There's a lot of confusion, bad information, old information about Arbortext floating around out there. There's an assumption that Arbortext is only for the Fortune 100 and that it's completely out of reach for small to medium businesses.
In reality, the assumption is that Arbortext is too expensive for the small to medium business is false. It is simply not true.
Perhaps these false assumptions steam from a lack of understanding of how the full suite of products works. Maybe it comes from folks who think that open tools are free or the integration of multiple tools is free. Maybe it comes from comparing their implementation to a large implementation like John Deere or Caterpillar.
Regardless, they do not realize that the costs born by those companies was in large part due to customizations and integrations not the software itself. In addition many of those implementations occurred a decade or more ago before standards like DITA were developed, when you had no other choice but to a lot of it yourself.
An often misquoted and misunderstood cost of any implementation is the creation of output stylesheets. When the Arbortext products are priced the sales team often includes the Arbortext Styler module. It makes Arbortext products appear more expensive than competing products. However, when you evaluate the cost of developing the stylesheets without a tool like Styler, you quickly realize that the cost of the Arbortext products is far less than other non-integrated or stand alone products. The truth is that Arbortext is very competitively priced in the market.
(Ed. 2017. Pricing data removed from this article as the model permanently changes in January 2018. For more information see the article on subscription pricing. PTC does not list Arbortext pricing publicly. However, with the move to subscription license several new packages are available that peg the price of Arbortext Editor WITH Styler as competitive with leading technical documentation products.)
There are other advantages with Arbortext as well that are very attractive for the small to mid size market: You can start with what you need and expand as your needs grow. Arbortext delivers just the right amount of software to meet your business needs when you need it. PTC is always adding new functionality so that customers can start using the software rather than spend time working on development. This includes including previous add on modules in the software without any additional costs.
PTC has a dedicated Arbortext Business Unit and development continues with PTC’s Arbortext solution. New features and enhancements mean that you won't be left sitting on the sidelines with an antiquated solution. Arbortext includes a library of sample output styles that can be used out of the box thereby further reducing the cost of implementation and speeding your return on investment.
The next big release is scheduled for early 2011. The focus is on expanding the capabilities to allow all the power you need to handle even the most challenging publishing needs. You're going to see even tighter integration with CCMS and additional options for configuring and automating publishing from the CCMS.
Arbortext has a lower total cost of ownership
How much time, effort, and money is it costing you to keep that "free" tool? See what a mature publishing tool can do to reduce your work to author, style, manage, and publish DITA content.