[Blog Article] We are facing annotation everywhere today – in social networks, sports events, newspaper columns and not least in applications in our business life. In doing so, they are more and more becoming an instrument of communication in social networks, whereas anywhere else they still fulfill their original purpose.
Support of understanding
In their original purpose, annotations should be understood as hints that facilitate or even only allow the understanding of a text or an event. For example, when watching a football game on the radio. Without a commentator who sees the game in front of his eyes – as opposed to the audience – and can explain the events on the pitch, the football game on the radio would not be fun.
The same is true when, for example, numbers and values are annotated in a business application. For even there, the commenter always knows something that other people who look at the same numbers or values do (or can) not know. For example, the production manager has a knowledge of why the production figure deviates by 10% from other days or from the plan. The manager may only see the deviation value and is surprised.
The production manager therefore takes the same function as the radio commentator with his commentary: he allows an understanding of the event.
Good comments are priceless
Three criteria are important for a good annotation: “what”, “where” and “why” is annotated. If we stick to this example and blame the failure of a machine for the 10% deviation, the stand-alone deviation value raises big question marks in the eyes of the managing director – a corresponding comment explains it. What is commented: a deviation. Where is it commented: in yesterday’s report. Why is it commented: because it has exceeded a value limit (e.g., deviation from plan higher than 6%).
The comment thus saves time spent trying to figure out why the deviation is so high. An annotation in the right place of the right person with the appropriate knowledge is simply priceless.
The right time is crucial
However, there is another thing in addition to these three criteria: the “when”. Commenting is possible at different times – and often these are not specified. Each participant is able to comment on their own discretion. Although here is where the actual value is found.
In our example, the interest in the deviation is very high on the very same day, because the manager wants to know whether it is a one-time deviation or a permanent change in the production figures of the machine.
So if comments are tied to specific events, the value of the content increases. It can be assumed that major changes, deviations and the rejection of an application always entail enormous interest from the participants. To request comments on these events is therefore a measure that not only increases the value of the comment, but also represents a relief for all those involved.
Therefore, more and more companies take the next step in this respect and “demand” comments for such, previously defined events. In our example with the production number we have already noticed that a deviation was commented on. If, however, a comment was not necessarily requested when this deviation occurred, who knows whether the production manager would have taken the time to comment? Or whether he had assumed that the managing director must have known about the machine failure.Therefore, more and more companies take the next step and “demand” comments for such, previously defined events. In our example with the production figure we have already noticed that a deviation was commented on. If, however, a comment would not have necessarily requested when this deviation occurred, who knows whether the production manager would have taken the time to comment? Or whether he had assumed that the managing director must have known about the machine failure.
The system as a commentary helper
Event-related commenting is the new approach. Not only does it provide the ability to request time related information about events, numbers, or values, but also the ability to include your own system in the annotation process. Especially then, when the system knows that an event exists. And that’s not so rare. Modern systems are aware of many things and know of status transitions (e.g. request was approved, status changes from “requested” to “approved”) about changes (e.g. for the next quarter the plan production quantity of a machine has been increased by 20%) up to deviations (as in our example).
This knowledge, written down in a commentary, almost always corresponds to a hint that facilitates the understanding of an event. In general, the system is also willing to share this information with its users. You just have to ask it.
Annotation is no longer a marginal topic, but if used properly, it is of high value for many companies. Employees of the IBsolution GmbH put this topic under the microscope in a webinar: GO TO WEBINAR>>