What Is and What Needs To Be

One of my most favored responsibilities as President of InfoEd is to map the company’s route forward and then place the company soundly on the road that leads to our destination. Never static, that route may sometimes change as events in the world, the market, and industry alters the landscape that we’re navigating. Moreover, as we traverse the terrain, I remain aware of where we were, where we are, and how we got there, in order to evaluate the status quo and whether it will sustain us on the journey.

During the InfoEd User Group Meeting this last spring, I spent some time talking about my idea of perceptions. To me, it’s all about three separate but inner connected circles, those being: What you think, what everyone else thinks, and what is. Often, in everyday life, these circles are disparate. In the corporate world, if they are disconnected enough, the very road upon which we travel become unstable – especially from a decision making perspective. To make good decisions, these three need to come together.

It all comes down to having a clear picture of where we are as company – both from my perspective and from our clients’. I consider this critical especially with respect to the market space in which we compete. I need to know not only how the undeveloped research world (those using home-grown products or systems other than InfoEd) is solving their Research Administration problems, but also how the enlightened world (those that wisely chose InfoEd) uses and perceives our products.

As for what we do, rarely do people tell us that our data model is incomplete or that we are missing fields. We almost never have people ask for features they have seen in other products that we don’t have in InfoEd; and we usually do it better. I am confident that we are in a great position in that respect – and as we are always enhancing the feature advantages of our products, we will continue to be.

But it’s not just about features and functions.

Through honest introspection; a view of “what is,” or to put it another way, our form, I have come to these three conclusions:

  • InfoEd is not as pretty as it needs to be
  • InfoEd has “too many clicks” to get stuff done as quickly as we would like
  • InfoEd needs better usability – how to do what needs to be done

To most people, opening the hood of a car is scary. There’s just too much stuff – too many wires, hoses and “metal-ie” things. If your speedometer were located under that hose, towards the back, on the bottom of the engine compartment, you would be too scared to read it. If you had to stick your hand into the engine while it was running to move a wire and a hose to see how much gas you had left, you might do it out of necessity, but you’d be driving in fear.

This is why cars have beautiful dashboards. As much, if not more, engineering and work goes into making those dashboards user-friendly, than the engineering that goes into actually making the car run.

So, like a beautifully engineered machine, we now turn our expertise – the expertise that allowed us to engineer the most comprehensive eResearch Administration Suite in the world (data model and tabs included) –  toward building the most efficient and elegant package in which to showcase all those awesome features.

For a leader like InfoEd, it is no longer good enough to simply have all the data buckets and the features. As a growing global leader, it is equally important to have the information displayed to you in a comfortable, easy, and accessible format that is also attractive, and gives you the information and functions you need based upon where the item is in the lifecycle.

For the remainder of 2011 and through 2012, InfoEd will apply its “research engineering powers” to more than additional tabs, functions and features. InfoEd will begin redesigning our user interfaces to be more visually compelling, user-friendly, and intuitive. This too is the hallmark of a great application.

We have grown big and our systems have too. It’s time to re-group and get everything cleaned up, optimized, and make the user experience better; leaving all the “big scary data models” behind the scenes or exposed only when it needs to be.

In this year, expect the InfoEd Dashboards to grow and evolve, and leave you feeling warm and comfortable; giving you access to what you need based upon the road you are driving, while leaving the “big scary inner workings” under the hood.

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