From the Editor’s Desk

nick2016

Nick Ducharme

Technical communicators of Florida and beyond,

2016 has been such a year, and that’s not just nostalgia talking. I really do feel like “emotional rollercoaster” would be a horrendous understatement.

Frankly, I’m I’ve been overwhelmed by 2016, fluctuating from joy and inspiration to grief, anger, and terror. I find myself thoroughly impressed with the year in review that our Chapter President Alex Garcia has written. And I’m not sure what clarity of thought I can hope to add in these changing times beyond the article Alex is about to share with you. But as I stare at this fresh ring on my finger and quell my raging inner voices, it suddenly occurs to me that we don’t always to be profound.

Isn’t it enough to slip into the traditional spirit of the holiday seasonto wish peace, love, and happiness for all people? This is the mindset I hope to carry with me to our chapter’s special celebratory meal. I hope to see you there, and with your plus one if you choose. Let’s all join in merry conversation over delicious food and some fun info from this year’s LavaCon, a content strategy conference. (Cheers to our special guest, Jack Molisani!)

Please join us this Thursday, December 15th, at the Black Rock Bar and Grill. Click here to RSVP.

Happy holidays,

Nick Ducharme
Manager, Communications Committee
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f0/Wintersnow.jpg/800px-Wintersnow.jpg

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The President’s Corner

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

By: Alex Garcia
President
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC

president@stc-orlando.org

The second half of 2016 was QUITE the year for the Orlando community. Personally, I saw the highest of highs and unprecedented lows. Let’s reflect on the half-year that was:

  • On June 12, 2016, Orlando was forever changed by the terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub. Monday marked six months since that Sunday morning when I was awoken by concerned text and Facebook messages from across the world. That night, I lost a college friend, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, who attended the festivities and perished alongside his boyfriend Juan Guerrero. In the days following the tragedy, I saw my community (LGBT, Latinx, and the greater Orlando area as a whole) come together as I’ve never seen. They held vigils, gave blood, shielded mourners from witnessing protesters, and raised funds (to the tune of $27M distributed to 299 claimants as of press time). We should never forget the 49 lives lost that day, and the 53-plus lives forever changed by injury.

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  • On June 23, 2016, I was sworn in as President of your STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter at Liam Fitzpatrick’s Irish Pub in Lake Mary. Knowing that we were merging with the STC Suncoast Chapter, I set out right away to forge the new relationships that would carry this chapter forward. I patiently waited for the STC international home office to cement the change as we worked behind the scenes to plan the chapter year.
  • On August 8, 2016 (yes 8/8/16 because I’m a nerd), I married my partner of 10 years in an intimate courthouse ceremony. We broadcast the nuptials on Facebook live (let me know if you would like to see the video). I will admit that the events of the summer cast a bittersweet shadow on the proceedings. When we set the date sometime in the spring, we never expected that our event would take on such great significance. I hope that our union brought a moment of brightness during the storm.
  • On August 27, 2016, the Orlando Central Florida and SunCoast Chapters of STC held a joint leadership retreat at the University of Central Florida’s Technical Communication Computer Lab. For the better part of 5 hours, we planned chapter activities for this chapter year. Our chapter came out of that meeting stronger and well-prepared to carry on.
  • In late October 2016, Dan Voss and Nicole Garcia, Mentoring co-chairs, recruited a RECORD BREAKING 16 mentoring pairs. It is my hope that these students serve as the foundation for the future of the STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter. Way to go Dan and Nicole!
  • On November 8, 2016, for better or worse, the country elected its next President. This was the end of a 15-month (!) election cycle, of which we all felt fatigued from. In the coming days, we need to look out for one another and tend to our loved ones. The sun is still rising and setting. Be excellent to one another.
  • On December 15, 2016, we will get together as a chapter to break bread and grill meat over a ridiculously-hot stone. Jack Molisani, a world-renowned speaker on Content Management, and STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter member, will moderate a festive discussion. I hope you will join us with your plus one. Please click here to RSVP.

As you can see, our STC Chapter is just part of life. It is a beacon of happiness and solidarity in a world that sometimes is not very bright and cheery. Life happens around us, yet we make time to volunteer to better our profession. I’d like to thank all of our volunteers on the Administrative Council for giving up their Tuesdays, Thursdays, sometimes even Fridays and Saturdays, to keep this chapter going. Let’s hope that 2017 is calmer than the past six months have been.

Until next year,

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If You Missed the Last Meeting

RD Sharninghouse

RD Sharninghouse

By: R.D. Sharninghouse
Secretary
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC
rdsharninghouse@gmail.com

On Thursday, November 17th, 2016 at the IHOP near UCF, the (Orlando Central) Florida Chapter of STC held its monthly meeting.  The topic was Surviving a TechComm Layoff.  This topic was presented by David Coe and David Coverston, two experienced members of our chapter with personal experience in the world of layoffs.  Being laid off can take its toll on an individual.  This presentation gave details on preparing oneself for a lay off.

The tips for being self-aware and “checking the pulse” of one’s situation were really great.  Self-awareness lets us know where we stand in the crowd.  What we need to improve on and what needs to be maintained.  “Checking the pulse” focuses on keeping up with the world around you.  Knowing the industry you’re in, the company you work for, and any of the changes taking place can give you a leg up so you can stay on top.

The tip to build a strong foundation by living smart and saving up caught my attention.  More specifically, the part about building cash reserves.  They say to build cash reserves that can cover a minimum of 3 to 6 months of expenses.  The reserves should also be liquid so they can be obtained without consequence.

Personally, finding work was always a worry, until I did eventually get a good job.  But this meeting helped me realize that having a job is a very small part of a much larger picture.

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Content and Customer Experience – Part 3

DebraPhoto

Debra Johnson

By: Debra Johnson

Immediate Past President
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC

Manager, Technical Communication
SunGard Public Sector

contentandcustomerexperiencepart2a

Author’s Note: In this series of articles, we were exploring the concept of “Content and Customer Experience.” In this final issue, we recap the series and address the question, “What now?”

So let’s recap…

In Part 1 of my series, I talked about how there are SIX key factors we believe in Technical Communication at SunGard Public Sector:

We believe:

  • Content and user experience are interconnected
  • We should be using content to get closer to customers
  • We need to strategize and manage content as an asset, just like “code”
  • Content professionals and user experience professionals are allies – not enemies
  • Content is everything product-related
  • Content is dynamic – not static

In Part 2 of my series, I talked about our role in the “Content and Customer Experience” at SunGard Public Sector.

That role is:

  • To provide accurate information about our products
  • To reduce any frustration and risks associated with improper use of our products
  • To support our training programs and professional services with a basis of accurate information from which to train
  • To capture and curate knowledge…keeping it from walking out the door
  • To use innovation in media to clarify use or identify the parts of a product, letting users focus on getting their task done quickly or more accurately
  • To perform usability studies to uncover problems with content and/or experience

…and that it WILL take everyone within our company…

It will take:

  • Some new tools, additional resources, and removal of barriers
  • All of us talking about and embracing a company-wide Customer Experience and Content Strategy that includes all content-producing areas as equal and important
  • Cooperation, collaboration, innovation, and teamwork

 

How we move forward…

At SunGard Public Sector, TechComm wants to maximize our business value, to help reduce support costs, and to enhance the customer experience by making our customers happier, more knowledgeable, and more loyal.

As Information Experience experts, we want to make sure we are using our skills and existing tools, along with some new ones, to create, manage, and deliver content in the most effective way.

We want to index our content, tag and classify it, provide dynamic search functionality to it, then apply role-based authentication and secure filtering…all to make accessing this knowledge a more positive experience for our customers and our employees.

 

How we see it working…

We will:

  • Deliver our product content using a dynamic publishing system
  • Provide specific product content via a smart, secure portal, fully customized to our brand look and feel, with responsive design that is optimized for every device and easy to use
  • Provide powerful full-text search and faceted search capabilities; applying flexible taxonomy-driven facets that would deliver targeted content to our customers
  • Add a personal touch to the customer experience by providing our readers with relevant content based on their user profile, then allow them to assemble personalized publications that are relevant to them from this content
  • Capture metrics about these content recommendations, so we can evaluate activity, interest, and feedback through reporting
  • Provide customers contextual suggestions of related community discussions and relevant articles
  • Publish this content from our existing authoring tool

We work hard to leverage our company’s content assets in order to improve our customers’ experiences. We want everyone to know they are our partners in this process, we are always working to better serve you and our customers with knowledge and understanding.

 

In conclusion…It’s our job to…

Enable our customers to get things done – We want to improve the customer experience by providing immediate and precise answers at all stages of their information journey.

Deflect in order to help reduce support costs – We want to do our part to lower support costs and reduce case tickets by promoting self-service and enabling customers to find answers.

Extend in order to make the most out of our product documentation – We want to leverage our existing content investment to increase sales and brand loyalty while enhancing the customer journey with SunGard Public Sector.

 

REMEMBER: …it’s all about the effort to achieve “a world of answers.

 

happy-holidays-from-debra

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