Structured Component Authoring 101: The Solution to Manage Your Complex Documents

Office-style document applications promote unstructured authoring practices which lead to  errors and inefficiencies. Read about a solution that can transform your Life Sciences business.


As Life Sciences is such a highly regulated industry,  there are massive amounts of documentation required in almost every business domain. 

Content authors oftentimes write several documents that focus on a similar topic or product. The typical office-style authoring tools available today create barriers for authors who want to easily reuse similar content across documents.

Organizations in Life Sciences leverage office-style content applications, such as Microsoft Word, for generating documents. These types of applications are very feature rich for editing a single document, however do not provide any type of an enterprise view or strategy for reuse across a library of documents and the components of content within them. 

Structured component authoring solutions provide a single-sourced, omnichannel publishing approach that can enhance your Life Sciences business’ documentation needs.


The Drawbacks of Word and Other Office-Style Publishing Applications

When Life Sciences companies use Microsoft Word for managing content documents and component repositories, they face time-consuming challenges like:

  • Confirming content changes for reuse, repetition and repurpose
    Content authors need to reuse, repeat, or repurpose source content for different contexts and documents. Today authors will typically copy and paste content from source documents to other documents and tailor for use in the proper context. This creates a “spider web” of content lineage across documents. Now when the source material changes, it is very hard or impossible to know all other places where that material must also be updated. There is no ability within MS Word or similar applications on their own to report on changes. Authors then have to open every document and review all content components for accuracy, which results in extra time to go through and ensure all related components align.
  • Quality assurance and review
    The Life Sciences industry is highly regulated. Content must be accurate and goes through lengthy review cycles. Office-style document applications on their own have no capability — visual or otherwise — of highlighting pieces of content that were used verbatim in previously approved documents.This results in reviewers spending time to review content they may already have reviewed in a similar context.
  • Findability
    Content authors need to use similar content for different contexts. Office-style document applications typically have no mechanism to distinguish one piece of content from another inside the document. This means an author looking to find similar content to reuse must hunt through many documents to find possible reusable content. In some cases it is easier to simply create duplicate content rather than hunt through existing documents. This results in similar but different versions of the same concept in many documents.
  • Maintaining corporate style guidelines
    MS Word and similar applications allow variety in presentation and style upon export of the documentation.This runs the risk of documentation implementing incorrect corporate and brand style guidelines. Incorrect standards risk getting reproduced in other documentation if authors copy and paste from documents with brand and style errors. Authors then face the possibility of needing to manually reformat content to style standards in Word, which eats up time.

Structured component authoring solutions bypass these challenges and let content authors assemble documents with ease. 

The Benefits of Structured Component Authoring

Structured component authoring enables Life Sciences companies to easily create, share, and deliver content in different languages, across channels, to artificial intelligence applications, or all of the above.

When companies implement a structured component authoring solution, content authors are able to:

  • Easily review and verify content
    Solutions use visual cues to tell authors when content is already approved and verifies where content is being reused or where the content may be used in other documents. This extends beyond typical paragraphs and tables but includes, references, notes, and footnotes which further increases authors’ confidence in leveraging content for reuse.
  • Simplifies reviews and the document submission process overall
    Since solutions help maintain consistency in information and citations as well as provide visual cues for approved content, quality and compliance reviews become more efficient ( in some cases, this approach means certain reviews may not be needed at all).
  • Find components quickly
    Structured component authoring solutions can separate components into libraries or component repositories. This allows authors to easily find and reuse content, whereas with Word, authors must manually open several documents to locate components to use or edit.
  • Maintain consistency in style standards and content overall
    Structured component authoring platforms allow authors to focus on the content itself and then have uniformed styles and standards applied at the end when the document is published. This saves time and ensures brand guideline adherence. 

How Entitech Can Help

Entitech Solutions can help your Life Sciences content authors easily move from Word to structured authoring. 

We have been involved in several implementations, and our content migration solution for one client helped them achieve over 80% content reuse in an accelerated time frame.

Learn how we can help you. Request a consultation today.