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November 27, 2017

Revisiting the ROI of DITA

This post is part of Scriptorium’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Back in 2011, I wrote a post on how to calculate the ROI of DITA.

Localization was a leading justification for DITA:

If you have localization in your workflow, you can probably justify the cost of DITA implementation. Typically, 30–50 percent of total localization cost in a traditional workflow is for desktop publishing. […]

We highly recommend starting with localization costs; they are typically easy to quantify.

We also addressed reuse, complex conditions, time to market, new publishing architectures, just-in-time publishing, and analytics.

A few things have changed since 2011:

  • The discussion of new publishing architectures mentions mobile devices, but not responsive design.
  • The discussion of user-generated content seems dated. Today, we talk about social media and reputation, but the focus is on integration of technical content and marketing content rather than technical content and user-generated content.
  • Although the article mentions delivery into multiple outputs, it doesn’t address the question of multiple inputs. Many organizations are looking at authoring in non-DITA environments (such as Markdown) and then transferring the information into DITA as it becomes necessary. Multiple source formats make for interesting (and complex) workflows.

If you’re looking for an estimate on what ROI might look like for your situation, try our XML business case calculator.

What do you think? Are there new ROI factors that I’ve missed?