The final KMLF meeting of 2014 was a panel discussion about enterprise search. Brett Matson, Managing Director of enterprise search provider Funnelback, revealed some interesting insights that I wanted to capture in this interview. Brett used to work in the search industry as an engineer for the CSIRO, before starting Funnelback in 2006, so he knows a bunch about search and how people use it.
1. Where Google has succeeded, the enterprise still struggles. According to APQC research, only 53% of firms rate their enterprise search as effective or very effective. What do you think is happening with the rest?
The 53% in the APQC research relates to federated search, which is the idea of having a search engine query third-party search engines and combine the results. This is generally ineffective because it’s difficult to rank heterogeneous results against a common baseline, and you also can’t use tools such as faceted navigation.
Subscription software has been hailed the hero of the enterprise. There’s “best in class’ everything, promising freedom from vendor lock-in and infrastructure upkeep; savings in time and money; clever integrations and exciting roadmaps. But all this freedom of choice has screwed the enterprise up in one significant way.
Modern enterprises have information assets in places like this:
Google Apps for mail, calendar, docs, chat/hangouts
Box or Dropbox for storage
Subscription apps to solve a particular problem
Subscription apps that solve a particular problem plus parts of other ones
Some legacy software hosted in-house
A collaborative platform like Confluence or Basecamp
An enterprise social network like Jive or Yammer
Communication apps like Slack and Flowdock
Local computer storage
It’s not uncommon for organisations to have all of these, where many of them double-up on functionality found in others. This is a problem. Because in most cases, the native search engine is a bit crap; and if I can’t remember where …
Recently, I was lucky enough to be a voluntary participant for a customer experience study at a cafe. (The things one can do when one is between contracts.)
I hadn’t been to a STREAT cafe before, so I was the ultimate “potential customer”—able to play the role of the person who was walking in for the first time. STREAT want their customers to understand how every mouthful helps youth homelessness and disadvantage, but they also want their customers to keep coming back and to know about their other services. As a first-time customer, there’s a lot of information STREAT would like me to take in—the difference I could make to a young person’s life by buying my coffee there, the locations of other stores, where the food is sourced, how the program works, how I can contribute more, catering services, the cook book I could buy, and the menu.
The customer …
Coming up this week in Melbourne is the Innovating IT Service conference. The final interview in this series is with Cameron Gough, General Manager of Australia Post’s Digital Delivery Centre. Cameron will be appearing on the discussion panel and delivering one of the opening keynotes on Wednesday. He’s been with AusPost since 2012 and brings extensive experience with agile and lean methodologies to an organisation under pressure to find new ways of providing value.
1. As the General Manager of the Digital Delivery Centre for Australia Post, can you describe what your typical day looks like and the kinds of projects you’re involved in?
Someone recently told me that they saw my role simply as food, water and alignment. I was at first a little offended but when I thought it through, it kind of made sense. Most of my time is about ensuring our teams in the DDC are set up …
I’m delighted, this week, to bring you an interview with Gene Kim. Gene will be presenting one of the opening keynotes at the Innovating IT Service conference, and a workshop. He has been a founder, CTO, and author. Gene loves finding and fixing bottlenecks which impede and frustrate the entire organization, enabling management from each tribe to achieve the greater organizational goals.
1. Your keynote for the upcoming conference asserts that everyone needs DevOps. How do you explain what DevOps is to an IT manager working in a traditional enterprise IT environment?
My definition of DevOps is the following: it is the set of cultural norms and technical practices that enable organizations to have a fast flow of work from Development through Test and deployment, while preserving world-class reliability, availability, and security.
These norms and practices are what enable organizations to do hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of deployments per day. …
The Innovating IT Service conference is coming to Melbourne soon. Dinsha Palkhiwala will be presenting a workshop and delivering a presentation. Dinsha works directly with CIOs and ICT leaders to enhance their careers and capabilities.
1. You’ve described yourself as a mentor and coach. What does your typical work day involve?
My mentoring and coaching is based on the philosophy of “Developing tomorrow’s leaders using yesterday’s champions working on today’s problems”. It is what I call active coaching and mentoring, whereby the mentee assimilates experience to enhance their capabilities. Hence, when I am engaged in these assignments, typically it will involve working through specific issues, facilitating thinking of options, creating self-awareness of risk and appropriateness of the options and encouraging the mentee to make the decision.
As my business name “Competency Catalyst” suggests, I see my role in the whole process as the catalyst and the mentee to be the prime ingredient. …
Don’t worry, it’s not another predictions post. The Innovating IT Service conference will be held in Melbourne on the 11-12 March. Gene Kim is keynoting, so of course, I’m going to be there. I was at the hotel bar, suffering oversupply-of-quality-sessions burnout at Knowledge12, at exactly the same time as the only other opportunity I’ve had to see Gene present. I will forever berate myself.
With Gene Kim presenting, there is a cohort of DevOps-oriented presentations on the bill, including an opening keynote by Nigel Dalton of REA Group, who wants to warn us that DevOps may break the business. We’ll also hear from Ed Cortis of BankWest discussing IT agility and resiliency; and there’ll be lots of talk around lean, continuous delivery and the transformation of legacy services.
What I like most about this upcoming conference are the built-in knowledge sharing and round table sessions driven by conversations delegates want …
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I’ve tried to capture the most distinct themes that emerged at this year’s Australian national conference for the itSMF in the title. As I predicted last year, our local industry did contract, but not in the way I expected. This year, we had one of our respected consulting firms go into liquidation, and another one acquire a ServiceNow partner. Best practices, frameworks, methodologies and vendors serving the IT service management industry continue to proliferate despite the bad juju of a quiet couple of years on the consulting front.
Just in case you haven’t noticed already, Agile is still at the top of the hype curve. We had more sessions devoted to the popular methodology than we’ve ever had. People want to move on from ITIL’s perceived bureaucracy and move more quickly. Axelos are doing their best to improve the reputation of best practice, but I think ITIL is sorely needing …
Let me level with you—great customer service doesn’t motivate me. Yes, I am a customer from time to time, but I really just want to transact and get the hell on with my day. Recently, a group of enterprise software providers formed a coalition with the goal of shifting the design of enterprise IT services to the user, rather than forcing the user (or the customer, or the employee, or whichever moniker you prefer) to adapt to the constraints thrust upon them.
I’ve worked in enterprise IT for 13 years and I’ve used lots of systems. Working in technical support and in network operations, I had 99 problems and the software I was trying to use every day to do my job shouldn’t have been one of them. Why shouldn’t I have nice looking software when I’m in the office? Why can’t I be offered the kind of user-experience of …