Re: Electronic Documentation - a tangent

Subject: Re: Electronic Documentation - a tangent
From: Chuck Banks <chuck -at- ASL -dot- DL -dot- NEC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1993 15:50:31 CDT


Telecommunications system customers, not the end users, the
people who buy and maintain the systems, are demanding Electronic
Documentation. The vendors aren't foisting the idea onto their
customers. That's why vendors like AT&T, Northern Telecom, NEC,
Seimens, etc. are providing Electronic Documentation or preparing

Our larger customers, the Baby Bells and other telephone
companies, have centralized maintenance facilities. As you pointed
out "...some documentation sets are so mammoth that several
poplars have to die...just to print...them in hardcopy..." Central
office switching systems require such documentation sets. Our
larger customers want Electronic Documentation to save space, speed
reference (access) to information, offload the update problem to
us, and reduce the paper load for their field technicians.

Centralized maintenance personnel quickly find answers to
questions or maintenance problems, pass the word to the technicians
who use the same Electronic Documentation set and print only those
pages they need for a particular job. If the technicians need more
info at the site, the call or radio the central maintenance facility.

The big fish in our pond, AT&T and Northern Telecom, were
first to offer the customers such documentation, but most telecom
vendors had offered their documentation on fiche for years before
CD-ROM was developed. CD-ROM is a faster, easier to use alternative
to fiche. With networked systems, our customers only need one
copy per maintenance facility.

Are we taking advantage of our customers? No, the production
costs for CD-ROM are still higher than for paper documents. Although
CD-ROM drives are a LOT more expensive that three-ring binders. Both
vendor and customer are spending a little more up front, but most of
it is one time costs of ramping up to CD-ROM. Maintenance costs are,
as you stated, lower than for paper distribution, and are dropping
all the time.

Our only customers who, mostly, haven't asked for Electronic
versions of our documents are the independent telephone companies.
Now that the price is coming down from PCs and CD-ROM drives, many
of them are giving Electronic Documentation another look.

Besides, paper companies don't use poplar, they use pine.
It grows faster and is a hardier tree. At least, in the southern
states, that's what Scott and International are cutting and

Regardless, our customers are happy, the trees are still
growing, what more do you want? <grin>

Best Regards!

Chuck Banks
__ ________ ______
|\\ | || // Chuck Banks
| \\ | ||_______ || Senior Technical Writer
| \\ | || || NEC America, Inc.
| \\| \\______ \\______ E-Mail: chuck -at- asl -dot- dl -dot- nec -dot- com
America, Incorporated CompuServe: 72520,411

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