I’ve written here previously about the moment in which new Monarch software users recognize that they’ve just discovered the tool that they’ve always been seeking. This realization changes how they see not just business reports but practically any document; suddenly everything’s a data source! Knowing that you can quickly extract data from almost anything and convert it into actionable information is immensely empowering.
Monarch is the Universal Translator
That particular major paradigm shift (defined as a fundamental change in approach or assumptions) has already been experienced by thousands of people. What was previously a technically challenging and time consuming task best left to some dedicated systems expert could now be done by anyone who needs the data lock in that static document, without requiring any direct access to the system that created the document. Powerful stuff.
Imagine a world where anyone could readily capture data from the documents that they have at hand, those that they use to perform their work in their chosen field, regardless of what that field is. Then they could transform that raw data into meaningful information upon which they could base their important decisions.
Nah, it’ll never happen. Well, not “never”, just maybe not soon. In the meantime, we’ll keep Monarch as our little secret. It’ll be our competitive advantage until the day when the rest eventually catch up with us.
So that’s one successfully implemented paradigm shift. What’s the other? Ah, the other has yet to pass, but it came oh so close to reality.
The Monarch Remote Control
As a self-confessed techie, I like to follow the goings-on of the consumer electronics industry, in particular the Audio Visual side of things. A recent story on Audioholics.com about the lack of simplicity of today’s AV equipment reminded me of an exchange that I had with someone involved with the development of Monarch software.
I argued that with the new look and feel of Monarch v11, which at the time was still being developed, now was the time to shake up the status quo a little. Not so much in its functionality, but in the interface: the way that the user interacts with the program.
To get my point across, I compared the tried and true approach of the “File, Edit, Template, Options, Window, Help” menus and their ribbon equivalents to having a coffee table full of remote controls. One remote controls the TV, another controls the CD player. Then there’s the DVD player remote, the personal video recorder remote and finally the surround sound receiver remote. Basically, to operate the system properly you’ve got to know the nitty-gritty details of each device and remote, or menu and feature, to get what you want done.
So I thought that now was the opportune time to introduce a new paradigm to Monarch, based on the better universal remote controls available for AV gear. These remotes can be setup to be activity based, so that you’ll have a button for “Watch TV” or “Play DVD”. All that you need to do is hit one button and the remote automatically sets the right input on your TV, the right input on your AV receiver, starts the DVD player and might even dim the lights in your room. No fussing with a handful of remotes for what should be a simple task.
Getting back to the proposed Monarch change, instead of displaying Report, Table, and Summary ribbon tabs I envisioned workflow based tabs named “Acquire”, “Model”, “Analyze”, “Summarize” and finally a “Share” tab.
- The “Acquire” tab would have icons for opening any data source, a model or a project.
- The “Model” tab would have icons related to building Monarch models, including access to the template editor, linked objects, and the project and model information dialog.
- On the “Analyze” tab, icons would let you build calculated fields, sorts, filters, user-defined functions, address blocks, and external lookups.
- The “Summarize” tab would include icons for building and controlling summaries and charts.
- The “Share” tab would be the place to go for exporting your data into files that could be shared with others, be it for a single file export, or with project exports.
I argued that existing Monarch users would adapt quickly enough to this new presentation. Heck, the ribbon itself was a significant change. Why not capitalize on the current change? And new Monarch users would be able to better find their way; just like using one universal remote is a better experience than is juggling six of them.
But clearly my argument fell on deaf ears this time, and Monarch v11 didn’t change “radically”. Oh well, there’s always next time.
What do you think? Would you liked to have seen this configuration in Monarch v11? Or do you find that it is fine just as it is? Or would you prefer the choice to use whichever ribbon style that you like?
What’s Your Next Paradigm Shift?
Given that you can use Monarch to tackle virtually unstructured data or structured data source, for any type of content, what’s the Next Big Thing that you intend to do with Monarch software to benefit your organization? Hopefully whatever that is will be completely unlike the purpose that you’re using Monarch for now.
When a drastic change in how you view Monarch changes how you see your organization, these new perceptions can accomplish tremendous things together. Amid all of this change, there’s one constant that remains: it’s still exciting to excel with Monarch.