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THE EUREKA CONTESTANTS
A: It was an old adage that brought about my defining moment.
While working for Microsoft Corp., I was assigned as the business analyst for the development of an internal records/content management application. Part of my role was the development of a strategy to convert the existing database content in the legal application to the new enterprise application. It was not as simple as mapping field to field. In fact, the conversion was described by my program manager, a 30+ year veteran of IT, as "The most complex conversion I've had ever seen," and he knew the existing legal application from the inside out.
With over 3,000 fields being folded into a few hundred, that by itself would have made for a great enough challenge. The major hurdle, however, was that we were changing the filing taxonomy at the same time. The goal was to make apples into oranges. In the old application, the decade plus usage had been based on whatever project, document type, practice group, category or whatever else suited the end user. The new taxonomy was built around the entity. The problem was that the entity names could be buried at any level in the strata of the old application. It may be at the top as a category name, at the bottom as a document name or any place in between.
After months of pains taking effort, reviewing every record and creating business rules that mapped things like the entity name, the file name, the subfile name etc., I presented these rules to the product manager and the lead developer of the offshore team. Therein began weeks of discussions, every day for three to four hours, and even with three six foot wide whiteboards, they were just not having their own Eureka moments. Their lights were dim and seemed to be fading fast.
So, I stepped back and remembered that "a picture's worth a thousand words." After several days of frustrating sessions with the team (Did I mention offshore? Oh yeah, there were English as a second language issues, not that this was a bad thing, but it did add spice to the stew.), I opened Visio (sorry for the blatant Microsoft reference, but then who did I work for?) and thought, Can I draw a picture of each business rule to show where the data lives today and where it will live after conversion?
In the next session, when I projected the first drawing on the screen, I could see the lights turn on in eyes that had been those of the dazed and confused. So while my 30+ year veteran of IT said, "Now I see it!" and the lead of the offshore team got it too, I knew that the old saying was true. In that moment I learned that if you cannot define a process with a drawing, you have not fully defined the process.
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
My Eureka moment happened just a few months ago when I was knee-deep in a knowledge management project. I was tapped to lead a project that would collect, organize and store all the information our analysts use when working on our client’s healthcare claims. The exact moment happened when I discovered how much information needed sorting and organizing – 61,000 folders and 605,000 individual files on a single network drive. When I asked an analyst how they found the information they needed to work a claim, her response was “I just keep opening files until I find the one I need.” That’s the moment I realized what ECM can do for our business.
Data Mining Communications Coordinator
Try this one: You mean I don't have to fill in an eForm on my workstation, print it, have the customer sign it, courier it to centralized capture, scan it, index it, and store the image in the repository, while sending the paper to the storage vendor. I can replace all that with a digitally signed eForm imported directly to the repository and no paper copy. A-HA, now I get it.
John John R. Drew
Royal Bank of Canada