LavaCon Portland 2017 | November 5-8, Portland, OR

Stilo is pleased to be one of the Silver Sponsors at this year’s LavaCon USA conference being held in Portland, Oregon from November 5-8. Why not come and visit us on booth 42 and learn more about Migrate and AuthorBridge.

LavaCon is a gathering place for content strategists, content engineers, documentation managers, and other content professionals. The 2017 content strategy conference focuses on how to build bridges: bridges between content silos, technology silos, even people silos.

Stop by our booth in the expo hall and ask us for a demo of Migrate, our cloud XML conversion service which enables technical authoring teams to convert content from source formats including FrameMaker and Word to XML DITA or AuthorBridge, our web-based XML editor which provides subject matter experts with a Guided & Fluid authoring experience without requiring any knowledge of XML or DITA.

We’re pleased to have been selected to make the following presentations at LavaCon Portland – be sure to add them to your schedule!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 | 1:30 – 2:30pm
Collaborative Authoring for Technical Authors and SMEs
Patrick Baker, VP Development & Professional Services

Abstract | When technical authors are working in structured authoring formats such as DITA, collecting and reviewing contributions from SME team members can quickly become a difficult problem to manage. SMEs typically want to continue authoring in Word, and understandably don’t want to learn about XML. So is it just a matter of providing an intuitive, Word-like authoring environment for SMEs, or is there more to it than that?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | 9:00 – 10:00am
Reusing Your Reuse: How to Keep the Reuse You Have When You Move to DITA
Helen St. Denis, Conversion Services Manager

Abstract | You are moving to DITA, but you’ve already got reuse happening in your legacy format. Reuse mechanisms don’t usually match DITA’s. How can you keep the added value of content reuse when you move the content to the new format?

Find out more and register

SSP Annual Meeting 2017 | May 31-June 2, Boston, MA

Join us at the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) 39th Annual Meeting at The Westin Boston Waterfront, Massachusetts from May 31 to June 2, 2017.

You will find us located on booth #407B

The theme for this year’s meeting is Striking a Balance: Embracing Change While Preserving Tradition in Scholarly Communications and will look at the ways in which we as publishers, librarians, vendors and academics manage to explore and develop new technologies, business models, and partnerships while also remaining focused on our mission to publish and distribute quality scholarly content to researchers and students.

Find out more and register

LavaCon Europe 2017 | May 22-24, Dublin, Ireland

Stilo is pleased to be one of the Silver Sponsors at this year’s LavaCon Europe conference being held at the Croke Park Conference Center in Dublin, Ireland from May 22-24.

LavaCon is a gathering place for content strategists, content engineers, documentation managers, and other content professionals.

Stop by our booth in the expo hall and ask us for a demo of Migrate, our cloud XML conversion service which enables technical authoring teams to convert content from source formats including FrameMaker and Word to XML DITA and AuthorBridge, our web-based XML editor which provides subject matter experts with a Guided & Fluid authoring experience without requiring any knowledge of XML or DITA.

Find out more and register

Posting of Annual Report, Notice of AGM and Proxy Form

25 April 2017

Stilo International plc (the “Company”), the AIM quoted software and cloud services company, announces that its 2017 Annual General Meeting will be held at the offices of RSM UK Audit LLP, 25 Farringdon Street, London EC4A 4AB at 11.30 a.m. on Thursday 18 May 2017 (“AGM”).

In connection with this meeting, the Annual Report of the Company for the year ended 31 December 2016 (“Annual Report”) has been posted to shareholders who have elected to receive hard copies of the Annual Report. The Notice of the AGM, and its associated Proxy Form, are both included within the Annual Report.

The Annual Report of the Company (including the Notice of AGM, and its associated Proxy Form) are also available to view and download from the Company’s website at www.stilo.com

ENQUIRIES

Stilo International plc
Les Burnham, Chief Executive
T +44 1793 441 444

SPARK Advisory Partners Limited (Nominated Adviser)
Neil Baldwin T +44 203 368 3554
Mark Brady  T +44 203 368 3551

SI Capital (Broker)
Andy Thacker
Nick Emerson
T +44 1483 413500


DITA conversion and metadata

One of the most overlooked aspects of DITA conversion is including metadata in your conversion project. Metadata is a powerful tool. Please, leverage it! (Go ahead and picture me shouting this from the rooftops.)

Your goal is to capture and transfer metadata that is important to your content and your processes. You want to do this for a few reasons:

  1. So that it’s not forgotten and left behind. “When was this content last updated and who updated it?” You don’t want the answer to be: “Who knows. We converted it last week.”
  2. So you can leverage your XML. Adding metadata to XML is like putting a steering wheel on your car—it gives you all sorts of control over it.
  3. So you don’t have to apply metadata manually after conversion, a painful and time-consuming exercise.

You can also treat your conversion project as an opportunity to introduce new metadata into your content that can really enhance its value. The moment when content is being converted to XML but is not yet loaded into a CMS is the perfect moment for adding metadata.

Part of your overall content strategy should include a section on metadata strategy, where you plan what kinds of information you want to capture (or introduce) and how you will do so.

Metadata explained

Metadata is simply information about information. The date stamp on a file, for example, is metadata about that file. Although we’re used to seeing all sorts of metadata, we rarely use it to our benefit other than by sorting a list of files. Using Windows 7, you could, for example, easily return a list of all graphics that you’ve ever uploaded to your computer that were taken with a specific lens length, no matter where they are stored. You could do the equivalent exercise with your content files (Word documents, FrameMaker files, Excel spreadsheets, etc.) if you took the time to tag them with simple category metadata.

In the context of DITA topics and maps, metadata is information that is not part of the content itself. Metadata is expressed in an element’s attributes and values, in elements in the prolog of a topic, in the topicmeta element in maps, in various other places in maps and bookmaps, and in subject scheme maps.

Metadata in the prolog element

Use metadata for different purposes:

  1. Internal processes. For example, knowing the last date a piece of content was updated can let you know that content has become stale. This sort of metadata can also drive workflows for authoring, reviewing, and translating.
  2. Conditional content. Metadata is what lets you show/hide content that is specific to particular users, specific output types (like mobile), or particular products and helps you maximize your ability to single source and re-use content (thus making your ROI that much more attractive).
  3. To control the look and feel of your content on publish. Metadata allows information to pass to your publishing engine.
  4. Grouping and finding content using a taxonomy or subject scheme. Useful for both authors searching for content and end users searching and browsing for content, this strategy can be a really powerful addition to your content.
  5. To run metrics against. Example: Return a count of topics covering a subject matter, or the number of topics updated in the last x months by author a, b, and c. You can get metrics on any metadata you plan for and implement.

What metadata do you need to capture?

The metadata you need to capture depends on your content strategy. A good method is to start with how you’d like your users (external stakeholders) to experience their content and work backwards from there. For example, if you want localized content to display for users who are from a specific geographic location, then you need to build that in. If you want content to display differently for mobile devices, then you need to build that in.

Don’t forget about your authors when it comes to planning your metadata (it helps to think of them as internal stakeholders). Metadata can introduce some major efficiencies when planning, finding, authoring, and publishing content. A good CMS lets authors browse, search, and filter by subject matter, keyword, component, sub-component, or any other piece of metadata. Sometimes some of the metadata might be applied in the CMS itself rather than in the topics or map, so your metadata plan should include an understanding of what and how you’ll be able to leverage metadata using your CMS of choice.

However, at a minimum, think about including topic-level metadata (traditionally placed in the prolog element) that includes:

  • Author
  • Status of the content (for example, approved)
  • Date content was originally created
  • Date content was last updated
  • Version of product (if applicable)

Conditional metadata

Conditional metadata is the most popular use of metadata. The conditional markers on your legacy content should be converted to attributes and their values so you can leverage profiling (publishing for specific users or output types). Not all attributes can work as profiling attributes, so make sure you do your homework when planning your metadata strategy. Also not all attributes are available on all elements.

Conditional metadata on a step element

The .ditaval file goes hand in hand with conditional metadata. This is a processing file used on publish to show/hide attribute/value pairs.

Ditaval file

Publishing metadata

You can use metadata to control the look and feel of your content. A simple example is for table header columns that should have vertical text rather than horizontal text. A piece of metadata can let the stylesheets identify when to display text with vertical alignment.

Table with metadata that indicates some text should be vertical

Best Practices

I’m the first one to admit that managing your metadata can become a bit of a nightmare.  You need to keep an eye on best practices to make sure what you implement is scalable and manageable.

When you think metadata, think map

There are no two ways about it—trying to manage metadata at the topic level is not always efficient. Instead, think about putting some metadata in maps instead.  This lets you change the metadata of a topic depending on the map it is referenced in, making it more versatile.

However, there are downsides to placing metadata in maps. It means you have to duplicate effort because every time you reference the same topic, you must specify the metadata again in each map, which could lead to inconsistencies. It also means that authors can’t necessarily easily see the metadata that might be important for them to know when using or modifying the topic.

Often, some metadata at the map level lets you leverage your content intelligently while the rest should stay in the topic. Each case is unique and you should define this as part of your content strategy, but some examples are shown below.

Keep in mind that metadata that is assigned in DITA topics can be supplemented or overridden by metadata that is assigned in a DITA map, so you can overlap metadata if needed but the map is (usually) boss. For details, see the DITA specification.

Map metadata using the topicmeta element

Keys and conkeyrefs

Some great alternatives to setting conditional or profiling attributes on elements are to use keys and conkeyrefs. These mechanisms take the control out of the topic and put it in the map or in a central location, where it belongs. When you start controlling your content from your map or from a central location, your content becomes both more versatile and more efficiently updated. For example, a topic could swap out some of its content depending on the map in which it is referenced. This can be useful for anything from a term or variable phrase to a table, graphic, or paragraph.

Use of keyref in a sentence

Defining key in map, where the keyword will replace the keyref in the paragraph above

Taxonomy/Subject Scheme

Using the subject scheme map, you can take your metadata to a whole new level. The subject scheme map is a way of introducing hierarchy into your classification or subject scheme, and then being able to leverage that hierarchy intelligently on publish. For example, you can create a subject scheme that defines two types of subjects: hardware and software. Each of these categories would be broken out into sub-categories. So hardware might include headsets, screens, and power cords. By connecting this hierarchical categorization to the topics and maps that hold your content, you can manipulate content at the lower level of categorization (for example, exclude all headsets content) or at the higher level (exclude all hardware content). It also lets you change the user experience of content for end users, so they can easily search through or browse these categories. And that’s just the beginning of what you can do with subject scheme maps.

For more information on subject scheme maps, see Joe Gelb’s presentation on this subject. Although he distinguishes metadata from taxonomy, this is really an arbitrary distinction. Think of taxonomy as a particular kind of metadata with a specific purpose.

Like any metadata effort, planning your taxonomy and subject scheme is essential. For example, identifying all installation content is probably not going to be useful to end users (who wants to see the installation topics for 40 products?) but grouping content by subcomponent could be essential. The trick is to determine what will be useful.

Summary: A careful, methodical approach to including metadata in your conversion project can help you leverage your XML in a way that can be both internally and externally powerful. Use your conversion project as a way to not only transfer your existing metadata to your XML or CMS, but to also enhance your metadata to ensure you have versatile and findable content.


JATS-Con 2017 | April 25-26, Bethesda, MD

Stilo will be attending JATS-Con 2017, April 25 & 26, in the Lister Hill Auditorium at the U.S. National Library of Medicine on the NIH Campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

JATS-Con is a conference for anyone interested in learning more about the Journal Article TAG Suite (JATS), an XML format for marking up and exchanging journal content. Conference presentations are peer-reviewed and result in a final paper that is archived.

The conference is free to attend, although pre-registration is required.

Check out the program and register

Why not meet with one of our technical team at JATS-Con 2017 and learn more about Migrate, our cloud service that enables Journal Publishers to automate the conversion of MS Word documents to JATS, or AuthorBridge, our web-based JATS editor that enables journal publishers and their authors to easily create structured content with no knowledge of XML.

Schedule a meeting

Migrating to DITA – best practices for authors to consider before converting legacy content

When first making the move to DITA, there are some very important best practices that authors should consider before converting their legacy content.

When doing any sort of conversion from one format to another, the riding principle is always GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). If your legacy content is not particularly good, then converting it to DITA will only create indifferent content in a so-so DITA markup. The result: failure.

So what authoring best practices should you consider before converting your legacy content?

1.  Topic-based writing

Your content needs to be able to split nicely into topics. The DITA model uses tasks, concepts, and references, but there are variations like super tasks, glossary, and scenarios that could be useful to keep in mind as well. However, if your content is still in chapter-like narrative form, the resulting conversion will be problematic—and your ability to leverage the advantages of DITA (like re-use) will be negatively affected. Worse still, if you have content that contains a mix of concept, task, and/or reference all in the same “chunk”, then it needs to be re-written.

2.  Minimalism

Applying minimalism to content is vital. You could do it post-conversion, of course, but you can save a lot of time by doing it pre-conversion. Minimalism has three important facets to it:

  1. Write goal-based content: Writing goal-based content means more than just planning your content around tasks (although that, too, is important). It means identifying what your users will be doing with the product and writing those tasks. This is a departure from the feature-based content we often see. It’s the difference between writing the task “Using the Fine Tune feature”, which focuses on the product, and the task “Enhancing your Audio”, which focuses on the user. They might cover similar steps, but the focus of the task is on what the user needs to do, not what the product does. When you start identifying really good user goals, you end up writing about many different features, stringing them together so the user gets the information they need to complete that goal. If you have a lot of tasks that have “if-then” types of choices, you are probably mixing different goals into one task. You can often break those out into separate and more meaningful stand-alone tasks. Once you have your goals written, then it’s time to include the conceptual and reference information to support those goals.
  2. Provide only the information users need to perform the task inside the task and write nothing extra: This means writing one way to perform a task, not all ways. It means providing troubleshooting information in line with the steps where it can be useful. It means providing step results when they are informative rather than obvious. It also means not documenting the “cancel” button.
  3. Get rid of the chaff: This includes those rather unnecessary lead-in sentences like “This chapter introduces you to …” or “this table contains information about…”. When your topic and table titles are clear and your content is well written, you can completely remove those extra words (that users, ahem, skip over anyhow).

3.  Navigation

Authors are frequently in love with cross references, especially inline cross references (example: “For more information about x, see link”). Users, however, are not so in love with them. One user recently referred to it as “falling into a spinning circle”. By the time they have followed the link from the original topic (which led them to a web of five more topics), they not only can’t find their way back to the original task, they can’t even remember what the original task was. I call it “the spaghetti mess of links”.

Links between topics should be kept to an absolute minimum and should only be inline in rare circumstances. If you need to link two topics together, the best place for that is at the side or at the bottom of the topic and often DITA will do that automatically for you. What are valid reasons for linking topics?  When the user will never be able to guess that those two topics are related, or that the two topics are not “siblings” to each other in the hierarchy of content, or when you want to introduce a sequence between topics.

There are other valid reasons to include links, but the goal here is to keep linking to a minimum so that users will find the links useful. As a result, they will also pay more attention to links when you provide them. Another goal is to minimize dependencies between topics. You should be putting all links in relationship tables, which are linking mechanisms that live in the DITA maps instead of inside the topics. By removing the links from inside the topics and putting them at a higher level, inside the map, you leave the topics dependency-free to be re-used wherever necessary.

4.  Structural monstrosities

Let’s face it: we sometimes do odd things to our content in order to organize it as best we can. The result is sometimes something too complex to convert well to DITA. One example is a table within a table. Another monstrosity is having procedures in tables for some understandable formatting and layout advantages. Clean up your monstrosities and make them pretty enough to go to the Ball. DITA will give you other ways to organize your content without that sort of complexity.

Links between topics should be kept to an absolute minimum and should only be inline in rare circumstances. If you need to link two topics together, the best place for that is at the side or at the bottom of the topic and often DITA will do that automatically for you. What are valid reasons for linking topics?  When the user will never be able to guess that those two topics are related, or that the two topics are not “siblings” to each other in the hierarchy of content, or when you want to introduce a sequence between topics.

There are other valid reasons to include links, but the goal here is to keep linking to a minimum so that users will find the links useful. As a result, they will also pay more attention to links when you provide them. Another goal is to minimize dependencies between topics. You should be putting all links in relationship tables, which are linking mechanisms that live in the DITA maps instead of inside the topics. By removing the links from inside the topics and putting them at a higher level, inside the map, you leave the topics dependency-free to be re-used wherever necessary.

5.  Structure without differentiating meaning

I have yet to see legacy content that doesn’t include formatting for something like bold, italics, or underline. They are each often applied for very different reasons though. For example, you might italicize a phrase to indicate that it’s a book name, or because it’s a first occurring term, or for emphasis.

In DITA, if you apply the <i> element to all of these different types of content, then you won’t be able to leverage the markup properly. The <cite> element is used to indicate a book or external reference name. A term might be put in the <term> element. Emphasis, on the other hand, is simply not an acceptable reason to change font weight anymore. Once you are using the right elements for the right sort of emphasis, you’ll be able to leverage the formatting for those items separately and do cool things like link your <term> elements to actual glossary descriptions so users have inline rollovers with definitions.

So get familiar with your DITA inline elements like <uicontrol>, <menucascade>, <cite>, <term>, <ph>, <dl>, and get them to work for you.

A good conversion method will be smart enough to make those distinctions for you or help you make them, but that’s a key piece of conversion functionality you should look out for.

6.  Short descriptions

If you haven’t yet encountered the DITA short description, count yourself lucky. It is the only element that legacy content often doesn’t have. DITA best practices say that each topic (every one!) should have a short description. If you’re thinking, “Big deal, I’ll just put my first sentence as the short description everywhere”, then let me stop you right there. A short description is the single hardest piece of content to write in the DITA model.

A good short description is succinct (less than two lines for sure, better to make it one). It accurately describes the topic without repeating the title, and gives users just the right information that, when they see the title+short description combination, allows them to decide whether that topic is worth navigating to or not.

In all online outputs, the title+short description is visible every time your content is in a hierarchy (parent-child). That’s why it looks odd when some topics have short descriptions and others don’t. You should either use them everywhere or use them nowhere.

The short description is a powerful interpretive tool that lets you bridge what is often required technical jargon in the title with the terms a user might be more familiar with. It often leads to the “Oh, that’s what you mean” moment for users. Wield it wisely.

Good Results and Bad Results

The first example is an “as is” conversion.

As is example conversion

This second example is the same content, but with ‘best practices’ applied.

Best practices applied

Conclusion: If you follow these best practices before, during, or after your conversion, your content will become versatile, usable, and streamlined. Excellence in, excellence out is what we should all strive for.


We’re recruiting! Full-stack and software developer | Ottawa, Canada

We’re looking to grow our development team located in Ottawa, Canada! We have two immediate full-time, permanent vacancies:
Software Developer | Ottawa, Canada | Permanent

We currently have an immediate vacancy in our development and services team for a recently qualified software developer, based in the Ottawa office. We are looking for creative problem solvers who enjoy tackling a wide range of technical challenges. Important personal attributes include strong analytical skills, a solid theoretical foundation in the principles of computer science, the ability to work both independently and as part of a team, and a knack for learning new things quickly. Good communication skills are also important.

Read the full job description

Full-stack Developer | Ottawa, Canada | Permanent

We currently have an immediate vacancy in our AuthorBridge team for a full-stack developer, based in the Ottawa office. We are looking for creative problem solvers who enjoy tackling a wide range of technical challenges. Important personal attributes include a solid theoretical foundation in the principles of computer science fused with a passion for coding. Ideally, you have explored some dark corners of web development for your own pleasure and have open source projects to prove it.

Read the full job description

 

If you would like to be considered for these or any future positions, please do send us a copy of your CV with cover letter.
Applicants must be legally entitled to work in Canada.

Visit our careers page for more job postings.


Preliminary announcement of results for year ended 31 December 2016

16 March 2017

STILO INTERNATIONAL PLC

Stilo International plc (“Stilo”, the “Group” or the “Company”) today announces its results for the year ended 31 December 2016. The Company develops software tools and cloud services that help organisations create and process structured content in XML format, so that it can be more easily stored, managed, re-used, translated and published to multiple print and digital channels.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • 16% increase in sales revenues to £1,761,000 (2015: £1,517,000)
  • 22% increase in profits before tax to £318,000 (2015 : £261,000)
  • 15% increase in operating costs, net of capitalised development costs, to £1,437,000 (2015: £1,246,000)
  • 22% increase in annual recurring software maintenance revenues to £871,000 (2015: £713,000)
  • Increased investment in total product development to £538,000(2015: £419,000) of which £204,000 capitalised (2015: £125,000)
  • Improved cash position of £1,466,000 as at 31 December 2016 (2015: £1,318,000)
  • Final dividend proposed of 0.05 pence per Ordinary Share, providing a 12.5% increase in total dividend to 0.09 pence for the year (2015: total 0.08 pence).

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

  • Substantial increase in OmniMark revenues partially offset by reduction in Migrate sales
  • Migrate customers for the period include Dell, Locamation, Teradata, Qualcomm, Silicon Labs, VMWare, Swift and Motorola Solutions
  • Significant OmniMark software orders received from the Japan Patent Office, the European Parliament and Embraer in Brazil
  • Initial adoption of AuthorBridge by the central Information Developer Tools team at IBM and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington D.C.

David Ashman, Chairman, commenting on the Company’s performance, stated:

I am very pleased to report a 16% increase in revenues, a 22% increase in profits before tax and an improved cash position for 2016.

A significant increase in OmniMark sales from customers in Japan and Brazil was partially offset by a reduction in Migrate revenues, in what we considered to be a general softening of demand for conversion services in the XML DITA market.

Following substantial development efforts, it was particularly pleasing to see the initial adoption of AuthorBridge by the central Information Developer Tools team at IBM in the USA, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington D.C. This is a very positive beginning for AuthorBridge and augurs well for future sales.

The 2016 results benefitted from the weakening of the UK pound, post the Brexit referendum in June 2016. The majority of our sales are transacted in US dollars, with the balance mainly in euros, while our costs are primarily in Canadian dollars and UK pounds.

Our reported profits include the capitalisation of AuthorBridge development costs, as mandated by IFRS reporting standards and we anticipate depreciating the accumulated capitalised costs over a ten year period starting in 2017, following the general release of AuthorBridge v2.0.

We continue to press ahead with innovative new software developments, and with cash reserves remaining strong, I am pleased to propose the payment of a final dividend of 0.05 pence per share, providing a total dividend for the year of 0.09 pence per share.

Download a PDF of the full 2016 preliminary results announcement


CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT

I am very pleased to report a 16% increase in revenues, a 22% increase in profits before tax and an improved cash position for 2016.

A significant increase in OmniMark sales from customers in Japan and Brazil was partially offset by a reduction in Migrate revenues, in what we considered to be a general softening of demand for conversion services in the XML DITA market.

Following substantial development efforts, it was particularly pleasing to see the initial adoption of AuthorBridge by the central Information Developer Tools team at IBM in the USA, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington D.C. This is a very positive beginning for AuthorBridge and augurs well for future sales.

The 2016 results benefitted from the weakening of the UK pound, post the Brexit referendum in June 2016. The majority of our sales are transacted in US dollars, with the balance mainly in euros, while our costs are primarily in Canadian dollars and UK pounds.

Our reported profits include the capitalisation of AuthorBridge development costs, as mandated by IFRS reporting standards and we anticipate depreciating the accumulated capitalised costs over a ten year period starting in 2017, following the general release of AuthorBridge v2.0.

We continue to press ahead with innovative new software developments, and with cash reserves remaining strong, I am pleased to propose the payment of a final dividend of 0.05 pence per share, providing a total dividend for the year of 0.09 pence per share.

David Ashman
Chairman
16 March 2017

 

BUSINESS OVERVIEW

Stilo develops software tools and cloud services that help organisations create and process structured content in XML format, so that it can be more easily stored, managed, re-used, translated and published to multiple print and digital channels.

Over recent years, many organisations have adopted industry specific XML standards e.g. Publishing (DocBook), Aerospace & Defence (S1000D), Finance (XBRL), Life Sciences (SPL), Software and High Tech (DITA). Stilo made the decision some years ago to focus new product development and marketing efforts on the emerging DITA standard. This standard originated within IBM to support the publishing of its technical documentation and has been increasingly adopted by other software and high-tech companies. DITA is now beginning to make inroads into additional market sectors including Manufacturing, Life Sciences and Publishing.

In order to diversify beyond the DITA market, we have recently undertaken research into the XML JATS (Journal Article Tag Suite) market for scientific and scholarly publishers. Initial indications are that this could represent a promising new business opportunity for Stilo, and we will seek to address this through the incremental development of AuthorBridge and Migrate.

We continue to build upon our strong reputation for excellent products and supporting technical expertise, resulting from many years of experience in the structured content marketplace. With offices in the UK and Canada, we support clients throughout North America, Europe and Japan.

PRODUCTS AND CUSTOMERS

OmniMark

Stilo’s core technology is OmniMark, a long-established development platform used to build high-performance content processing applications integral to enterprise publishing solutions.

Users include Boeing, Pratt and Whitney, EADS, Thomson Publishing, and Wolters Kluwer. Sales for the period included orders from the European Parliament, Japan Patent Office and Embraer in Brazil.

Migrate

Migrate is the world’s first cloud XML content conversion service, and utilises OmniMark technology. Through advanced levels of automation, it enables organisations to improve turnaround times, reduce operating costs and take direct control of their work schedules, providing an attractive alternative to traditional outsourced conversion services.

Migrate users include IBM, Cisco, EMC and Oracle. Sales for the period included orders from Dell, Locamation, Teradata, Qualcomm, Silicon Labs, VMWare, Swift and Motorola Solutions. Using Migrate, we have helped our customers convert over one million pages of content to the DITA format.

AuthorBridge

AuthorBridge is a web-based XML authoring tool, designed for occasional content contributors who have no knowledge of XML or its complexities. It is currently targeted at large enterprises, which are looking to extend the use of DITA across different business units and potentially support thousands of users.

Development of AuthorBridge is progressing well, albeit with some slippage against original schedules. Its initial adoption by the central Information Developer Tools team at IBM in the USA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington D.C. provides a good foundation upon which we can build future sales.

The ongoing development of AuthorBridge continues at a pace, as we add functionality that is necessary to advance sales more generally in the DITA market.

Planned developments in 2017 also include support for the XML JATS (Journal Article Tag Suite) standard for scientific and scholarly publishers, and for the ISO-STS (Standards Tagging Set) standard developed by NISO (National Information Standards Organisation). These are emerging new international XML standards with the potential for adoption by thousands of diverse organisations around the world, with an associated demand for specialist authoring tools and conversion services.

Sales analysis by geographic region

Our customers typically comprise large organisations, and are spread globally. Geographic sales revenues were derived as follows:

Region 2016 2015
UK 2% 2%
Rest of Europe 10% 16%
North America 49% 67%
South America 9% 1%
Asia 30% 14%

 

North America continues to represent a significant proportion of sales revenues as adoption of the DITA XML standard has been primarily led by corporations with their headquarters based in the USA. It is anticipated that adoption of the DITA XML standard will spread internationally over the coming years.

The percentage increase in sales to Asia is as a consequence of major OmniMark licence sales to the Japan Patent Office through our partner Toshiba Solutions, based in Tokyo.

Technical Expertise

Our technical team includes leading experts in the development of XML content processing technologies and along with our support services, are very highly regarded by customers.

OmniMark is used in the development of Migrate, and both Migrate and OmniMark technologies are used in AuthorBridge, which results in very efficient integrated development and support activities.

Operations

Stilo operates from offices located in Swindon, UK and Ottawa, Canada. The technical team is based in our Ottawa office.

As at 31 December 2016, there were 18 permanent employees in the Company, complemented by the use of contractors. In 2017 we will be making additional investments in the recruitment of development personnel, although it is not anticipated that we will be growing headcount significantly, as we look to contain our costs and scale the business through technology sales.

FINANCIAL RESULTS

The results for the year ended 31 December 2016 have been prepared in accordance with the recognition and measurement principles of International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union.

In 2016, the results for Stilo show an increase in EBITDA to £327,000 (2015: £272,000). Pre-tax profits were £318,000 (2015: £261,000).

Total sales revenues for the year increased by 16% to £1,761,000 (2015: £1,517,000). The increase in revenue was due primarily to a £331,000 growth in OmniMark licence sales, from major customers in Japan and Brazil. The Company also benefitted from an increase in recurring revenue from software maintenance contracts to £871,000 (2015: £713,000) which represents 49% (2015: 47%) of annual sales revenue. Revenue from Migrate reduced by £223,000 compared to the previous year, in what we considered to be a general softening of demand for conversion services in the DITA market.

The Company continues to maintain careful control over operating costs. Investment in additional development staff has meant that operating costs increased in the year. Operating expenses, excluding capitalised development costs, were £1,437,000 (2015: £1,246,000).

Investment in R & D continued in 2016, with total expenditure for the year of £538,000 (2015: £419,000). As a result of this investment, Stilo continues to benefit from research and development tax credits. Of this expenditure, £204,000 (2015: £125,000) relating to the development of AuthorBridge has been capitalised, and the total accumulated capitalised costs will be depreciated over a 10 year period, commencing in 2017.

There was a cash balance of £1,466,000 as at 31 December 2016 (31 December 2015: £1,318,000), and Stilo remains entirely un-geared. This balance sheet stability provides a sound financial base for the Company and will support continued investment in product development, sales and marketing. Further investment in staff recruitment is expected in 2017, however, overall costs will continue to be carefully managed in order to maintain cash reserves at a satisfactory level.

Total trade debtors were £348,000 (2015: £161,000), equating to 72 days (2015: 54 days). Albeit outside of standard credit terms, the directors consider this to be reasonable, due to the specific circumstances relating to one balance. Overdue amounts are closely monitored.

DIVIDENDS

The Board recommends the payment of a Final Dividend for the year of 0.05 pence per Ordinary Share which, if approved by shareholders at the AGM on 18 May 2017, will be paid on 23 May 2017 to shareholders on the register on 21 April 2017. The shares will be marked ex-dividend on 20 April 2017. If approved, payment of the Final Dividend will bring the total dividends paid to shareholders for the year to 0.09 pence per Ordinary Share.

The Board’s policy is to maintain payment of a steady and progressive dividend, well covered and paid subject to maintaining sufficient funds within the business with regard to prudent forecasts of future capital requirements, without the need for debt funding.

OUTLOOK

The global market for dynamically publishing structured content to multiple channels continues to grow, which in turn drives the market for XML content conversion and authoring tools.

Overall trading in 2017 continues in line with management expectations, as we continue to invest in the development of innovative new products that will serve to underpin our future growth.

ENQUIRIES

Stilo International plc
Les Burnham, Chief Executive
T +44 1793 441 444

SPARK Advisory Partners Limited (Nominated Adviser)
Neil Baldwin T +44 203 368 3554
Mark Brady  T +44 203 368 3551

SI Capital (Broker)
Andy Thacker
Nick Emerson
T +44 1483 413500


Board Appointment

28 September 2016

Stilo International plc

The Board of Stilo International plc (“Stilo” or the “Company”) (LSE:STL), the AIM quoted software and cloud services company, is pleased to announce that it has appointed Liam O’Donoghue to its Board of Directors as a Non-Executive Director with effect from 3 October 2016.

Liam qualified as a lawyer with leading Irish Corporate law firm William Fry and also spent a number of years in the corporate finance department of Seymour Pierce in London where he advised on a wide range of corporate transactions. Liam is a founder member and director of ONE Advisory Group, which provides corporate advisory and administration services to listed companies.

Stilo non-executive Chairman, David Ashman commented:

“I am delighted to welcome Liam to the Board as an independent, non-executive director. We look forward to benefiting from fresh insights drawing upon his valuable experience of corporate transactions and company governance”.

Information in respect of Mr O’Donoghue as required by Schedule 2(g) of the AIM Rules for Companies is included below.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Full name: William John O’Donoghue
Age: 34

Current Directorships / Partnerships:
One Advisory Limited
One Capital Limited
One Advisory Group Limited

Previous Directorships / Partnerships in the last 5 years:
Amedeo Assets Limited
Amedeo Capital Limited
Creon Corporation Limited
Adcompass Ltd
CMS Corporate Services Limited

ENQUIRIES

Stilo International plc
Les Burnham, Chief Executive
T +44 1793 441 444

SPARK Advisory Partners Limited (Nominated Adviser)
Neil Baldwin T +44 203 368 3554
Mark Brady  T +44 203 368 3551

SI Capital (Broker)
Andy Thacker
Nick Emerson
T +44 1483 413500