Social Security Administration Custom Editor for PolicyNet Collaboration

The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) is an institution of nearly 60,000 employees, with a complex policy and procedure manual. The SSA had developed an internal policy management system, PolicyNet, to assist with the updating and publishing of technical documentation. The policy and procedure manual was being written and updated through a process that utilized Microsoft Word templates. With nearly 200 subject-matter experts (SMEs) contributing to the manual, the process was slow and unreliable. The SSA was looking for a solution that would dramatically increase the efficiency of the PolicyNet system, without having to train hundreds of non-technical SMEs to use a DITA CCMS.

The project involved a configuration of the editing tool, linking it to a shared document repository and customizing editing features that fit the needs of the SSA. The authoring tool allows non-technical SMEs and publication managers to collaborate on content creation, while still providing the full functionality of a structured authoring system.

Dakota assisted with the large-scale implementation of the web-based oXygen XML Editor component. Dakota directly interfaced the tool with the PolicyNet system, and stores all of the XML topics in a central content repository that allows users to easily access documentation on-demand. The project involved a heavy customization of oXygen to replicate the look and feel of Microsoft Word, without sacrificing the authoring and publishing power of a DITA CCMS. With the new PolicyNet tool, SMEs and technical writers can easily collaborate on the creation and updating of policy and procedures within a single document repository.

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