Cleaning up legacy data

Use case: Geberit

Cleaning up legacy data

Client: Geberit, European market leader for sanitary products

After introducing a new PIM system (PIM = Product Information Management) for catalog creation, Geberit, an internationally operating company in the field of sanitary technology, did not want to transfer the previous texts one-to-one into the new system. Instead, the company decided to formally revise their content and clean up and standardize the terminology they contained in advance of the import.

Problem: numerous inconsistencies and little time resources

Over many years, the existing catalog texts had been created by numerous internal and external technical writers. It is true that there was already both a set of rules, which had been supplemented again and again as needed, and a termbase that had grown over the years. However, the texts were created in real time without authoring support systems and without downstream terminology checking, which is why numerous inconsistencies of both formal and terminological nature had accumulated over time. Additionally, the introduction of the new PIM system was accompanied by the addition of some new rules that affected the form and content of numerous preexisting text components.

Since the internal technical writers were already working to full capacity with day-to-day business, an additional burden of cleaning up the legacy data could not be imposed on them. This would have meant that neither the new nor the old texts would have been processed on time. Moreover, distributing the texts amongst the individual technical editors would have resulted in new inconsistencies, which would have necessitated additional downstream quality checks and revisions.

Solution: External cleanup of legacy data and training of internal staff for day-to-day business

Working closely with selected master data and product managers at the company, we first revised and supplemented the existing rules and made them available in a new set of rules. Next, we revised the existing texts using the new set of rules as well as tool-based terminology checking and authoring support. After the texts had been approved by the respective product managers, the data was imported into the new PIM system.

A further step was to conduct trainings for the internal technical writers and proofreaders to familiarize them with the new way of working. This aimed at ensuring that the texts created in day-to-day operations also possessed the same consistency regarding content and terminology as the legacy data we had cleaned up. Since the product managers were also involved in the process of creating catalog texts by providing information on products and within the text approval process, we taught them the new rules as well.

Advantage: cost reduction, time savings, consistency through bundled work, well-founded set of rules

Commissioning an external service provider to revise and clean up the legacy data has brought numerous advantages for Geberit.

Among other things, it enabled the internal staff to continue concentrating on day-to-day business and using the time gained to familiarize themselves with the new PIM system. Outsourcing also kept the cost factor transparent and, above all, lower than with internal processing, since neither overtime had to be worked nor other projects outsourced. As an external service provider, we were able to focus almost full-time on the project, which also made it possible to process the legacy data more rapidly and coherently.

Finally we handed over the new set of rules we had created to Geberit, where it now serves the technical writers as a solid foundation that can be maintained and further developed as needed. It also serves as a guarantee for the continued quality assurance of new catalog texts.