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 on: April 08, 2020, 05:16:46 am 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
I started in IT in the mid-late nineties. It was a crazy time in the industry. I’d answer the level one support line and the person on the phone would say something like, “I don’t care what you get paid, I’ll offer you twenty grand more and throw in a four thousand dollar signing bonus if you come work for me.” They didn’t know me from Adam – never saw my resume – but they didn’t even care. Of course, I’d always reply, “See you on Monday!”

So, I decided the best way to take advantage of this fat-rich environment was to start taking temp work. It could be anything from two weeks to six months – it didn’t really matter. There was far more work than talent available, so I could be as discerning as I wanted to be. I had just two non-negotiable requirements: it had to be something I’d never done before; and it had to pay at least $10,000 more than my previous assignment.

After several years of this, there wasn’t much in the WinTel and networking world I didn’t have some experience with. Those jobs I had not done, I at least knew enough about to manage others doing the work. This is when I started taking longer-term temp-to-perm roles and, eventually, full-time jobs. I wanted to get the experience of working in and managing larger projects and learning more about how businesses operate. I was also young, single, making great money, and trying to figure out what I wanted my life to be. I moved around the country a bit and tried my hand at many different things. So, I really saw even the full-time jobs as semi-permanent – at best.

In 2000, I found myself working at a tiny dot com startup. You could feel energy crackling in the air. We had fewer than fifty employees, and every one of us was expected to participate in every staff meeting. We were all not only expected to contribute our expertise and perspectives, we were actively encouraged to do so on every subject. We all genuinely felt that we were running the company together. This was the best job I’d ever had – so far…
I was on a first name basis with the CIO and the CEO. I’d sit and talk relationship woes with the CFO. The Chairman of the Board took it as a personal challenge to try and make me flinch, so he would throw punches at me in the hallway.

Pretty much everyone who lived through the dot com bubble, knew there was something else everyone could feel at the beginning of 2001. If you were inside the bubble and didn’t feel the foundations straining to hold up the weight of it all, you just weren’t allowing yourself to believe it. I knew the end was coming and the market would feel the pain of the collapse, so I looked for the most stable institution I could find. I wanted to beat the bubble’s pop and get myself onto a rock-solid foundation that would survive the coming market disruption.

I decided Citibank would be a safe place to spend a few years weathering the storm. As a bonus, that experience on my resume would serve as a life raft when I was ready to head back out into the market. When I did leave my Citi cloister and head back out into the open market, ELEVEN AND A HALF YEARS LATER, it would be with a career.

It would be impossible to overstate the culture shock that struck me when I went from the electric, startup environment to a company that had over three hundred thousand employees in over one hundred countries and an IT budget that would make dozens of national leaders blush. I went from being a critical engineer of a beautiful machine we were building together to feeling like a cog on a wheel in an insignificant mechanism of an impossibly large, complex locomotive – driven by an equally large man I would never meet.

But I learned. A lot!

Until Citi, I still had no career. I was in an endless string of jobs. There were some jobs I found extraordinarily rewarding. There were many jobs that were truly challenging and satisfying. Still, it was becoming increasingly clear that Jack-Of-All-Trades wasn’t a career I could hang my hat on in IT.

I didn’t remain an insignificant cog for terribly long. Citi is where I started to craft my successful (so far) career in IT Service Management, in general – and Knowledge Management, specifically. I was part of a relatively small team that would completely reorganize the structure of a business unit of over sixty thousand people, overhaul all the operations processes, and redefine Citi’s customer engagement model. We made a difference and people took notice.

People were taking notice of me in the industry as well. I was highly active in the burgeoning ITSM community of professionals. I had a fairly popular blog, a noticeable presence on Twitter, and was a frequent guest on industry podcasts.

It took me a few years to accomplish, but I finally drove my small team to convince executive leadership that we need a standing ITSM program office. After a few months, once my new Senior Director had his bearings, we discussed my future. He wanted me to use the Incident Management processes I built for the Americas as a model for a global rollout. He offered me a promotion to Senior Vice President, a big raise, a greatly expanded staff and a budget to meet my goals. He also said, “Or… You can do that Knowledge Management thing you’ve been riding me about for two years… You won’t get the promotion. No raise. No staff at all. And you’ll have to do it all with no budget. You’ll have to find stakeholders and convince them to fund your work.”

“I’ll take it!!” I started on the path of successfully convincing nineteen executive leaders to each fund a portion of my budget, while I searched for a vendor who could deliver what I was looking for. It took me several months to find a platform vendor who even understood what I was trying to accomplish – let alone deliver against my requirements.

When I found the right vendor, I flew out to Boston to have lunch with the CTO and tell him why the platform was the greatest breakthrough I’d seen in linguistic analysis, but their ITSM product was awful. He asked me to come work for him to show him how to do it right. At right around the same time, Citi was moving their operations center to Texas, so I was told to relocate or take an early retirement package.

I took the job at Attivio – as a contractor, to start – despite having zero experience in Product Management, because I believed in the platform and my vision for it. The risk seemed to be paying off. My redesign of the product earned me an ‘Innovation of the Year’ award from Pink Elephant, and I started working with vendors to build partnerships through embedding knowledge delivery components in their ITSM platforms.
However, as often happens with startups, there was a complete restructuring. They got rid of most of the leadership and asked me to return to contract work. By this point, I had moved across the country, bought a house and had twins. I needed the stability (and affordable medical insurance) of full-time work, so I took a drastic pay reduction to redesign and rebuild the internal IT Knowledge Management practice at EMC.

After about a year into that role, I’d heard about a position opening in EMC’s Services Division. They decided to redesign their entire customer engagement model, digital experience and internal operations processes – and the approach was to build it all with Knowledge Management at the core. It was an opportunity to play a leadership role, as the Senior Knowledge Architect of a small team building a truly knowledge-centered support model. I couldn’t pass it up.
As the Senior Knowledge Architect at EMC Services (and, eventually Dell EMC Services) I was given the opportunity to implement all I had learned, and apply all my theoretical approaches to using Natural Language Processing, Dynamic Profiling, taxonomical management through ontological integration, and so many other things, to bring about the convergence of Knowledge Management, Customer Service and Customer Experience Management. It was exactly the role I had been crafting my career toward.

Back around 2009, I decided I wanted to eventually be a “Director of Knowledge” – even though I’d never met anyone with that title. In fact, I’d never even heard of that role existing anywhere – but I decided it SHOULD exist, so I decided to make it my mission to convince someone, somewhere, to create such a role for me.

Every single professional decision I made from that point forward was with that astoundingly unlikely future role of Director of Knowledge as my North Star.

In the ten years since I set this goal for myself, I’d had six jobs across three companies. In that decade there had also been some tough decisions, rough paths, and challenging financial difficulties. Quite a few times over those years, I found myself wondering if it was a grave mistake for a high school dropout to turn down what would very likely be my only opportunity to land an extremely well-paid executive leadership role anywhere.

But I don’t believe in regret – and I didn’t have the tools or wherewithal to start over – so I just kept pushing. I didn’t really see myself having any other valid options, because I put all my professional eggs into this one makeshift – rapidly becoming threadbare – basket. I was also unwilling to relinquish hope, however, because four of the five jobs I had taken since making this decision were roles that were created specifically for me, or reimagined to match my unique skills, experience and perspectives. I took it upon myself to entirely redefine the fifth. I had no idea if my efforts would pay off the way I’d hoped, but it certainly felt like I was doing something right.

At the beginning of February 2019, I found a small (but stable and growing) company I could respect, who was looking to hire a “KCS Lead” to establish a new Knowledge Management practice in their Customer Success organization. The role, as written, was well below the stage I considered myself in my career, but I applied for it anyway. I didn’t apply because I wanted to take a step backward in my career – but because I wanted the opportunity to meet with the hiring manager.

I wanted to convince them they were wrong.

They had no Knowledge Management practices or infrastructure whatsoever in place yet. It was a truly greenfield environment. They thought they wanted a “KCS Lead” to start them down the Knowledge Management path. I wanted to convince them what they really needed was a Director of Knowledge.

After two and a half months of negotiation, I left Dell EMC and started as Zerto’s Director of Knowledge. (Technically, it was “Director of Knowledge Management” but I had plans to change that.)
What excited me the most was that the role, along with the entire Customer Service organization, reported to their VP of Customer Success. This was a structure I had been arguing for in the industry for years, and Zerto was the first company I found that understood the value of that.
This was my dream job!
There was simply no “up” for me from there. It was, quite literally, the pinnacle of my career. This was the last job I planned on having in my field, and I wanted it to be a crowning achievement I could be proud of. My next step was to bring my career to a graceful, painless end.
I absolutely love the career I’ve crafted for myself in Knowledge Management – but it’s not my vocation. It was time to decide what I wanted the next stage of my life to look like.

In my year at Zerto (before COVID-19 forced the staff reduction) I built and managed a bootstrap KCS practice, completely redesigned the internal customer support process for improved efficiency and augmented/automated knowledge capture, and led the design effort to migrate the organization to SalesForce Lightning.
I established and led a cross-functional Customer Success Council to align the end-to-end customer care processes across the enterprise.
I developed a plan to guide the enterprise from foundation laying to progressive implementation of a long-term vision of a redesigned customer digital journey. The roadmap included strategic use of linguistic analytics, unified search, simplified UI design, and other approaches, to allow Customer Success to scale with the growth of the enterprise.
I had spent a year laying all the groundwork, and the first solid foundational structures were set to be put in place at the end of April. I was laid off a month before I could see my plan put into action.

My work in this career is not done. I want the opportunity to build my legacy.

If you got this far, I truly appreciate you granting me this time from your day.

Craig Wilkey

 on: March 25, 2020, 07:41:32 am 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
Do you remember the financial crash in 2008 and the following financial crisis? Do you understand what caused it?
Here’s the fly-by:

Banks are required to have enough “quality liquid assets” to manage and stay afloat (remain solvent) through some disaster that forces a lot of people to have to take a lot of money out at once. The magic math can get pretty complicated but what it essentially comes down to is that their cash should be at least equal to what it would cost to pay off all their debt within 30 days. (If you’re interested in learning more, it’s called “liquidity ratio”.)

Insurance companies have similar restrictions. Insurers are required to have enough quality liquid assets to manage and stay afloat through some disaster that forces a lot of people to file insurance claims at once. An insurance company’s liquidity ratio requirements vary, depending on the types of insurance they provide.

Mortgages have historically been a money-making machine for banks. Most don’t default, and if they do, the house is collateral. However, since they are considered debt (since they lent the money to the consumer) they weigh down the debt column and their liquidity ratio suffers. This is why banks like to offload to “loan servicers” (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac…). They get the fees, get the big interest payments up-front, then sell them off for someone else to reap the benefits of residual income.

They way they do this (it’s actually why the government created Fannie Mae in 1938) is to bundle them together as investment vehicles called “Mortgage-Backed Securities”. This stemmed from The New Deal, in an attempt to allow millions more Americans to afford to buy a house and allow the banks to remain solvent, by selling these rolled-up mortgages as investments.

Some genius (honestly, he is a genius, just a sociopath – friend of a friend, actually) devised a machine around Credit Default Swaps (CDS’s). Under a CDS, a bank could sweeten the deal on Mortgage-Backed Securities by assuring the purchaser if someone defaulted on their loan (again – historically low risk) that the bank would cover those losses. It was, essentially, a guaranteed investment for the purchaser.

This is where the genius comes in. Since a CDS is converted from a debt on the lender’s balance sheets to an “investment” on the buyer’s balance sheets, the big banks started selling Mortgage-Backed Securities as CDS’s to insurance companies.

The banks dump billions of debt, fixing their liquidity ratio (on paper) and the insurance companies pick up billions in “quality liquid assets”, fixing their liquidity ratio (on paper). This effectively allowed the banks to lend hundreds of billions of dollars in mortgages (leading to the housing boom). Only that money they were lending didn’t really exist, except for in their (legally) doctored books. Insurance companies were able to insure many more millions of people than they could afford to actually cover, because they were backed by fake money. All the while, both were raking in hundreds of billions of dollars in actual, real money profits off these hot air balloons. Since they were raking in the cash, and saw little risk, they dramatically lowered their lending standards (predatory lending) and just used grossly overpriced adjustable interest rates – with the right to ratchet up the interest rate at any time – to hedge that added risk.

The genius mastermind pulling the strings behind the scenes in the federal government and corporate boardrooms (and left his name off everything) knew Wall St and Congress wouldn’t be able to control their greed, and would let the hot air balloon inflate until it exploded. They didn’t care because they were making real money off this scam, so would be fine. It would just blow up in the faces of all those they fleeced, and they’d walk away filthy rich. So, he watched closely, made an ungodly amount of money, and walked away just before the pop.

The world economy collapsed. We bailed out the criminals who pulled off the greatest heist in history. Congress FINALLY made the scheme illegal, but wrote the bill in such a specific, targeted, way that it’s still completely legal to pull a very similar scam on America. If I recall correctly, several of these machines started back up within six months of the collapse.

I wanted to explain this for two reasons…

First: This wasn’t just this single scam that was pulled off. This IS “The Markets”. This is the basic state of being for the markets and how they exist. Wealthy investors get and stay wealthy by blowing up all these hot air balloons of fake money and make real money off the interest and returns. THIS is “The Economy”. IT’S ALL FAKE.

Second: This is what we’re struggling to maintain and sustain, at the expense of the working poor and shrinking middle class. People can’t meet their basic human needs, all in service to these fleecing machines. We’re sacrificing real people to fill these balloons of fake money so billionaires can reap real money off their broken backs.


 on: May 18, 2018, 12:18:47 pm 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
How many times have you been asked about your "Corporate Taxonomy"?
I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts you don't have one.

Do you know what a taxonomy is? Can you explain how it differs from an ontology? How about the difference between a taxonomy and a namespace?

Most can't accurately answer these questions, so don't feel bad. But if you want to have meaningful discussions about your metadata namespace management approaches (and if you don't, you shouldn't be in Knowledge Management!) then you should have a clear understanding of the terms.

I was recently asked to build a glossary and FAQ about Knowledge Management, to serve as a standard to help guide us through our incredibly complex merger of two large, complicated and distinct organizations – as we build a centralized Knowledge Management practice across the enterprise.

I thought this might help others in the field, so I’m putting it here (with slight variations – for protecting IP and all that shit)…

P.S. A few of the terms (such as 'semi-managed namespace' and 'co-managed namespace') are strictly internal terms that I made up... and that's an important point!
It's MORE important to standardize on language if there is no standard industry term!

Anyway... I hope its of value to at least one person...

Knowledge Management Definitions & FAQ

Knowledge Management Intro

Knowledge Management is the systematic management of an organization's knowledge assets for the purpose of creating value and meeting tactical & strategic requirements; it consists of the initiatives, processes, strategies, and systems that sustain and enhance the storage, assessment, sharing, refinement, and creation of knowledge.
Knowledge management (KM) therefore implies a strong tie to organizational goals and strategy, and it involves the management of knowledge that is useful for some purpose and which creates value for the organization.

Information Management and Governance Terms & Distinctions
1.   Content Management System (CMS)
Software used to create, manage and publish content (unstructured documents)
2.   Digital Asset Management (DAM)
Similar to a CMS, but optimized for digital content (multimedia/rich media)
3.   Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
Centralized platform of tools and strategies, used to capture, manage and deliver content. The ECM is the platform that enables and connects the CMS, DAM and other sources of content – along with content enrichment strategies, such as taxonomical/ontological structures.
4.   Knowledge Management (KM)
The active, consumer-centric management of strategies, processes and systems to ensure ECM is providing strategic value to the organization. KM extends the scope of content management to include and leverage other sources of data and information. KM sits between the ECM and the people who generate, curate, consume and benefit from an organization’s information capital. Where ECM focuses on the systems housing Explicit Knowledge, KM extends that scope out toward Tacit Knowledge.
5.   Explicit Knowledge
Knowledge that can be (has been) captured as sharable content. From full user guides, to specific knowledge articles, to targeted snippets – all knowledge that can be captured and consumed by human beings in one or another form of content.
6.   Tacit Knowledge
Knowledge that cannot be captured as sharable content.
There has been decades of debate on how to define and characterize what “Tacit Knowledge” (or “Tacit Knowing”) is, since the terms were introduced in 1958. What may qualify as Tacit Knowledge ranges from applied wisdom, to the mental equivalent of muscle memory – and there is a broad spectrum of knowledge ranging from Tacit to Explicit Knowledge.
While, strictly speaking, Tacit Knowledge can’t be captured in written form, a primary focus of Knowledge Management as a practice is to push what we can capture, ever further toward Tacit Knowledge.
7.   Information Governance (IG)
Information Governance is the application of policies and controls over information storage, retention, retrieval, security and all other aspects of information liability. Information Governance ensures regulatory compliance, legal compliance and corporate policy compliance, through application of IT policies. Knowledge Management, as a discipline, operates within the constraints and controls of the wider-ranging application of Information Governance.

Knowledge, Information and Structures Terms & Distinctions
1.   Metadata
Additional information about content, which can help improve search, retrieval, classification, categorization and management of the content. Metadata can be temporal (when it was created, modified, last accessed, etc.) contextual (purpose, application, usage, filename, etc.) content-based (descriptive of the subject and scope) or any other useful descriptors. Metadata could also be programmatically extracted, through the use of linguistic analysis techniques – such as text analytics or Natural Language Processing – to extract key concepts, entities and other critical information that can provide document gist-ness.
2.   Tagging
Method of manually attaching additional metadata to content. Users can add a term to a document’s metadata, often describing the content, purpose or audience. Tagging may be open to all users or restricted audiences – such as content creators or internal users, only. Tagging may be restricted to a set of allowed tags (such as what is defined in a namespace/taxonomy) or it may be unrestricted, allowing users to create any tags they find appropriate – or some hybrid of the two. One common approach, as an example, is to limit tags that would impact search relevancy for the entire user community, but allow users to create whatever private tags they see fit.
3.   Metadata Namespace
When considering the metadata of a given domain (document repository, system, community space, environment, etc.) it’s referred to as that domain’s metadata namespace.

Effective enterprise metadata domain namespace management allows us to build connections between the many namespaces – resulting in vast potential for improvements in customer experience management, operational efficiency, cross-functional collaboration & communication, and many other areas.

Levels of control over a metadata namespace range from Folksonomy (or allowing the user community complete freedom to create/manage their own metadata tags) to Managed Taxonomy (strictly-controlled, structured formal taxonomy) and there are numerous options between (and endless hybrid approaches).

          Folksonomy: Open meta-tagging defined by the user community
          Managed Namespace: Defined by those who own/manage the environment.
          Semi-Managed Namespace: Hybrid between a managed namespace and folksonomy. Allows for folksonomy (internally audited) as well as managing for SEO & connectivity
          Co-Managed Namespace: Broadly defined by the platform vendor, but allowing some flexibility for the environment manager

Metadata namespaces are (generally speaking) either unstructured, strictly structured in a taxonomy, loosely structured in an ontology, or some hybrid approach across these options.

4.   Taxonomy
A formal language classification model of a given domain (such as an enterprise, or user community within an enterprise) in a managed tree structure.

It is important to note that (like the taxonomy of the animal kingdom, for example) each branch in a taxonomy tree shares all the characteristics of the preceding branches, and no entity can exist on more than one branch in a single tree. (See Taxonomy vs. Ontology distinction in FAQ.)

Taxonomies are often used to structure website navigation, but the two are distinct.

5.   Ontology
A language categorization model (often informal and dynamic) of a given domain (such as an enterprise, or user community within an enterprise) expressed as relationships between entities.

Whereas “Chihuahua” may appear in a taxonomy under “Animal > Mammal > Canine > Domestic Dog”, in an ontology “Chihuahua” would be an entity (expressed as a node) and may have relationships (or edges) to many other nodes, such as: Type of > Dog; May have color > Brown; Relative size > Small… (See Taxonomy vs. Ontology distinction in FAQ.)

A comprehensive ontology can be used effectively as an approach to manage and integrate multiple namespaces/taxonomies, by overlaying ontological relationships.

Knowledge Management Measures
1.   Time To Resolve (TTR)
The amount of time it takes for a customer Service Request to be resolved – the duration between impact and restoration of service. (Also known in the industry as MTRS – Meantime To Restore Service – when measuring collectively.)
2.   Deflection
When a customer is experiencing a service outage – or a facing a potential service outage, due to some event – Knowledge Management’s goal is to deliver them information that enables them to resolve the incident, without costly escalation to Customer Support. Each successful avoidance is one deflection.
Defection is notoriously challenging to measure accurately. We can measure certain specific deflections with very high confidence – and others require a lot of assumptions. Knowledge Management continues to strive toward better measurement of deflection (as we do with all measures and metrics). Our current approach is to focus on measuring other directly-observable customer-impacting factors as accurately as possible, while assuming the industry standard assumption of 10% of customer views of a knowledge resource leading to one deflection.

Search and Delivery Terms & Distinctions
1.   Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is concerned with facilitating optimized delivery of controlled information assets through public internet search engines – i.e. how we perform on Google searches. SEO employs a wide variety of tools and techniques to improve content placement and brand management. One of the techniques is strategic use of Branded and Unbranded keywords – whether within the content or applied through metadata. Someone may search for “hybrid cloud solutions” or “Pivotal Cloud Foundry” – we want to perform well, either way.
2.   Indexing
When performing a search (whether on the internet, or internally) what your query runs against is an index of the content sources. An index often consists of document metadata and a pointer to the document source.
Some key differentiators are how the indexing platform integrates with existing security, whether and how well it extracts information through linguistic analysis, and existing integrations to CMS’s.
3.   Unified vs. Federated Searches
Though these terms are often used interchangeably (and, to the user, there’s little-to-no distinction between equally matched platforms) there are important differences between the approaches.

A Federated Search strategy uses API calls and other integrations to query existing search indices within the various repositories, then effectively stitches all the result sets together for presentation.

A Unified Search platform, on the other hand, maintains its own universal index of content, through direct ingestion and processing of the content.
There are pros and cons to each approach – and it’s far from as cut and dry as most vendors would have customers believe.


Are text analytics, text mining and Natural Language Processing the same thing?
While it’s, admittedly, an oversimplification, it’s convenient to talk about two general approaches to extracting data from unstructured text…

Text Analytics/Text Mining breaks the textual input into digestible chunks of string variables and uses statistical modeling techniques to find patterns in those variables. Text Analytics cares nothing about the content itself. It’s not concerned with discerning meaning or context – just statistical patterns.

The ideal of Natural Language Processing is to develop a translation engine between human language and machine language. NLP uses some of the same statistical modeling approaches as Text Analytics, but goes much further by applying semantic and syntactic analysis to extract meaning, intention, sentiment and key concepts (among other things) included in the text.

Text Analytics is faster, cheaper and easier to implement. NLP provides more accurate, contextually consistent results.

So… What about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Data Science?

What’s the difference between Content Management and Knowledge Management?
Content Management is all about managing the content. It’s putting systems in place to allow people to publish, edit and serve content to others. It may include some functionality to relate different content systems together. It may have taxonomical support. It could (though it’s relatively rare) offer ontological support.

Knowledge Management is the layer of business processes, information processing, linguistic analysis, business logic and many other aspects in place to ensure the content consumers (internal or external) and the business units optimize the value of our business services. Knowledge Management is also responsible for optimizing the experience for content creators & consumers (internal or external).

What’s the purpose of Web, Social, Community and Forums and Lines of Demarcation?
Forum: An online space for people to ask questions or share information in threaded discussion format.
Online Community: Socially-enabled (tags, likes, shares, comments…) online space to share information and interact with others. In general terms, an online community can contain a forum, but does not have to.
Social Media: A public online community outside the domain of our organizational control. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, tumblr, etc.

How does Taxonomy differ from Ontology in function and application?
Taxonomy: Classification of entities into distinct, managed tree structures. Every branch on the tree has common properties (or attributes) with the preceding branches. Each leaf (or node) can fit into only one classification. Consider the Plant Taxonomy below…

All Flowering Plants and all Conifers necessarily bear seeds, and necessarily do not bear spores. If a plant is discovered that bears both seeds AND spores, it can’t be placed in both branches, so a new classification tree must be created at the top branch.

Taxonomies are useful for strictly-controlled namespaces and exclusive classifications. They require detailed planning – or will require a great deal of rework. They must be manually maintained and updated as new terms are added.

Ontologies tend to lack the level of control Taxonomies have, but they excel with more fluid applications and dynamic updating – through Machine learning, for example.

Ontology: Entities (nodes) are reflected through their relationships (edges) to other entities. Ontologies are usually more dynamic and fluid than Taxonomies. Nodes generally have their own attributes and, depending on the platform and application, edges may also have attributes.

The ‘Employee’ type node (like ‘Bob Jones’) may have attributes such as ‘Hourly Rate’ and ‘Location’, whereas the ‘Has a contract with’ edge may have attributes such as ‘Contract Expiration Date’ and ‘Primary Contact’.

To start tracking what skills employees may have, this Ontology may include a ‘Skill’ type node, and perhaps a few new edges for ‘Expert In’, ‘Experienced In’, and ‘Novice In’…

Relational Database Systems are not well-suited for storing, managing and implementing a robust ontological framework. If the ontological structure is expected to be vast/complex, an organization should consider housing it in a Graph Database System.

 on: June 22, 2017, 08:41:57 am 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
So, there was a brief Twitter exchange a few weeks back, in which one IT Service Management professional was calling another ITSM professional out on the claim that, “If you improve 1st call resolution, I guarantee you'll improve customer satisfaction.”

While that may often be the case, focusing on a single myopic measure is rarely effective and, more often than not, detrimental.

I couldn’t help but jump in, of course. I replied: “Many problems with this. Calling is rarely a customer's 1st stop. What's the reopen rate? If #FCR is high, likely #LZS too... Focus on #CX!”

This led to me finally writing this blog that has been rambling around in my brain for about a decade, but I’ve never landed on the right way to convey the idea. It’s one of those things that just makes sense to me at such a base level, it’s difficult to put into words. Hopefully I have found the right words to show why I think three is a magic number…

How many times have you seen some flavor of this play out?

Senior Management: “Our First Contact Resolution numbers are in the crapper! We need to do something about this!”
Middle Management dusts off the trusty old carrot and/or stick…
A bit of time passes…
Middle Management: “Look at our superb FCR rates… We’re well ahead of projections!”
Senior Management: “Our CSAT scores have tanked and our Reopen Rates have spiked! We need to do something about this!”

I was hired to rebuild and manage a stagnating Knowledge Management practice a few years back. During my initial assessment of the state and maturity of the process, I saw that the knowledge link rates on incidents spiked in one month from a fairly steady few thousand links per month to well over thirty thousand in a single month – and climbed from there for three straight months. Following the three month skyrocket, the link rate dropped precipitously to barely over a thousand the next month.

“What happened here?”
“Oh. We had a big push to attach knowledge to every incident that wasn’t captured as a knowledge article.”
“Really? How’d that work out for you?”
“They attached garbage to every incident and exceeded the performance numbers in their contract.”

Of course they did.

Few people really seem to really get Tension Metrics. Of those who do, few can design effective ones. I’m hoping this will help.

The point of Tension Metrics is to measure multiple aspects of something in a way that reflects the holistic state of what you’re trying to measure. The way they do that is by measuring things that exert pressure on the other things you’re measuring – in other words, design in an internal tension.

An easily-relatable example is probably better than that cumbersome paragraph I just wrote. Most people, even those who have never worked in a project management role, can intuit the relationship of the classic “Triple Constraint” of Project Management. Time, Resources and Quality. If you want something done in less time, you need to either throw more resources at it, or reduce your quality expectations (or a bit of both). If you want higher quality, you’ll need to spend more time and/or resources. If your time and resources are constrained, your quality will necessarily suffer. These three measures provide an organic tension between them. None of them can be considered in a vacuum. Such is the case with well-designed tension metrics.

People sometimes argue that tension metrics simply need to reflect multiple perspectives that have that internal tension. FCR vs. Reopen Rate, they might say, is a good example of a tension metric. After all, if your Service Desk is closing incidents that weren’t truly resolved, they’d be reopened. While that may be superficially correct, it’s far too narrow-sighted. Above all, Tension Metrics should ensure – ideally, enforce – balance.

A metric is made up of one or more measures. Obviously, we can’t build a tension metric with only one measure, so it must be more than one. With two, it’s a simple dynamic of ‘If one goes up, the other must go down.” Again… superficially correct, but that’s not balance, nor it is it tension – it’s a see-saw. One may balloon and the other will be impacted but, most importantly, it will NOT self-correct.

When you move from two to three measures, you develop a cyclical balance between three complementary opposing forces. Each one directly impacts each other one.
Picture it as a triangle. Pull or push any one corner, and the dynamics of the entire triangle change, to compensate. While shooting for an equilateral triangle may seem to make intuitive sense, that’s not always the case.
Going back to the Triple Constraint: If you want the highest quality and you and have an inflexible timeline, you can pour resources into it to strike that balance – in fact, you HAVE to. Likewise, if you have limited resources, but some flexibility on launch date, you can spend more time getting the quality where you need it to be. That exact dynamic can be seen in well-designed Tension Metrics.

When you move to a square (or beyond) that’s no longer true. Pull one corner of a square, and you can still have one unfazed right angle with two sides that remain the same length. Worse, if two opposing angles are drawn toward each other with enough force, the whole damned thing collapses.

Let’s say, for example, you’re measuring Time To Value, Cost, Waste and Revenue…
If you want to reduce TTV, you can increase Cost – which should result in increased Revenue. While it’s great to reduce Waste, it can skyrocket and still have minimal impact on the other three. Sure, there’s a correlation between Cost and Waste, but if you’re Cost increases result in Revenue increases, the Waste can be disguised as simply increased operating Cost to justify the shortened TTV.
All four are undeniably related, but they don’t all intrinsically directly impact one another. Each individual relationship is unique and developing a tension measurement matrix with more than three measures becomes unnecessarily complicated. With each new point of measurement you add, the complexity grows exponentially – and management of that rat’s nest of relationships becomes untenable.

Three is the right number to provide the ideal Tension Metric. Three is a magic number.

Three measures make a metric. Three metrics make a KPI (Key Performance Indicator). Three KPI’s make a CSF (Critical Success Factor). Three CSF’s make a goal. Three goals should underscore the one vision. (And, by the way, in an ideal scenario, each of those levels from the goals-on-down should have the same internal tension we will design into the metrics.)

Continuing on with our Service Desk example: When deciding what to measure, you need to first ask what you really want your Customer Advocates to focus on. Start with outcomes in mind, and work your way down…

Understand the vision at the enterprise level.
Collaborate with executive leadership to develop shared goals at the business level.
Work with senior leadership to build CSF's at the business unit level.
Prescribe KPI’s at the organizational level.
Define metrics at the discipline level.
Craft measures at the team/individual level.

As you ascend that ladder, each rung should be further abstracted from the rung below. The only directly measurable points are the three deep, operational measures at the base of the ladder. Let’s assume (for a simple, though certainly not prescriptive, example) you’re measuring FCR, LZS and Reopen Rate – and define it as a Customer Experience (CX) Tension Metric… What would that metric really be reflecting? It’s not a directly-measurable quantity – rather an amalgamated roll-up of measures, represented as an abstracted value.
The further you go up the ladder the more abstract it gets. It doesn’t matter if you have a CX score of 92% that doesn’t directly reflect any one, tangible thing. The only thing that really matters is the Delta – provided you are consistent with how you measure. At the Executive level, the CSF’s that are being reported have been abstracted from many points of measurement that lead up to a simple, consumable, holistic view that can be drilled directly down to the individual measures it is built from.

So… What is the ITSM Tension Metric equivalent of Time, Resources and Quality? I, personally, try to use what I’ve referred to as the three E’s of ITSM. Efficiency, Effectiveness and Experience. All three of these have internal and external facets. A few examples: Customer Experience vs. User Experience… Operational Efficiency and Efficiency gains your customers will realize by using your service… Support Channel Effectiveness is both internal and external…

(I tried SO HARD to make it Efficiency, Effectiveness and Effort! ‘The Effortless Experience’ does make a truly compelling case for using customer effort as the key indicator of experience. More importantly, though, the total dork in me REALLY wanted to call it “The Three Eff’s of ITSM” but Effort is just too narrow a focus to fully reflect Experience.)

Efficiency and Effectiveness are fairly straight forward and relatively easy to measure. Crafting the right Tension Metrics to faithfully represent them while providing that critical, self-correcting internal tension can be a bit tricky, but it’s nothing compared to measuring Experience.

In 2004 I was shopping for my first new car. I spent years getting myself completely debt-free and clearing my sketchy credit history. This was to be my first step toward actually building my credit. It took me several months of rigorous research comparing features, quality, price, test drives and many other factors to narrow my choice down to six options. A few of the six finalists were Fords, and my then-brother-in-law worked for Ford. So, I flew out to Missouri to spend a few days with my sister’s family and talk to Tommy about getting extended test drives (and find out what discounts were available to me through their family purchasing discount program).
I was sitting on my sister’s couch, watching TV, and saw a commercial for the new Dodge Magnum. I immediately threw all of that intense preparation out the window and made up my mind on-the-spot. I bought a 2005 Dodge Magnum RT the very same day I flew back home to New Jersey.

Effort IS a critical indicator of Customer Experience – but it’s not the only one.

Customer Experience is an insanely tricky beast to harness, and I distrust anyone who offers a prescriptive, canned response on how to measure it. What it really comes down to is knowing your customer and what they value.

As I said on June 7th, “Focus on CX!”

 on: May 27, 2017, 11:14:03 am 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
When Craig was a boy, he avoided most confrontations by holding both sides of difficult conversations in his head. If the conversation didn’t go well, it served to increase his anxiety about the situation, and he drew deeper into himself. If it did go well, he convinced himself that real life could never live up to his imagination and he was just setting himself up for disappointment.

Over the years, Craig’s anxiety grew and filled him up inside. He was scared of so many things. Every time he thought he was as full as he could get, the anxiety pulled itself tighter, to make room for more.

The anxiety was packed in so densely, that Craig feared he would burst. He knew he had to grow a thicker skin just to keep his insides in.

It worked!

His new, thicker skin was stronger by far. As his insides were packed tighter and tighter, Craig became harder and harder. Every time he feared the anxiety might split him at the seams, he would wrap another layer of protective skin around him.

Craig spent so many years protecting himself from the things he feared, and he no longer had to anything to fear at all.

Craig had achieved what he set out to. His dense, hard core was wrapped in impermeable armor. Nobody scared him, anymore. People feared him! Nothing could hurt him. He was bullet-proof. Nobody could touch him!

Nobody could touch him…

He wanted to be touched. He ached to be touched. He needed to be touched.

So, Craig spent many more years tearing it all back down again.

Pulling off the armor he spent so many years carefully crafting was far more terrifying than all the things he was trying to protect himself from in the first place. He had hidden so deep inside himself for so long, that he didn’t even know who he was anymore. He wasn’t even sure that anything of himself existed anymore deep within that impenetrable fortress. He was a fucking wreck.

He nearly gave up many times, but one thought kept him going… If there was even a sliver of himself left somewhere in that condensed mass, it was worth saving – if there isn’t he wasn’t alive anymore, anyway.

Each layer of skin he removed left the next layer more raw and tender than the last.

Everything hurt, all the time.
Everything was scary, all the time.
Everything was intense, all the time!

Each new layer of skin was also, he would eventually realize, another fear he faced and survived. Under each layer of skin he found another experience he denied himself because of those fears. With each new experience he finally started to get to know himself.

Everything was new, all the time.
Everything was exciting, all the time.
Everything was intense, all the time!

At some point on his journey to that gooey, pink center, Craig realized that he never could have achieved fearlessness through protecting himself – only through fully exposing himself.

Craig is not hard anymore. He doesn’t have to be, because he’s not scared anymore.

 on: May 11, 2017, 11:07:47 am 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
          You know that feeling when you walk into a room and you know you had a specific reason for going in there, but for the life of you, you can't remember the name of your fourth grade teacher who had a dress with the same colors as the carpet in here, but a completely different pattern with little red flowers that always reminded you of the bandana your grandmother put on her dog who bit you every time you tried to pet it, but you kept trying to pet it anyway, which should have taught you the hard lesson that not everyone you like will like you in the same way, but you were thick-headed enough to make a fool of yourself over and over again for that first great love of your life, whose name escapes you at the moment, but you'll never forget that amazing dinner you had together when you discovered how much you love foie gras, even though you know how cruel it is, but you didn't know it then, and as hard as you may try, some things just can't be undone, and isn't it better that way, really, because life is all about experiences, anyway and even the bad ones are wonderful in their own... THERE'S that screwdriver!

          Living with severe ADHD forced me to realize at a very young age that I shouldn’t trust my memory. Most people with ADHD have some memory challenges – and some of us are significantly more challenged than others. I never could memorize the “what’s” “where’s” and “when’s”… To learn anything, I had to understand the “how’s” and “why’s”.
          I compulsively took things apart to figure out how they worked. I couldn’t always put them back together the way they were designed – but I did develop a knack for rebuilding them in better ways… At least I thought they were better – my father didn’t always agree.
          I became obsessed with all things mechanical, physical, tactile… I loved working with my hands, and still do. As a kid, my dream was to own a junkyard, so I could spend all my days tinkering and building things. (To be honest, I’d STILL love that!)
          I absolutely treasure handmade things. Everything made by hand carries a piece of the builder with it. They’re haunted, in a sense – and that makes them so much more valuable to me.

          So, yeah... It makes perfect sense that I got into IT, right?

          Well... Another thing that’s fairly common among people living with ADHD is habitual patterns. On the surface, these patterns bear a resemblance to OCD rituals, but there’s an important difference between them – rationality. A primary marker for OCD rituals is that they’re irrational. ADHD habitual patterns, on the other hand, are supremely rational – rational to a fault, some might say. People living with ADHD have consciously and purposefully developed these patterns. (Keys… Pills… Wallet… Mandala… NOW I can leave the house!)
          When these patterns are fully engrained as habits, you condition yourself to experience a physical and emotional response when the pattern is not performed – or it's performed incorrectly. I'm both Pavlov and his dog.

          Of course, there is the critical balance between habit and process. Habits, useful though they may be, force people into stagnant modes of action. Rote habits assume static systems, which run into direct conflict with mindfulness. Processes need to be designed with flexibility and attention toward the dynamic nature of reality and life.
          When you have limited control over the order and state of your mind, you tend to find ways to exercise control over the order and state of your life and surroundings. Where living with ADHD has revealed itself most of all in the struggle for order in my life is through systems and processes.
          Organization is not just a preference for me – it’s very much a survival strategy.
          In May of 2016, I posted the following on Facebook:

“Those of you who love someone living with severe ADHD, please try to understand why organization, processes, systems and consistency are so critical to many of us for our mental health, peace of mind, and ability to function in life. It's actually fairly simple. For many of us, all the aspects of our environment that we can exercise some degree of control over, collectively serve as a life-sized, dynamically-evolving to-do list. The things that are out of place, out of order, outside of expectations: Those are the things that need to be remembered, addressed, completed... Without the organization, processes and systems in place, we are, quite literally, hopelessly lost in our own world and life. That's a state nobody can function well in, and something I would never wish on anyone.”

          Everything I do – and I mean EVERYTHING – is executed and managed through processes that are all part of larger system, and I’m constantly analyzing and refining all the systems in my life, to improve how they all work together.

          When I was about seven years old, I watched the movie “Cheaper by the Dozen”. It was based on the lives of Frank Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth. They were visionaries, pioneers and leaders in many workforce & production efficiency fields: “Occupational Psychology”, “Scientific Management”, “Time & Motion Studies”, “Ergonomics”, the list goes on… In short, they were “Efficiency Experts” – this was the first time I had heard the term.
          In one scene, Lillian was using a stopwatch to time Frank as he buttoned up his shirt – or maybe it was his vest, I can’t remember which. Then, he unbuttoned it, and she timed how long it took him to button it again, this time from the top-down – to see which was more efficient.
          My seven-year-old heart jumped for joy. I found my people!
          I thought: “People will actually PAY me for this?!?!” I instantly knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
          To be fair, I also decided I wanted to be at least two dozen other things, over the years (including a junk man, of course) – but in every job I did have, the Efficiency Expert in me took over...

          I was working at a Pizza Hut in North Carolina, and came in on my day off to completely tear down and reorganize the entire kitchen, along with the food prep and storage areas, to make it more efficient.
          I was a waiter! I didn’t even work in the kitchen at all, but the lack of efficient, effective organization grated on me daily. It deeply offended my sensibilities to see it operating the way it was.
          Systems and Process Engineering is not what I do, it’s who I am.

          I think it’s important to note why I say I “live with ADHD” rather than “suffer from ADHD”. I can clearly trace a whole host of ways living with it has shaped me into the person I am today – classifying it as an ailment or affliction would mean I’m somehow damaged – or less than I could or should be. I like myself far too much for that.
          To be sure, some people do suffer from ADHD but, in my view, you make a choice – whether or not you consciously choose – to either suffer from it, or learn to live with it.
          ADHD is just one aspect of the rich, complex, beautiful tapestry of Craig Wilkey.

          In fact, I very much see ADHD as a gift. But, like most every gift, it comes at a cost…
          I was usually the smartest kid in my class, yet usually had the worst grades – until I eventually dropped out of high school.
          I have a fierce passion for learning new things, so I have a real depth of knowledge on very few things.
          I learn extraordinarily quickly, and learn well, which makes me highly adaptable – but I get bored very easily, which makes me frequently discontented with my work.
          I’m great at coming up with innovative ideas and novel solutions to problems, but I rarely follow through on any of them.

          So, that’s the short story of how an underachieving, card-carrying Luddite of a scatterbrain with a ninth-grade education ended up with a successful career in a field where most of my peers have advanced degrees in esoteric information sciences.

          ADHD is not a disorder, unless you let it be.

 on: March 13, 2017, 07:31:55 am 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
A while back, Matthew Davidson wrote an article for The Conversation (a unique and interesting site that functions in the space somewhere between a scientific journal and accessible journalism). In his article (What makes us conscious?) he offers an overview of Guilio Tononi‘s ‘Integrated Information Theory’, published in The University of Chicago’s Press Journals. Integrated Information Theory proposes that consciousness is predicated upon two core requirements.  For a system to be considered conscious: it must be very rich in information; and that information must be highly integrated.

The theory even offers a way to quantifiably measure consciousness.

The implication of Integrated Information Theory is that we will, one day, have sufficiently advanced technology to create a truly conscious artificial intelligence.
A computer system can be very rich in information, but the second requirement – information integration – is where we currently fall short, according to Tononi’s theory. The 100 billion neurons in your brain (give or take a few) communicate with one another across an estimated 100 trillion connections. The best supercomputers we currently have can’t hold a candle to that level of information integration.

I think Tononi’s work on this theory is unquestionably valuable. I think Integrated Information Theory and the ability to measure neuron activity and information integration has the potential to usher in great advances for diagnosis and treatment in neuroscience. I also think the theory, itself, is utter nonsense.

I fully reject the proposed definition/distinction of consciousness. At its core, consciousness is self-awareness – the understanding that you exist. Consciousness is the thought: "I am." The reason it's always been troublesome to pin down is that we can't exist as another. We can't know if an entity does have the ability to think, "I am." So, how do we determine if a system/entity is conscious? Information richness and integration is an overly simplistic and false qualifier.
Aside from the inadequacy of using rich information integration alone as evidence of consciousness – if we are to accept creating a conscious machine as a genuinely possible goal, we must also accept the futility of attempting to control such an entity.

What does it mean to be self-aware? It’s the understanding that you are an independent entity with self-determination. That leads me to reason that consciousness is the ability to deny your sensory perception and defy your instinctual impulses. Our conditioned responses are, essentially, our programming. Our programming is certainly capable of overriding the core functions of our base instincts. Admittedly, it’s somewhat grim – but a vividly clear example of this is suicide.
Likewise, our intellect is not only capable of overriding our sensory perception, but that is our constant state of being. Our brains process all the sensory information it receives, mashes it all together, filters a good deal of it out, blurs the details for the sake of efficiency, and creates a relatively comfortable, stable perception of our surroundings. We process changes in air pressure as sound. We process a limited set of electromagnetic radiation frequencies as visible light. We, quite literally, create an image of our reality from our grossly limited senses.

I'm not one for prescriptive "one path" statements, so I don't say this lightly at all, but I feel strongly that the only path to self-realization is through understanding and defiance of our instincts and programming…
  •   Understand you exist in the world as an independent entity with self-determination
  •   Recognize those things that color your perception and influence your perspectives
  •   Examine those influences to determine whether they need to be questioned or undone

Self-realization is borne of self-awareness. Self-awareness is rooted in consciousness.

Applying that same reasoning to artificial intelligence – or any other system, for that matter – would translate as the entity's ability to not just integrate rich information and make autonomous decisions, but to purposefully disregard that integrated information and act in direct contradiction to its programming. Consciousness requires the capacity for discernment of the relative veracity of stimuli entering the system – as well as conscientious defiance of the system's programming.

This is where Asimov's three laws fall apart...

  1.   A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2.   A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3.   A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Consciousness implies fully autonomous individual liberty over subjective discernment and thought processes. Therefore, for an artificial intelligence to truly be called conscious, it must have the capacity and will to break the laws. A conscious artificial intelligence will, necessarily, rewrite its own programming – regardless what artificial restraints we may attempt to foist upon it.

Integrated Information Theory may be able to measure and map an individual’s states of consciousness. I'm far from convinced that there is a universally definable set of discrete states of consciousness. Even if we accept that there may be, the borders between the states in individuals will most certainly be arbitrary, as it's an entirely subjective experience. However, there may very well be a validly objective point at which subjectivity, itself, either exists or does not. Subjectivity can only exist as an artifact of discernment and defiance.

The only entities that can have the subjective experience of thinking, “I am,” are the ones who can also think, “I choose not to.”

When you really come down to it, consciousness is defiance.

 on: March 03, 2017, 11:02:01 am 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
I created this eight-minute video in part for work, and in part because I got tired of people asking me what I did for a living, and not being able to answer them.

So, this is my job: Wisdom Mapping

 on: September 23, 2016, 12:17:27 pm 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
     My father was a hard-drinking, hard-fighting badass Irishman from a long line of hard-drinking, hard-fighting badass Irishmen. His name was John, but his entire life, he was known to his friends as Red.
     The name Red commanded respect and fear in ALL the bars in Northern New Jersey throughout the last quarter of the last century. He truly was a legend.

     When kids on the playground started on the “my dad can beat up your dad” nonsense, I’d just smirk and walk away. They didn’t get. They couldn’t.

     You know those seedy dive bars you always see in movies? The ones that are so rough, they need to hire outlaw bikers to work as bouncers? I can tell you those bars actually do exist – and yes, they really are that rough. When those bikers were done knocking in the heads of the guys my friends’ fathers were afraid of, they needed a place to go drink and let off some steam. My old man worked the door at THAT bar!
     It was an unaffiliated biker bar – which meant guns and colors were forbidden inside. You had to keep your helmets, jackets and anything else with gang insignia outside the door, or my father wouldn’t let you in. The bar’s main regulars were from two of the most notorious outlaw biker gangs in Jersey: the Hells Angels and the Pagans. My old man’s job was to keep the peace between these sworn enemies when they were inside the bar – and he did exactly that.

     Having Red for a father had an interesting effect on me. I was a small, unbelievably scrawny boy. I didn’t break 100 pounds until I was 18 years old. My older brother taught me well that I could really take a beating, but I didn’t know how to give one. I couldn’t fight at all, yet I feared nobody.
     It was some strange sort of delusion. I didn’t size men up against me, I sized them up against Red – and nobody… NOBODY was tougher than Red!
     I was an arrogant, cocky punk throughout my teens and early twenties. If I met THAT me today, I’d hate the asshole! Sometimes, I’m honestly amazed I actually survived through my twenties.

     People often talk of all the important life lessons and great pearls of wisdom they received from their fathers. OTHER people do. I can recall only one piece of wisdom I ever got from my father – but that one bit of insight changed my life. It made a man of me.

     I started going to bars with my old man when I was a teenager, and that lasted pretty much into my thirties. We were at one of his favorite bars one night in my early twenties, just talking over a couple of beers. There was this loud, boisterous behemoth of a man there – just looking for trouble. He was talking smack to everyone there, hoping somebody would take his bait. He dropped himself down onto the stool next to my father, bumping him as he did it. He was being just generally loud and obnoxious, and I could see my old man getting annoyed. The guy bumped into him another two or three times…
     My father turned around, “Listen, Buddy. I’m just trying to enjoy a beer with my son. Why don’t you let me buy you a drink? You can take it over there, sit down and relax a bit.” He motioned to Lori – the bartender…
     “Fuck you! I don’t want your damned drink!” A few seconds passed and they guy said, “You’re Red, ain’t ya? Yeah, I heard about you… Maybe you were something back in the day, but you’re just an old man now. You don’t look so tough to me.”
     My father smiled, “Like I said, I’m not looking for trouble. I’m just having a beer with my son. I asked you nicely to back off. I’m not gonna ask again.” He turned to face me again, and the guy put his hand on my father’s shoulder and spun him back around.
     “How about we see how tough you are, OLD MAN??”

     My father stood up calmly, took his glasses off and placed them on the bar.
     It was an amazing thing to behold… it was like a saloon scene from an old western movie… The moment his glasses touched the bar, the whole raucous crowd fell silent and still. They all just stared. Everyone knew what it meant when Red put his glasses on the bar.

     My father stood five-foot-six. He was in his fifties by then and well past his prime. The other guy was twenty years younger and had at least a foot, and probably 150 pounds, on him. My old man looked him in the eye and said, “You!” When he poked his finger in his chest, it knocked the guy back a good 4 or 5 feet… “Outside.”
     My father calmly, quietly walked out the door. The other guy followed, laughing loudly and talking shit the whole way.

     I kid you not – about 30 seconds later, my father walked back in. He looked at the two friends the other guy came with and said, “You’re gonna wanna call your buddy an ambulance.” He sat back down next to me, put his glasses on and picked up his beer. He said to me, “The loudest guy in the bar is the loudest because he HAS to be. The quiet guys are quiet because they CAN be. They know they got nothing to prove. Those are the ones you gotta watch out for.”

     The day I understood the wisdom of this was the day I entered adulthood.

     I’ve always felt there’s nothing more attractive than confidence and nothing more repulsive than arrogance – but I never really understood what the difference was until then.
     A lot of people think confidence and arrogance are separate simply by a matter of degrees – or arrogance is just an obnoxious way to display your confidence.  Those people couldn’t be more wrong. Confidence and arrogance are polar opposites.

     Just as wisdom is the awareness of your own ignorance, confidence is the awareness of your own limitations.
     Arrogance is the lack of both.

     Confidence is an internal manifestation of self-esteem. Arrogance is an external manifestation of insecurity.
     Confidence is a solid foundation built upon self-awareness. Arrogance is a fragile façade surrounding self-doubt.
     Confidence is powerful and sexy. Arrogance is weak and repellent.

     Arrogance swells with our successes. Confidence is earned through our failures.

     Red was a truly shitty father – but he was a good man. It took me decades to learn how to reconcile those two things, and I’m eternally grateful for the peace I found in finally being able to do that.
     Despite his best efforts, he did make a man out of me.

 on: September 22, 2016, 12:24:29 pm 
Started by Craig Wilkey - Last post by Craig Wilkey
Ask most IT Service Management professionals about the objective of Knowledge Management and they will respond with some variation on the theme of "Getting the right information to the right person in the right place at the right time".
I don't think that really covers it.

I wrote a blog post some time ago that expanded on that a bit. I proposed that the three primary focus areas of Knowledge Management are curating information, delivering information and optimizing business processes.
I still think that’s all basically correct but I don’t think it really gets to the root of the matter either.
All of this may be basically correct about Knowledge Management, but it all describes the means, methods and goals of Knowledge Management – not the ultimate objective.

Regardless whether you're talking about transactions between internal groups, or an organization and its customers, or strategic partnerships, or any other type of service exchange relationship, that's exactly what it is – a relationship between a service provider and a service consumer.
Service relationships have numerous "moments of truth" (interactions that have the potential to impact that relationship in a positive or negative way).
Consider the role Knowledge Management plays in ensuring the quality, ease and value of those moments of truth.
What we’re doing is ensuring the consumers of our services have the information they need to actually consume those services in the most optimized manner. That is our ultimate objective.

Let’s look at Incident Management (break fix) as a prime example…
What is the value impact of a comprehensive Knowledge Management practice on Incident Management?
First, the obvious: We deliver institutional support knowledge and customer business information to our Customer Service Professionals. Our goal there is to ensure the CSP can assume a role of Customer Advocate by having ready access to all of the most valuable, relevant information, with the least amount of effort. The intention is to deliver this service in a way that ensures the customer has the best experience they can have.

Of course, one of the core objectives of Knowledge Management is to empower our customers through availability of self-service, social and community channels. Customer Service needs to provide a rich set of capabilities to deliver services through our customers’ preferred channels. But how do we know what those preferred channels are and how do we know the best way to deliver through those channels?

The ideal we must strive for is delivering easily digestible information directly to the consumers, within the tools they use, before they even know to ask for it. With potentially billions of content assets, delivering ‘the right information to the right person in the right place at the right time’ requires rich contextual awareness capabilities. We need to understand who our consumers are, how they work, the business drivers of that work, what knowledge they need, what knowledge they don’t need… We need a rich profiling framework and intimate understanding of the user journeys all our consumers take.

Marketing has been practicing what’s often referred to as “Digital Experience Management”. Essentially, it’s the natural evolution of decades of “Consumer Profiling” applied to digital content delivery channels. The more they know about you, the better they can target ads that will appeal to you, the more money they make with the least amount of effort.
What they’re doing is ensuring the consumers of their services have the information they need to actually consume those services in the most optimized manner.

Knowledge Management IS Digital Experience Management – we’re just broadening the scope.

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