Frequently Asked Questions

  • No. 186 – 16 February 2017
    Grace Hopper video || Data for the People || Ethics in AI || Top 10 Cloud Technologies Market || Alternative HPC Facts
  • No. 185 – 1 February 2017
    Data Residency Upset || CSCC Statistics || Open Group Statistics || Jack Dongarra on HPC || Panel on Ethics in AI || Pete Norvig on AI and Machine Learning
  • No. 184 – 16 January 2017
    Top 10 Mobile Risks || Unstructured Data Value and Challenges || IoT Devices Report on You || OMG Webinar on DDS || Twitter Botnets
  • No. 183 – 1 January 2017
    Data Residency || Cloud 1, Law 0 || KM Buyers Guide

An oilfield services company (Houston) — July 2011–July 2012

We picked up a slow-moving enterprise taxonomy development process at this client. We restructured the taxonomy, expanded it to cover the functions of the company that had not been involved, selected a software tool to manage the resulting structure (7000 terms), and resolved alignment issues with an enterprise portal, a technical best practices query system, and SharePoint.

The company is called cébé IT & Knowledge Management. The “cébé” part is how my initials are pronounced in French, and the rest pretty much explains the scope of the company’s consulting offers.

But to be more specific, what we will do in the area of Information Technology is to provide guidance on strategy and governance. We can also support the CIO by applying systematic processes to some key activities. In particular, this will cover enterprise architecture, business process management, vendor selection, and enterprise security, which we view through the lens of the Capability Maturity Model.

In the area of Knowledge Management, we can really propose the entire suite of processes, including the strategy, the formation and support of technical communities, the selection of Web 2.0 tools, and some novel methods to capture the knowledge of experts.

Sure. First, I have formal training in computer science, and I think that this provides a solid foundation to any work that has to do with the manipulation of information.

But perhaps more importantly, I worked for 35 years in software engineering and IT management. And while in the early years I certainly rolled up my sleeves to write code, install new machines, or to design network topologies, I’ve been able to abstract from this the key processes that allow IT and KM to be on a solid footing, regardless of the underlying technologies. I would say that early on, I thought like many people that it was the technology that counted. Now I have a balanced view of the roles of people, processes and technology.

I should also point out that out of those 35 years, 26 were spent at Schlumberger, the leading oilfield services company, which has a stellar reputation for its attention to quality and its ability to work globally. These are certainly qualities I have inherited into my new occupation.

You’re correct to point out that there are lots of consulting firms “out there,” including large and solid ones, and a myriad of small ones, some of which are run by friends or ex-colleagues.

At Schlumberger I was famous, or perhaps infamous, for speaking my mind. People said “let’s ask Claude – if there’s anything missing or incorrect, he’ll tell us.” Intellectual honesty is my most prized virtue, and I will tell you what I honestly think about a process, a product, or a strategy. And then I will help you improve it if I find it lacking. I may be a little less flattering at first than the usual consultant, who will tell you that you’re right regardless what you say, but it will get my client faster to the point of making improvements. I’ll admit that it may not be the best approach for people who want to hire a consultant in order to be told that they’re right 🙂

Secondly, I greatly value knowledge, and who doesn’t, but I think knowledge is more powerful when it is shared. This has several positive implications for my clients:

  • First, it means that I will share my own knowledge unsparingly
  • Second, it means that I will help people get to the level of knowledge that may allow them to continue without me! I will never retain knowledge for myself in order to make myself indispensible, because that would totally violate my strong sense of ethics
  • Third, it means that I will, especially if I consult for a client on Knowledge Management, put in place for you the processes and organization that will really allow you to make available to everyone in the organization the knowledge that anyone has.

And thirdly, I believe in connections, or networks if you prefer. Between LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo, and other networks, I am connected to about a thousand people right now. Several hundred of these people are potential partners: I recognize that they may have specific knowledge that I don’t have, and as I keep in touch with them, I hope they value the specific knowledge I have. This puts me in an excellent position to recommend the right person or company to help you. I will never sell you something I cannot do, but I may introduce someone from my network to you and say, “let me put in place the framework for you, and my colleague Joe or Mary can help you by doing such and such part of what you need done.” I think this will make my clients much happier than if I claimed to know everything.

In summary, cébé will help you with IT and Knowledge Management strategies and processes, and will do it with integrity, with pragmatism, with the intent to transfer the knowledge to you, and with the support of a network of interconnected companies that can provide you with the full range of solutions you need. Please let us know how we can help you!