Re: Online help access question

Subject: Re: Online help access question
From: Suzette Leeming <suzette -dot- leeming -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Robart, Kay" <Kay -dot- Robart -at- tea -dot- texas -dot- gov>
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2016 11:52:03 -0400

Thanks for all the responses so far.

We currently have a "locked down" site where users have to apply for an
account (and be verified as customers) in order to access upgrade
information and more technical details. My proposal was to host our help
files there.

We are a niche market with not many customers but the customers we have are
big names you might recognize. Not all of them are even on the same
version. Think of us as the "back office" for banking services. Does the
world need to know our database structure, how we've designed our
interfaces to third parties, or what algorithm we use for data cloaking?

When users of our software request help, a local copy of the appropriate
help files open in their default browser. It's highly unlikely that anyone
is going to google how to do a particular function in our software, they'll
still request help in the same manner, but the help files will be on the
internet, not local. I think it's risky. I love the idea of our users
getting the latest and greatest versions of the help, but I'd like it
behind a firewall or controlled in some manner either with user accounts or
approved IP addresses.

I'm getting some great things to think about and consider. I appreciate
everyone who's taking the time to respond.

Suzette Leeming



On Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 11:28 AM, Robart, Kay <Kay -dot- Robart -at- tea -dot- texas -dot- gov>
wrote:

> It sounds like they're talking about a knowledge base. I have no opinion
> on the proprietary information/intellectual property angle, although I
> would point out that most companies that have a knowledge base require a
> password to access some or all of the content, even Microsoft.
>
> My wider comment as a user of software that has gone from delivering Help
> to a knowledge base is that I find the knowledge base much harder to use
> for locating specific information. You almost always get far more search
> results than you need or even can comb through. I have often been looking
> for a particular piece of information, maybe for something that I just
> forgot how to do in software that I am otherwise familiar with, only to be
> deluged by thousands of search results. Many times, this has resulted in my
> not finding the answer I needed and having to comb through the software
> myself to try to remind myself how that thing worked. Sometimes the
> knowledge base is more useful, particularly when you have an unusual
> problem you're trying to solve and other people can contribute solutions,
> but most of the time, it's more confusing and difficult to use.
>
> Kay
>
>
> On Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 9:32 AM, Suzette Leeming <
> suzette -dot- leeming -at- gmail -dot- com>
> wrote:
>
> > I'm looking for opinions and/or examples. Here's my situation:
> >
> > I create browser based help for a suite of financial applications,
> > generally used by banks, credit unions, etc. A suggestion has been
> > made that we put all of our documentation online, wide open for
> > everyone who wants to access. I disagree, since I feel it contains
> > proprietary information and represents intellectual property. Our
> > competitors could very well look at it and say "we can do that
> > better", or use information they see there against us when competing for
> the same business.
> >
> > We're not the same as Microsoft Office or even Sage Accounting (which
> > were examples given to me) because we are not dealing with retail, off
> > the shelf applications; ours is enterprise software in a highly
> competitive industry.
> >
> > My proposal is to restrict access somehow, perhaps requiring user
> > accounts, or verified IP addresses, etc. I note that none of our
> > competitors make their documentation freely accessible.
> >
> > Have any of you come up against a similar situation or have any
> > thoughts/ideas on how I can best present my case?
> >
> > Suzette Leeming
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References:
Online help access question: From: Suzette Leeming
Re: Online help access question: From: John G
RE: Online help access question: From: Robart, Kay

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