Searching for the center of Big Blue


With over a century of history and nearly half a million employees at IBM, it shouldn’t be surprising that Big Blue boasts an ocean of products that span from the hardware horizon to the software horizon.

However, it might be more difficult to imagine the endless waves of maintaining and coordinating hundreds of websites and millions of webpages that support thousands of products and their evolving versions.

Big blue tidal wave

Big blue tidal wave

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. After producing several releases of IBM TRIRIGA user documentation over the last couple of years, our information development (ID) team, like hundreds of other ID teams, is planning to redirect its next delivery in 2014 from our retiring information centers to the new IBM Knowledge Center.

First of all, what is an information center?

In a nutshell, an information center or infocenter is an IBM Eclipse Help System (IEHS) that can be hosted online or installed locally and viewed with a web browser. For example, the IBM TRIRIGA user documentation is delivered online within the same infocenter as the IBM Maximo user documentation.

IBM TRIRIGA information center

IBM TRIRIGA information center

However, with over 650 hosted infocenters representing over 2500 products and over 60 million webpages in multiple languages, IBM finally recognized and analyzed the growing concerns of its fragmented information experience, and in 2010-2011, identified the top client complaints about its post-sales technical documentation.

  • The information is scattered and difficult to search or find.
  • The information isn’t integrated or unified between products.
  • The information doesn’t deliver a consistent user experience.

Here are 6 more sample infocenters to demonstrate the stylistic fragmentation and inconsistency.

IBM DB2 information center

IBM DB2 information center

IBM Education Assistant information center

IBM Education Assistant information center

IBM Lotus information center

IBM Lotus information center

IBM Rational Team Concert information center

IBM Rational Team Concert information center

IBM System z information center

IBM System z information center

IBM WebSphere information center

IBM WebSphere information center

So then, what is the Knowledge Center?

To unify the hundreds of isolated IBM infocenters into a single, integrated, and consistent browser-based experience, the IBM Knowledge Center (KC) replaces the aging IEHS solution. In fact, just recently in October 2013, IBM deployed the first live version of its hosted KC strategy.

Naturally, challenges still exist. Although KC is now live, many IEHS infocenters must still be migrated and integrated into the KC framework. For example, although previous versions of our IBM TRIRIGA DITA-XML source content were successfully transformed into XHTML output and delivered via IEHS, none of these IBM TRIRIGA documentation releases were incorporated into KC yet.

IBM Knowledge Center

IBM Knowledge Center

Where can I find the Knowledge Center?

If you’d like to take a tour, here’s the link to the new IBM Knowledge Center. Remember, although the KC framework is live, it isn’t fully populated with all of our migrated infocenter content. But it’ll definitely give you a taste of the new look, feel, and functionality of the website. If you sign in with your IBM.com ID, you’ll also gain access to leave comments, rate topics, save searches, and create your own collections of topics.

Personally, I’m just waiting for the day when my IBM TRIRIGA user documentation finally bubbles up to the big blue surface of KC. That’ll be a happy day indeed. :)

Do I have an update?

More than 10 months after searching for the center of IBM, I bounced into responsive IBM design!

IBM Design

IBM Design

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