Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Storing "Moment of Need" Application Assistance

Most of us have experienced software application training, yet when we attempt to use a particular feature, we can't remember how it was done. Creating a library of assistance or help can alleviate this problem. SHO Guide is a great product to create this library of help. SHO Guide allows computer users to record and publish a "script." Anyone who downloads the SHO Player (www.transcensus.com) can play back the script.

Once this library of SHO Scripts are created, where should they be stored for easy access?

Some examples include:

  • Dedicated Web Library site of SHO scripts.
  • "SHO me" button included in a Microsoft Help file
  • html "SHO me" link in the application itself (ok for web based apps, but not as easy for .NET or Microsoft Office apps.)
  • "SHO me" link in a PDF file or Microsoft Word document
  • Inside the LMS/LCMS
  • On a customizable internal share, like a dedicated Drive letter (e.g. T:\SHO), a Microsoft Sharepoint site or other customizable Intranet.

Let's explore some examples...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Performance Support-Real World Example's

I love training! I hate training!

I truly enjoy learning and there is much discussion around the subject: "Is 'training' equal to 'learning?'" I'll leave that conversation to other professionals. What I don't like is mandatory training programs just to fill a check-box and the quality of the experience is so weak that I forget most of the value within minutes. This is especially true with software training. I can't count the number of training courses that I have taken to learn new software systems, only to find out that once I sat at my desk, I didn't feel any better off.

Enter Performance Support!

Being involved in the "Learning" industry for several years, I was familiar with the term Performance Support, but it wasn't until I saw a product that provided a clear vision of a real-world example of Performance Support when the lights came on for me.

What is Performance Support?
David Adkins, CEO of Transcensus, LLC, describes it this way: "The term “Performance Support System” (PSS) is commonly used to describe a specialized environment that allows learning or assistance resources to be embedded directly within the workflow or business process. Knowledge workers receive enabling resources that help them to more effectively and independently carry out their job tasks without extensive training or heavy reliance on traditional forms of support. Such resources are delivered at the precise moment in which the information is needed. An effective performance support system improves software usability, raises the level of knowledge worker productivity and significantly reduces operational costs.

Enter the product: SHO Guide!
This is the application that changed my entire perspective of learning at the moment of need.
Transcensus (http://www.transcensus.com/) developed a product called "SHO Guide." SHO Guide(tm) is Windows-based product where organizations can build, without any programming knowledge, fully embedded instructional, user assistance and support resources that interact directly with a software application’s interface, resulting in compelling and highly effective step-by-step guidance to help knowledge workers complete job tasks using the software applications they rely upon. It is much like putting that computer expert in a box and shipping him or her all over the company; guiding you through successful completion. Thus driving productivity results and fewer errors.

When it comes to application training, my new montra is, "Stop Training!" Provide performance support tools like SHO Guide to boost performance without hours wasted time and money in classroom or e-learning courses.

Launching a Start-up Software Company

How do YOU make a difference?

Nearly every day, I think about what I am doing to make a difference to others in both my personal and professional life. At the close of the day, I often run through a self-reporting process of how well I did. Too many days, I feel I didn't do anything to make a difference.

After spending 21 years in the technology industry with some great organizations, I decided it was time to move my family home to be closer to extended family. I decided I'd focus on building a house as a "gathering place." Managing building contractors and checking up on quality work was like watching moss grow. I wasn't making the "difference" that I had envisioned.

Then I was turned on to this company called Transcensus, where a handful of brilliant and visionary entrepreneur's and software developers were dedicating their talent in developing this very innovative and compelling technology that really does have the ability to transform the Learning or Performance Support industry. I can make a difference in helping launch this product that has the potential to boost productivity, decrease errors, and enhance the usability of software applications... to put the "human" back in the software interface.

So, how do you tell the world that you have found the most amazing technology that change the way they get things done? Yikes, here I am, responsible for helping turn revenue with these folks who have dedicated their lives for the past 4 or 5 years, drawing little if any, salary. How do you do it?

How do you tell the world you have the most incredible technolgy solution to help them use computer software to it's fullest extent? Oh, did I mention that we are a start-up with only friends and family contributions to keep the lights on? Marketing funds? Yeah, right. I suppose nearly every company feels this kind of passion and everyone is screaming and dropping loads of money to get noticed.

What are your "best practices" in getting your message to others and becoming noticed? I think we as people united on the cause of "making a difference" should take a moment and give-back to each other on what we have experienced.

I'd love to hear your insight's and stories...