Merging DLM© and a training system to create the Ultimate Learning system…

Finding talent isn’t easy. In fact it can be very hard. But talent isn’t always something that you find. Encouraging people to succeed is far more effective. Helping people become their best possible them is a more effective way to build great people and then find them. It is much easier to find your keys when you know you drove home last night. It is much easier to find people you build than it is to find them in the wild.

clip_image002I have long been an advocate of training and of knowledge management. The first because I still believe you can help anyone be better. The second because people need to know there is a failsafe they can fall back to. I have been talking about the DLM© system I designed as a KM system. The full description of the DLM© system is in my book Transitional Services. But there is another side to the concept of KM. It is the reality of training and information sharing.

I’ve found over the years that information has a funny problem. Some people as I have mentioned before are information brokers and some are information hoarders. They hoard information because they use that as their advantage – why are you employing me? Al the information I have about how things are done. In the DLM© system there is an actual way to get around that. With SME’s charged with improving the data store seeking information hoarders and publishing that information centrally so that everyone can use it without having to contact the information hoarder every time. You want information hoarders in your company. You just want SME’s who know them and how to get the information they hoard.

The other side of training is information flow. There are a number of learning styles and learning requirements that exist. The modalities of training are many and varied. You need to have a flexible system that allows people to operate in the training modality that fits how they learn. I was fortunate enough in a previous job to be exposed to a concept that was brilliant, execution wasn’t the best but the concept was golden. In my next job I took that concept and with the help of a brilliant team we were able to create a second version of the training vehicle. That also had a few bugs but it was closer than the first one.

clip_image004I’ve spent some time thinking about the concept and have moved it even further in the past few weeks. The initial concept is the creation of a unified DLM© and training system that encompasses multiple training delivery avenues. The first is the integration of training and IoT. Perhaps we should create the Internet of things for training (IoTT). IoTT merges the traditional point and delivery training modality (see the image) with the newer web based video and web based interactive training. Add to this the new reality of web meeting style interactive training as well.

In this new model the person in red is the SME. They spend a chunk of their time feeding the KM beast. They know where the answers to the tough questions are and include that in the training. They are comfortable in creating content and in sharing it. They are capable of operating in two distinct interactive modes.

· Listening

· Delivering

I know so many people that can do the last one but at best fail at the first one. Listening means you are the scribe, the note taker the hearer of information. A SME that can move between these two modes will quickly create value in the DLM© infrastructure. Why you ask? They will by listening hear the names of the information hoarders. The first person says “I have a problem with X” the second person responds “Oh talk to person A, they solved problem X a month ago.” The listening SME then knows who to talk to and capture the information from.

clip_image006There is much more to the new system. Actually what I’ve written today is the tip of the Iceberg. The tiny easy part that solves one IP problem every company has.

The rest is in my head waiting for a SME to figure out how to get it out!

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Surface Hub Redox…in response to email comments…

I got a lot of mail about the Surface Hub post yesterday. First off, I was asked are you crazy? I suspect in clip_image002fairness to the person asking that question my posting about the Surface Hub has no bearing on my procession or lack of sanity. The people strongly against my article focused on two area’s of complaint. One is fair the other I think is not fair.

1. It is not a released product

2. It’s Microsoft. Plus these things have been around for a long time. They are already in the market this is not a game changer.

The first one is correct. The Surface Hub has not been released. The functionality is available however in the existing product Surface Pro that I have played with. It is a larger canvas than the Surface Pro and that is much better for passing around and sharing. So while the product isn’t available on the market the solution is, on a smaller scale. But I do agree that the product has not shipped as of yet. Therefore someone else could come to market with a competitive product that is better. Right now having looked at this market for the last five years this is the best pending product I’ve seen in this space. It is a game changer that will allow organizations and home offices to become more effective. It will allow classrooms to become connected around the world. It is a game changer.

From Microsoft? First off in the best sense of fairness I honed my skills at Microsoft for many years. I learned to be a consultant and an architect at Microsoft. I met many wonderful people during the halcyon days (most of whom are no longer at Microsoft) and I can honestly say this bias against Microsoft isn’t fair. During the time I was there and since Microsoft has been and remains one of the most innovative companies ever. It is not as stylistic as Apple, and not as cloud cool as AWS but it has made many innovations that have change the computer world. So the It’s Microsoft argument and they don’t innovate – silly.

clip_image004The reality is that Smart Boards (including the company named Smart Boards) have been around for a while. They have interactive conference room displays you can install and use. Most of them are incredibly hard to operate and frankly the end game isn’t that viable. Ebeam is another option and it offers the ability to modify whiteboards and make them into interactive displays. You also have the newer capacity to use a projector that also creates a touchable field and a whiteboard. Reality is that these products are in the market and all of them have major limitations. I know. I have used any number of these in the past four years. I can honestly say the safest system is the simplest system at this point. Ebeam, simply having a device on a whiteboard is the most effective system. You can’t use your fingers to draw on an Ebeam screen. It is after all bound to its markets.

With the Surface Hub we move things radically. The first is because it’s a computer system in the conference room everyone can leave their laptops in their offices. Meetings with people sitting behind their laptops are less than useful. People who bring their laptops to take notes are awesome (if they share those notes). People who bring their laptops and then disengage from the meeting to check their critical email – are actually costing the company money. They would tell you that every minute they don’t respond to emails is costing the company money. The reality is they are wasting the time of everyone in the room with them.

Beyond fixing the horrible “bring my laptop to the meeting problem” having the Surface Hub in the conference room creates even greater capabilities. From on the fly video interaction with a remote person to quickly having an interactive whiteboard session with authors not just in the room. Surface Hub will be a game changer.

In the best of fairness I have knocked a number of Microsoft products over the years. I still think that they Windows Phone isn’t anywhere near where it should be. I moved from a windows phone to an iPhone and unlocked the universe four years ago. I can do more IoT related stuff with my iPhone long before people can do the same things with their windows phone. The ecosystem isn’t big enough now to support being released with iPhone and Android. But Surface Hub has truly impressed me. It looks like a game changer to me. If they can get the pricing down to less than 5000 dollars it is going to become the future of conference rooms.

 

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

Connections–why the Microsoft Surface Hub is the future of computing….

 

clip_image002Connection.

Sung to the tune of if I were a rich man. Connection. It is what we all seek. It is part of the human experience to connect with other people. The “what” and “how” of connection becomes the question. When I was growing up we had a rotary dial telephone. If you messed the number you were dialing up you had to wait a section, hang the phone up and start over. There wasn’t a flash button on the phone, because there were no buttons. When we lived overseas we didn’t use the phone often to call back to the states.

The cellular device changed all of that. Sure it’s expensive all things considered. It probably shouldn’t be expensive but the phone companies like their profits. If you consider the number of people using cellular phones and the cost of maintaining the system, it probably net costs them a quarter for any one megabyte of data. But since governments haven’t gotten involved to regulate and control that billing process they each get to change an ingress and egress fee. Ergo that quarter becomes 20 dollars with no additional services or costs for the phone company, just pure profit. But that aside for now. You can go anywhere in the world and call home. I know, I have done it. The only factor that impedes you from calling home is the time difference. Southeast Asia is the easiest since it is a 12 hour or so difference in many counties. The world is flat.

clip_image004Connections are more than voice though. You can choose to use video and other methods to connect and communicate with people around the world. You can use personal presence devices to effectively be where you aren’t at any time. You can roll into meetings with everyone else, be in the room hear and interact. Do remember to blank your video feed if you are making faces at the speaker though. It is a two way video connection and the other person can see you if you forget to blank your video feed.

The song “It’s a small world” and the wonderful book “The world is flat” talk about the reality of connections. IoT is the expansion of that connection to devices around us as well. The concept that I have been talking about for nearly two years now, the screen as a service is a component of IoT delivery. The more connections we have available the greater our ability to extend our world. This brings me to the extension of the concept of connection beyond simply connecting devices and people. Making them more productive is the goal of any IoT implementation. I have seen the future and it is shipping this fall. (well, at least one is for sure).

clip_image006There are two products coming in the near term (one this fall, one probably next year) that are going to change the connection concept again. One is a compilation of a series of components. It is called the Surface Hub. The image on the left is one mounted to a wall. It will be the meeting room changer. There are a number of smart monitors available on the market. Most of them do not function at the level you would like. They need to be able to mix the freedom of a dry erase marker and the computer screen. Wacom is the closet but unlike the Surface Hub you can share the Wacom tablet with 10 people in a room at the same time. The concept behind the Surface Hub is to take the exceptional touch and pen experience of the Windows Surface computer, and make it available to a group. I stayed away from the Surface Pro for a number of reasons. Frankly I will consider buying a Surface Hub when they are available this fall. My rationale for buying one is that in the end this will make the home office, the work conference room and a cellular device connected at levels we haven’t had before. A fully integrated system designed for touch, and pen input will change the whiteboard forever. Kudos to Microsoft on this one. That isn’t something I have said in a few years. It is the future!

The other innovation from Microsoft that coupled with the Surface Hub and personal presence devices will be a game changer is the Hololens. The creation of a holographic computing experience will make a huge difference. These are the first and foremost Microsoft innovations in a long time. To all those who kicked the sleeping dog – you probably should have just stepped over.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

Information of the Internet of things or what do self-driving cars dream of?

If we consider (and I know I’ve done this a lot so apologies if you are tired of reading about information and the IoT) the information of the IoT and the produced information will have a number of interesting affects. The first is people will slowly but surely access and leverage their portable IoT receiver more and more.

The second consideration is the reality of the information. For example and I have mentioned a few times in recent weeks, the first question I’ve asked is how do we quickly move IoT data to managed data? My initial answer is contained in yesterday’s blog.

Managed data is only part of the go forward process for IoT information (is it iIoT or IoTi because some people say IIoT represents industrial Internet of things). I talked yesterday about the nature of the information and the relevance of the data. Rather than being the headline (Man barely escapes as car is washed away by river) wouldn’t it be nice to be the non-headline (man avoids flooding and brings home Kentucky Fried Chicken for his family). That is a component the right now, data you gotta have.

clip_image002DLM© is a process designed to move data from the napkin (creativity) to managed IP in a logical and structured manner. Still there is one more transformation that has to occur. It takes me back (I know again) to the concept of the screen as a service. From both sides of that argument in fact. The screen as a service conversation was one I stared around two specific types of products the first being the personal presence/personal media/personal convenience systems such as Jibo and Keecker. The number of personal presence devices is growing. What once was a 2000 or 3000 dollar (US) machine is now much less. clip_image004That is a component of the screen as a service. Where there is a screen, and you remotely can connect and use that screen either to interact with others at the remote location or observe the remote location. Amazing how many times a day when people aren’t home that my dogs go outside. Really amazing is that people are home now and they are still going outside a lot! The other side of the screen as a service is the consumption of that screen. Be it a smart watch on your wrist or a remote television screen. The Google Chromecast was the initial take my small screen and share it to the big screen device there are many more of those devices in the market now.

It is more than consuming the larger screen it is also the intelligence to understand the limits of the screen you have. The value of personal presence and devices that allow you to share your screen has to be the ability to move small too big. But what about when you have a situation that only the small screens are available? That is the application of intelligence. Information presented on my cellular device that will allow me to make good decisions.

Don’t show me an excel spreadsheet on my cell phone. You can do that. But the screen real estate doesn’t support that modality. Notify me that I have something that requires I grab my tablet to interact with rather than looking at it on my cell phone. clip_image006Or, notify me that I have that information, but since I am driving I should pull over and use the screen in my car to view it. Will future highways have cellular phone lots just like airports or do self-driving cars take care of that in the future? If androids dream of electric sheep what in the end do self-driving cars dream of? Clear roads with no human drivers? Or do they dream of a carpeted garage?

The digital revolution is over, digital won. The next revolution is one step beyond IoT when the device has the intelligence to understand the three categories below.

· Nature of the information

· Nature of the device the person currently has

· Environmental variables and available resources the person can consume at that exact moment

Life or death information takes priority. The wrong size screen for the information says pull over. If there are other resources available use those automatically. Three simple rules for the IoT device to be both intelligent and in the end critical. The information of the Internet of things is a game changing reality that is just over the horizon.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

IoT produces information of a variety of sorts. How do we make it into managed IP?

Joining. Connecting. The path. IoT is the first step towards inter and intra connection as a state. Where all devices have a connected and many will also have a disconnected state. Data collected from some will be transient data, only used and consumed for a short time period. Other data will be less transient but not permanent have a TTL of weeks or months. Finally there will be the generated data that lives permanently.

clip_image002 Weather represents pure transient data. You only need it for the moment you are checking it and some small amount (12-48 hours) of trending. Sitting in front of the general store, or talking to your children or friends you can recall the hottest day ever back 20 years ago. But the relevance of weather data is pretty immediate. I need to know what the temperature is now, and what is potentially coming in the next 8 hours or so. Predictions of severe weather should go out as far as possible safely. Don’t warn me about a hurricane 12 months in advance, but a couple of days at least would be good notice.

clip_image004 The intriguing question is what about data that isn’t transient, you will in the end consult it more than right now. It applies not only to what you are doing but also what you may do next but doesn’t have to reside in the permanent memory space. A great example of this type of data is instructions for putting something together. You know permanently how to consume instructions but any one device you won’t specifically need to remember how to put it together. If you buy a new one you won’t remember how it goes together you will read the directions.

Long term or permanent data on the other hand presents an interesting question. The first is what do I do with that information. We keep information in our heads that is relevant to what we do. While I cannot spell worth a darn, never got spelling rules into my permeant memory I can tell you how to configure a connector between Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino. I haven’t actually done one in clip_image006 about two years, but I can still walk someone through it. Permanent memory is the stuff we use and reuse or recall frequently and it doesn’t get archived. It is interesting because many of us archive our earliest years of living before we learn how to manage our own memory. In the computer world we run into this in two formats. In my book Transitional Services I introduced a KM process I called DLM©. The concept focused on building, managing and acquiring IP related to answering questions. I talked about the KM concept of moving from the napkin to formal documentation quickly. Not all napkin creations are worthy of being IP. But all ideas are. In the DLM concept we create tiers of information. The top tier is managed by SME’s. My argument for services and IT organizations was that the SME’s should be rotational. I am a SME for 6-12 months and then I got back to the field and work or back to the IT shop and work for a time in that field (or another field). SME’s have two primary functions, they watch for interesting napkin ideas and they Shepard the existing IP as it is being used. IE people approach KM systems from the perspective of I have a problem, I need an answer. If they use IP you are managing but they modify that IP because of scenario variations, you now need to store both sets of managed IP the old, and the new IP. SME’s are also responsible for the lifecycle management of IP. Information doesn’t live forever. It has three distinct types (transient, not transient but not permeant, and permeant). The SME’s manage where in that pantheon the information exists right now. They also manage the variations within managed IP. Finally they spent a portion of their days fishing for napkins and great ideas.

I won’t go into the formal requirements around what is a SME. Just that personality is critical. If they believe they are the smartest person in the room your DLM system fails. SME’s have to be smart about the topic but willing to hear new ideas. That can be a VERY rare skillset.

So now we can break IoT into, the internet of devices that produce information, the decision tree as to where that information should be as far as the time based nature of the information and finally to complete this extremely long sentence who is going to consume the data.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

IoT, the world of connections made easy…

IoT is about extending the connections you have with devices. I suspect at some point soon that will expand to social extensions as well. The “Twitter Bug©” a wearable device with a 140 character screen that connects to your smart phone and shows you Twitter feed as it flows across your day. You could also have a Facebook Bug© and so on. Where the device connects to your social feed and increases your connection to that feed.

clip_image002I won’t throw out my oft repeated there isn’t enough bandwidth available argument. I have now argued that for 5 years. The end game is that there is an upper limit to bandwidth. When we saturate the network we have we can’t lay another over it. So eventually we will have to deal with the ever increasing problem. You can speed up one part of a system but if the overall system isn’t improved all you are doing is delaying the problem you are going to have.

The number of IoT connections in our lives is increasing. Most people today (talking about Mandated IoT devices) are using car phones. Holding a cellular device in your hand while driving is not safe. Car phones are a little safer but in the end there are a number of sensors that cars should have that would make talking on the phone even safer. Distance between you and another car is a good sensor. Distance of the car behind you as well. Of course, the problem would be how you alarm that data. If you have a beeping noise for too close aggressive drivers will set that off for everyone including themselves. For some aggressive drivers the beeping will never stop.

clip_image004Additional connections beyond your car will continue to increase productivity. Today many people don’t attend meetings in person to multi-task. What that is nicely saying is that your meeting isn’t relevant to my day. I am attending because I was asked to, but I am working on something else during the call. With personal presence devices attendance is a lot more real. It is hard to “multi-task” when there is a camera watching everything you do. Many of the on-line meeting systems today support multiple images on the screen of people who are mote but are connected with a camera. Going back to the dawn of the Internet would you call someone attending a meeting without a camera a lurker?

The reality of all these connections is that bandwidth is a concern. First off because your device may not have the available capacity to manage a lot of inputs. IT isn’t a bandwidth issue at that point it is a memory and processor issue. Having a way to throttle complex information will be critical. Intelligent sensors and devices that only broadcast changes are the first step in this. The next step is something that goes back to my concept of the screen-as-a-service. Pay attention to the device I am using to access the device that is sharing. Make sure you don’t overwhelm my device (too much data makes the screen too small or too much data overwhelms the processor in my device). If it is one of the overwhelm data situations notify me to switch to a device or screen that can handle the information.

clip_image006Now you could also have smart devices that are able to take some of the load from your phone. The example would be smart projectors. LCD projects have advanced over the past three years. What once was simple a device you connected to (sometimes directly sometimes over a network) now includes a processor and the ability to manage some of the overall capacity. Dos Owls has a great device that they call ODIN. This projector includes an android kernel. So you can effectively off-load any number of applications that are available for android devices. Instead of using your phone as a connected device and sharing from the phone you can use the android projector to handle some of the processing. Get an email with the current sales data for your organization? Connect your phone to ODIN and view that information where you are easily on a big enough screen to make the data useful.

IoT is about connection. To the world, to information and in the end to things we haven’t even dreamed of yet, quickly and easily.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Revisiting the concept of how long a software architect owns a solution…

I’ve asked the question before on the IASA blog about solution lifecycle or when do you stop being responsible for the solution. I took that post added to it and posted it on LinkedIn as well. I’ve gotten a number of responses in both places to the original post. The responses ranged from the minute it is deployed to well forever.

clip_image002Software Architecture is such a broad community of professionals. There are Software Architects who build and design systems that are meant to go without being updated for 20 or more years. HVAC systems and other building control systems. They didn’t 20 years ago expect the explosion that was the Internet so suddenly these devices are not secure when they are connected for ease of maintenance.

So I got back to that original question. When is a software architect no longer responsible for what they have built? The first time I wrote that question my assumption was that in fact there was a clear and easily defined answer for all solutions. I have come to the realization that in fact there isn’t a clear and defined answer.

clip_image004The easy answer based on the two graphics I’ve included is that the length of the responsibility maps directly to the complexity of the overall solution. The reality is that in the two cases shown, you are responsible longer for the design in the simple system. There is margin for human injury involved so that lengthens your responsibility. Defining this any system that through a design error can cause, or fail to prevent human injury remains the responsibility of the designer until after the first major modification. The out there being that if in fact your solution is not deployed as you designed it that is a major modification but we will leave that for another day.

Rule 1: If people can be hurt you own it until a major modification.

The definition of a major modification needs to be solidified. I suspect we have to go with the simple math version where more than 33% of the original code or infrastructure is changed.

HVAC systems and Elevators may run on software that is only updated once a decade. So in the end that software architect has to build a lot of fail safes into the solution. But based on rule 1, are you responsible in the end for time based resilience?

Rule 2: The software architect is responsible for time based resilience that is in the visible future.

This one is a work in progress. The window for technology resilience is larger than the window for time based resilience. IE the majority of your technology has to remain operational beyond the actual time to life for your solution. The time to life is based on the time based resilience. In your look ahead you have to define how far you looked. In the simple architecture movement there are three distinct rules we need to follow in creating our view of the time based solution resilience.

  • Step 1: Reduce Complexity.
  • Step 2: Document reality.
  • Step 3: If in doubt refer to rule one.

We document our solution based on the reference architectures we are using. This includes a document that merges our organizational architecture with the vendor reference architecture. Then we look to what is coming. The reality of looking ahead is how far you can see. In your documented difference architecture you include an end statement.

This architecture is based on the available technology of 20XX. We looked towards market and technology trends and have allowed for the following potential future requirements and changes in our solution

  1. We saw this future trend and accounted for it in this way:
  2. We saw this future trend and accounted for it in this way:
  3. We saw this future trend and accounted for it in this way:

Beyond that anything added to this solution is a major modification. At that time please remove XXX architects name from this document and substitute the new person responsible. It could be that simple.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow