At Attivio, we align with channel partners who have deep industry expertise, and we think of our partners as an extension of our team. We are pleased to welcome a new partner to our circle of influence: MC+A.
We had a chance to catch up with Michael Cizmar, Managing Director, of MC+A, and ask him a few questions.
JZ: Tell me about MC+A.
MC: I founded MC+A in 2004 after a post “dot com” sabbatical to Brazil. MC+A is a boutique consulting firm focused on search and search derivative technologies since before it was cool. We help our clients deliver better experiences that happen to be driven by search.
JZ: Your website says, “Changing the way you find answers and insights.” How do you do that?
“Knowledge workers are workers whose main capital is knowledge.” (Wikipedia)
It seems like a simple definition of a knowledge worker, someone who works with information (knowledge) as a primary part of their job. But what many are only starting to realize is that there are far more “knowledge workers” in their companies than they ever realized.
Almost every employee needs information to do their job effectively. There are few exceptions. There’s the airline pilot who needs to know flight plans, and runway map; the caseworker who works with disadvantaged youth and is looking for support groups and programs they can attend; the line worker in a car factory that’s trying to improve a key process; and customer service agent who helps customers figure out how to use their products.
If you Google “OEM: build versus buy,” you’ll get nearly a million results. It almost doesn’t matter what area of technology you pick, at some point there’s going to be a build versus buy bridge to cross.
For example, let’s take embedded analytics. That’s a hot topic right now among bloggers and industry analysts. ISVs that build line-of-business applications see embedded analytics as a way to differentiate their products. And, since they’re software companies, they could develop and embed the analytics themselves, right? Yes, they could.
But should they? Probably not. There are a lot reasons, not the least of which is time to market. While ISV “A” is developing and embedding analytics in its app, competitors “B” through whatever have already embedded someone else’s best-of-breed analytics. First mover advantage is not to be underestimated.
One of the smartest ways to grow your business is to acquire companies with complementary (and sometimes competing) products and services. You get a ready-made customer base and established products that fit nicely into your long-term business strategy.
With Acquisitions Come Many Challenges
One of these is the need to integrate multiple disparate IT systems from the acquired company. In some cases, you may be able to move everyone into a single system. But often, you will need to keep all the different systems up and running for a long period, if not permanently. This is particularly true with companies in the life sciences industry where the products are very complex and specific to business problems.
Attivio joined forces with our partner Persistent Systems to build an app that provides a 360° view of the customer on the Salesforce Service Cloud. Engage 360 unifies information from across distributed data sources, such as similar cases, prior solutions, and internal knowledge bases. With a complete view of their customer information, service organizations realize faster turnaround on customer cases. This video, featuring Sudhir Kulkarni, President of Digital at Persistent Systems, and Lou Jordano, CMO at Attivio, explains the partnership and the new Engage 360 app.
On the occasion of the Engage 360 launch, we had the opportunity to interview Sudhir.
Transforms sensory/data inputs into understandable formats
Reduces massive amounts of data to a concise, usable summary
Elaborates, extends, and enrichs the information processed
Stores and recovers information efficiently
Uses information to solve a meaningful problem
Of course, most of us don’t think about this when we use a cognitive search engine, but, “behind the veil,” natural language processing, machine learning, and text analytics function to execute those five tasks as quickly as possible.
No matter what search technology an organization uses, replacing it can disrupt normal operations. Even if employees are dissatisfied—complaining every other day to IT about how slow it is or user unfriendly—the old system is familiar.
Of course, sometimes a search solution must be replaced because the vendor stops supporting it. A good example would be HP selling off its intelligent data operating layer (IDOL) product, a.k.a. Autonomy, to Micro Focus. Who knows what they’ll do with it?
In 2015, technology consultant Tim Powell blogged that in the early 2000s many organizations were very disappointed in their knowledge management (KM) efforts—some of which were multimillion dollar undertakings. The main complaints centered on integrating KM into organizational workflows and KM’s failure to produce a substantial ROI.
Powell’s experience squares with the general knock on KM, which has always been that they’re big, complex, expensive projecst that rarely deliver the promised benefits. Closely related to this was the fact that older generation KM solutions imposed rules on users the enforcement of which was practically impossible. But without the enforcement of those rules, KM didn’t work very well. So user adoption was often tepid.
If you’re a millennial, you don’t remember the bad old days of enterprise search. It was high on the scale of frustration. You often couldn’t find what you were looking for. And, if you did, it probably took a long time. But then, thankfully, Google happened.
Googol—1 Followed by 100 Zeroes
Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched Google in 1997. Hey, Google will be 20 in September. It’s no longer a surly teenager! Speaking of, where did they come up with the name Google anyway?