The HP TRIM/RM community is now aware RM8.2 includes the introduction of a Ribbon, replacing menus and toolbars. Thanks to MS Office paving the way with the Ribbon style of interface back in 2007 the major design and functionality change will avoid the backlash from the user community MS Office 2007 received. In fact, the TRIM Toolbars and log Menus were looking very outdated in RM8, and the change of style is a positive move for improvement of first impressions.
The 8.2 release comes only about 12 short months after the release of 8.1. Industry wide there are a high proportion of organisations currently immersed in 8.1 upgrade projects.
Many people are pausing to ask, “Should the upgrade now be to RM8.2?”
In making your decision the following three points regarding time and effort impacts of the Ribbon are worth reviewing:
1. Training Resource Development
For those organisations internally developing resources the introduction of the Ribbon will require increased investment and duplicate effort in updating training resources; and these will need to accessible on rollout (unlike being able to utilise Version 6 resources whilst training Version 7 as the training upgrade work was completed).
The upgrade to 8.1 only requires essential changes in written content to Search subject training resources. But with 8.2 all now every function will potentially be interacted with in a different way and will require new instruction.
Note of reassurance: Linked Training eLearning subscribers; your subscription includes access to the 8.2 resources at no additional cost.
2. User Acceptance & Education
When Office 2007 was introduced it was predicted that users would find the new Ribbon difficult to learn. It was a prediction that was quickly negated. Generally speaking Users:
• Find the Ribbon easier to navigate than Menus
• Self-learn more advanced functions of the software because they are visible
• Develop greater independence in becoming proficient in use of an application.
There are two phases of reaction and support to prepare for.
The first and obvious reaction will be confusion for existing users. Short introduction sessions and support for a smooth transition, and to prevent the current TRIM nay-sayers becoming more vocal and dominant, are essential. Records units need to expect the level of help desk calls to increase, but for a short period only.
The second reaction will be an improvement in the quality of questions received from Users. As the now ‘exposed’ menu items are explored, people will start to identify more features they would like to use. They will request help in doing so. Depending on your configuration settings, there may be more questions on “Why can’t I use this feature?” A second phase of training and/or information is required to support exploration of RM8.2.
3. Ribbon Configuration
Records Units have a strong history of creating customised TRIM toolbars for their organisation. There is no evidence in my experience, with a few unique icon exceptions, that customisation increases User acceptance or performance. On the other hand I can identify many instances where the process of customisation decisions has led to configuration delays and tension within teams. This includes a memorable debate on which of 5 shades of blue should be used. There are more critical decision on which to use time during an upgrade.
Ribbon configuration will:
• Increase the workload of the Records Unit disproportionately to the positive impact on the business
• In these early days of Ribbon introduction, have no evidence base on which to make decisions
• Disempower User rights to make their own decisions on menu use.
First impressions of the Ribbon are that HP has carefully considered icon placement and labelling. There will naturally be some tweaking over time, based on the feedback provided. In organisations which provide a positive introduction and support the transition should be smooth, positive, and create a pathway for an improved profile for recordkeeping.