Developing a metadata model that supports digital delivery of Danfoss product information

Implementing a robust digital content delivery strategy is key for Danfoss Drives. Our customers expect us to deliver content in digital touch points – PDF manuals are not good enough anymore! parson was our partner in developing and implementing an iiRDS-based metadata model in our new CCMS. We enjoyed the collaboration and as a team learned a lot, and the results are more than convincing. We are looking forward to next steps (establishing a digital content delivery touchpoint) together in the future. The foundation is done.

Holger Thater, Senior Manager Technical Communication @Danfoss Drives

Danfoss Drives is investing in the digital delivery of product information. As a global supplier of AC drives, the digital agenda is crucial for Danfoss.

Danfoss wants to use industry standards as much as possible. That is why the company selected a DITA-based CCMS (MadCap IXIA CCMS) and wanted to base the metadata model on the content delivery standard iiRDS. parson supported the project by developing an iiRDS-based metadata model and implementing the model in the DITA CCMS.

Analyzing the requirements and identifying use cases

Our first step in developing the metadata model was to analyze Danfoss’ requirements and identify relevant use cases for metadata.

In the requirements phase, we analyzed the existing technical documentation, the metadata used in the existing CCMS and interviewed relevant stakeholders. The main use cases for metadata were variant management, content delivery, and content organization in the CCMS.

Developing a metadata model based on iiRDS

With the results of the analysis, we were able to develop a metadata model based on iiRDS. It is best practice to keep the metadata model as simple as possible. Therefore, the Danfoss metadata model contains only a subset of the iiRDS metadata model: just as much as was necessary to reflect the use cases relevant to Danfoss.

The following main classes are used in the Danfoss metadata model:

  • Product metadata describing components, product variants, and product properties. Here, some extensions to the iiRDS metadata model were necessary to reflect the Danfoss product world.
  • The product metadata is mainly used to distinguish between documentation variants for different product variants. This type of metadata is also called “variant-defining metadata.”
  • Metadata for product lifecycle phases in which a specific piece of information is required, such as maintenance or operation. This metadata is mainly used when users search for information, i.e. in content delivery.
  • Functional metadata and information type, for example troubleshooting topics for events like error codes on display. This metadata is mainly used when users search for troubleshooting advice and is thus relevant for content delivery.
  • Administrative metadata like author and status.

The following image shows the metadata model as mindmap. We used a mindmap as format because it can easily be commented and reviewed. Designing the metadata model does not require ontology expertise.

Main metadata classes

Implementation in IXIA CCMS

We aligned with MadCap IXIA CCMS to create a concept for integrating the metadata model into the CCMS and developed a DITA specialization that was implemented in MadCap IXIA CCMS. The specialization includes profiling attributes for publishing variants of the Danfoss documentation. The profiling attributes are mainly used for variant management and are based on the product metadata of the model.

In this project phase, the focus was on variant management so that Danfoss can start migrating their content to the IXIA CCMS and publish their information products. Metadata for content delivery is not yet implemented, because the dynamic content delivery is planned for a later project phase. However, with the metadata model and implementation concept, it will be easy to implement delivery metadata at a later stage.

DITA implementation in IXIA CCMS: The DITA model is defined and currently being documented by Danfoss in a style guide

About Danfoss A/S

Danfoss Drives is part of the Danfoss group and a global leader in AC/DC and DC/DC power conversion, as well as variable speed control for electric motors.

Danfoss Drives is headquartered in Nordborg/Denmark and offers electric and energy efficient solutions to help decarbonize any industry. Improving productivity and reducing CO2 footprint in HVAC, water treatment, energy, marine and offshore, mining and minerals, food and beverage, heavy industries, is key for Danfoss.