White Papers

Subject: White Papers
From: Rick Lippincott <rjl -at- BOSTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 11:23:09 +0000

Joy Switzer wrote:
<What exactly are White Papers? What type of information goes into
<the pages? How much? Are they suppose to be more technical than
<marketing directed?

"White Paper" is a very broad term, and I don't believe there is any
strict definition.

For example, several years ago my job required me to write white
papers, but normally there was very little technical content in those
papers. It was while I was working in an industrial engineering
group, and the papers were assigned as an investigation into
problems. The papers contained three important sections:

* a statement of the problem
* an investigation of the facts
* a proposed solution.

The white paper was then passed up the management chain so
that somebody could act on it. Or ignore it....

This is quite different from what might be in a marketing white
paper, but it's just one more example of the contents.

Regarding a message posted yesterday, I don't feel that white papers
are a strictly government creature. I was working for a private company
when I prepared them. The papers -did- fit the definition of being a
"position paper." For example, one that I recall quite clearly
started with a particular functional office in the corporation. There
was an east coast and a west coast division. Both had about an equal
number of jobs to process, but the west coast was able to do it with
about one-tenth the staff of the east coast. I was tasked to write a
white paper to find out why. At the end of the paper, I had to take a
position and say "Here's the problem, and this is my proposed
solution." That paper was then passed upstairs to the appropriate
managers, who I'm quite sure took some very good action to resolve
the problem. (I dunno, I left for another job a few months after
writing that paper.)

That's all I know.

Rick Lippincott
Boston Technology
Wakefield, MA
rjl -at- bostech -dot- com

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