On June 14 and 15, it was that time again: The SCHEMA Conference 2016 opened its doors, and hosted one of the industry’s largest meetings in the Messe Nürnberg. Not only the numbers confirm that the yearly SCHEMA Conference now counts as one of the real highlights in the TechDoc industry: after two densely-packed conference days, with lectures on two levels in the Convention Center West of the Nürnberg Messe, with more than 500 international participants from 21 countries, and 44 talks by high-quality lecturers, we not only had a new visitor record, but also received confirmation of the increased importance of this event.
Many renowned customers and speakers accepted the invitation to come to Nürnberg, turning the event about SCHEMA ST4 and CDS into a real highlight. After a short welcome speech on the first day of the conference, delivered by Dr. Fraas from the city of Nürnberg, our two CEOs Stefan Freisler and Marcus Kesseler delivered a witty keynote to kick off the event. Information on key features of the upcoming versions of SCHEMA ST4 and CDS was followed by a highlight of the first day: the award presentation for the best callout graphic. This went to Matthias Funcke from Erwin Junker. The jury was especially impressed by the reuse of graphics within graphics, in order to depict a control panel quickly and clearly. The modularization is complex, but the result is of the highest quality and reduces effort. Other winners were Christian Manitz from Tadano Faun and Jesse Victoor from Daikin.
After lunch, visitors flocked to the numerous conference rooms, where a varied program ensured the auditoriums were tightly packed. While Pierre Hain dove into the depths of STPath, using the classic film “The Godfather” as an example, Klaus Kurre explained how to connect terminology systems with ST4. In subsequent workshops, our instructors and Solution Engineers examined almost every topic about SCHEMA ST4.
The broad cross section of industry covered today by the SCHEMA CCMS solutions was visible in the companies attending, e.g. Philips Healthcare, Miele, Geberit, Mettler-Toledo or the British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph.
Like One Big Family…
The continuing success of the SCHEMA Conference is due to several factors. First of all, despite the increased size of the event, an informal atmosphere persists: For many, this is a meeting of the industry with familiar faces, and for anybody who’s new, it’s easy to find the right contacts, thanks to the seamless organization. Add to this the sophisticated overall concept, which is based on a balanced mixture of panel discussions, lectures, and workshops for various levels of expertise, where specialists will find a suitable forum just as easily as will newbies. As in previous years, we were happy to welcome an increasingly international audience. The participants were able to choose between an English and a simultaneously translated track.
Of course, the evening event also counts. This year, we invited everybody to the traditional Nürnberg restaurant “Bratwurst Röslein” in the heart of the old town, where we talked with our guests into the small hours and celebrated in a relaxed atmosphere.
Apart from customer retention, close partnerships are very important to SCHEMA. On the second level of our event location, our partners were able to present their expertise in fourteen partner booths, and were sought-after contacts for “best-of-breed” solutions in the areas of Content Solutions, Industrie 4.0, language and translation management, publication, data migration, and consulting. A2 Documentation & Translation, Acrolinx, Adobe, Amplexor, Carstens + Partner, Doctima, Dokuwerk, Imprimatur, Kaleidoscope, Schmeling + Consultants, T3, TID Informatik, Transline Deutschland, and Urban Translation Services couldn’t complain about a lack of attention on either of the conference days.
What Motorcycles and Precision Tools Have to Do with ST4
While on the first day conference participants were able to gain insights in lectures, presentations, and workshops focused on user-related ST4 insights, presented by SCHEMA lecturers, the second day was characterized by numerous, sometimes very entertaining and informative guest lectures.
From Dr. Mathew Kundinger, engineer and US lawyer by trade, participants were able to learn about “America, the Unknown Creature,” with its pitfalls and tricks, e.g. in American contractual law, while the British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph gave a lecture about how they were able to publish their first manual only three months after the software was installed, and had successfully completed their ST4 implementation with an ROI of 1.5 years, making it possible to save 50-70% on every future project.
Fact-laden lectures delivered in an entertaining manner were presented to the audience by Geberit and Mettler-Toledo as well: Werner Trefzer told about the “STEP by step” integration with SCHEMA ST4, which was based on the decision in 2010 to reset product data management for the entire Geberit Group. Today, Geberit produces up to 150 catalogs with SCHEMA ST4 in up to 32 languages with only 3 employees. The basis is PIM data, which is imported into ST4 from a specialized system (STEP). For quality assurance, Geberit maintains their terminology in another specialized system (MultiTerm), imports it to ST4 and provides it to their technical writers via Author Support. This means that up-to-date data with consistent terminology is always available for catalog production in all languages.
Victor Mahler from Mettler-Toledo in his lecture called “A Different Twist to a Global Roll-out” told about the possibilities of SCHEMA ST4 when deployed globally, and how today, more than 25 technical writers worldwide and with company locations in Germany, the US, Great Britain, Switzerland, and China manage global requirements with the default configuration DocuManager. They are connected via Terminal Server with the application server. The data structure is adapted to the various work methods and requirements of the subsidiaries. A sophisticated user concept defines technical writers’ access to the centrally managed servers; and the numerous layouts are created and maintained centrally as well. SCHEMA training and internal enablement ensure unified work processes and quick ramp-up at Mettler-Toledo.
From Arno Schmidt at Ottobock, the audience learned about important aspects of automation of SAP and SCHEMA ST4 in the context of order-driven user guides.
The well-attended panel discussion with the title “What’s Next? How Will Content Management Systems Continue to Evolve?” triggered lively exchanges. Moderated by Klaus Kurre, representatives from the industry, from academe and associations discussed their very personal opinions. While Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ziegler from the University of Karlsruhe, Institute for Information and Content Management argued in favor of a tighter integration of project and process management, and was eager to drive the subject of content delivery, Dr. Michael Fritz, as CEO of tekom, was focused on the basic approach of a more intelligent utilization of information in practical experience. He, too, emphasized the need to extend delivery portals. Ralf Robers of Siemens requested that the focus be put more on editors. They are “at the beginning of the pipeline,” and he said there is still too much manual work involved. Technical writer Anne Kuhsen, the ST4 administrator responsible at SEW Eurodrive for process optimization, favored increased support in ST4 for data handling in imports and exports. SCHEMA CEO Stefan Freisler captured the various positions and summed up that on the one hand, future developments would need to become more complex in the system, on the other hand easier to handle, and that apart from content delivery, content acquisition is important, as well. He said that in the next years, SCHEMA’s goals are to continue to develop and make accessible ST4’s complete feature set, as well as to pursue the topics of “delivery” and “mobility”; these topics would also be part of DERCOM, the Association of German Manufacturers of Authoring and Content Management Systems, registered association, in which SCHEMA plays a leading role in the data exchange work group.
Dr. Michael Fritz provided an outlook at the end of the second day in his lecture “Intelligent Information Is the Future” of upcoming developments in the age of Industrie 4.0, and had a look at technical documentation between the poles of digital transformation, the Internet of Things, and smart services. Participants were able to learn about expected SCHEMA ST4 innovations in the final contribution by the group leaders in SCHEMA’s development team, who presented the new features for the 2017 release – these will be presented at the upcoming tekom yearly conference in November.
Overall, we’re extremely pleased with this year’s SCHEMA Conference – and we’ve already received very good feedback from our customers and partners as well. We look back on a successful event, which produced satisfied faces all round. You can look forward to further development for SCHEMA ST4, and mark your calendars for the next SCHEMA Conference 2017 – according to the motto: After the conference is before the conference. On May 17 and 18, 2017, it will be that time again!