Cloud Content Management, often abbreviated as CCM, is the combination of centralized, cloud content services with advanced security compliance measures and governance. In terms of technical documentation, CCM can offer an easy, secure and cost-effective way for all of your content development teams to work together and stay in sync when creating and managing content in MadCap Flare.

Where Does MadCap Central Fit In?

MadCap Central is a cloud content management platform that was designed to help authors plan, track, manage processes, collaborate on Flare content and work with other members across the enterprise that are responsible for producing documentation.

Our cloud solution is designed to compliment the power of Flare by offering the following features while improving the digital experience and limiting the need for IT department resources:

Source Control

Whether you are a team of one or a team of many, content creators need an easy-to-use version control solution to maintain digital content updates. With only a couple of clicks, MadCap Central provides instant, integrated, secure source control for MadCap Flare authors, allowing them to easily collaborate on digital content amongst team members. 

Task Management

Documentation is more than just writing content. There are often various tasks that have to happen before you can click the “go live” button.

A new feature may need to be documented for a SaaS program, or perhaps a policy needs to be created or training content needs to be developed. Before you can even start writing, you may need to research the software feature, understand the policy or map out the training modules and digital assets that need to be delivered. Once that is done, you may need to edit existing content to support this new feature, policy or training content. If new content needs to be created, then it likely needs to be reviewed, translated and reviewed again. 

So, how do you keep track of everything you need to do? MadCap Central offers an easy task board for authors, who can create high level tasks to move them through a lifecycle, and detailed project checklists to keep you on track. With tasks and checklists, you can keep track of work that needs to be completed and visualize the workflow.

Cloud-Based Contribution and Review 

Getting feedback from subject matter experts (SMEs) can be an inefficient, time consuming process  for content creators. 

The cloud-based review workflow with MadCap Central allows SMEs to review content in a web browser, and edit source content using a simplified lightweight editor. It’s simple and lightweight, so that SMEs can focus solely on commenting and editing. And since the platform is browser based, multiple SMEs can work concurrently in the same topic or file with tracked changes. 

With this review workflow in MadCap Central, the power and security of Flare is preserved as an on-premises solution for authors, and it can be paired with a simple and secure browser-based editor to speed up business processes and make for a better document management experience overall.

Build Management

Another challenge we often hear is that authors want to have a programmatic build process in place, and they don’t want to purchase and configure additional servers to support this. When Flare projects are synced to our content management platform, targets can be manually built in the cloud, or you can schedule targets to be generated at a certain time each day. 

Hosting Output

In Flare, it is simple to build outputs. You click a button that says Build, and you have your output file. But then what? You need to get your beautiful HTML5 sites or PDF guides online as web content and available to your readers. Many users find that process daunting. They may not have internal resources readily available to get a staging and web server set up quickly. 

MadCap Central offers an easy and inexpensive way to stage and host output for your end users. In addition to offering hosting for public content, MadCap Central makes it easy to host private output that requires a user to log in using an email and password credentials. Without credentials, users cannot access the site, making this option ideal for internal employees or customer documentation that should not be accessed by the public.

Output Analytics

When you produce a searchable, navigable and responsive HTML5 output from Flare, you instantly empower your readers to find the answers they need quickly. With MadCap Central, you can instantly gather output analytics to understand the effectiveness of this web content, and improve it, based on how your readers consume it. This is essential to an overall content management strategy. Without this, you are effectively driving blindfolded.  

This type of data should not be difficult to wrangle. If you have a MadCap Central account, you can start gathering data the minute you build and publish your targets, no matter where you choose to host this content. These insights include:

Phrases – This report shows all search queries made to the output, including the number of times the query was used, the number of offered results and whether the query returned any micro content results. This is useful because it indicates the type of documentation most often sought by users, as well as whether you should create new micro content to match certain search terms. For more information on the benefits of data and micro content to improve search results, refer to this blog post.

Phrases with No Results – This shows all search phrases that didn’t produce any results. This is useful because it indicates if you need to produce new content to support the needs of your users, or perhaps create synonyms that will show results for existing documentation. Reducing the number of unanswered queries has an immediate impact on your ROI and can increase support ticket deflection. If users cannot find answers quickly within your documentation, or with in-app help, they will most likely have to open a support case, costing your business time and money.

Topics – This shows all topics in the output that have been viewed at least once. This is useful because it indicates the topics where you might want to focus much of your attention and ensure content is up to date.

Context-Sensitive Help Calls – This shows context-sensitive Help identifiers that have been invoked at least once in the output. This is useful because it indicates which areas of your product’s interface are most active, and perhaps even unclear to users.

Browser Statistics – This shows which browsers and versions are being used to view your online output. This is useful because it indicates which browsers you should focus on supporting. You may also find an increase in browsers accessing your documentation via mobile device, so you can make decisions about ensuring your content is responsive. 

Operating System Statistics – This shows which operating systems (desktop or mobile device) are being used to view your online output. This is useful because it indicates which operating systems you should focus on supporting.

As mentioned, and even though MadCap Central offers optional content hosting, your output does not have to be hosted in MadCap Central to take advantage of output analytics. It can be published to your own corporate production servers, staging servers, intranets, extranets, and you end users’ machines. 

Summary

A cloud content management system should offer easy integration into your source content, and MadCap Central can help. 

With MadCap Central being so tightly integrated with MadCap Flare, it is the only CCM solution that allows your team to easily track and manage tasks, manage workflows, schedule and automate processes, host and publish content, and extend your authoring capabilities across the enterprise with integrated subject matter expert (SME) contribution and review.

This hybrid approach of secure on-prem content authoring with Flare, paired with a secure cloud-based content management system can help an organization of any size scale their needs and maximize productivity.