The Software for Domain Experts Manifesto

  • Creating business value
    • If experts have the right information presented in the right way, it creates enormous business value.
    • They can make better decisions, keep organisations healthy, and be more productive, and enjoy their work much more.
    • They can even generate entirely new business models.
    • Giving experts better data is surely one of the best answers to some of the world’s biggest challenges – (reducing the cost of oil and gas production, solving carbon, running government departments well, everything else).
    • If a problem can’t be fixed by giving experts access to the right data, it probably can’t be fixed at all.
    • Many experts in critical roles have a tiny percentage of the data which would help them do their jobs better readily available.
  • What experts need
    • Experts need the right data presented in a clear and consistent way so they can make the right decisions.
    • The data needs to show them where they are, what is happening, things they should be aware of, times when they were in a similar situation before and what happened.
    • Entering data must be as simple as possible
    • They must have a rough understanding of how the system works
    • The system must also motivate the experts – give them suggestions which hold their interest
    • People working together must also have access to the same data, so they can discuss what it means
    • Experts may be part of a process, but it probably makes sense to separate the process management with the challenge of providing them with the right data, otherwise it gets too complicated.
  • In order to provide this
    • They probably need ongoing service and continuous customisation of the software to changing needs. This is not something big companies are usually very good at.
    • The user interface will probably be web hosted
    • Building the right user interface, and delivering the right data to it, will also need domain expertise
    • There will be different interfaces for people in different roles. People in a chain will see the data of people before and after them in a chain; people in management roles will see the data of their subordinates.
  • Under the hood
    • Getting the right data to the right place is no trival matter
    • It requires a lot of very complex data translation work, which will all need to be paid for, from the value generated for the domain experts – which means the domain experts have to be supportive of the idea
    • Data standards will be very helpful, particularly in working out the intersections between streaming and fixed data
    • Data analytics are important – but the effort is wasted unless the right data can be delivered to the right place to someone who understands what it is
    • The software will probably be cloud hosted
    • Low code tools will help put the software together faster – and make it clearer to the developers how it works – and make it easier to update.
  • The commercial model
    • Expert users must be involved in development as much as possible – since they (or their departments) are paying for the development
    • Need to be space for independent companies of all sizes in every layer – the user interface layer, getting data to the user interface, underlying databases, analytics, cloud hosting, low code tools
  • Common errors made in creating Software for Domain Experts
    • Too much emphasis on ‘business process management’ and not enough on getting the right data to the right people
    • IT department taking a reactive mindset – fixing problems rather than creating the best possible system
    • Not enough willingness to do the really difficult work!

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