Outsourcing Documentation and Document Management Requirements Makes Good ‘Cents’ for Nortel Networks
As an industry leading communications network technology company, Nortel Networks delivers networking and communications services and infrastructure for customers in more than 150 countries, including established carriers, new network operators, leading wireless service providers and enterprises.Leading change has always been Nortel’s competitive strength. They have transformed and reinvented themselves countless times, changing from a pioneering telephone manufacturer to one of the world’s largest global providers of highperformance, intelligent, value-added Internet and advanced “carrier grade” data networks.
As with most technology research and design organizations, Nortel relies heavily on detailed technical specifications for its procurement operations and documented corporate standards as part of its International Standards Organization certification. The timely creation, modification and publishing of this technical and corporate documentation is critical to the smooth operation of the company. Additionally, the ease of access to this documentation for both internal employees and external suppliers and partners is of equal importance.
At the end of 1998, Nortel maintained a department of approximately 15 full-time employees dedicated to the development, editing, maintenance, management and distribution of its technical and corporate documentation. It was at this time, in an effort to reduce its operating costs, and support its adaptive business approach by focusing more on its core business and technology competencies, that Nortel made the decision to completely outsource its documentation requirements to a third-party services provider. As a leading Information Management services organization, CDIT was subcontracted to provided the company with full-time, outsourced, documentation services.
Prior to outsourcing it’s documentation requirements, Nortel developed and maintained its documentation using a variety of industry leading documentation tools, including Adobe FrameMaker. As an authorized Adobe Solutions Provider, CDIT was able to leverage its existing expertise with this application to immediately assume the technical development and maintenance duties of the company’s disbanded documentation department – providing uninterrupted services to internal personnel, external suppliers and partners whose day-to-day functions rely on this documentation.
In an effort to reduce its operating costs, and support its adaptive business approach by focusing more on its core business and technical competencies, Nortel made the decision to completely outsource its documentation requirements to a third-party services provider.
With Adobe FrameMaker, CDIT provided Nortel’s engineers and subject matter experts with simple, yet robust, document templates that allow them to develop their content without the extra effort and time spent on document layout and appearance.A main component of CDIT’s documentation services to Nortel was the control and management of the complete document authoring process. CDIT participated in the editing, formatting and publishing of all documentation as PDFs on Nortel’s various intranet and Web portal sites. Additionally, CDIT provided Nortel with full document distribution services for both internal Nortel personnel and external suppliers and partners. In providing this service, CDIT employed a structured “gatekeeper” process that verified document, requester and supplier status, before any documentation was distributed. This ensured that the correct documentation was distributed to only those individuals and organizations authorized, or approved, to access the information.
To provide Nortel with improved customer service, CDIT developed, for its own operations, a custom internal workflow system that automated and tracked the development, editing and publishing process for Nortel’s documents. This provided not only CDIT, but also Nortel, with timely and accurate information on the status of any document in development. The system greatly reduced document iterations and development cycle days, improving overall customer service, while also supporting Nortel’s ISO certification status.
Through the elimination of its dedicated, on-site, documentation department, Nortel realized enormous cost savings. Through the process improvements and increased services and special value-added projects provided by IT, Nortel saved over $500,000 in documentation costs in the first year of outsourcing. Additionally, by outsourcing its documentation requirements, Nortel was able to more effectively transition and adapt its product offerings in the marketplace by focusing on its core business and technology competencies.
As a multi-year, ongoing project, Nortel continued to realize a host of benefits which included:
- Immediate access to expertise of dedicated documentation professionals
- Reporting metrics and demonstrable productivity/efficiency improvements
- Reduced time-to-market and increased profitability
- Timely resolution to documentation issues
- Quality Assurance through proven and documented practices
- ISO certification support