Another angle on single-sourcing and what we really do...and feed back on a product requested

Subject: Another angle on single-sourcing and what we really do...and feed back on a product requested
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 15:03:28 -0500

I've been following the single-sourcing debates for a while, and also have
found the various philosophies of what we really do rather fascinating. In
the last couple of weeks I've actually had some chance to research another
side of this that I haven't really seen discussed here. Like many of you,
I'm working in traditional modes of doc and on-line help. But I kept
figuring there was more to what we do and that there had to be a "right way"
to pull it all together to get users to the "AHA!" moments. So I got
involved in usability and UI design. And still more was needed. I began
looking into various tools for electronic performance support, primarily
because we don't have a separate training department, and really could never
justify it.

I've begun to wonder if the EPSS (electronic performance support systems),
usability, and tech comm folks aren't really arguing semantics over what we
all really do, since we're all about helping product users use the product.
(a most awkward phrase, but it sorta gets to where I'm going).

Then this week we had a crisis of monumental proportions when a major demo
of rather disparate products was scheduled, and we faced serious
connectivity, firewall, and other configuration issues making each of these
products work off the same laptop. (some use Access database, some use a
CICS mainframe, some use SQL Server database). A mess that the marketing,
product management, R&D and sysadmin folks resolved in a cobbled-together
approach. I've been tasked with trying to find a way out of the mess for
future demos, and it struck me that finding something that would allow me to
generate interactive demos, guided performance support, wizards, on-line
help and documents depending on the requirements of the moment would be an
ideal thing. Especially since I've been a major soapboxer on integrated
communications and user-centered design to support performance. The one
product I've found thus far is Epiplex, a suite of products that captures
software application interactions and renders as XML. The remaining tools
in the suite allow you to create wizards, cue cards, "movies" and documents.

Anybody else attempting to travel this road of integrated product design,
pre-sales marketing and post-sales user support? Anybody using the Epiplex
products ( I'd love to hear some arguments pro and con on
both the philosophy and the product, as I will shortly be presenting to
senior management recommendations.


Connie P. Giordano
Senior Technical Writer
Advisor Technology Services
A Fidelity Investments Company
704-330-2069 (w)
704-330-2350 (f)
704-957-8450 (c)
connie -dot- giordano -at- fmr -dot- com <mailto:connie -dot- giordano -at- fmr -dot- com>

"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to
do it." - Pablo Picasso

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