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DBTextWorks 14.5 – Delivering Style and Substance

By Warren Ganz

The DB/TextWorks product suite reminds me of a car that a good friend of mine purchased in his younger years and continued to drive well into his 30s.  It’s an amazing car, to this day one of my favorites.  He drove that car for many, many, years, while the rest of us changed vehicles once or maybe twice.  One afternoon he stopped by to show off a new car, or so I thought.  I assumed he’d finally come to his senses, traded it in, and upgraded to something completely different and new.  However, the car he pulled up in seemed oddly familiar, and on a closer look I realized it was the same car.  But there was something different. He had given it a paint job, and most importantly used a modern color.  This amazing classic car  is now setting a new standard.  Brilliant!  And this is exactly what we have done with the DB/TextWorks product suite.  It’s still an amazing piece of software, and with a fresh coat of paint done properly it really shines.

It’s true that this DBTextWorks 14.5 release is most notably a UI refresh, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  When new users look at the product, hopefully they’ll ask:  “Wow, what does it do?” and they’ll want to take it for a spin.  At clients’ request, we’ve replaced over 400 “classic” icons with modern-looking industry-standard images that display more robustly in various toolbar sizes.  This was no small feat.  Optimizing a user interface is always a delicate process – there are as many possibilities as there are stakeholders.  With your invaluable input and after many spirited internal reviews (fortunately there were no fist fights) we reached consensus and then we made it happen. We have an improved product that we are proud to show off, as it truly is an ageless beauty.

I encourage you all to upgrade to version 14.5; we guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Riding the Rails with Presto – Thoughts on Implementation

Posted by Erika Halloran

Recently, the first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics was awarded to a snowboarder named Sage Kotsenburg for his performance in the Men’s Slopestyle competition. The Slopestyle event is making its Olympic debut this year; the athletes go downhill while performing a series of difficult tricks on strategically placed structures.  
Although I don’t know a lot about Sage Kotsenburg, I think it’s pretty safe to assume he didn’t “ride the rails” or perform a "1620 Japan Air Mute Grab" in his first season strapped to a board.  While Olympic athletes are widely considered to be the World’s best at their respective sports, they still start with the basics and add frills progressively as their experience grows.
Successful Inmagic Presto administrators follow a similar path.  The teams with the most successful Presto implementations choose to excel at using Presto’s core functionality before unveiling the bells and whistles, ultimately  leveraging all our tools (which are more than enough to perform the software equivalent of a “1620 Japan Air Mute Grab”) as their experience grows.
If Presto lets you provide your end users with their first opportunity to search a Catalog by themselves and easily retrieve relevant records with a few keystrokes, they will undoubtedly be pleased and impressed.  They’ll see it as a win – the equivalent of a snowboarder who can now confidently ride down a “black diamond” trail.  This is no small feat, especially when they used to slide down the mountain being expertly towed by a skilled Librarian. 
Furthermore, since Presto launch announcements spotlight features that are “coming soon,” users can eagerly anticipate the day they’ll discuss their own research in Presto’s Forums, read comments about the latest additions to the Catalog, and maybe even become published as Presto Blog authors.  Imagine their excitement when, a few months down the road, you announce the incorporation of these options.  People who’ve become accustomed to using Presto for their research will be excited when they discover that it “just got better.”
The urge to immediately enable every feature of a new software product is a strong one, but it sometimes pays to fight it.  Most successful implementers start by thinking about what the users need and providing them with tools that will help them do their jobs, while also letting them know what is possible down the road. 
Once you have configured Presto to meet your users’ needs, thinking about what they’d like becomes fun and exciting.  Perhaps the users themselves can help decide which features will take center stage in the future, and you can focus on a strategy for providing these features in a way that will create excitement and encourage active engagement. 

So as you embark on your first trips down the “Inmagic Presto slope,” you might consider resisting the urge to ride the rail or go off the jump.  But once you’re comfortable… by all means, have at it!  You’ll have fun with the features and your users will feel the same way.

Securing Approval for a KM Solution Purchase – Part Three: What, Where, When

Posted by Jason Buggy

In my previous posts on the buying process I mentioned that in my experience, an effective purchaser of KM solutions needs to have answers to a number of WHY, WHO, HOW, WHAT, WHERE and WHEN questions.  In Part Two, I shared the “Why, Who and How” of it all, and I shall now reveal the “What, Where and When” questions!

WHAT:   When you can answer these questions for yourself, it will help you present a compelling case to your manager.

What is the size and scope of the project and solution that you are proposing?
What will we be able to do better today that we were unable to do yesterday?
What are the overall goals of this project?
What are the criteria that will gauge the success of the proposed solution?
What are the reasons (once you’ve decided) for selecting the proposed vendor?
What happens if you do nothing?

  • This is an extremely important question; be sure to present the answer to this without catastrophizing – there will be many real world scenarios that powerfully demonstrate problems with efficiency, effectiveness and cost.  Select examples that clearly show the pitfalls of a non-KM approach.  Since you already know who your stakeholders are (See Part Two of this series ), you can provide tailored input that resonates with each of them.

WHERE:  This isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.  There are readily available cloud services and hosting solutions that are as secure as your in-house environment; many organizations look at these as ways to offset hardware and personnel costs.  You must understand the protocols for where you should have the solution installed.  For example, if you work for a financial institution, there’s a high probability that your management prefers installed software, rather than using cloud services.   Vendors who only provide cloud services solutions are nonstarters in this scenario.  Make sure you fully understand your company’s security parameters before you decide where the software will reside.  Again you’ll need to consult with your IT staff to understand their preferred scenarios and support model.

WHEN:  As mentioned, it’s a good idea to definite “go live” date; this dictates when you must sign the contract and get it to your vendor.  Also important is knowing:

When will you be ready to train your end-users and administrators?
When is your IT staff available to work with the software vendor?

The IT team will definitely be working on several different projects at the same time - while also putting our unexpected fires along the way.  It’s  very important to make sure you are working closely with IT to make sure you know when they are available to help design, further develop and maintain the selected solution.

I know this is a lot of information.   I’ve taken the key components of the selling process and flipped them to help my (hopefully) future clients navigate the buying process.  After all, the hardest selling job is never performed by me, the sales person - it’s done by our clients trying to convince their companies and colleagues to allocate budget in order to buy our solutions.  That is not an easy task!

Securing Approval for a KM Solution Purchase – Part Two: Who, Why, How

Posted by Jason Buggy

In my previous post on  the buying process I mentioned that in my experience, an effective purchaser of KM solutions needs to have answers to a number of WHY, WHO, HOW, WHAT, WHERE and WHEN questions.  I shall now reveal the “Why, Who and How” questions that you’ll need to cover!

WHY:  To quote Nancy Kerrigan, “WHY…WHY…WHY?”  If the answer is “well, I would really like one to make it easier for me to do my job,” that’s insufficient.  You’ll need to make a legitimate business case to get the approval you’re looking for, specifying  “day in the life” challenges that would be eliminated or made significantly easier with a new KM system.  Do you understand the drivers that create the need for your company to spend additional dollars on new software? Answering the following will help you to focus:

  • Why are we looking at this now?  
  • Why haven’t we done this in the past?  
  • Why would this make things that are currently problematic, better?  
  • Why would I need to purchase a new piece of software? Do we have something in place already that is underutilized? 

WHO:  It’s good practice to have the support of multiple people from different departments.  Make sure you understand the position and requirements of everyone with a stake in your purchase.  Definitely get your IT team involved early and make them a partner in your process.  They can help you understand the most important “who” related question:  Is the implementation of the proposed solution part of a larger effort within the company, and if so, who is the main decision maker for the overall project?

  • Who are the key stakeholders for your proposed solution?  
  • Who will benefit the most from having instant access to our corporate repository? 
  • Who will help implement from the IT side and end-user/admin side of the house?  
  • Who has the budget for this?  
  • Who will sign the contract?  
  • Who will issue the PO and how does this happen?  
  • Does the vendor we are looking at meet our corporate requirements for doing business?  

HOW:  It’s good project management practice to do a reverse timeline of the buying process. Start with the date you envision having your first user log-in and perform a search, then go backwards.   For example:  let’s say it’s January 20, 2014.  Your first user should log in on June 30th, 161 days from now.  Your contracts department typically takes 30 days for legal evaluation and to issue a purchase order; you also know that it takes 4 weeks to implement the solution and that your preferred solution has a waiting list of 4 weeks, so you’ll need to order by March 30, 2014 in order to be up and running by June 30, 2014.  But wait, your company requires an investigation of 3 vendors for any new software - that will take 20 days; they also require a Request for Proposal – that will take 10 days to write and get approval before release, plus 3 weeks for the vendors to reply …you see where I’m going with this.  So if you don’t know how your organization makes purchasing decisions, you may ultimately be unable to make the purchase, or will likely experience delays that prevent having the solution in place by the “Go-Live” deadline.  In addition to knowing how decisions get made, you’ll need to know exactly how you’ll roll out the platform.

  • How will you implement the solution - will you have internal support or be relying on the vendor to perform most the work? 
  • How much budget do you have?   (Knowing this will help eliminate vendors who are outside your price range and save you valuable time ; there is very little point spending 1.5 months talking to a vendor only to realize they are 200% high than your total budget). 
  • How much time and money will this solution save my company in the first 6 months, 12 months and 24 months?  (Also known as ROI – “return on investment”)

In my next (and final) post on this topic, I’ll share the “What, When and Where” of the buying process with you …please stay tuned.


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