Making the Business Case for DITA

Content management
Content structure
Content reuse
Single source
Metadata markup
Conditional processing
Task-oriented and Minimalism

To make the business case for DITA, you must align its many powerful features with specific needs in your business or organization.

DITA has many features based on decades of research in methods for technical documentation - like modularity, structured writing, information typing, minimalism, inheritance, specialization, simplified XML, single-source, topic-based, ready-made metadata, conditional processing, component publishing, task-orientation, content reuse, multi-channel, and translation-friendly. See History of DITA.

Few organizations are likely to use all the features of DITA, but you should go through our checklist to determine which features could provide a significant return on investment in your particular business case. Use those features with positive returns in building your arguments for DITA.

ROI Calculations

First, you need your investment and total cost of ownership (TCO). Your investment is likely to be much greater than the direct costs for DITA technology - the basic software licenses and the hardware infrastructure needed in IT to support the component content publishing system.

Your TCO must include the expense to retrain writers to write topics using new editing tools. Change management costs will result from personnel turnover - expect that some senior writers are likely to resign rather than change their writing style (if possible, try to determine who they might be before putting them through expensive training). You will have new costs for specialists who can analyze and organize your content for structured delivery.

If you have quantitative estimates of your content (pages x words/page), the fraction of content that can be reused, and the number of localization languages, you might run a simple calculation of your cost savings.


Your D.Q. (DITA Quotient)


DITA News has developed a ten-question DITA Quotient to help organizations get a quantitative measure of the importance of DITA for their current content.

 And Comtech Services offers a white paper on Making the Business Case. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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