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ITinvolve Blog

ITinvolve Blog

Archive for May, 2013

The industry’s first Social IT Index is coming soon!

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

A few months ago, ITinvolve launched a free 10 minute online assessment of Social IT maturity.  We’ve had a very strong response to this anonymous assessment and will soon be announcing a series of findings based on the responses from well over 250 IT professionals’ experiences with researching and adopting Social IT capabilities.

As a quick refresher, the Social IT Maturity Model defines four levels of maturity.

  • Level 1 – Social Exploration (where IT begins to ask questions about how Social IT can improve service support and delivery, including developing a formal plan with quantified benefits)
  • Level 2 – Social Add-ons (where Social IT capabilities are added onto existing IT management processes and practices)
  • Level 3 – Social Embedding (where traditional IT management processes and practices are re-tuned to incorporate social knowledge and collaboration practices)
  • Level 4 – Social Driven (where the IT organization now has a self-sustaining social community contributing new knowledge through crowd-sourcing and peer review, has put in place rewards and recognition for Social IT activities, and is using Social IT to drive continual service improvement)

If you haven’t had a chance to read the whitepaper, How to Benchmark Your Social IT Maturity?, be sure to read it now as it explains each of these Levels in more detail and their benefits.

We’re still crunching the numbers, but the index results will likely surprise many of you.  Here’s a teaser… More respondents have implemented at least one Level 2 Social IT Add-on than have developed a formal plan for Social IT with defined benefits according to what’s recommended at Level  1.  As with most innovations, a lot of us might want to “leap before we look” but that can be a recipe for serious questions about return on effort from leadership.  We’ll take this point head on in our analysis of the survey responses along with sharing many other exciting observations about the state of Social IT research and adoption in our industry.  Stay tuned for more.

Matt Selheimer
VP, Marketing

What Wikipedia and The Human Genome Project Have In Common

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Despite the fact that a lot of schoolteachers don’t like our children to quote from Wikipedia in their assignments, we know that what’s out there is usually quite current and accurate.  While Wikipedia doesn’t provide a summary of how many articles are considered up-to-date and accurate by the community, personal experience tells us that the vast majority of the 22,000,000 million articles in 285 languages that are currently on the site must be quite accurate.  That’s because there are 470 million unique visitors per month using the site and 77,000 active contributors creating and reviewing content. (You can read more stats about Wikipedia use here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About)

This is an excellent example of the power of human and machine synergy.  In this case, people (contributors) are the source of the knowledge and the “machine” (the Wikipedia system) stores and remembers the knowledge, provides search and cross-linking to locate information, and ultimately people (like you and me) are the consumers of the knowledge.

The Human Genome Project, an international collaboration to determine the sequence of human DNA (25,000 individual genes), is another great example of human and machine synergy.  In this case, people are again the source of initial knowledge and the “machine” includes the DNA analysis machines, databases to store and retrieve the information, and the collaboration methods to share hypotheses and analysis among those scientists who are participating in the project.  Already there were practical results from the project before it even finished with initial findings being used to create tests that identify genetic predispositions for diseases and conditions like breast cancer and cystic fibrosis.  This has enabled healthcare providers to develop recommended courses of actions for patients thereby improving their quality of life.

Additionally, the way in which the data about genes is stored and shared allows scientists to focus on specific genes and collaborate with one another in the context of that gene to identify even whether specific genes are likely contributors to a genetic predisposition or not (e.g. research on specific types of cancer).

What both Wikipedia and the Human Genome Project have in common is the human and machine synergy necessary to capture existing knowledge and then improve on it for better decision-making.  And that’s exactly what Knowledge Collaboration does for IT. It enables you to easily capture, manage, share, and collaborate around your organization’s collective knowledge to improve decision-making in many areas such as change planning, incident resolution, disaster recovery, and more.  And just like the way gene information is handled in the Human Genome Project enabling scientists to collaborate in context of specific genes, Knowledge Collaboration enables your IT “scientists” to engage with knowledge in the context of elements they are managing or issues they are working on so that they can focus on what is relevant and leave out what is not.  Check out this short video that explains how Knowledge Collaboration works.

IT Doesn’t Need A Faster Horse

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”  As VP of Marketing at ITinvolve, I spend a lot of time talking with IT leaders and practitioners about their challenges and what they are looking for as solutions to those challenges.  One of the things I hear consistently is that traditional knowledge management systems aren’t working and they want something better.

When I ask them why they aren’t working, there are a number of reasons given:

  • The information is outdated and not trusted
  • It’s too much effort to create, review and approve knowledge articles
  • The information is incomplete and only focuses on top problems (mostly desktop support related)
  • You have to know what you are looking for because they are keyword search-based
  • You have to sift through dozens or hundreds of results when no one has the time to do that in the heat of working a complex issue
  • They are heavily text-based and lack visuals other than static images
  • They are a separate place to remember to go to and people just don’t remember to use them
  • We tried to follow KCS (knowledge-centered support) but there’s too much overhead

When I ask what would make things better, I hear things like “a simpler way to add new content”, “better indexing and tagging”, “more Google-like”, and other similar statements that all seem like they want a faster horse.  I don’t fault these IT professionals for this.  When you are knee-deep in day-to-day IT operations, it’s hard to step far enough away from your day job and come up with truly breakthrough ideas.  Innovation is hard work.

However, the good news is that’s exactly what we’ve done at ITinvolve.  We’re relegating traditional knowledge management to the era of horses and buggy whips with knowledge collaboration. With knowledge collaboration, you fundamentally shift your focus from “managing knowledge” to using knowledge.  Instead of attempting to set aside time to create and review text-heavy knowledge articles, your organization seamlessly enhances your collective knowledge while enabling work.

For example, ITinvolve facilitates the ongoing capture of system-based information (e.g. from CMDBs, auto-discovery tools, SharePoint sites, and more) and combines this with crowd-sourcing and peer review to fill in the gaps and correct inaccuracies so you get a trusted source of knowledge that is always current.  And by following knowledge, using familiar social collaboration principles, your teams are always informed of the latest knowledge for the things they are responsible for or care about.  There is no need to take time out to “catch up” on the latest knowledge because it’s already been delivered to those who need it.

What’s more, our analysis engine presents actionable knowledge in-context of the issue or decision your teams are working on so they don’t have to go hunting for it with keyword searches and reviewing hundreds of results.  The scope of knowledge collaboration is also much broader, richer, and flexible including IT environment configurations and all their dependencies, best practices, lessons learned, policies, past issue history, who’s responsible for specific resources, and more. It’s also highly visual, providing rapid insights and speeding up decision-making.

Knowledge collaboration answers many of the questions that are difficult for IT to answer today:

  • Who depends on this?
  • Who owns this?
  • Where is it located?
  • What does it do?
  • What supports this?
  • What does this support?
  • What policies govern this?
  • What are the key settings that will break it if changed?
  • Has this happened before?
  • How did we solve it last time?
  • Do I need special privileges or approvals to modify this?
  • Who should be involved in this decision?
  • And much, much more…

IT doesn’t need a faster horse, but instead requires a new way to solve the problems that traditional knowledge management systems can’t address.  Knowledge collaboration is the first such approach to come along in a long time.  Check out some of the great videos and whitepapers on our website, and let us know what you think.

Matt Selheimer
VP, Marketing

What can knowledge collaboration do for you?

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

As we engage with more and more IT organizations, we continue to see interesting and creative ways to apply knowledge collaboration to address many of IT’s most vexing issues.

This includes the perennial challenge of faster incident resolution, better change planning (both in terms of accuracy and speed), as well as identifying fixes to recurring problems to avoid future incidents.  In this use case document, you can read about how we help in each of these areas, including how ITinvolve can complement your existing investments (no replacements required!)

But beyond these areas, we are seeing that knowledge collaboration can help with security and compliance as well as disaster recovery and business continuity, application release management, configuration drift management and remediation, self-service knowledge, project knowledge support, client knowledge support, enterprise architecture, data center infrastructure management, and more.

In summary, wherever teams come together to share knowledge and wherever the preservation of organizational learned knowledge will help aid decision-making, there is a use case for knowledge collaboration and ITinvolve.

Check out this four-minute video, and tell us what you think.  What can knowledge collaboration do for your organization?

Matt Selheimer
VP, Marketing