Client Stories

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Customer case study: International Social Security Association (ISSA)

International organisation ISSA used Typefi Cloud to produce multilingual publications on a ‘previously inconceivable’ timescale.

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Social Security Association (ISSA) is the world’s leading international organisation for social security institutions, government departments and agencies.

ISSA offers a range of publications and resources for its members, including Developments and Trends reports, policy reports and briefs, online articles, and the ISSA Guidelines for Social Security Administration, a comprehensive suite of documents detailing internationally-recognised professional standards.

Printed covers of some ISSA Guidelines documents.

New product range calls for a more efficient workflow

Until 2013, ISSA’s small publications team of two staff members—a Publications Manager and a Publications Assistant—created publications using a traditional publishing workflow.

Documents were authored in-house in Microsoft Word in up to seven languages, and outsourced to a network of typesetters for composition in Adobe InDesign.

Production output was limited to PDF for both online and print publication, and the review process involved 2–3 rounds of corrections with digital markup applied to the PDF proofs.

The process was largely dependent on the availability of external contractors, the speed of their response, and the accuracy of their work.

With the development of the ISSA Guidelines for Social Security Administration in 2013, ISSA’s publications team experienced an unprecedented increase in the scale of product output as well as a shortening of the production period.

The multilingual nature of the output also presented a unique set of challenges, and it quickly became clear that the traditional workflow could no longer meet the needs and expectations of ISSA’s funders.

With the launch of the Guidelines, ISSA also wanted to increase its capacity to produce content in digital formats and to offer online resources for its international customer base.

After searching the internet for solutions, ISSA identified Typefi as the automated publishing platform offering the technical specifications and production flexibility most suited to ISSA’s publications strategy.

Typefi Cloud: One template for numerous outputs

ISSA implemented Typefi Cloud, initially to manage the production of eight ISSA Guidelines documents.

Typefi’s Professional Services team worked closely with the ISSA team to understand their requirements, conduct initial training, and provide support and guidance during the transition to the new publishing system.

ISSA’s in-house authors and editors continued to work in Microsoft Word, utilising the Typefi Writer add-in to prepare content for automatic composition through Typefi Cloud.

Meanwhile, Typefi’s Professional Services team developed the Adobe InDesign template, which allowed for automatic composition in English, French, German, and Spanish, and for consistent styling and layout across the suite of documents.

With the click of a button, ISSA’s publications team could send a prepared document directly from Word to Typefi Cloud.

There, the content was automatically composed using the project’s InDesign template, using the correct styling for whichever language the editor specified. Within minutes, Typefi Cloud returned a completed proof for review.

Sample of pages from an ISSA publication produced with Typefi.

Once corrections had been made in the source document and the content had been finalised, the production team again ran the Word file through Typefi Cloud to simultaneously produce HTML and PDF outputs for web and print.

Achieving the impossible with Typefi Cloud

The ISSA team’s primary concern with the implementation of the new system was the sheer scale of the project. However, Publications Manager Roddy McKinnon said Typefi allowed the ISSA to achieve a result that “previously would have been impossible given the resources available”.

“Once the template for the Guidelines project was finalised, which naturally involved a degree of fine tuning, it became clear that the time saved in producing the output—by cutting out completely the need to deal with external agents—freed up time to permit the coordination and management of a more complex product,” he said.

“In a matter of months, Typefi permitted the ISSA alone to produce an impressive volume of quality multilingual and multi-format publishing output—the ISSA Guidelines—that otherwise would have required years of coordinated work, and which previously would have been completed at a pace dictated by the working rhythm of external contractors.”

Rapid production, flexibility, and new ways of managing content

As well as providing more flexibility in time management for the publications team, the Typefi publishing workflows offered greater ease of proof reading, revision, and proof correction.

This led the ISSA team to reconsider the fundamental conception and design of publications as “organic and flexible” rather than “rigid and permanent”.

The team also took advantage of Typefi’s technical support platform and the “invaluable” personal support of Typefi Solution Consultants to resolve new questions, develop solutions to meet demands for possible new document features, and rectify unexpected issues.

“Typefi enables the updating of content that was previously impossible,” Roddy McKinnon said. “It permits rapid production of multiple and voluminous products on a timescale that was inconceivable before.”


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