MadCap Software, the leader in multi-channel content authoring and a showcase company for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft XPS, today announced that ISOdx, a division of Cranel, Inc., has used MadCap Flare to deliver award-winning documentation and online Help. Flare, MadCap’s flagship software for multi-channel authoring, enabled ISOdx to complete the manuals and online Help for its software within three months.
ISOdx is a leading innovator in delivering IT service and support software, which automatically detects changes in the IT environment, eliminating the hours it once took IT professionals to manually identify these changes. As ISOdx prepared for a major new Web-based version of its software, the company saw an opportunity to significantly upgrade its user manuals and online Help system. After purchasing Flare in late January 2007, ISOdx technical writer, Ellen Hayes, was able to complete two user manuals, an online installation guide, and several marketing pieces by the company’s April 2007 software release deadline.
MadCap Flare has also enabled ISOdx to deliver award-winning print and online content. The “ISOdx Product Documentation Set,” received a merit award in the Effective Communication Competition 2007-08, sponsored by the West Michigan Shores chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (WMS-STC). More recently, in November 2008, the "ISOdx User's Guide Help," received a merit award in this year's Northeast Ohio Society for Technical Communication (NEO STC) Online Publication Competition.
“We already had award-winning software for customers in the service and support market, and we wanted award-winning documentation to go with it,” said Dave Seman, ISOdx manager of business and channel operations. “MadCap Flare allowed us to meet that goal, and now in sales calls, we promote our user manuals and online Help along with our software. It’s a big competitive differentiator for us.”
Prior to Ms. Hayes coming onboard, ISOdx had begun working with a traditional proprietary authoring tool, but with little success. Therefore, one of her top priorities was to choose the best tool for the new ISOdx documentation and online installation guide. After downloading trial packages of various authoring tools, Hayes recommended purchasing MadCap Flare.
With its native XML architecture, Flare has provided two important advantages over older proprietary authoring products. First, Flare readily integrates with the ISOdx software, which is delivered both as a managed service and as licensed software that runs locally. Equally important for ISOdx, Flare creates XML-based, W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standard-compliant Help.
A third, important advantage of Flare is its ability to directly import existing content from Microsoft Word into Flare, says Ms. Hayes. “Our company uses Word as a universal tool for gathering and correcting our product documentation,” she explains. “With Flare, I can simply import the Word content, and it comes across with the formatting preserved. Also, a Flare build just takes 5-10 minutes—much less than the 30 minutes that some older tools required. It has allowed me to create and update our documentation quickly, both in PDF versions for print and the Web.”
“Using Flare, Ellen, who had just joined our company, was able to learn our software and develop a complete set of print documentation and online Help within just a few months,” said Mr. Seman. “It was a testament, not only to Ellen’s talent, but the short learning curve of MadCap’s software.”
ISOdx also purchased the MadCap Software support package, says Ms. Hayes, adding, “That was the best thing for me. I’ve even sent files to MadCap support so they can troubleshoot them. I have used Flare in more ways than I ever expected, and the support team is always right there to help me.”
In mid-2008, ISOx added MadCap Analyzer, which proactively identifies ways to improve the ISOdx documentation, and eliminates unused topics and images that can load down the system.
“For example,” says Ms. Hayes, “Our user’s manual has 265 pages with tons of links and 115 figures. I used to manually get rid of unused topics whenever we changed topic titles, and working with Word, that happened a lot. Analyzer now automates the process, saving me time and limiting the demands on our system.”
ISOdx also upgraded to Flare 4.0 in September 2008, which Ms. Hayes values for its enhanced graphics and Global Project Linking for enabling developers to reuse files and project elements.
Ms. Hayes notes, “We have turned to Flare for each of our software releases, and each new version of Flare brings greater functionality and ease of use.”
“ISOdx understands that state-of-the-art software and documentation go hand-in-hand in creating a superior customer experience,” said Anthony Olivier, MadCap co-founder and CEO. “We are excited by the role that Flare and Analyzer have played in enabling ISOdx to meet its objective of providing award-winning documentation to match its award-winning software, and we look forward to working with the ISOdx team in setting new standards for supporting customers in the future.”
Developed specifically for IT service and support organizations, ISOdx provides revolutionary business solutions that equip companies to achieve continued growth and innovative industry leadership. With ISOdx, changes in the IT environment can be rapidly detected in an unprecedented manner in a matter of seconds. Cranel Inc., which focuses on empowering businesses via innovative and comprehensive solutions to align IT investments with business goals, is the parent company of ISOdx.
About MadCap Software
MadCap Software (madcapsoftware.com) is leading the documentation industry into the future with the MadCap family of tightly integrated applications for end-to-end content development, delivery, and management. MadCap’s flagship product MadCap Flare is now the content authoring solution of choice for thousands of companies, from start-ups to the Global 1000. Through its strategic partner Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), MadCap delivers solutions optimized for Microsoft Vista, Visual Studio, and the .NET environment. Headquartered in La Jolla, CA, MadCap is home to some of the most experienced software architects and product experts in the documentation industry.