Top 5 Reasons to Outsource Software Documentation Writing

Posted in TechComm on 6/26/20174 min read

We wanted to start this blog article by explaining the importance of software documentation. But do we really need to do this? Technical documentation is the bridge between you, your customers, and the prosperity of your business. Of course, it is important.

There are several ways companies can go to handle their user guides. Some companies have documentation teams of their own, others manage to keep documentation running by involving support engineers, devs and QA into the technical writing process. There’s yet another way: outsourcing.

What Is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is a very common practice among IT-companies. Basically, they take a chunk of their business and place it elsewhere - quite often, it gets transferred to some other country. There are several reasons people do that. Further, we will explain the most important ones.

Quality: Professionals Do The Work

When a company is just at the beginning of its life cycle, as a rule, it doesn't have a documentation team. Software documentation is written by devs, support, etc. And, this is not good.

You see, documentation writing should be strategic. If you do not plan user guides ahead, the time will come when you are gonna need to rewrite and restructure the whole thing, and this is A LOT of work.

Pile

This happens because neither devs nor support are professional tech writers. They can create articles and structure them, for sure, but, still, they do not have proper skills to plan documentation in the long run. While outsourcing techwriter companies are actually dedicated pros.

Besides structuring, people who are not really tech writers may not know a lot of tiny small things that are a big deal, actually. Like, for example, taking a screenshot seems to be an easy task. In reality, you need to know a thing or two about making good screenshots. Otherwise, they can turn out to be misleading or downright useless.

If you don't feel like always having to pay money to outsourcing companies at least consider hiring them at the beginning of your documentation era. And then, your job will be just to keep everything up to date.

Work Gets Done Faster

This one is connected with the first one. Being professionals, people who provide such services are bound to be aware of each trend there is on their market.

Increase

For documentational writers, workflow is the key. So, most of organizations that provide technical documentation authoring services use online documentation tools. This technologies make their lives easier while you get your user manuals quicker. ClickHelp can be a good example of an online documentation tool that offers features for teamwork: you can assign roles to team members, pick statuses for help topics, use custom filters to track topics assigned to you and others.

More time to concentrate on other tasks

Allocating existing people from your team to do tech writing tasks is a bad idea not only because the user manual quality suffers. It is a very questionable approach for another reason. Don’t these employees have some tasks of their own? :)

Of course, with enough motivation, people can be very productive, but jumping from one thing to another may be hard in the longer term.

Setting high priority for documentation means making it low for other tasks. To put development or support on hold is not an easy decision to make. So, looking for an outsource service can be a great option in this case.

Reduced Operation Cost

Having a whole documentation team in the office building is kind of a big deal. You need to provide them with many things - room in the office, PC’s, desks, chairs, etc. This will inevitably lead to extra expenses.

Office

Sit down and do the math for your particular case. It might turn out that finding some outsource for tech writing is a real money saver.

The thing is, you can outsource in a different country with different economical standards. So, the labour there can be just cheaper by default.

New vision, fresh view

One day, you might find yourself in the position when you feel like your software documentation is slowly but steadily going downhill. What are the markers? They can be varied: direct complaints from customers about missing content, ever increasing workload of the support team, complaints from the support team that even they find it difficult to locate particular answers due to poor documentation structure, and so on. This is when you might consider a fresh start. Working with an outsourcing team of authors can give you a new perspective on your documentation. This can be a different approach to some things or a new vision of how topics should be grouped. So if the dreadful need of user guide restructuring comes - their fresh perspective will be of great help.

Conclusion

Of course, the concept of outsourcing cannot seem appealing for all the companies, since there are many factors to take into account. But, overall, outsourcing can bring many good things to the table: reduce the workload, save money, save office space, speed up your documentation projects, etc.

We hope, that our article has given you some food for thought in case you were considering getting help with documentation authoring from some third party.

Need a Good Solution for Help Authoring?

ClickHelp is a modern solution to user documentation and help authoring needs of software and SaaS vendors. You can use both on-staff and outsource technical writers in one project, giving them an online portal to work together on user manuals. It is easy to start - request a ClickHelp trial to get your own online documentation portal in a few minutes!

Happy Technical Writing!
ClickHelp Team - Helping Companies Build Great Documentation Since 2010

 

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