March 8, 2016

Event Report

tcworld India 2016: Best-Attended Tech Comm Conference Ever in India

Vineet Upendra

With over 300 participants converging at the ITC Gardenia hotel in Bangalore, the tcworld India 2016 became by far India’s biggest and best-attended tech comm conference ever!

Preconference (on Webex, February 24, 2016)

As a prelude, the pre-conference on Webex on February 24 also drew a large audience at tcworld India 2016 – over 115 participants logged in to listen to Dr. JoAnn Hackos (ComTech) speak on "Developing the Leadership Skills of Information-Development Managers"; later, Yordan Ugrinov and Iliana Kostova (VMware) laid out best practices and caveats for documentation analytics. Their talk drew quite a number of questions and interest.

And then, before we knew it, it was time for…. 

Day 1 (February 25, 2016)

Sarah Maddox (Google, Australia) opened the conference with her keynote address, The Future *is* Technical Communication. Her talk was so engaging that members of the audience spontaneously broke into applause, at the human-interest stories that she interwove into technology and technical communication.

After the keynote address break, Surag Ramachandran (Oracle) devoted a session to big data documentation focusing on financial services and, engaging the audience with gentle humor and superb anecdotes.

Elsewhere, sessions were conducted for technical writers who wanted to write their own book (Anamika Mukherjee, Oracle), as well as on how to introduce Kanban into documentation processes (Subhajit Sengupta, Digité, Mumbai). Stefan Gentz and Dustin Vaughn of Adobe gave workshops on producing and publishing content, and migrating to structured authoring. While Pavithra Garre spoke on human auditory processing and speech recognition, Vishal Palliyathu (IBM) shared his experience on how DITA comes to the rescue when company mergers bounce legacy content across the fence.

After lunch, in another round of presentations, Niranjan Jahagirdar (VMware) spoke about innovation and usability, and how writers can work together to make customers happy. Vindhya Sastry (VMware) presented a session on “Interactive Videos” that wowed the audience. Mayur Bhandarkar’s (TIBCO) session on predicting user questions to build an information repository also proved fascinating. 

 


You can’t imagine how much the audience enjoyed themselves!

Other equally exciting sessions were held on such subjects as change management in documentation projects (Kumar Dhanagopal, Oracle) and wiki-based writing (Prof. Sissi Closs). A session by Cisco's Manju Joseph took a look at making content future-ready, and a workshop by Stefan Gentz and Dustin Vaughn (Adobe) helped attendees to dive deeply into Framemaker.

There was a humorous and interactive workshop on advanced writing by Dr. Richard Wallis (Guideware Software), whereas those interested in tech comm leadership flocked to the session by Eeshita Grover (Cisco).

And just like that, it was time to enjoy drinks, dinner, food, and an absolute zinger of a party – with superb performances by writers from Cisco, an interactive dance session by the Chasse Dance Studio, and amazing songs, guitars, sax solos, and so much on, keeping the audience rooting for more!

Take a bow, Sam George, Sreenivasa Prasad, Jacob Alexander, Chinmay, Shubham, Javeed, Bindu, Megha Jagadeesh, and little Tisha!



Thank you for a most scintillating evening!

 
An evening of scintillating entertainment!

And then, the conference went into….

Day 2 (February 26, 2016)

Day 2 opened with a provocative keynote by Dr. Michael Fritz, CEO tekom, Germany, who showed the endless possibilities for engagement and challenge in the near future promised by smart production processes, smart home appliances, smart homes, and bespoke processes for bespoke products.

That was just the start, as later sessions covered a broad spectrum of topics: working with global agile teams (Meredith Kramer, Micro Focus), automated QA of DITA sets (Benjamin Colborn, Nutanix), and a very engaging “ask the experts” session (again, the indefatigable Stefan and Dustin).

And there was even more to come – use of collocations and phrases in writing and translation, presented by Ashok Bagri (founder of Trans Infopreneur Inc.), an introduction to API writing by superb story-teller, Sarah Maddox, before a packed hall of attendees who wouldn’t let her go, a career-focused “ask the directors” session (delightful insights from Sandhya Ranganathan of Hewlett Packard, Roopa Ravikumar of SAP India, and Alyssa Fox of Micro Focus), a workshop on bringing content to life (with Anu Kothari of Cisco, bringing the audience to life), a writing workshop to prevent ambiguity in the classic pen-and-paper mold (Ray Culp, TCTrainNet, Stuttgart), the business of language and some ugly truths (Padma Balakrishnan, CEO of Valuepoint Knowledgeworks), using scripts in RoboHelp (Kiranmayee Pamarthy, KLA-Tencor), accelerating tech comm careers on writers’ career highways (Alyssa Fox), and customizing authoring tools (Anthony Apodaca, appsoft Technologies).

A session on when bad design happens to good people (Edwin Skau, Model N) was hilarious, yet informative. Dr. Alexandra Holmes of Cisco spoke on creating video tutorials, Sissi Closs gave a DITA workshop, and Abhishek Jain of Adobe India explored increasing return on content.

Towards the end of the day, a very insightful panel discussion moderated by Edwin Skau, "Are YouTube and Google Making Technical Writing Redundant?", included Nihal Assadi, CEO and co-founder of Start Ripple, Rajesh Chandrasekhar, Engineering Director, CSG, Cisco, and Parveen Mittal, co-founder of Affimity, enthralling the audience in a hall filled to capacity. Another first in the history of Indian tech comm conferences!

 

The tcworld India 2016 volunteers with Dr. Michael Fritz and Akash Dubey

The conference wrapped up with a fun-filled lucky draw, and a prize distribution ceremony. Then, like all good things, tcworld India 2016 came to an end.

Until the next tcworld, keep learning and sharing!