Executive Briefings

Making The Business Case For Structured Content   

Structured content is one of the best-kept enterprise secrets. With long proven value in technical communications, structured content can increase revenue, reduce costs, and mitigate risk--benefits sought by the entire enterprise, working in collaboration with the technical communications team. As companies recognize a broader opportunity--XML-based practices for creating, managing, and publishing structured content--other enterprise domains also see the value in making the process more effective.

Yet for many organizations, enterprise-wide structured content remains an opportunity seen but not seized. To reach the goal, each company must find a way to communicate the value of structured content to the enterprise, including:

1. Building in-house momentum through dialog about the value of structured content throughout the organization,
2. Securing executive buy-in with a business case that includes specific impacts and outcomes
3. Identifying strategies and technologies employed by leading adopters.

To address such issues, JustSystems and The Gilbane Group developed the ROI Blueprint for Structured Content. The blueprint distills the key selling points for structured content, examining the intersection of business levers (revenue, cost, and risk) and enterprise domains (research and development, manufacturing, sales and marketing, service and support, and corporate administration).

The ROI Blueprint is the cornerstone of developing a Strategic Roadmap for Structured Content, a comprehensive, educational initiative that includes forthcoming webinars and commentaries. The goal is to arm technical communicators, information managers, and LOB executives with a complete vision, strategy, and business justification for structured content across the enterprise.


The ROI Blueprint's at-a-glance, matrix format makes it fast and easy to articulate value across a wide range of content applications. Business levers are listed horizontally, enterprise domains, vertically. Each cell calls out a selling point at the intersection of a domain's functional area and a business lever, e.g., reduced costs of contract management for manufacturing, or revenue growth by facilitating translation of marketing materials for regional business.
The ROI Blueprint can help any organization develop a strategic, structured content roadmap. When different lenses are applied to the ROI Blueprint, certain cells are highlighted to create specific views of structured content applications, including:

1. Practice view--established applications with multiple, public instances documenting their deployment
2. Leadership view--emerging applications implemented by early adopters but not as widespread as benchmarking practices
3. Innovation view--innovative applications likely to develop based on trends and evolution of existing practice.

Referencing the ROI Blueprint views, a company can map its structured content applications against current practices, identify applications that can create competitive advantage, and investigate future applications and business innovations. Likewise, the ROI Blueprint can help drive the dialog with stakeholders and spot tipping points that trigger commitments to invest in structured content.

Organizations that want to seize the enterprise structure content opportunity are invited to join the Developing a Strategic Roadmap for Structured Content movement. More information is available at gw.vtrenz.net

Dr. Bruce Sharpe brings over 23 years of technology leadership experience to JustSystems, including founding XMetaL and HoTMetaL content creation solutions. He held senior technical management positions at MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, Advanced Gravis, SoftQuad Software, Corel, and Blast Radius before successfully bringing XMetaL to JustSystems. Learn more about JustSystems at www.justsystems.com and contact Bruce at bruce.sharpe@justsystems.com.

For more information and an online interactive version go to:
http://na.justsystems.com/files/ROI_Blueprint.swf

Structured content is one of the best-kept enterprise secrets. With long proven value in technical communications, structured content can increase revenue, reduce costs, and mitigate risk--benefits sought by the entire enterprise, working in collaboration with the technical communications team. As companies recognize a broader opportunity--XML-based practices for creating, managing, and publishing structured content--other enterprise domains also see the value in making the process more effective.

Yet for many organizations, enterprise-wide structured content remains an opportunity seen but not seized. To reach the goal, each company must find a way to communicate the value of structured content to the enterprise, including:

1. Building in-house momentum through dialog about the value of structured content throughout the organization,
2. Securing executive buy-in with a business case that includes specific impacts and outcomes
3. Identifying strategies and technologies employed by leading adopters.

To address such issues, JustSystems and The Gilbane Group developed the ROI Blueprint for Structured Content. The blueprint distills the key selling points for structured content, examining the intersection of business levers (revenue, cost, and risk) and enterprise domains (research and development, manufacturing, sales and marketing, service and support, and corporate administration).

The ROI Blueprint is the cornerstone of developing a Strategic Roadmap for Structured Content, a comprehensive, educational initiative that includes forthcoming webinars and commentaries. The goal is to arm technical communicators, information managers, and LOB executives with a complete vision, strategy, and business justification for structured content across the enterprise.


The ROI Blueprint's at-a-glance, matrix format makes it fast and easy to articulate value across a wide range of content applications. Business levers are listed horizontally, enterprise domains, vertically. Each cell calls out a selling point at the intersection of a domain's functional area and a business lever, e.g., reduced costs of contract management for manufacturing, or revenue growth by facilitating translation of marketing materials for regional business.
The ROI Blueprint can help any organization develop a strategic, structured content roadmap. When different lenses are applied to the ROI Blueprint, certain cells are highlighted to create specific views of structured content applications, including:

1. Practice view--established applications with multiple, public instances documenting their deployment
2. Leadership view--emerging applications implemented by early adopters but not as widespread as benchmarking practices
3. Innovation view--innovative applications likely to develop based on trends and evolution of existing practice.

Referencing the ROI Blueprint views, a company can map its structured content applications against current practices, identify applications that can create competitive advantage, and investigate future applications and business innovations. Likewise, the ROI Blueprint can help drive the dialog with stakeholders and spot tipping points that trigger commitments to invest in structured content.

Organizations that want to seize the enterprise structure content opportunity are invited to join the Developing a Strategic Roadmap for Structured Content movement. More information is available at gw.vtrenz.net

Dr. Bruce Sharpe brings over 23 years of technology leadership experience to JustSystems, including founding XMetaL and HoTMetaL content creation solutions. He held senior technical management positions at MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, Advanced Gravis, SoftQuad Software, Corel, and Blast Radius before successfully bringing XMetaL to JustSystems. Learn more about JustSystems at www.justsystems.com and contact Bruce at bruce.sharpe@justsystems.com.

For more information and an online interactive version go to:
http://na.justsystems.com/files/ROI_Blueprint.swf