark Gross

It depends on what you're working with.


Dawn Stevens

Excellent point. All right, so now, this next question, or slide, really covers a couple of questions in a way. It's the answers to one specific question of committed transformation resources. Now, we also asked in the survey, and we don't have a separate slide about it, of What what have you done to prepare? So there was that kind of "I've prepared" or "I've committed." And there is a bit of a distinction here, is that I'm showing you the "committed" one. So these are the ones what people have actually said Yep, we have committed time, budget, staff, etc. to these various, you know, how many percentage of it have committed these things. The preparation question, which kind of paralleled this, had the Which have you done to prepare?


Well, they might have selected, for example, this – the contract – you might selected outside consultants. In fact 52% said We've selected them but only 37% have said We've actually committed to them yet. Right, so there's still maybe some funding things that have to happen or those types of things, but they nevertheless basically paralleled. This "committed" piece, just maybe the preparation was a little bit higher of Yeah, we've already figured out what the tool is. We haven't committed yet. We we know what our budget needs to be. We haven't committed yet, etc. So this is what we thought we would show then is that in terms of actual, then, We're implementing, we are getting going, what kinds of resources have been committed. And here I want to really talk a little bit about, you know, might be really good from Chip's perspective of, you know, tools and technologies always is foremost on people's minds.


So 74% have said We have committed some tools and technology. We've selected those tools. We've got, we're maybe starting the implementation process of those or maybe they're already implemented and doing refinement in it, but there's that focus on tools. And that's often the case, you know, I think in any kind of transformation, is that the focus goes to tools and then we'll figure out what staff is needed and how much time we need and how much training we need. So from my side, not a tool vendor, I'm like, I would love to see some of these other numbers a little bit higher on there.


Chip Gettinger

Yeah. Yeah, I mean, Dawn, I think the trend I'm seeing is, with tools and technology, people or organizations come with budgets already in mind, and kudos to you and your organization, you're helping organizations understand the investments, the budget they need to have versus 10 years ago where it was a lot of guesswork. I too am concerned a little bit about the lower point of education. I think technology and tools need education to be successful in deployment.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I would say if I look at something like, you know, the other side of it, of What we've been doing to prepare, we didn't even ask about education. So I don't know if they're, you know, maybe it's – so that was maybe a flaw in the survey: who's gonna say well, are you already pre-educating, you know, in the preparation time, but still, yeah, it is that big gap there, 40% gap here of, between education and tools in terms of what they've committed, you know, a lot of still, maybe, things to come. We need to commit some more time to learn, more time to implement, more time, more staff to do things, you know, is really what we've seen: a gap here, like the tool by itself isn't gonna cut it by itself, you know.


Mark Gross

Right. It's in people's consciousness that, Oh, I got to get the tool, but I think this one was very important. I mean education is a key thing and we'll say that the implementation, the technical issues are resolvable but the change management and getting people in place to be able to work with that and not fear it is really what the big problem is. So I don't think enough education is being done. I'll just say prescriptively we should be doing more education, but that's not what's showing up and actually the way people think about it. So I think that's just someplace where we need to do some evangelization.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah. Yeah, and I think you used a a key, a key word there is change management and, you know, one of the things that is part of the CIDM's process maturity evaluation is change management of, like, How well do you plan for a managed change? And I think a lot of that is represented here of, part of change management is, you know, preparing your staff and getting the budget and setting aside time and, you know, all these things that we see as a little bit lower percentage, and so really that change management process to really have success in any kind of strategy, but certainly digital transformation, you know, maybe people need to be looking more at some of their change management, possibly.


All right. So we also, then we asked Okay, you've committed these things but yet, even if you're not yet fully in the throes of digital transformation, we know from experience, from the documentation side, technical communication sides, that there are certainly transformation strategies that can be done, even if there isn't yet in place all of the staff or the even the tool or things like that. There are still things that you can be doing with your content to be preparing for chatbots or, you know, voice assistance or any of the things that you were mentioning earlier, Chip. And so we asked some questions about Are you doing these things right now? Are they part of your transformation? Or even those of you who aren't doing transformation, are you doing these? And I thought this was really an encouraging set of data here to see that there's a lot of focus.


The majority of people, slight majorities in some cases, are really looking at How are we on our content strategy side of things? Are we – how are we doing our information modeling? What do we currently have? Do we need it? Should it be re-factored in any way? Are we being redundant? How moving to structured content towards that ability for reuse. And then even the taxonomy management is really high. There's really a focus of looking at How can, how do people find information? How are we categorizing that information? What can we do to make things more accessible? So all of those numbers, you know, really encouraging to, I think, as part of the transformation strategies, the bottom side, the one that really, I guess, would surprise me and concern me when we talk about change management and just this whole idea of new change, we go back to that definition of digital transformation.


And so many people put into their definition of digital transformation that we're going to improve the customer experience, right, that we're going to make sure that the customers get what they need when they need it and so forth, and yet we see this much smaller percentage of people saying Oh, yeah, we're talking to our users. We're conducting user studies. We're looking at what do they really want from a digital transformation? So we understand how we want to deliver it, what content needs to be delivered and in what format, and all those types of things. Really, the way you get that information is talking to your users. So I found this number a little disappointing. 


Chip Gettinger

I'm amazed, Dawn, too, because you look at the 60% for taxonomy management, it's really exciting because that can help you align across multiple organizations and in a company. But isn't user studies, user usability a big part of how you build out and use your taxonomy? So yeah, it's interesting. We'll see how that evolves over the next few years.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah. It's a, you know, kind of an age-old question that I encounter all the time, like when I teach minimalism or something like that, which is also a big emphasis on users, and so we talk about, you know, what are you doing talking to your users? How do you, how do you get feedback and it's this, like I said, I find it an age-old question of many times the technical documentation group says, well, we're not allowed to talk to users, you know, so that might be reflected here, is that we don't have that access, that either there's a, maybe there's a user group of some kind, some kind of a user interface group or user study group or something that's separate from them that does the studies, and maybe they're getting that data. Maybe the salespeople are talking to them, but they don't let you, you know, we don't want you to mess up our relationship.


I mean, I've heard these stories, that's why I'm telling you, you know, that, well, we don't want them to mess up the relationship we have with our customers, you know, so they own the relationship: the sales team or marketing team owns the relationship, that type of thing. So there's definitely a, which goes back to the conference that Kathy was talking about, the seat-at-the-table type of thing of, how do we get our users at our table, right, is a question that really has become more and more important, and I think this might reflect just the fact that we're not allowed to yet or, you know, that type of thing.


Mark Gross

Right. Yeah, you're not allowed to or it's really, or you don't really have, you don't have the access to the users that other people have. So, we just said the sales people, it doesn't mean that there's no feedback coming, but on the other hand – so, there might be more feedback coming than we're saying here. On the other hand, if, there's also the tendency to think of yourself as the expert: Why do I need to ask those questions? What do they know? But you're right. I think it goes along with some of the other things we said, it needs some evangelization on "we gotta get more feedback from from the users." But most of these are, you know, almost like technical kind of analysis kind of things. Right? Those are the ones that have the really high numbers and that may be where people are thinking. 


Dawn Stevens

Absolutely.


Mark Gross

Especially if you're a technologist.


Dawn Stevens

Okay. So now we have the first of two kind of eye charts that I want to take a little bit of time to really explain what you're seeing here. But we had we asked a lot of data in there in our surveys and believe me, we played a lot of different ways to present this information. So what I want you to take a look at, this is, we asked what format is your content in? And then we asked questions about well, what percentage of your content is in each of these formats? So before we worry about the different colors, I just want you to look at the relative curve of this and where things are. They're ordered in in terms of most people saying that they had content at some amount in these particular things. So what we see here at the top end is that pretty much everybody – this this actually represents a vertical bar, but that's 85% of everybody responded to the customer, to the surveys said We have at least some content in the Microsoft Office Suite. So that is still the number one thing of yeah, we have content there in Word, really, or Excel or PowerPoint or something like that.


And then it goes down from there with the fewest number of people saying We have some some content in S1000D. Right? So of all these different things you can see a variety of different products that we asked about, so you get that idea. It's good that we see HTML is pretty high compared to Office and even DITA is pretty high there. So those first, you know, four or five here are, you know, really the indicative of what are most people using and then we start to get down into smaller numbers; by the time we hit markdown that's about 50% people saying that they had some content markdown.


So just look at that trend to just see. Yeah, you know, the most popular products just in general. Now, the color bars in these are saying Well, how much of our content is in there? So it's still a little surprising to me, maybe concerning to me, but that blue box, which is 100% of our content, is in this particular format. You can see that size of that box in Office. Now remember that doesn't, that's not exclusive to everything else, so it could be in Office and it could be in HTML, that 100% of our content we duplicated in multiple formats. So do keep that in mind as well, but 100% of content still in Office, like why are we maintaining that, kind of surprises me, but again, lots of different industries and a lot of different types of content that were covered here, so it probably does make sense for some. But we see that the biggest blue bar or blue percentage there is HTML, so that kind of reflects our digital transformation side of things; we're getting things onto to websites, right? And they're not just being printed or things like that. We're putting it into HTML so people can access it that way.


The biggest green bar in Creative Suite, that means, you know, less than 25% of our content is in there. That makes sense. What's in Creative Suite, that's the, you know, that's your Photoshop or that type of thing potentially. So you've got a lot of that where a portion of our content, you know, our images and so forth would be being developed there, but certainly not all of the content. I was surprised by video, that video is number four here in terms of just overall popularity, that a lot of people have it, certainly it has that high green bar of like yeah, no, most of our content is not here, but we do have some content in video. And Mark knows, certainly from our previous surveys year over year, there's always been this We think we're going to, we know we need to do more video. We're going to do more video. And so this is potentially reflective of people are actually, are doing that now, getting some of the content into video.


Mark Gross

I think this is a lot more than we've had in the past. I think the question is a little bit different, but this is significant, I think.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah. Absolutley. And then DITA is also an interesting one in terms of just kind of its proportions. If you noticed, since we all are very interested in the DITA side of things, is that you know, if you're in DITA, you're pretty much committed to it, right, that more than half of the people who said they're in DITA have more than half their content in it, right? So they, it is something that, if that's the choice you've made where we're doing a lot of DITA content there. And even if you looked at DITA, you know, structured authoring, if you think about that of like, well we have DITA and we have XML that's not DITA, we have FrameMaker that's structured, and we have S1000D, and we have DocBook in there, and we have SCHEMA in there. All right, so there's a lot of just XML-based things that, whether it's DITA or some other XML, a structured content. We see a lot of representation for structured content. Any any other comments from you guys on that?


Mark Gross

I'm just amazed that SGML and S1000D are both still very significant in what we were looking at. SGML because there's still so much of it out there. I think that's a legacy from what I was saying before. 


Chip Gettinger

Right.


Mark Gross

Especially in, I guess, in the defense world and stuff, that's still out there. That was, that precedes other stuff, and then S1000D is such a large, has become such a large proportion. And it makes sense because we're doing several large projects now in S1000D, where five years ago it was very rare for people to actually be doing lots of stuff. So I'm a little surprised at that, and Office is overwhelming, which is not a surprise. But it's, you know, it's the hundred percent number is sort of, I don't, I mean that people are using Office for something. I'm not surprised at that though. It really is such an overwhelming presence.


Chip Gettinger

I think this represents the challenges many of us have in digital adoption, you know, in digital strategies, because you have so many sources of content, you know, and anyways, it's worthy of a deeper conversation. If you've got, if you have to support multiple formats for your customer experience, how do you get that consistency? So it does, it has some challenges.


Dawn Stevens

Absolutely. Which is really why we asked the question, is just to understand what -


Chip Gettinger

Yeah.


Dawn Stevens

...from that digital transformation where we are at, and just for everybody's reference that in those end ones, SGML, S1000D, those represent about 34% of respondents said they had some content at some level in those things. So it is a pretty good percent.


Mark Gross

It's significant.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, exactly. All right, so we asked, this was the tools of, basically your authoring tool. Where do you really working in? And then we also asked about storage, right? Which is, you know, how are we managing that content with the expectation of, you know, I would expect going into it that we would have some kind of central repository where all this information is being stored and so on. What we see is sort of that, right? We have 47% roughly, either in a content – a component content management system, or a content management system, one or the other, but that there is some kind of central place for our contents being stored in a management system. And then we have, you know, the file systems at a smaller percentage of use.


Fortunately I was really happy with just the two percent where they said We're storing our files on our personal computer, right? We're beyond, we're beyond that but that we do have you know, most people are saying, you know, we've got a lot of content we need a way to manage it. So we're gonna have a formal content management or component content management system in use. But what I will say is that we asked the question "primary," right, so that we could divide this out by a hundred and show kind of the piece of the pie. So we insisted on telling, you telling us what the primary way was, and what we ended up with was an awful lot of write-ins saying it was hard to choose a primary, that we manage our content in a variety of different ways. So even though I want to, I want to interpret this data as saying Oh, look, everybody's got centralized sets of content, we had an awful lot of write-ins saying well, yeah, we have a component content management system, but not everything's in there. We still have some files.


Chip Gettinger

And Dawn, this was reflected in RWS's business. We're seeing a lot of system integration across systems now required so it's not unusual for us to have to integrate with the DAM or integrate with GIT or other systems. It's very common today. In fact, we've come up with a connector framework to be able to handle that. So it's interesting.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, you know, I've had, definitely, the clients who have said, you know, our content's all over the place. Can you help us just get it collected into a single place and, you know, as part of the overall setting the stage, you know, for a digital transformation as well, we need to know what all our assets are that need to be transformed and we don't, because they're all over the place, right? So – 


Chip Gettinger

Yeah.


Dawn Stevens

You know, I think it's certainly another one of those things just like you were talking about on the previous slide of, here's all our source formats, which may indeed actually impact where you're storing your content, of course, right? Markdown might oftentimes be in GIT or you know, it's that type of thing, DITA might be in a CCMS, etc., that it just was going hand-in-hand of here's our challenge from a digital transformation perspective.


Mark Gross

Right. But I think it's encouraging that many people are in the CCMS already.


Chip Gettinger

It is. It is.


Mark Gross

It's a much higher number than I would have predicted before this survey.


Dawn Stevens

All right, so both of these last few slides had to do with tools, so then we had to ask the inevitable question, which was, all right, are you planning on changing? Here are the tools you said you were using. Do you plan to change them? And you can see a majority here, a slight majority. So there is a third of the people saying Nope, we got our tools, we're good, right, but we have more than 50% saying, yep, we intend to change them. We didn't ask when, we didn't ask what kind, you know, all of those. We just were, like, curious to say Are you planning on changing your authoring tool or your content storage management? And actually this was in the next year. The question was actually "Do you plan to change tools in the next year?" And so people are actively trying to find the the right tools like we were talking about, you know, earlier with just the committed resources to tools and things like that, was that "this is where we start," right?


Mark Gross

The question was "Do you plan to change in the next year?" changes from being just aspirational; it means there is some actual continual flow of things going on.


Dawn Stevens

So, a lot of, a lot of potential work for you, Mark, to help convert that content.


Mark Gross

Change is a good thing in many ways. Things do change and the technology has changed and – but it does take, it does take time. The next year, it's usually not in the next year. It could take several years. These are getting, the systems getting more and more complex and need more planning and more analysis and more consulting, Dawn.


Dawn Stevens

Right. All right, so that is all about our authoring. So then our second big eye candy chart here is about, well, how are you delivering it? So we know now we've got all these different formats that you are writing in. How are you delivering it? Again with those same kinds of percentages. So we're looking at this number close to the other one. This is 78%. So 78% of everybody who responded said yes, we are still printing something, some amount of our content. We are delivering in print. And then it goes down from here. Voice-enabled is – let me check that number – thirty- surprisingly 36%. So down here are still a pretty high percentage of some of the newer things, the voice-enabled and the VR and AR types of things are still representative of more than a third of the people. So, yeah, we got something in it.


And in fact even here, like voice enabled, that's a small green amount. They've got at least 25 to 50 or even, it looks like the majority of them are saying 50 to 75% of our content is delivered as voice-enabled in some manner. So that's, of those 30, you know, 50% of those 30%, you know, or 36%. But anyway, the other thing I wanted to just to point out that I thought was really surprising again is this video line, right? So print is the number one, video was said – 76% of the people said we are delivering in video in some manner. This blue line is seven percent. Seven percent of the respondents said all of our content is represented in video, you know, as well as potentially other other formats, but they, you know, anything that people need is, they can get in video, which I thought was quite surprising. It was higher than things like in-product help in a web portal.


Chip Gettinger

Yeah. Yeah, what's exciting to me, Dawn, is you think about video; earlier we talked about aligning with business initiatives in your company for digital strategy, and you think mobile apps and web portals and videos, or similar kind of deliveries, and we think about the principles of single-sourcing content. Perhaps we're seeing now we can, we can deliver out to multiple channels. So it's great for me to see mobile apps to be so high because that to me is a big business driver in a lot of organizations. And digital strategy, we know, can help make it succeed or fail. But yeah, it's great to see the videos too. That's kind of a nice surprise.


Dawn Stevens

We see the rise of chatbots there of, you know, it's about fifth from the end there, but chatbots, 46% of the people said they've got some content in chatbots.


Mark Gross

I wonder if the high number for voice-enabled has to do with the movement towards accessibility, to deliver content in that way. And it's an automated, you know, it's part of that multi-, ability to deliver multiple formats and voice-enabled will often mean that your text is being, is being converted to something voice-enabled, that that technology is being used over there. So I wonder if that's, that might be a big driver over there. Not sure what it means that QR code is such a – I guess it means that they'll make it available if you show a QR code, but it's really a – that really mixes in with other areas, right?


Dawn Stevens

All right, when you deliver on a QR code, what are you doing? Are you just calling up a PDF?


Mark Gross

You could be delivering video, you could be delivering print, you could be delivering in-product help, all those things.


Chip Gettinger

I saw a cool QR application for customer bars. It was, and it brought up the installation guy for that particular product when you run it because there were several components and they were able to have a QR code in each of the different pieces, and it was and it worked with an iPad. It was really kinda cool. 


Dawn Stevens

We did look at this because I did say you could answer more than one of these, you know, as a hundred percent because maybe your content is in multiple formats. You're doing multi-channel publishing and everything. And so we did look at that and we did see that about a quarter of the people who were answering 100% in things answered 100% in at least three formats. So, you know, so they're delivered, so that multi-channel publishing is actually an important aspect of the digital transformation and so on is that yeah, we're building all of our content that users need in a variety of formats to give them what they need in the format that they like, right, and that they'll use. So. Thought that was interesting.


All right, let's get off of this one and look at another busy thing but a little bit more easy to understand. So this represents a couple of questions as well. We had asked, we have several questions about What do you know about your users? So what are users asking for, and that's going to be represented here in the blue, the blue people column. This is what people said: our customers are asking for this type of deliverable. And then the green, the little spaceship here represents the future. So we said what, which of these do you plan to support in the next year? So what I'm doing here is we're comparing your user requests versus what we are planning on providing, you know, so are we really in line with what our users are expecting? And this is interesting to me and I think it takes a lot of interpretation.


So largely in the first column, at least up until the community line, we see a pretty close match. Our customers are asking for it. Well, we're giving it to them. Right, you know, one percent difference here or three percent difference there. Largely not, you know, with the number of people in the survey and everything else, margin of error. I think you know that those all are pretty well represented. Well represented that Yep, we're doing what our customers are asking. Excellent. Then it's interesting, on the right hand side and to a certain extent the community on the bottom here, where we've got a much lower percentage of people saying Our customers are asking for this compared to But we are still giving it to them.


Yeah. Okay, only 26% of the people have said we need ebooks, and 50% of the people said we're going to provide them. And so we see that kind of big disconnect here, you know, even down in some of the newer technologies, the voice-enabled, right, that 34% is what we saw earlier, that yeah, that's that many people are trying to do voice but only 14% of the people said that customers are asking for it. Now, does that mean we're doing too much work? Right? Are we doing more than our customers are asking or is this a "If you build it, they will come" kind of situation or what? Yeah. Go ahead, Mark. I know you have some thoughts.


Mark Gross

Voice may be an exception because like I said, if it's driven by accessibility, it may be that you're producing it for much a smaller percentage of the population, but you have to do it as a public service or it's a legal service, but I think that is more effective like in ebooks, like, people are producing ebooks or maybe people don't really care about much about that. Maybe it's these other formats like mobile apps and web is really what they're looking for; they're saying ebook is a convenient way to put it out there. We think people will want it. Social media, also. I mean there's a big industry push to let's get everything out on social media, but many people aren't that involved in social media as the hype would suggest, so I think there, I think we may be doing too much work. Chatbots, it means, it'll tell you, chatbots are just not that good today.


Chip Gettinger

Yeah.


Mark Gross

So, you know, I would love a good chatbot but I don't believe they are. So you'll produce it but I'm not really looking. I haven't found that useful, but if they do become useful and AI gets better and you have more of your content on it, that'd be great. At midnight and I'm trying to get information, a chatbots would be terrific.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a really good point on the chatbot part is that, you know, they initially they were not all that great. And so that potentially explains that yeah, customers are asking for them because they've had some previous experience, whether it was with your chatbot or somebody else's, but they have this thing of like, yeah, chatbots aren't really what I want. And so it takes, this persistence is actually quite a good number to see that still we're working on it because eventually, as you say, as AI improves, as we just improve, you do that, then that reputation will flip, right, and people will want to to have it. And so the fact that we're one influencing that decision in the first place, but then to prep for it when that thing does flip, right, that okay, now all of our customers are asking for it and we weren't working on it, right? So there's there's definitely, you know, a balance that we have to find between well, our customers aren't asking for it yet, right, and if we wait till they do ask for it, is it going to take us two or three years before we're able to do it, or have we already been working on it in the process so we're ready for it to go?


Chip Gettinger

I think the best chatbot app I've seen so far is a customer of ours had really invested in it, really quality taxonomy and then minimalization and all the things, Dawn, that you and your organization have taught for years. The cool thing was they built middleware that also was able to track what their customers were doing, you know, the cookies and so forth. So that married in with the chatbot and then finally it allowed the user to kind of ask a couple quick questions before the chatbot provided an answer, and these are all things that could happen in seconds. And Mark, it, yeah, really reduced that frustration level.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah. So I would, I guess I would, from this thing I would say probably these numbers are, at first I look at them and go Oh, we're doing more work than we need to and yet on the other side, like I said, I think we need to be prepped for it and so forth. So it's probably good to see these numbers of people who are working on things that are maybe not yet in demand because they'll, that's going to be influencing the future, I think. So, all right. So now we have just a couple of slides left that we dug into very specific areas, the first being the web portal. We've heard so many different approaches to delivering, delivering information on the web that well, we've got proprietary information. We want to not, we need to protect it in some way versus the philosophy of oh, it should, it's part of the sales process; it needs to be available.


And so we were kind of curious to see okay, those of you who are publishing to the web, how are you doing it? Is it open to the public? Is it behind a firewall? And then the second question is Is it basically customizable as a dynamic? Is it responsive to user configurations, that type of thing? Or is it just this static site that people can go to? And this was, I don't know, it explains the fact that I've just heard so many people say I'm doing it this way or I'm doing it that way, because look at how even this is between the four main options of: it's open to the public and it's static. It's open to the public; it's dynamic. It's behind a firewall, you know, static and dynamic. Those numbers are so close to each other. Just yeah, we're all doing different things, right?


Chip Gettinger

I'm amazed how many people still hide things behind the firewall. We, you know, many companies see the portals have sales opportunities for people to do research, and we've all heard that in other webinars, that people like to research technical information if it's well written and well organized and, you know, it can be, it can be a source of great information for people looking to buy products.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, I, you know, but I think, I actually wish we had some of this data earlier as well because I, my instinct and my experience with the, with my customers and everything is telling me that this number is decreasing, Chip, the one behind the firewall.


Chip Gettinger

Cool. Thanks, Dawn.


Dawn Stevens

It was good to see, like, there's actually more in the open-to-public if we add the two of them together, 45 versus 41. Slight more to the open as opposed to behind a firewall, and I would have just said, you know, five years ago, that would have been certainly flipped. I think we're seeing a trend toward that the recognition, as you said, that content is a differentiating factor in a choice of product.


Mark Gross

Right, although with this, the question was about primary, right, the primary information. So, I mean, the theme through the comments were well, some of it is behind a firewall and some isn't, which I think will probably remain the case, but I think you're right; what I've been seeing is more and more information is being open and people are seeing it as a sales opportunity. So I think the trend is there but there will always be some things people are leaving behind a firewall, I think, for various reasons. It's really because there's proprietary information out there that you don't release.


Dawn Stevens

And so then the last thing that we'll talk about, and then we're going to be open to various questions, so if you're, if you've got some questions you might start typing them in, is this last one, we asked the question Are you moving to the cloud? And a lot of people questioned us why we questioned, why we asked that question. In fact, we had people who said isn't this question akin to "Are you using computers?" But we did ask the question because I'd heard, certainly from some of my clients of like well, we're worried about security. And in fact that's indeed the comments that we ended up with and that's that small percentage of "no," you know, said it's not secure enough or, you know, we're worried about those types of things. So generally speaking, though, we see yeah, everybody's planning on moving to the cloud, but there is still some concern about things like security in there.


Chip Gettinger

I'm amazed, and this has been probably the biggest growth area for RWS in the last five years, is our cloud operations and our commitment to security. I am amazed now, Dawn, customers a few years ago I never thought would go cloud are going cloud in regulated industries, but there's ISO certifications, there's other aspects, and security, I think, as an organ- as an industry cloud, has gotten much better. You look at Azure and AWS and that security levels are getting to the point where IT folks are requiring, it not recommending it, because on-premise systems, you know, it's hard for them to have that level of security that, you know, a larger, their hosting, their cloud organizations can support. But then there are also the people that are involved within cloud operations. So there's all the certifications and all those things have really dramatically improved to me to the point where that the conclusion I see is typically cloud deployments go quicker than on-premise. Anywhere from, I'd say 20, 30 percent faster in cloud because as a vendor we can control a lot more than on when we have to involve IT and so forth.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, that's a good point.


Mark Gross

It's been my observation also that companies that a few years ago would not even consider cloud are now, that is the way they're going. Pre-covid/now, so I think that's changed a lot of it also, but I think to Chip's point, the quality has gotten much better and people have gotten more comfortable with it, that the cloud can be secure. Although I think the international situations had a counter effect of people always worried all the articles you see about – but I think overall, I think people are recognizing that you can be in, a cloud can be a very secure environment. Probably more secure than on-premise in most cases.


Chip Gettinger

Often, Mark, we have to have the data in the country or the region, you know, so if you're in the UK, you have to have the cloud in the UK or, you know, or same for Europe. It's – and anyway that's interesting in itself when you have users around the world.


Mark Gross

Yeah, we've had that; we have now a few customers where the content has to be on a cloud server in in the country. 


Chip Gettinger

Right.


Mark Gross

It just sort of changes dynamics a little bit. But yeah, that's been a trend we've been seeing.


Dawn Stevens

I think another thing that I wanted to just point out or comment on is that I know that there are many people, not necessarily people in this survey, although potentially some of them, when we look at the definitions, that kind of equate digital transformation with cloud, right, and that kind even gets to the comment of, like, isn't this the same as asking "Are you using a computer?" But remember way back at the beginning of our talk we talked about how many people said they were done with their digital transformation. They said it was like seven percent. Some said they were done with their transformation, and here we've got 22% saying we're fully executed with our cloud, right? So clear thing if it's not the same thing, right he knows cloud is not the only part of digital transformation. So that was a you know, good data point to just point out. It's not entirely equivalent. Like, you've gone to the cloud. That doesn't mean you fully transformed your content.


Mark Gross

Right.


Dawn Stevens

Okay, so I've got a couple of summary slides, just to kind of talk a little bit about what we saw, and then we'll be taking questions. So our conclusions from all of this is, yeah, digital transformation is a concern and it is a focus. It's a high priority within the majority of the companies that we surveyed, and pretty much you're not alone. Pretty much everybody is in this process. So I'm trying to plan and I'm trying to implement it; very few have finished. And so, you know, you're going through the same struggles as many of your peers and so, you know, we certainly have a lot of room to learn from each other and, you know, encourage that from the person who sponsors conferences, share what you've done, people love to learn from you and that type of thing.


And then there's not a textbook approach, right, people are all over the place. They're doing different things. They're using different tools. They're delivering in different ways. There's not a, this "you know when you've arrived" kind of a thing that everybody will go yeah, if you've done these five things or whatever, that you have fully done it, there's not really a common approach but, you know, they're varying widely and it needs to be what it needs to be for your organization and your users, you know, to, if we go back to that definition of it's, if it's helping you write your content better and it's helping your users consume that content better. There's still a lot of flexibility within that definition to really choose different approaches and different tools and different delivery mechanisms based on, you know, what is unique to your particular organization. So those are my general conclusions. Anything else you guys want to add about just a summary?


Mark Gross

No, I think that says it all; you've gone into a lot of detail. But ultimately, people are doing, there are different requirements, a lot of people have different ways of moving at different speeds. So it depends, right, but there's certainly, I think we're seeing a movement towards, people are recognizing the importance of digital transformation, whatever it means today, and I'm seeing a lot progress in what we've seen in prior surveys that we did.


Chip Gettinger

Yeah, and honestly, Dawn, I want to say kudos to the folks that did reply and the progress that's being made, and some of those indicators that we saw, you pointed out cloud and some other aspects, delivery channels. It's all the investments that I think many organizations have made over the last 10 years. I think what's different now is we're seeing the acceleration. You know, what used to happen in two or three years we're now seeing happening sometimes in 6 to 9 months. So we're seeing a lot more compression. And hopefully organizations that took advantage of early digital strategies are able to make that, those leaps and changes very quickly now in kind of Agile approaches versus, you know, a couple years in Waterfall.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah. And I think I speak for you guys as well that we're ready to help you if you're in your transformation and you need any help, whether that's with tools or conversion or just, you know, some writing or consulting types of help. We're all here. We're ready to help. You can reach out to any of us on these email addresses, on LinkedIn or anything like that. And with that, then, we're ready to take a look at the questions. I know a few have been coming in, Kathy. You're gonna, or Trish, I don't know which one of you is gonna read questions to us.


Kathy Madison

I think I'll take them over for now. One simple question was How many people participated in the survey? And you guys may not know but it's 144, a little lower than in previous years. I think people are a little surveyed out, but it still was a good representative audience that we heard from. So that was one question. Another was regards to the CCMS question that we asked, how people are storing. This person said they were surprised that only 26% are using a CCMS and he feels that that's a critical piece to managing your content. So what do you think is preventing the other 74% from moving to a CCMS?


Dawn Stevens

It's interesting because, Chip, didn't you say oh, that's a great number? 


Chip Gettinger

Well, it's funny. Yeah, it's all in the perception. I think, you know, I look at trends, and I've been at RWS/SDL now 14 years and Astoria before that. The biggest trend I've seen in the last five years is adoption by groups outside of tech pubs. Outside and in CCMS and structurd authoring. So we're seeing a lot of regulated organizations: insurance companies, auditing companies. So what does that mean? I think what we're seeing is that perhaps we're not getting the broader kind of industries that we may be having that are adopting CCMS. The second thing is, I think, Dawn, your group, your team works, deals with organizations that are working in unstructured content and the change management aspects. I'd love for you to reflect what's happened in change management over the last several years. 


Dawn Stevens

I mean, you know, we definitely still have quite the influx of people who are still looking to move to structured authoring. So I do think that that number is going to continue to increase, that that component content part of of it versus the content management system, you know, is that the component part isn't important until you really are in structured authoring and you care about the individual components as much to be able to manage to the individual pieces. So I think there's still that reflection of Am I in structured authoring? But we saw that, you know, in one of the earlier slides is that people are starting, definitely have structured authoring in their strategies, that they're at least working on it. So I think we'll see that number continue to grow there.


I think some of the challenges that people have that we hear are, in particular with the documentation team, that just largely the one that will worry about structured authoring more than anything, you know than any of the other teams is just that. There's something already in place. There's a content management system in place. There's something that they're basically being told Use what we've got. Why should we invest another, you know, a few thousand, a hundred thousand dollars or whatever into a CCMS when we've already got some storage solution? And so that ends up, I think, part of the reason that we see the number may be being lower is that people at least try for a while to make their current system work, right, whether that is files or folders or GIT or whatever, and they just have to be better about their, maybe their management of their files, you know, the manual aspect of it, so that they don't move things, you know, content management system is going to keep your links intact, even if you move your content around, you know, those types of things, but they they just don't move them as much, they're more restricted in some of those types of things and try to make it work. 


Oftentimes we see that we help people who have then gone Well, yeah, that, we did that for a while and now it doesn't work and we need to go to a component content management system. So, you know, to answer the question of, like, what's holding it up, I would say there's definitely that; I see that aspect of We'll try to make it work without one. And I know some organizations that have worked, you know, with just a file system or maybe even GIT for a long, long, long time before they ever went You know what? We've just got hundreds of thousands of content assets and we really do need a system that will do things more automated for us.


Mark Gross

Right. I think it's a number to watch because I think it's also, it's an endpoint. It's like if you got, people are in other phases of not having it in place yet are people who have been, are those people in a survey who said they're working on it. So I think that number will increase over time. I'm seeing more and more, at least in this space, more and more of the conversion work we do is going into DITA, into S1000D, in areas like that that require, that will require a CCMS. So I think it's, that's a number just to keep watching. I mean it's higher than it was a few years ago.


Chip Gettinger

Good point, Mark.


Mark Gross

It will be higher as we go along, as those implementations take place next year and the year after. That number will go up. 


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, and I definitely agree with that. We are often contacted by people who know that they want to go to some kind of a system. They want to, you know, get some consulting advice. And honestly the number of those projects that we have had has really actually exponentially increased in the last two years over previous years. So there are just a lot more people looking at how moving to some kind of a component content management system, what should their requirements be, what, you know, the specifics of moving to DITA as well and everything else. But still, that whole thing of  "Help us choose a tool," those types of projects have dramatically increased for us over the last few years. All right. Well, next question?


Kathy Madison

Okay. The next one was, I think we already answered it, but it was early on when you were talking about Is your digital transformation ever done? And the person, I think, was typing the question as Mark was saying no, it's never done. Maybe, Chip and Dawn, you can comment on that as well. Maybe you already have; I mean we've talked about it a little bit.


Chip Gettinger

I would say – that's a great question – I would say a big part of our, another big part of our business growth, are new groups who are adding on to an existing CCMS so they could bring in another business unit. And we have a customer in Missouri that does this, and they have a new delivery portal, and everyone, all their apps want to get on the delivery portal. As a requirement, they must get their content into DITA, bring it into the CCMS. And so the interesting part I see about that is that their digital adoption is gonna be predicated by being able to be supported by the CCMS.


Dawn Stevens

Yeah, and I guess I would say when it comes to content, there is no "I'm done" –


Chip Gettinger

Right.


Dawn Stevens

...situation. Right? There's always, there's always innovation, there's always ways to improve, there's always, your users are changing. You know, I teach minimalism and I talk about the fact that, you know, minimalism is not a one-step thing either because your users are changing, and so we used to have people who, you know, when I first started my career, my, every single book I wrote, every single software documentation book that I wrote had a chapter on how to use your mouse, right, you know, because it was new, right?


So here's what we mean by a single click and a double click and a right click and oh, now we've introduced a roller ball mouse; how do you use your rollerball? You know, all of those things were part of the software documentation because the user community didn't know how to use a mouse at first, right? But if you put that into your documentation today, people would laugh at you, right? You know, they'd kind of go This documentation isn't even for me because obviously you're writing to somebody who knows nothing and I know more than that. And so that decision of at some point it evolved to take that kind of content out, right? That was because our users changed.


So even with digital transformation, same kind of principles. If digital transformation is giving the users the information they need at the time they need, in the format they need, you know, all those types of things, well, those needs are going to change; they constantly do. And the expectations constantly changes as certain companies innovate, and then everybody goes Oh, I wish you were more like this, or something like that. And so I don't see that the digital transformation process will ever end. It's something that you should continually be reevaluating: are we, you know, not necessarily a client at digital transformation, but it still goes back to: are we giving our users what they need, in the form they need, when they need it? 


Chip Gettinger

Yeah. And Dawn, you finished my thought, thank you. And I forgot I was going to say that what happens, each new group you bring in, you learn more about Oh, boy, we never thought about that! And sometimes you can reflect that into the larger group, or it might be unique for a business unit. So, you know, in this kind of phased adoption, you can learn about new things and constantly evolve to support it.


Dawn Stevens

Yep, absolutely. Mark, did you want to add anything more, or you thought you already – ? 


Mark Gross

No, I think the answer is we've never changed. I mean we're never quite done, because all these things we've talked about, you're adding new business units, you're changing with your content, and technology is changing, and we don't know where, what will be available a year from now, in two years from now, in five years from now, especially in the world of artificial intelligence, and that kind of automation. We don't know where, how quickly that's going to move. And some things will move very quickly, some things will never be there. So it's got to be a constant. We're constantly going to be reevaluating, I think.


Dawn Stevens

I do want to point out that in the chat, Marianne gave a link to where all the full graphic results of every survey question are if you're really interested in percentages and some of those things that they've all, DCL's published that out on their website so you can see those numbers, and that's in the chat for everybody.


Kathy Madison

Yeah, and also someone asked a question about the overall numbers for those eyesore graphs, or slides that we had. It just would have been too complicated to put that scale in. So they are also in the chat, those those actual numbers for what we're currently delivering our content, how we're currently delivering our content, and what the source is. So that's it for the questions, and often when I say that, three or four more questions come in, but I don't know that that's going to happen today. I want to thank the panelists. This has been great fun, and I appreciate you taking time. 


Mark Gross

Thank you.


Kathy Madison

Any last thoughts?


Chip Gettinger

Thank you. I always enjoy hearing around surveys, and thanks for the time. It is really nice graphics too, to the team for creating these visuals. Thank you.


Kathy Madison

All right, everybody. If you have questions, we will send out the email addresses for everybody when we send out the link for the recordings and you'll have those, but we'll see you on the next webinar. Thanks, everybody. 


Chip Gettinger

Bye-bye. Thanks, Dawn. Bye, Mark.