If we look at the situation from a product owner point of view, one of the chief motors of change is keeping the user base satisfied while reducing the cost of support.
User documentation has to become part of the entire software value chain.
One of the current trends is examining how to “onboard” users and keep them in the satisfaction cycle. This requires examining delivery through the vision of user needs. In this respect documentation will move to a structure of user enabling and support, through proper renovated e-learning processes, virtual support portals, community driven contribution.
In our experience in the oil industry, although change is slow to implement, this new need for managing an information life-cycle is immerging instead of traditional documentation.
Change for technical writers
Technical writers will have to renovate their vision of their role in this process by getting involved earlier, planning content as a editorial path, guiding collective writing (with stakeholders and developers), interrogating users about their needs, wrapping content into multiple streams and managing an information life-cycle.
This form of change for technical writers can be facilitated by identifying the value proposal for software stakeholders, redesigning the information process and availing of the proper tools to help organize it.