Therefore Strategic Technology Services

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Content is King

The Therefore Quantum™ application carries online instructions on virtually every page. When drafting these instructions, we have attempted to apply a set of standards to improve readability and ensure a consistent / professional feel.

As you are no doubt aware, on the Internet as well as any other media, content is king … and there is nothing that puts Users off more than poorly drafted copy.

Provided below are the standards that have been used when drafting the Instructions that are carried by Therefore Quantum™.

Short Sentences
Sentences should be as short as possible. Consider breaking long sentences up into a multitude of shorter sentences.
Simple / Non-Technical Language
Always attempt to use language that is as simple and non-technical as possible.

If in doubt, request your target audience to review your copy and to feedback to you with any words or sentences that they do not understand.
Factually Correct
Ensure that descriptive text is factually correct.
Superfluous Text
Superfluous text should be eliminated.
Spelling and Grammar
Descriptive text must be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors.
Trade Marks and Registered Phrases
Trade Marks and Registered phrases etc. must be marked accordingly (i.e. must carry the appropriate ™ or ®).
Capitalizing Text
Descriptive text must be correctly capitalized.
Punctuation
Correctly punctuated copy is easier to read than poorly punctuated copy. It is therefore imperative that the copy you utilize is correctly punctuated.

Be sparing with exclamation marks. Most of us use them too frequently!J

It’s always a good idea to have as many people as possible proof read your copy. To achieve a consistent writing style across all of your content, it is really useful to have a consistent set of proof readers. 

Should your copy be technical in nature, it’s best to ask someone who is unfamiliar with the technical aspects of your subject to be on your proof reading team. Allow your non-technical proof reader to point out sentences that they don’t understand. Sentences identified as being "complex" must then be redrafted until your non-technical proof reader declares them easily understood.

Really important documents will need to be proof read any number of times. I have revised some documents up to a dozen times before declaring them fit for "putting out there". 

I have always found that it’s easier to proof read documents that have been printed. Somehow paper is an easier medium than a screen … but it could simply be my age that predisposes me to paper. It’s up to you. 

When proofing a document, read it out aloud. Paragraphs that feel uncomfortable to deliver probably need to be re-written.

Try not to use clich├ęs. They don’t present the reader with a sense of originality. While on the topic of originality, nothing stands out more than copy that has been lifted off the web, or any other source for that matter. If you need to draw on content developed by others, ethically it’s appropriate to attain their permission and to credit their contribution.


Be careful about using "internal language" in documents that have an external audience. We sometimes introduce terms internally to facilitate strategic conversation and forget that our audience may not necessarily understand them. A Client of mine is in the distribution game. They distribute goods on behalf of manufacturers to the manufacturers’ Clients. To facilitate strategic conversation internally, they refer to the manufacturers as Clients and the manufacturers’ Clients as Customers.  This is all very well, but they sometimes refer to Clients and Customers in their marketing communication … and their market does not understand the distinction.


Finally, keep a library. Well written copy can be re-used and it makes more sense than always going back to the drawing board. The recycling of existing material also provides your audience with a sense of consistency.

Hope it helps. Feel free to leave comments with any thoughts that you may have on the topic.

Friday, 28 December 2012

What’s in a name?

We are frequently asked why we called our company “Therefore Strategic Technology Services”. Folks have developed some pretty good theories … and we may borrow bits and pieces of them someday.

The reality stands, we are not going to give away the secret that easily, so you are going to have to keep guessing.

As a teaser, consider the following definition for the word “Therefore”. It may give you a few clues ;)

there·fore
[thair-fawr, -fohr]  Show IPA

adverb
in consequence of that; as a result; consequently: I think; therefore I am.

Origin: 
1125–75; Middle English ther fore,  variant of therfor therefor

Synonyms:
hence, whence. THEREFORE, WHEREFORE, ACCORDINGLY, CONSEQUENTLY, SO, THEN all introduce a statement resulting from, or caused by, what immediately precedes. THEREFORE (for this or that reason) and WHEREFORE (for which reason) imply exactness of reasoning; they are especially used in logic, law, mathematics, etc., and in a formal style of speaking or writing. ACCORDINGLY (in conformity with the preceding) and CONSEQUENTLY (as a result, or sequence, or effect of the preceding), although also somewhat formal, occur mainly in less technical contexts. So (because the preceding is true or this being the case) and THEN (since the preceding is true) are informal or conversational in tone.



Friday, 12 October 2012

Objectives of BPM … Therefore Quantum™ Style

The objectives of Business Process Management, and the role that Therefore Quantum™ plays in meeting these objectives, is detailed below:


Continuous Improvement

To remain competitive, your business needs to continually reinvent itself. Therefore Quantum™ will allow you to identify areas where your business is subject to process failure. The Therefore ThreadBuilder™ Application can then be used to rapidly implement process refinements.


Turnaround Time

To improve your business' ability to retain Customers, it is imperative that queries are resolved promptly. Therefore Quantum™ provides you with a platform to ensure that queries are resolved rapidly and that the resolution process remains visible to Management.


Process Compliance

To improve your business' ability to operate in a low cost, Customer-centric manner, it is imperative that it consistently follows optimised processes. Therefore Quantum™ enforces process compliance.


Reference Number

When Customers raise queries, it is imperative that they are given reference numbers. Similarly, to optimise your ability to control the execution of tasks, it is essential that tasks are awarded reference numbers. Therefore Quantum™ supports this requirement.


Ability to Audit

It is best practice that record is maintained of the way in which businesses make their decisions. Therefore Quantum™ ensures that every detail of the query resolution / task execution lifecycle is retained and available for future review.


Improved Debtors Book

Customers will generally not settle invoices on which outstanding queries exist. Therefore Quantum™ will enable you to close queries more rapidly, allowing for the collection of the underlying debt.

Further, where queries do occur, they are used to drive Continuous improvement. This will make queries less likely to occur in the future, enhancing the collectability of your debtor's book.


Measurement

BPM systems can be used to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your Suppliers, Service Providers, Departments and Staff, and then to measure performance relative to these KPIs. Therefore Quantum™ supports this requirement.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

What is Business Process Management … Therefore Quantum™ Style

Businesses exist to perform a defined set of activities that result in them delivering sustained value.

Those businesses that consistently perform their core activities more effectively than their competitors tend to provide Customers with more value, have higher levels of Customer satisfaction, retain Customers for longer and, over a period of time, gain significant market. The recipes that businesses use to guide the performances of their core activities are referred to as "Processes".

A business' processes constitute one of its most valuable assets, as they are the embodiment of all past learning. The more efficient and effective these processes are, the greater their ability to translate into Customer value, profit and consequently, the greater their asset value.

BPM systems allow for processes to be rapidly modelled. Once modelled, BPM systems can be used to facilitate process execution. The Therefore Quantum™ System refers to modelled processes as "Tasks".

Typically, BPM systems enable the rapid modelling of processes without introducing the need to write code, thereby reducing the time lag between the initiation of a BPM project and the resulting benefits.

Further, given that market dynamics are ever changing, a business' processes need to be continually revised. The Therefore ThreadBuilder™ Application enables the rapid creation and modification of processes, thereby ensuring that your business' processes remain in synergy with the needs of your market.
Best practice dictates that all service outages are recorded, resolved and then analysed to allow for the identification of repeat process failure – a discipline referred to as "Continuous Improvement". Businesses that fail to embrace Continuous Improvement tend to sell products and services that are not market aligned, which has a detrimental impact on their performance. Therefore Quantum™ has been designed to support the implementation of a Continuous Improvement strategy.

Therefore Quantum™ allows for process failures to be resolved by means of specialised processes referred to as "Queries". Further, Therefore Quantum™ can be used to analyse query volumes and identify which processes need to be reviewed to ensure that they are rendered less error prone.