Cynefin

Cynefin is a Welsh word meaning ‘habitat’, in the sense used in the biological sciences: a place where many things live.  It is a framework for understanding why some incidents and problems are so difficult to resolve.  The author of the Cynefin model is Dave Snowden: his excellent talks introducing the Cynefin framework can be …

Overtrading and Other Financial Traps for Startups

Where are all the customers? There are plenty of traps for startups: a solution without a problem, thinking they’re in a blue ocean when actually the market is already crowded, not building and retaining a customer base, reliance on a technology that itself isn’t going to survive. In this article I’m covering a further set of problems: …

Satellites in Intelligent Transport

Most people are familiar with maps on their smart-phone, with their location displayed, either with pin-point accuracy or at least good enough.  I’ll not normally give any thought to perhaps eight satellites providing signals that are interpreted and combined to provide not only latitude and longitude, but also height relative to a calculated earth’s surface.  …

Politics or Money Killed the Better Idea

In the 1960s the Beeching cuts decimated the railways in Great Britain.  The intent was that by closing 55% of stations and 30% miles of track, the then nationalised British Railways would be profitable.  Passenger travel and freight were diverted to cars and lorries.  Some investment in rail did follow, with 125 mph trains between …

Machine Learning & Expert Systems: they’re not necessarily the same thing

In 1973 I considered ‘Artificial Intelligence’ as a postgraduate research degree: as it worked out, I stayed with Organic Chemistry.  In the intervening decades it seemed to me that not much happened with artificial intelligence, except hype and hijacking “AI” to perhaps mean Augmented Intelligence, Advanced Innovation or similar. Genuine AI advances were happening, but …

An Old Twist to a Current Buzz Phrase: Digital Transformation

As a consumer I have a high level of expectation on services, driven by the likes of Costa Coffee, British Airways and the Intercontinental Hotels Group.  Most of us will have similar experiences and service expectations.  I perhaps don’t notice every aspect of the service every time but can be noticeably caught by surprise when …

Do ISO 10002 & Balanced Scorecards Work?

About twelve years ago I started running the service desk at a small multi-national SaaS company.  From being its sole operator, I gradually built a team of five other members who were spread around the globe to cover different time zones. The company’s management were focused on new Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and Service Level …

Customer Support: First Point of Contact?

Customer Support is so much more than Service Desk software plus a room of people answering telephones and e-mails. Taking a step back, my personal contention is that a Customer Services team should have a target that the Service Desk is not the customer's preferred "First Point of Contact". A well curated knowledge base is …

Asset Management

Knowing about physical assets is important to many organisations as a theft preventative measure, and financial auditors need to verify that assets in the company's accounts exist. IT asset configuration management is different. The Infrastructure Manager should ensure that apart from their identities (names) these servers, their firewalls and load balancers are set up the …

Business Continuity

Any business using computer services has at least some susceptibility to loosing those services. Continuity Management looks at the risks and makes judgements about what is an acceptable risk. Imagine there's a 1% chance of a specific disastrous event in the next twelve months: if you can prepare to protect your systems from that risk …

Software Release and Deployment Management

Software release and deployment is one of the highest risk transitions a company can make. This is a lesson airlines and the UK banks seem to have not learnt: problems with upgrades and migrations causing misery for customers were still happening in 2018. For routine upgrades, delegation to a process is a good strategy: past …

Incident & Problem Management

Some definitions: Events happen all the time, in their thousands per minute. Incidents are unwanted events or missing desired events. Problems are the underlying causes of incidents. Step one in Incident Management is to find out what is going on, and make sure the people who need to know are informed. Most software servers have …