How to Create and Deliver Intelligent Information

New Year – New Questions! We Continue With Our Interview Series “Five Questions For…”

We want to know: What drives our iiRDS consortium members to actively support the new standard? In our interview series, you’ll learn what visions are associated with the commitment for the standard for intelligent delivery of user information and how companies are simultaneously preparing for the transformation that Industrie 4.0 is bringing with it. This time we have two likeable interview partners: Ulrike Parson and Mark Schubert…

Ulrike Parson
CEO of parson AG

Ulrike Parson is the CEO of parson AG, which is based in Hamburg, Germany. She looks back on 20 years of professional experience in technical writing. She is specialized in content strategy, software documentation, and XML-based authoring. The clients of parson include international and regional companies from various branches, such as software development, semiconductors, logistics, education, and healthcare.

Mark Schubert 
Senior Technical Consultant of parson AG

As a technical consultant he supports clients from the software industry regarding authoring tools and publishing solutions. DITA, DocBook and other document type definitions are part of his daily routine. Due to his experience as a technical writer he knows XML-based authoring firsthand.

  1. As the iiRDS Consortium was founded for the further development of the standard, what was the motivation for you and your company to join?

Ulrike Parson: When the working group “Information 4.0” was founded, our first thought was that this was a right initiative at the right time. At parson AG, we had been working with content delivery for quite some time. We saw it as one of the biggest obstacles that in times when buzzwords like Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things were on everyone’s lips, there was no common standard for delivering technical documentation. For us, the foundation of the Consortium is a logical further development of the working group.

Mark Schubert: We have been there from the very beginning. The larger structure that the Consortium represents now facilitates feedback on our work: we see how the standard is used, what is technically possible with it, but also where problems can arise. This makes working in the Consortium particularly exciting for us.

  1. The roadmap contains numerous plans and ideas: what are you most hoping for from the Consortium?

Ulrike Parson: I hope that the structured work in the Consortium will provide a lot of feedback and input. Working group experts have a very versatile knowledge and experience with developing new solutions. However, the crucial point is that iiRDS must not be an academic standard; it is intended for practical use. Application and regular testing are therefore absolutely essential. A second important task of the Consortium will be to move into the direction of a DIN/ISO standard in order to give companies a legally secure basis.

  1. What are you looking forward to in the internal work of the Consortium?

Mark Schubert: I mostly look forward to the technical discussions, the issues that will hopefully result from iiRDS implementations, and how we can find a solution together. The tooling that we are now developing in the Consortium gives the members great added value: This is indeed what I look forward to the most.

Ulrike Parson: For my part, I am looking forward to the open exchange between the members. It was remarkable to see how ideas were generated in a group of such different people and it has been impressive to see employees from different companies and with different interests working together on a topic. I am convinced that this is exactly the way the Consortium can continue.

  1. Which practical implementations do you see for using iiRDS in your company – now and in the future?

Ulrike Parson: In the work with our customers we see that the orientation towards intelligent information is becoming more and more important and that companies are thinking about the classification of their content. At this point iiRDS has already had a great impact: Many of our customers approach us, which means that there is definitely a need for a standard exchange format. For us, who work a lot with DITA, the combination of DITA and iiRDS is very interesting now, as customers have the opportunity to rely on standards on both sides.

Mark Schubert: In every project you reach the point where you have to think about modularization, variant management and metadata. A toolbox that has not been developed by one party only, but by many different people, offers numerous advantages: For example, more use cases can be covered and required metadata can be selected directly.

  1. Where do you see iiRDS three years from now?

We see iiRDS as an official DIN/ISO standard, integrated in RAMI 4.0, and with a lively Consortium. Today many component content management systems are naturally based on XML – our wish is that in three years a large number of these systems will also use iiRDS naturally. In our opinion, iiRDS definitely has the potential to become a common standard.

Thanks for your answers, Ulrike Parson and Mark Schubert. 

What exactly is iiRDS? You can find all basic information clearly explained here.

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