Friday, July 16, 2010

"User Friendly?"

OnStar CIO, Jeff Liedel was recently profiled in InformationWeek. He asks, “How do you code for ‘user friendly’”? I developed my first mainstream business application which helped a group of Industrial Engineers to capture, analyze, and report data which they would collect on their consulting engagements to improve efficiencies in large businesses. I was appalled when some of them complained they not could figure out how to work my application. It was so obvious to ME.

The wonderful thing about people is that they come from all walks of life with endless experiences that shape their views and perspectives. An application's user interface (the visual screen display, menu’s, functions...) may make sense to one, but seem totally foreign to another.

I have a passion for learning and improving things. I love how technology is constantly shaping this. This is part of the reason that I became so committed to the SHO Technology. It allows a person who knows the application and business process to capture or record doing the job the right way. Using SHO Guide, this “script” may be distributed to everyone in the organization to complete the computer task correctly by guiding them step-by-step on the application they need to use to do their job. The formal name for this kind of learning is called “Performance Support.”

I have had a lot of fun creating various scripts to help guide friends and family members with various outcomes they desired on their applications. Now, if only I could figure out how to guide large organizations to find SHO Guide. When you have that one figured out, call me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting the Job Done

We (worldwide market) spend over US$ 350 billion per year in software. Consider this scenario: An organization with 250 users of a typical Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution used to manage marketing leads, sales opportunities, service, and related communications, will spend on average $4,250,000. Almost half of the users licensed do not use the software. Studies show the primary reason is that the software is too difficult to use and unfamiliar.

Say you have a great sales opportunity and you want to include a solution specialist on your team to help you win the business. Would you know how to add the person in your CRM tool? Or, would you simply send an email requesting this person help you? If you or your people choose the email, you are in danger of redundancy, loss of tacit knowledge, and possibly missing vital information and communications to win the business.

The subject matter expert (SME) uses SHO Guide® to record or capture the correct procedure. The SHO Guide “script” is published to a central location and given the title of something like “Add a person to the sales opty team.” Anyone in the organization may click on the link which launches the SHO Player which guides them in the live environment to complete the procedure. SHO Guide is an innovative solution to “learn by doing.” No video’s to watch or steps to memorize in a help window that gets lost behind an sequence. I’ve learned how to do this and completed it at the same time.

Software is only as good as the people who use it. We set out to increase the capability of the people to get the job done and done right.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Microsoft Office had this kind of help engine? Glad you asked. Stay tuned.


Dan Peay

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Convergence 2009

Well, it's finally here... our first trip to Convergence after releasing SHO Guide for Dynamics CRM. Although we aren't exhibiting, we are scheduled to meet with many of the top Integrators and key Microsoft CRM Product Managers.

It's quite an amazing feeling to be on the verge of the "tipping point." It's been a long road but we have no doubt that this trip will be the catalyst to propel SHO Guide into the mainstream. We are very proud of SHO Technology and know that users will be able to significantly improve adoption in their respective deployments through the development of even basic scripts.

This past week we learned that SHO Guide has been selected as one of 6 finalists in the seventh annual Utah Innovation Awards. The award presented by Stoel Rives LLP and the Utah Technology Council, recognizes significant innovations and the Utah companies that created them. The program is designed to draw attention to the high level of innovation taking place throughout the state. Wish us luck!!!

If anyone reading this will be in New Orleans next week (March 10th - March 13th) look us up.

Best regards,

Daniel Higbee (

Monday, February 9, 2009

Getting Started email - 14 Day Free Trial

You should receive this email within 24 hours of completing the registration process for the Free Trial. I've posted it here for convenience.

Thank you for your interest in SHO Guide. I would like to offer you some guidance as you get started with this amazing tool. The first thing you should do is take a deep breath and stop trying to record on whatever application you're trying it out on… and follow these steps first…

How do we know you were doing this you ask? Well, let’s just say we know how tempting it is when you get your hands on this technology to immediately want to try it out in your environment (we all did the same thing). For those of you who didn’t, you would have eventually…

Here’s the key, there are a few tips and tricks that will get you started the right way… and with much less frustration.

Step 1: Make sure you have met the minimum system requirements:

· Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista
· Minimum 256 MB RAM
· Minimum 500MHz processor
· Microsoft .NET 1.1
· Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater

Step 2: Print out the attached file “10 Tips for Creating SHO Scripts” and memorize it… or at least keep it close.

Step 3: Go back to the Transcensus website, login using your username and password.

Step 4: Go to the “Support” tab then “Resources” (if you’re not there already) and watch and complete all of the online training videos along with the QuickStart questionnaire which is attached and email it or fax it back to me when you’re done (This is extremely important so that we can continue to improve your experience).

NOTE: The videos may take some time to load the first time you run them.

We know this is a lot of free training but if you complete it, you will be well on your way to creating amazing scripts by the end of your free trial…

Step 5: Use the Support Forum to ask questions, you may find the answer is already there.

If you follow these 5 steps and your still having issues or need some help, don’t hesitate to email your question to we’ll get you an answer as quickly as possible, but no more than 24 hours. Good luck and we’re excited to hear how you plan on using SHO Guide.

Best regards,

Daniel Higbee

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mom, just click on the BLUE “E”… Yes… Double CLICK…. With the left mouse button… No the MOUSE is the … Forget it… try this…

Does this sound familiar? This was essentially the conversation I had with my own Mother (sorry Mom...) about a year ago. She has just purchased a brand new computer with Vista, replacing the ancient monolith that she had faithfully called me for assistance with nearly every month for the past 5 years. Now the calls became daily if not multiple times daily… Well, this went on for the first couple weeks and finally after setting up nearly everything “just like my old system” she would say I began to get some relief. Then… a new email address and online photos.

I had just started with Transcensus and was really going through the training on SHO Guide. I decided that night that I would record a script that would walk her through accessing her email and send it to her old email address. The problem was that I needed her to download the “player.” The player is a simple 1 Meg installation on our website and allows you to play “scripts.” Now this may seem simple but apparently she had already forgotten her password for her old email address so I couldn’t just send her a link in an email. Oh, no… I had to get her to open a browser, type in the website address and get to the right page to “download” the player. Finally, I ended up creating her new email address for her and doing a GoToMeeting to configure and create desktop shortcuts.

The point of this is… now that she has the player installed, I can quickly create a script and email it to her to walk her through (or do it for her) nearly anything including configuring the browser to block pop-ups, change Word back to 2003 style sheets and automate access to her email including opening the browser, entering her username password for her.

Now apply this to your job and training employees how to complete a task in a given software application...

This is the coolest technology I have ever used…

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If only we could “download” the knowledge of our Subject Matter Experts…

“Subject Matter Expert (SME): An individual who, by virtue of position, education, training, or experience, is expected to have greater-than-normal expertise or insight relative to a particular technical or operational discipline, system, or process, and who has been selected or appointed to participate in development, verification, validation, accreditation, or use of a model or simulation.”

In today’s world of complex applications in the workplace and the need to quickly and effectively train new users, wouldn’t it be nice if we could download our SME’s knowledge and pass it around? I’m curious what and how you’re using today’s technology to deploy SME knowledge…

What methods or tools do you use to capture and author your eLearning courses?
What advantages or disadvantages do you see with each?
What would you like to see in an authoring tool?

Looking forward to hearing from you…

Daniel Higbee, Vice President Business Development

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

“eLearning” you say, how will that help me?

I read an interesting article this morning in Chief Learning Officer magazine (if you don’t subscribe… you should). According to the article, eLearning investments will increase by 79% in the next 12 – 24 months. This comes as no surprise, as we all realize that primary focus of any organization in today’s economy is to “Get the most out of what I’ve already got…” as one customer told us.

How can we as software vendors, trainers, system integrators, project managers, and learning professionals really help our customers to get the MOST out of what they’ve got? After 16 years in Workforce Management Software (WMS) deployments, I have learned that what “they” have is generally sufficient.

The question is… are they fully utilizing the features of the product they have? These are some of the questions that we generally tell our clients to ask themselves:
  • Are we getting the full benefit of (insert product name), do my management, my supervisors and employees really know how to get the most out of it?
    ......I think we all know the answer to this one.
  • Would there be a savings to our organization by simply increasing efficiency in data entry and reducing the errors currently being fixed by the “back office?
    ......Most likely an overworked, under compensated, Admin. Assistant named “Beverly” who’s seen it all… and is counting the days to Florida.
  • How can I quickly get people familiar with additional features of our current products without another huge investment in time and training?
    .......They’re saying to themselves, “I can’t get them to use the basics and you think I can get them to use additional features…?”

These three are obviously the basics but they are crucial to understanding how to assist our customers and provide the most value for their investment in our products or services.

eLearning or Workforce Performance Systems (WPS) are the future and they can offer another level of support “At the moment of need”. There are some impressive products on the market today including SHO (Scripted Human Operator) Guide® which offers step by step guidance in the live application and what are commonly referred to as “simulation tools” like Captivate® or Camptasia®.

Find the authoring tools that work for you, incorporate them into your products, deployments and consulting agreements. If we give our clients what they want and do it in a professional and courteous manner, they will become a client for life.

Daniel Higbee – Vice President, Business Development