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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: [Sigia-l] "Standard" interface

[Sigia-l] "Standard" interfaces?

From: Paula Thornton (PAULA.THORNTON_at_prodigy.net)
Date: Tue Sep 24 2002 - 14:19:59 EDT


David wrote: "Users don't buy software at the
corporate level. IT staff do"

[When all you have is a hammer...]

David makes the assumption that I was speaking
exclusively of 'purchased' software. I was not (while
I did use examples of purchased software because
that's the only thing that can be discussed from
a 'common experience' perspective).

The preponderance of business productivity today is
still predominantly driven from interaction with
mainframe applications. There is a lot of 'scraping'
going on to put an 'interaction layer' on top of
existing technology (that admittedly is so entrenched
in the business infrastructure that everything would
come tumbling down if we attempted to extract it).
Unfortunately, those responsible for building these
interaction layers are by-and-large all still non-
interaction types (ala. programmers...what I refer to
as "The Inmates Have Taken Over the Asylum"). And they
are using what they believe to be 'best practice' to
accomplish these goals...which is to reuse
the 'standards' established by the likes of Microsoft.

Standards? I rely heavily on shift-delete and shift-
insert for cutting and pasting. Shift-delete, while
supported in every other tool, is not supported in
Visio.

The word we need here is conventions -- things that
deliver a sense of 'sameness'. But those things are
about 'operations' not about 'functions'. You want to
talk standard metadata? Let's talk about standard
naming for standard functions! Let's take a lead from
the FDA...it has to fulfill certain standards before
you can call it Mayonnaise, otherwise it's Salad
Dressing (you either hate or love Miracle Whip and you
definately don't want to be disappointed when you bite
into the sandwich).

I've thrown vendors to the mat over this before. Tell
me what functions you're bringing to the table, and
then I'll tell you if I'm interested. Why? Because
business 'diferentiation' is in the business rules.
How I string functions together into processes is what
makes my business unique from my competitors. Whenever
I buy a business-critical solution (things like Word,
Excel etc. are 'commodities' and don't fall into this
category), I'm immediately putting myself at risk
of 'sameness' and the possibility of losing
competitive advantage...that's why, again, most large
corporations build their own...

And, again, that's where our skills have the most
potential long term.

Paula Thornton
Interaction Design Strategist
'...putting people and process before technology to deliver solutions'

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