Moving away from MS Word?

Subject: Moving away from MS Word?
From: "SB " <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2007 03:02:37 +0300

We are a medium-sized company growing faster than I can handle.
I am currently the sole technical writer for the whole company but I think
that we will soon have a team.

I believe that MS Word (2003) is no longer answering our needs.

1. Documents are very large (over 600 pages), they are very complex
and Word isn't behaving well despite the fact that I have the best computer
in the company.
2. Contents is repeated in different documents and it is difficult to
update it everywhere. Therefore, single sourcing might be required
3. We need a better place than the network to organize the
documentation and keep track of revisions. We have a PDM (Agile) for the
whole company and we use it for documentation revision control but is this
good enough? Do we need better centralized documentation management?
4. At some point (soon), we will need to do on-line help. We are
currently using Flare for conversion to HTML pages but it is not handling
well large and complex documents. I know there is a new version which may be
better (I haven't tried it yet).

Here are my questions:

I know about FrameMaker<>,
I have heard about AuthorIT, Dita, etc. I was also told by the marketing
manager to look into Documentum for document management.

- What factors should a growing company take into consideration if and
when moving onto more efficient tools?
- What tools that are available today that are indeed more efficient
than Word for a medium-sized company?
- Is there a site, a thread something that compares these tools?
- What tool is most recommended for a smooth transition?
- Pricing considerations might also be a factor but probably not the
most important fact.

Any input and advice would be greatly appreciated.

I am inclined to investigate
I am not sure this is an affordable investment or a recommendable tool for a
medium-sized company.
I apologize if these questions have already been asked before (I am pretty
sure they have). In such case, I would appreciate it if anyone could send me
some pointers to those discussions.



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