Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Software Tools Tailored to Roles / Audience

I was watching "Channel 9" on TV the other night, you know the Microsoft community channel, I mean who doesn't right?  Anyway, there was a segment entitled "John Cook: Why and How People Use R".  The basis of the talk was why statisticians use R (a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics) to solve programming tasks.  The interesting thing to me is this talk was given from developer/programmer point of view; he was questioning why they would use that tool to solve a task verses Visual Studio.  He summarized with a couple of points:
  • Users may have very different priorities than computer scientists
  • Users will use a familiar tool when feasible
I think that these points extend beyond the roles of programmers and statisticians to the many roles of the manufacturing environment.  So what tool is best for the manufacturing environment? Making the assuming that most are not programmers, I would suggest that it needs to have the following qualities:
  • Visual/Graphical in nature - if controlling an SOP, for example, it should have a workflow type interface
  • Provides code abstraction - the ability to build things from "building blocks" of functionality.

Which tool is right for you?
Which tool is Right for You?
Why are Visual Code Development and Abstraction important?   Simply put, by using a tool with both of these qualities, processes can be rapidly developed  by existing subject matter experts (SMEs).  Furthermore, that system can be easily followed by many different roles within the organization which allows for collaboration and standardization.