Innovations: Easier document management

Companies generate written content. Whether it is internal memos, policies, handbooks, product manuals or contracts, those documents are stored and repurposed for various purposes.

Historically, that process has been done manually, which can be time consuming and redundant especially when producing the same document for multiple locations, i.e. websites, e-readers, blogs or print formats.

In 1997, Pradeep Jain started working on a patented technology to provide customers with the power to freely structure their information and documents. The patent was granted in 2007, and Jain founded Ictect Inc. in Sturtevant, which now has a second office in India. Among its many offerings, the company gives businesses of all sizes the capability to structure, format and archive information with the click of a button using XML technology.

“We’re very passionate about the power of XML,” said Aaron Petroski, strategic development manager at Ictect. “There are very few tools that can organize unstructured data. XML allows you to take large amounts of raw data and tag it in a way that formats it, increase the search functionality within the document and produce any number of outputs.”

Ictect implements the technology through a plug-in in Microsoft Word, Petroski said.

“Almost 90 percent of the content created in business starts in Microsoft Word,” he said. “We knew early on that we wanted people to understand the technology in a very basic way. We built the technology as a toolbar in Microsoft Word, a program that almost every knowledge worker is familiar with.”

The plug-in appears as a separate menu bar in Microsoft Word that allows users to select and publish the document they are working on in any output. Once clicked, the system will evaluate the XML tags previously set up by Ictect with the company’s help and a formatted document will be created.

“All with the click of a button,” Petroski said. “And it doesn’t stop there. We realized that with any document there might be errors.”

Ictect has created a second step where the process is reviewed and verified in a format similar to a spell check. The document scan can reveal mistakes in numbering, in headline or bullet point formatting among a variety of other things, Petroski said. 

“We’ve hidden the ‘meat’ of the technology behind familiar programs to make it as easy as possible for employees to use at any level in the company,” he said. “They don’t need to understand XML or be a tech genius to have our technology be helpful to them.”

Ictect specializes in writing XML schema for companies in traditional formats like DITA, E-Pub, S1000D, but can also add custom rules or develop a custom XML schema for companies who need it, Petroski said.

The schemas allow companies to format their documents in their preferred manner. It can also allow a company to publish to various outputs without saving documents as different file types.

“We have recently developed several implementations of our patented technology for businesses,” he said.

Ictect can install the patented technology on individual computers, on a company server or host the solution, Petroski said. Determinations of installation and price are made based on the needs of the individual company.

“We’re working hard towards developing a set pricing model, that’s effective for small and large companies alike,” Petroski said. “We’re not there yet because there are so many customization options available, but we understand the need for that, particularly with smaller companies.”

According to Petroski, Ictect has deployed this technology with the U.S. Air Force and companies of all sizes in the publishing, contract management, financial and legal industries, among others. 

The company does business globally, and has a second office in India, but is committed to the Milwaukee region, Petroski said.

“We always look locally when hiring and when looking for potential customers to work with. The opportunities for most companies are endless,” Petroski said. “There are so many advantages to working with these intelligent content tools.” 

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