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Rise of the Business Benefits White Paper

Date posted: September 14, 2010

More than 20 years ago, when I first began writing corporate white papers, these documents were considered a mostly academic exercise–designed to deliver highly technical content to engineers and other technical players.

There are very few purely technical white papers written today. A hybrid model replaced them in the 1990s. The hybrid still contains technical content, but also includes business benefits. The hybrid model is still the most common approach, but a major trend in the last several years is toward the development of business benefits white papers geared to a non-technical executive audience.

Business benefits white papers contain the primary business benefits of a technical product–explaining how the technology can save time, improve productivity, lower costs, etc. While the technology isn't ignored, it is generally expressed in non-technical language that further explores such matters as how the technology is deployed, training and support, and other concerns that a C-Level reader might have about cost-of-ownership and ROI.

This trend has been a boon to writers like myself who specialize in translating highly technical material into readable and engaging content that is easily understood by busy corporate executives.