A Solution Provider's Tale of Two Companies

When you are a software company and you deploy an out of the box product to your customers, your implementations might be comparable each time—a “one size fits all” solution refined and applied on repeat.

But what happens when one size doesn’t fit all?

What do you do when your product needs to be used very differently by each customer, even if they are in similar industries?

At GPSL, even though we offer COTS products, we have always been a solution provider. Our customers come to us for a custom solution to their challenges. Even when they want to use our software products, they want them deployed in a unique way with specific requirements and considerations.

For example, take two companies we have worked with recently, both of which wanted to implement the same S1000D software product in vastly different ways. Two Manufacturers came to GPSL to improve their Technical Publications processes and support S1000D deliverables. Other than the GPSL S1000D for Windchill product, everything they needed to achieve these goals was completely different.

DoD Manufacturer: Connected Data

As a DoD manufacturer, this company had accumulated a variety of point solutions for each of their different contracts.

They approached GPSL to establish an enterprise solution that would connect S1000D service content with their engineering CAD data.

They used Windchill to manage their engineering and product lifecycle management (PLM) data. Connecting this upstream data involved implementing Windchill Service Information Manager (SIM). Once SIM established the link between engineering and service content, our S1000D for PTC Windchill product was added and configured to support creating S1000D-compliant service content.

They required deviation from the generic S1000D workflow to then be incorporated to the larger corporate full project workflow, custom attributes for enhanced reporting, and importing and exporting to support communication with their logistics support analysis (LSA) tool.

This solution began with one pilot program moving into one issue of S1000D. However, the full scale enterprise realization of the plan included multiple programs, requiring different issues of S1000D, as well as different MilSpecs and other document types.

In the ultimate solution, S1000D became only one piece of the full implementation.

Commercial Aerospace Manufacturer: Custom Output

The second company operates in the commercial sector, manufacturing a product for commercial airlines.

They wanted to improve their Technical Publications processes by moving into XML. Rather than answering a contract requirement for S1000D, they were looking to move to S1000D to future-proof their Technical Publications department.

While they wanted to modernize their authoring with XML and prepare their data with S1000D, their customers still expected an ATA/iSpec appearance. Our S1000D for PTC Windchill product managed the content and enabled S1000D compliant authoring; however, they elected to not establish connectivity with their engineering content.

The major customization was in the publication. Rather than using the generic, out of the box S1000D PDF stylesheet or publishing out to an interactive electronic technical publication or manual (IETP/ITEM), this company secured an entirely custom PDF stylesheet to render the XML data to match their ATA-inspired house style, including custom standard numbering system (SNS) numbering scheme.

Same S1000D Very Differently

One size doesn't fit all, and that is why we will always be a Solution Provider first and foremost.

Both companies purchased the same S1000D for PTC Windchill product from GPSL and engaged us to install and configure it. The implementations, however, were completely diverse between the two instances.

The DoD manufacturer's main focus was on the connectivity to the PLM engineering data living in Windchill and establishing a solution that could host an enterprise of projects, while the commercial aerospace manufacturer was concerned with being able to author in S1000D then deliver a PDF that looked more like the ATA output their customers expected.

The first company was manufacturing multiple products against numerous contracts, each with different expectations and requirements, while the second produced a single product sold to multiple customers commercially, all accustomed to the same delivery.

While the technology stack was common between the two companies, that foundation was the only similarity between the two implementation projects.

Most of our projects are unique in this way. Our customers come to us because of our knowledge, expertise, and ability to customize software tools into a more robust solution for their business needs.

Software, whether it is our product or someone else’s, is always only part of the solution. Our value and your ROI is delivered on the knowledge that our team brings to your project.

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