BigLever and MadCap Partner for Documentation Management & Product Line Engineering Solution
July 14, 2014 by John Day
BigLever Software and MadCap Software have partnered to integrate MadCap Flare with BigLever’s Gears PLE solution. The firms said the integration optimizes document sharing and simplifies the complexity of documentation management for organizations that develop and deliver complex product lines. As a result, organizations can streamline technical communications throughout product engineering and business operations to achieve new levels of efficiency.
Organizations that build complex product lines inherently have large sets of documentation that play a vital role in the creation, delivery and maintenance of their product lines, as well as in the use of their products by end users. These companies must effectively manage a broad array of technical specifications and all of the diversity needed to support the different “flavors” of products within a product line family.
End-to-End Document Management
The new bridge integration solution combines the capabilities of MadCap Flare and BigLever Gears to provide a single, unified mechanism for end-to-end document management across each stage of the product engineering lifecycle, and throughout business operations such as portfolio planning and definition, marketing, sales, manufacturing, deployment, service, and finely tailored documentation for end users.
“The BigLever/MadCap partnership is not only beneficial to their mutual customers, but also offers an interesting opportunity for companies needing to automate similar complex interactions and tasks,” said Allan Behrens, Managing Director of Taxal, a technology consulting firm. “This type of product line approach to engineering and documentation should bring significant business value to their customers by enabling them to more effectively automate product variation across a broader set of operational processes and applications.”
Dr. Charles Krueger, BigLever Software CEO, said the Flare/Gears Bridge allows companies to establish well-structured and consolidated document “supersets” that support the full diversity of documents in a product line. These document supersets can be automatically configured based on the specific features of the individual products within the product line.
“The Flare/Gears Bridge addresses a long-underserved strategic challenge of product line organizations. Even organizations that have transitioned to mature PLE practices continue to struggle with the complexity of managing their document variants based on conventional word processing tools. The synergy that arises from the Flare/Gears integration is strikingly greater than the sum of the parts,” said Krueger.
Ensuring that Documentation Keeps Pace With Each New Rollout
“In an era of continuous improvement, shrinking product cycles, and multiple product variations, businesses need to ensure that their documentation keeps pace with each new rollout,” said Anthony Olivier, MadCap Software founder and CEO. “Now organizations have an integrated solution to this challenge with Flare/Gears Bridge, which synchronizes BigLever’s industry-leading Gears PLE Lifecycle Framework with MadCap Flare’s best-in-class technical authoring and publishing software. Using MadCap Flare, BigLever customers can take advantage of topic-based authoring to speed content creation and promote reuse, along with multi-channel publishing to streamline the delivery of content to where customers will use it—whether in print or on their desktops, Web browsers, or mobile devices.”
About the MadCap Flare/BigLever Gears Bridge
With BigLever’s Gears PLE Lifecycle Framework, companies can establish an automated, feature-based production system – much like a manufacturing factory – that uses product feature profiles to assemble and configure engineering assets from across the lifecycle to produce all the products in a product line. MadCap Flare allows technical communicators and content developers to efficiently author and maximize content reuse for delivery in any format including print, online, desktop, mobile, and completely responsive HTML5.
The Flare/Gears Bridge brings the benefits of these two solutions together by extending Flare and enabling it to work seamlessly with the Gears Framework. Built on the PLE Bridge API, the integration solution makes Flare “product line aware,” ensuring consistent PLE capabilities and enabling the execution of PLE operations from within Flare menus.