By chlander on Dec 06, 2013
I'm very excited to intoduce a new InfoDev blogger. Meet Chet Liew, Principal Technical Writer for Oracle Communications based in Bend, Oregon. His previous roles at Oracle include time as a QA Engineer and Product Manager working with BRM and OSM. Currently, he writes documentation for our Service Delivery Platform and Application Management Pack products while also assisting in the provisioning and management of InfoDev server environments used by technical writers and curriculum developers. I hope you'll enjoy his blog on his approach to documenting one of our new products, the Application Management Pack and the challenges he faced. We welcome your feedback, either in the form of confirmation of his approach or to tell us an approach that would work better for you.
Cheryl Lander, Oracle Communications InfoDev Senior Director
Oracle Communications solutions usually leverage more than just our business unit’s applications. They also utilize some of Oracle’s best software and hardware assets like WebLogic Server, Siebel CRM, and Oracle appliances providing comprehensive solutions to our customers.
Applications Management Pack for Oracle Communications (AMP) reduces overhead for customers implementing multiple Oracle products. It adds the ability to install and manage our applications to the already available Oracle Enterprise Management Cloud Control capabilities for managing hosts, databases, domains, and other enterprise applications.
Multi-application environments present not just management challenges for our customers and partners. They also present a unique challenge for the Information Development (InfoDev) team. Our task, when documenting products like AMP, becomes a balancing act of giving our customers adequate information to use the product efficiently, but also making use of existing documentation. Our desire is not producing books filled with redundant information available elsewhere, requiring maintenance and updating as new versions of our products (and documentation) are released.
The AMP documentation follows a philosophy of providing enough information for users familiar with the supported Oracle Communications applications and Enterprise Manager Cloud Control to accomplish the tasks possible with the product. The documentation aligns with the product’s goal of streamlining the provisioning (installation), configuration, and monitoring of supported Oracle Communications applications.
Such a philosophy makes some assumptions of our end users. We assume that the end user performing the documented tasks already understands Enterprise Manager Cloud Control and Oracle Communications applications installation and where to go to get more information. The expectation is not that a user can use the AMP documentation alone to install, for example, an Order to Cash environment. The documentation requires a resourcefulness in the reader to access the referenced documentation to do what’s required.
One of the other goals of the documentation is to provide tasks in a modular fashion to the user. The number of functions that can be accomplished using the AMP plug-in in Enterprise Manager Cloud Control is vast. Customers may implement some plug-in functions while not using others at all. The documentation, much like the plug-in, is designed for varying degrees of usage, with an emphasis on referencing other documents when needed and allowing users to accomplish tasks directly from the table of contents.
Documentation for cross-product solutions continues to evolve and improve as such offerings become more the norm. There are areas of improvement that need to be explored. For example, we can do a better job of tailoring documentation for different types of end users. As part of our documentation process, InfoDev undertakes an Audience Analysis for each product. We glean information from internal and external users of our documentation for improving our end product. Expanding this process to cross-portfolio solutions is an interesting challenge for us to meet but I don’t doubt we’ll attack it with enthusiasm.
The AMP documentation is written from the perspective of a single type of user performing the explained actions. An Audience Analysis of our AMP customers will likely reveal that there are many users instead of just one. Future editions of the AMP documentation will evolve toward better delineation of tasks for different types of users. After all, in the field it’s very unlikely that the Enterprise Manager Cloud Control administrator at a large service provider is the same person as the BRM administrator.
Documentation improvements of this type require collaboration between every entity that touches a product like AMP. InfoDev looks forward to working with our internal and external customers to continually improve our products.
You can find the documentation for Application Management Pack for Oracle Communications on the Oracle Technology Network here.
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Thanks for reading!