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