Examples of Engagements

A small training video company (Houston) — July–August 2009

Our client’s customer was dissatisfied with an initial video training guide on the subject of Expert Knowledge Capture, but could not convey to the supplier what it wanted changed. We used our own knowledge and short interviews to refocus the deliverable, shortened it by a third, reordered the video clips, and created a new introduction. The result was much more effective and the customer was satisfied, subsequently ordering a shorter version demonstrating a specific technique, which we also helped design.

A clinical decision support software company (Atlanta) — August–September 2009

This international supplier of a Clinical Decision Support System had never resolved the overlap between three software products resulting from acquisitions. The products had obsolete user interfaces, and the support workload stifled innovation.

Through an executive workshop, we helped them develop their business priorities about the product. Then we were called to conduct a follow-up exercise to define the new roadmap, which we did by interviewing the three development teams and constructing an objective set of requirements and a converged high-level product architecture.

An oilfield services company (Houston) — September, October, and December 2009

This large company initially asked for an evaluation of “behind-the-firewall” tagging systems in order to select a product or specify the requirements to develop one.

We repositioned the study, in agreement with some concerned stakeholders, to first look for case studies and evidence of benefits. We demonstrated that it was neither judicious to develop new software, nor possible to select a viable stand-alone tool in the current state of the market. We created a roadmap based on developing a taxonomy, and evaluating how Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 might meet the company’s need.

A chemical gases company (Paris) — May 2010, September–November 2010, and April 2011

We first advised the client on the concept of communities of practice.

Later on, we investigated for them how to use this concept to revive a stalled “active intelligence” program. We identified the dysfunctions and misconceptions that were preventing progress and proposed steps, including the creation of real communities of practice, using better collaboration tools, to enlist the company’s experts in the evaluation of technology and business news.

Finally, several months later, we researched collaboration software and delivered a tutorial and supporting materials.

Marketing company (Raleigh, NC and Denver, CO) — August–September 2010

This client, having accumulated 170 business requirements through a thorough stakeholder interview process, needed guidance to develop an IT roadmap that would satisfy the requirements. The Enterprise Architect’s knowledge of EA frameworks (Zachman, TOGAF) didn’t directly lead to a practical course of action. Through an intense series of work sessions (18 work days over a five-week period), we helped the CIO of the company, the business systems manager, and the Enterprise Architect define a complete roadmap with traceability from the requirements to the business processes, the systems, the architecture, and the technology.

An oilfield services company (Paris) — March 2011—ongoing

This client had launched a website in 2005 to connect its ex-employees to the company and to each other. Due to the rapid adoption of social and professional networks since then, the strategy of having a private Web site for this purpose was no longer adequate; adoption and interest were falling off. We proposed to switch to a LinkedIn group and put in place strong governance and frequent discussion triggers. Under our guidance, the group grew from 6,000 to 34,000 members in five years.

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.

Universidad Regiomontana (Monterrey, Mexico) — November 2011 to February 2012

This private university, lured by a steep university discount, had started a deployment of SAP’s ERP system that was not going well. We assessed the key issues of alignment and communication with the business, lack of understanding of the priority business processes, insufficient resources, service provider competence, etc., and presented recommendations to the CIO and the Board of the university.

Co-sponsors of SPE Intelligent Energy 2012 (Utrecht, Netherlands) — December 2011 to April 2012

We used modern collaboration and multimedia technologies to create innovative opening and closing session materials for the audience. This included video interviews of experts prior to the conference, as well as on-site interviews of conference participants, with a team of 8 students acting as video reporters. We also set up and moderated a Wiki for remote participants.

A Financial Software-as-a-Service Startup — January–February 2012 and January 2013

Our client was unhappy with the performance of a program they were offering to their users. We reviewed the algorithm itself (a complex mathematical problem) and documented its theoretical complexity as well as heuristics to reduce the computing time. We also found an error in the software written by a third party.

After using our results to commission some changes, the client came back and asked us to reimplement the software in a different language, solving additional issues in the process.

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

The client wanted to organize knowledge bases concerning specific technology themes on which broadly disseminated experts held the knowledge. They had jumped immediately to the search for a tool. We showed that they needed to define a process and a community-based organization of their experts, and to improve the governance of their research themes. Then, they could then use any number of tools, including some they already had, to facilitate the knowledge crowdsourcing. We proposed a common table of contents for the various “books of knowledge” on each theme.

A health insurance cooperative (Hawaii) — August 2012–January 2015

For this client, we provided research and remote coaching of the document management and taxonomy team, including reviews and suggestions about the actual contents of the enterprise taxonomy. We then helped the client develop its Electronic Content Management (CMS) strategy. Toward the end of the project, we also provided advice on potential electronic signature solutions.

An oilfield services company (Houston; Calgary) — October–November 2012

This client’s fledgling internal software department had a mixed history. One of its internal clients was considering buying a competitor’s product instead of relying on the internal provider. As part of their decision process, they wanted an independent assessment of the software development process, solution architecture, and the code itself. We formed a team of three experts, performed a broad assessment and made concrete and sometimes major recommendations regarding software process, technical debt reduction, and agile adoption.

A financial institution (Mexico City)—February–June 2013

As part of its IT transformation efforts, aimed at resolving the misalignment between IT and the business, this client formed four working groups to study necessary changes in the areas of IT skills, process, products, and client relationship.

We reviewed and critiqued the work of these groups, and advised the client to use a much more agile method, deploying incremental changes rapidly instead of conducting long series of meetings that only produced PowerPoint decks, and to make the working group efforts more transparent to the employees in order to elicit feedback.

A health insurance provider (Ontario, Canada)—April 2013

This company wanted to extend its IT systems to its “ecosystem” of providers and customers. They needed to assess whether their complex legacy architecture would be able to “scale out” to this greater scope.

We were part of a team of 3 experts who evaluated the architecture and processes and recommended changes. The deficiencies we pointed out were not readily accepted by the client, but we found a way to report our findings honestly while wording them in an acceptable manner to them.

The World Trade Organization (Geneva) — April 2013

The WTO’s statisticians produce country-specific economic assessments containing many graphs and charts, and were unhappy with the quality of the output. For them, we studied the market and compared options that include stand-alone products, technical document editing packages, software platforms to create ad hoc reports, and the option of outsourcing the production of the charts.

An oilfield services company (Houston) — October 2013

This company used multiple suppliers to monitor the news mentioning them or their industry in print, Web, broadcast and social media. This required managing and renewing five separate contracts, and aggregating multiple redundant streams of alerts in order to synthesize the coverage.

We managed the issuance of an RFP and the evaluation of responses to form a recommendation for a streamlined and better integrated set of sources.

A startup security supplier (San Francisco Area)—September 2013–ongoing

We initially conducted a short study to advise this stealth-mode startup about the system architectures suitable to manage certain security aspects of a novel product for securing “Internet of Things” devices. Subsequently, we were retained to provide ongoing advice about the application of their technology to the Oil & Gas industry.

The Statistics Research and Education Center of the Mexican federal government — October 2013

As part of a multi-disciplinary team, we recommended state-of-the-art designs and IT systems for their new building in Mexico City to facilitate collaboration.

The study was later extended to advise the CIO on several aspects of his IT roadmap, including the use of massive open online courses (MOOCs) to disseminate the institute’s results to the public.

Mexican Ministry of Education — March–April 2014

We examined the needs for information systems to support the management of student, teacher, and school records. We proposed an enterprise architecture, a methodology to create a roadmap of projects, and partially populated the roadmap for the client.

National Institute for Educational Assessment (Mexico City) — May 2014–ongoing

This new agency, created as a result of education reforms, needed to develop from scratch a comprehensive set of IT solutions to develop, administer, and analyze tests at the national level while meeting strict “transparency” (i.e., anti-corruption) criteria.

We developed their architectural approach, studied the requirements of multiple systems, and conducted numerous workshops to develop the solution and information architectures. We also advised several units on knowledge management strategies and the creation of communities of practice.

Object Management Group (OMG) and Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) — May 2015–ongoing

These two consortia wish to expand their activities in the Oil & Gas sector. We continuously provide insights into the requirements of the industry, report on trends detected at industry conferences, and provide contacts with prospective members, whom we also educate on what the OMG and IIC are offering.

An oilfield services company — December 2015–January 2016

We studied the potential solutions, both cloud-based and on-premises, to replace a legacy system used by employees to submit manuscripts to publications and conferences, and by management to review those submissions. The existing system had various shortcomings and we offered a choice of a fit-for-purpose cloud-based manuscript review system, or a more generic Sharepoint-based workflow management that could be run in-house.