Give me the answer and I’ll tell you the question.

 Have you ever noticed that with many HELP systems you practically have to know what you are looking for in order to find it?

When you encode your own material with key words and later on have problems finding things, a reasonable line of defence is your mindset was in one place at the time you did the encoding but today, well, it’s in another place.  Key words do not work.

I guess the only reasonable explanation as to why developers of HELP environments don’t do a good job is that they know they will never have to use their end products themselves so they don’t put much imagination into what they are doing.

My problems begin with being unable to read my own writing.  I have to ask my wife to tell me what I have written.

It seems this is a skill that has been learned over 35 years. I have tried asking strangers at our local supermarket what it is I have gone there to buy and they are not typically helpful.

With regard to digital data, I crank out a lot of this and it’s spread across 10 Terabytes of hard disk space and some 500 DVDs. If I do manage to find something I have typed up, I can read it, but often wonder what I could possibly have been thinking of at the time I generated the material.

OK, what’s the point of all of this?

The point is we have too much information, the information all over the place and much of this information quickly becomes outdated.

The problem remains that a lot of what we do is procedural and requires referring to information.

This information has traditionally been written up in User Manuals that hardly anyone ever looks at.

My Sony Vegas video editor manual has close to 1,000 pages, so no way I am going to try to look up anything.  The editing software, however, has a context/situation-appropriate HELP facility that gives you information local to where you are in the system at the time you click on HELP.   This is great but often times you don’t know how you got there so you can read about something that has your focus, get a distracting phone call, and then be unable to get back to the place you were at to use your newly acquired knowledge.

It’s seems reasonable to me that in the ordinary course of processing business transactions within any software suite it would be handy to be able to call up a video that would yield context/situation-appropriate material but also include “chapters” that would allow an interested user to widen the scope of the video.

Clearly, for ACM/BPM software, all that one needs to do is to add a “link to video” attribute to steps along process flow graphs.

Minor enhancements would be to allow a user to optionally take a quiz at the end of a video and tally the results so that the user would be able to keep track of protocols that he/she has mastered.  The same information would allow the software system to engage the user with “beginner”, “intermediate” or “advanced” dialogs which would increase efficiency.

Funny thing is we have had a video launcher in our ACM/BPM software environment for years but only today figured out that it would be easy to cross link videos with process steps as these become current along process templates.


Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, connect-the-dots law enforcement investigations, healthcare services delivery, job shop manufacturing and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2018 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
This entry was posted in Adaptive Case Management, Business Process Management, Software Design. Bookmark the permalink.

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