Strategy-Building Using 3D Free-Form-Search Knowledgebases

Updated 2022-07-05

In a recent LinkedIn post, the founder of Architecture Thinking Association, Wolfgang Goebl, states that “Most IT landscapes of larger companies consist of hundreds of applications that are interconnected via poorly designed interfaces.”

Note the two issues raised i.e., “interconnected applications” and “poorly designed interfaces”.

The mess IT is in is the result, in the main, from picking solutions instead of analyzing requirements.

One remedy is to put in place a process for building a list of requirements before trying to build \ implement Enterprise Architecture for an organization.

Our group has used the following model for enterprise-wide strategy building over 30 years.

Infrastructure\Resources -> Capabilities -> Prospective Initiatives (problems or opportunities) -> Risks\Vulnerabilities -> Ranking of Initiatives -> Shortlisting (ROI/SROI, business fit) -> Funding a few Initiatives

We knew from RBV (Resource-Based View) that organizations make better decisions when staff are able to “view/see” the factors impacting decisions. To this end, we built platforms that made it easy to consolidate data for conversion to information and knowledge and we implemented one-stop-shop methods and tools at platforms that made it easy to onboard strategists and business analysts.

Here below are two screen images illustrating how not to build strategies and how to build strategies.

What we have below is a shadow ontology of some 1,000 nodes belonging to nine (9) Entities for an IED Demining Operation (Suppliers, Business Partners, Competitors, Country Profiles, Customers, Standards, Best Practices, Reference Material, Sites).

The screenshots have been blurred for confidentiality reasons . . . .

Image 1
Processing by

Each Entity is a shallow hierarchy with NO crosslinks between any node in one Entity that may have something in common with other nodes in other Entities and such other nodes.

The time to construct this shadow e-map is a small fraction of the time that would be needed to put in place “all” possible linkages for a multi-root hierarchy. 

Full mapping for this demining application would have taken several months resulting in over 100,000 linkages, with no guarantee that analysts would succeed in putting place all possible linkages.

The secret-sauce is to let the search engine build linkages “on-the-fly. (i.e. Launch, search, reduce clutter, display)

Bottom line:

Easy to build (the construction can be automated from ordinary delimited text “records”).

Fast to build, but not a very friendly user interface.

Here is the same content, with nodes organized under nine Entities. Some of these e-canvases have 50-100 Entities, each with 50-1000 nodes.

Processing by
Image 2

Let’s launch a search for ‘dog’ – we get 22 hits.

Bottom line:

Launch a search, the search engine highlights the ‘hits’ and hides any Entities where there are no ‘hits’.

Clicking on any node results in pop-up of the underlying document, text, image or video.

Examples: (Improvised Explosive Device Disposal Command and Control application)

  • Build, via drag and drop, outlines comprising clones of certification standards for assignment to individual field operator for training\re-training.
  • Set up Entities for various IED work sites, allocate moveable resources to the sites, track their use, ensure return to sourcing warehouses.

Posted in #strategy, Decision Making, Knowledge Bases, Risk Analysis | Leave a comment

Revisiting” Use of Force” Clauses in Police Department Policy and Procedure Manuals

It’s clear from media postings that DOJ has decided to review “Use of Force” practices at various City Police Departments.

Seems reasonable that individual Police Departments might want to do their homework before they get visited by DOJ staff.

Here is one approach . . .

In the screenshot below of a CiverMind® 3D Kbase on Police Dept P&Ps (12 city departments), we can see that references to “use of force” are all over the place.

The PD P&P Kbase allows highlighting of “use of force” clauses across multiple Cities/Counties Police Departments. (10,000 pages of text in the 12-city demo Kbase).

For details re setup and use of a Police Department P&P Kbase capable of hosting P&P clauses across major-city Police Departments, message

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Capability Statement – Critical Infrastructure Protection

Civerex can support threat and vulnerability assessments conducted by host nation partners (COTRs) via setup of its CiverMind™ 3D free-form-search Knowledgebase as a one-stop-shop platform capable of consolidating Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) methods, tools, and knowledge for use by assessors and trainers.

Each CIP process starts with buildup of country profiles, incident logs, terrorist group listings and weapons-in-use within the host nation and surrounding countries, plus the addition of various assessment standards (e.g., national critical infrastructure protection categories and protocols, BPATS, Emergency Response to Terrorism, CMMC, ERG). 

Civerex’s unique R-R-R (Readiness, Resilience, Recovery) process uses the Resource-Based View (RBV) method and proprietary tools at strategy development and operational level workflow/workload management platforms that are capable of hosting tens of thousands of data points at 30-50 or more entities, each with 100-1000 + nodes and 10-50 data elements per node form, all at one computer screen.

R-R-R can be used across the entire spectrum of CIP activity:  assessments and protocol development, training, and event/incident management.

Assessments & Protocol Development

COTRs can use CiverMind to design an R-R-R set of protocols from a starting position of inventorying host nation assets (infrastructure, resources), then subjecting each knowledgebase cluster to threat assessments, vulnerabilities, and remediation.  

Readiness protocols are hardened to a state of Resilience by modelling rollouts of protocols that focus on early detection, avoidance, mitigation, counteraction, event/incident management and Recovery protocols.


COTR trainers can use CiverMind, in conjunction with CiverIncident™, to accommodate group and individual IP specialist training via real-time modelling facilities for responses to a full range of threats.

Event/Incident Management

Host nation IP event/incident managers can use CiverMind, in conjunction with CiverIncident, as a Command & Control Centre.

(c) 2021, Civerex Systems Inc.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Do Enterprise Architects Manage Enterprises?

They do not.

The job of an Enterprise Architect is to identify methods, tools and platforms that allow:

  1. business planners within an Enterprise to build, sustain and augment competitive advantage,
  2. business managers within an Enterprise to achieve operational effectiveness and efficiency.

and to confirm the implementation of said methods, tools and platforms.

What is Enterprise Architecture?

From the perspective of the Enterprise Architect, Enterprise Architecture is a practice, detailing the work that Enterprise Architects carry out or cause to be carried out to produce Enterprise Architectures.

From the perspective of all others, Enterprise Architecture is a deliverable.

Business Managers look to Enterprise Architects to provide them with platforms that provide easy access to context-situational-appropriate methods and tools to manage businesses.

One set of methods, tools and a platform is required for business planners building competitive advantage, a second, different, set of methods, tools and platforms is required for operations managers seeking to achieve operational efficiencies and effectiveness.

Who delivers and provides ongoing support and maintenance for Enterprise Architecture?

Answer: IT Departments

Methods, Tools and Platforms for Business Planners

The goal of strategy building is to make good use of corporate assets/resources.

The objective is to build, sustain and augment Competitive Advantage.

Methods of choice include RBV (Resource Based View). Tools of choice include FOMM (Figure of Merit Matrices), ROI, SROI.

Methods, Tools and Platforms for Operations Managers

The goal of operations managers is to meet time, cost and performance criteria in the following three (3) business areas:

1) annual budget administration (i.e., “keeping the lights on”),

2) resolving problems,

3) exploiting opportunities.

The objective is to achieve efficiency and effectiveness of work.

Methods of choice include BPM (Business Process Management), CPM (Critical Path Method), RALB (Resource Allocation, Leveling and Balancing), FOMM (Figure of Merit Matrices) at an ACM (Adaptive Case Management) platform.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to be a good management consultant

This is a re-issue of a post I made in 2010.

Here are some guidelines for management consultants.

Your job is to help the client to solve a problem they have or help the client to exploit an opportunity.

Do your homework in advance – do not borrow your client’s watch to tell them what time it is.

Start the assignment by asking what the client needs or thinks they need. Next, ask the client what they want (i.e. within the constraints of time, money and available resources).

Remember the logical order of work – “first the problem, then the solution”. Usually, this means that a top/down approach is  required.

Don’t tell the client what you think they need.

Don’t pitch buy-low/sell-high “solutions” to your clients. All advice given should be accompanied by an estimate of risk plus a reminder of uncertainty (i.e. the only certainty regarding the future is that it will be different from what most people predict).

Charge a proper per diem rate. If you don’t value your time, how can you expect your client to value your time/contribution?

As you arrive, start to plan your departure. You are on site to communicate expertise, transfer methods/technologies and effect a handoff so that the client can move forward on their own.

Posted in management consulting | Leave a comment

De-funding Police Departments

Don’t do it !

City Admins can, of course, at any time, choose to ‘carve out” and transfer services from one department to another. They need to be careful what they wish for.

The Eugene, Oregon “Cahoots” initiative worked/is working for a city with a population of 170,000. The demographics for Eugene may or may not be the same as for other smaller cities. The demographics for cities like NY and LA will definitely not be the same as for Eugene.

Police Departments should actively resist arbitrary $$$ reductions to their funding if, as, and when services are being changed/removed. There are ways and means of evaluating risks and implications of proposed carveouts and ways and means of costing out services involved in such carveouts. Start with the PD Policy and Directives manual and assign budgeted $$$ to each major Section.

The likely end game of defunding, if this goes ahead, will be dispatch of a uniformed officer and social worker/behavioral healthcare professional. Not safe! A seemingly low violence-risk incident can turn deadly to victims, citizens, subjects and responders in seconds.

Posted in Community Policing, Crime Reduction Initiatives, Law Enforcement | Tagged | Leave a comment

Team Performance under Coronavirus Rules

The purpose of this article is to outline protocols for preserving office productivity when knowledge industry team members are required to work out of their homes.

Office workers

  • Work’ is the transformation of  information/ knowledge to action.
  • Work consists of tasks, some of which must be performed in sequence, some not.
  • Different tasks need different skills, so a team approach featuring cooperation and collaboration is key to productivity.

The big question is how does an organization preserve productivity following a transition from on-location teams to virtual teams?

We can approach the question by examining the various attributes of work (what, why, who, when and where).

What – transform information/knowledge into action.

Why – to build, sustain and augment Competitive Advantage.

Who – different skills\individuals based on different needs at workflow tasks.

When – as and when tasks along workflows become “current”.

Where – at the office, now at home.

Essentials for at-a-distance Task Management

  1. Agree on tasks and their sequencing i.e. map out your processes, compile them to build an inventory of workflow templates for use at projects/initiatives.
  2. Roll out your templates to a workflow/workload Case Management Platform i.e. ACM/BPM (Adaptive Case Management/Business Process Management), featuring a workflow engine that auto-posts tasks to the attention of workers, complete with the required skill set tags to enable workers to take “ownership” of specific tasks.
  3. Provide facilities for workers at tasks to view project/initiative data, perform work, highlight progress, record data/observations at tasks, and declare tasks to be complete when the time is right.
  4.  Allow workers to communicate with peers with supervisors re tasks that are current along project/initiative workflows/timelines. i.e. User1-> task -> reachout -> task -> User2 response -> task -> User1. Do not use e-mail.
  5. Allow  workers to micro-schedule their tasks.
  6. Allow supervisors to use workload management tools (i.e. R.A.L.B. – Resource Allocation, Leveling and Balancing) to adjust priorities across Cases\tasks.
  7. Build up project/initiative Case Histories so that workers can view progress, improve decision-making at tasks and anticipate/plan future progress.

 Success with digital transformation

For quick results, contact a hands-on consultant or facilitator who can walk you through the eight steps detailed in “How to Install BPM in a Corporation”.

BPM is key to workflow management – BPM process templates provide background orchestration to guide  project/incident management and facilitate decision-making at key process points along workflows.

Posted in Adaptive Case Management, Business Process Management, Case Management, Operational Effectiveness, Operational Efficiency, R.A.L.B. | Leave a comment

The Link between big data and corporate competitive advantage

The link between big data and corporate competitive advantage

Success in business is all about building, sustaining and augmenting competitive advantage.


Given comparable infrastructure (Capital, Access to Capital, Land, Equipment, Tools, Premises, Staff, Intellectual Property/Knowhow, Current Products/Services, Products / Services Under Development, Projects Awaiting Approval, Technology Trends, Changing Legislation, Competitors) what is it that distinguishes one corporation from another in terms of ability to augment competitive advantage?

If you subscribe to the notion that managing a business today is more complex, has more options, shorter ROI timelines, with increased risk and uncertainty, one differentiating factor is the methodologies in use for strategic and operational planning, monitoring and control.

Let’s start with the problem of making good use of scarce corporate resources.

Most organizations have no shortage of ‘promising’ initiatives that could be undertaken at any point in time but lack the resources to contemporaneously implement more than a few of these.

It follows that strategists need ways and means of ranking prospective initiatives in order of decreasing attractiveness.

For this, they need to be able to inventory candidate initiatives, with an indication of the resources each would need going forward. Clearly, we might as well also inventory existing initiatives with the resources they are using in order to be able to determine on an ongoing basis which resources are available for new initiatives.

Strategists don’t like to tie up any one resource completely as that might prevent new initiatives from being undertaken, so each resource needs a minimum reserve level.  Similarly, they don’t want any one resource to be tied up for too long a period of time.

A practical approach is to dynamically crosslink resources to initiatives (current and prospective). Resources sit in a pool and are assigned to initiatives.

Strategists reasonably want to see all corporate assets/resources/initiatives at one computer screen and have the ability/to drag/drop resources to new initiatives as well as put back resources to their respective resource pools as and when initiatives no longer need these.

The final step is to rank new initiatives according to their attractiveness (i.e. read “according to their ability to sustain or augment competitive advantage”).

This puts senior management in a position to select the more promising and to declare these as ”ready for implementation”.

A  3D graphic free-form-search knowledgebase is the environment of choice here as it can provide visual oversight for tens of thousands of dynamic data points, with hierarchical linking.

Strategy Implementation

Responsibility for implementation of new initiatives goes to operations managers who submit ROI requests and annual budgets.  The only initiatives that should get funded are those that contribute directly or are supportive of strategic objectives.

Operations managers similarly need infrastructure for setting up Projects or Cases, engaging ‘best practice’ protocols for the performance of work, managing workflow/workload and assessing progress toward meeting Case goals.

Here, the methodologies of choice are BPM (Business Process Management), R.A.L.B. (auto-Resource Allocation, Leveling and Balancing, and F.O.M.M. (Figure of Merit Matrices) at a Case Management run-time platform.

Enter Big Data

Consistent with the trend toward decision-support from real-time predictive analytics, organizations are seeing dramatic increases in the quantity of data being collected as part of workflow management.

Given that one cannot analyze data that one does not collect, corporations do not today unduly agonize over what data to collect / not collect.

Collecting data carries with it no obligation to analyze the data and, within reason, the incremental cost of collecting more data rather than less data is not significant.

Two examples of practical use of big data are as follows:

  1. Operations Level (predictive analytics)

Overlaying of Case data at decision branching points along best practice template instances can guide users in the selection of sub-pathways to engage (e.g. similar Cases went this way, 60% of the time).

  1. Strategy Level (connect-the-dots gaming exercises)

Consolidation of operational data to corporate dashboards/KPIs at graphic free-form search knowledge bases, gives managers the option of being able to challenge trended data by engaging connect-the-dots searches across their corporate knowledge base. (e.g. we are projecting a 10% increase in sales, which is 120% of goal, except that, on analysis, the competition is increasing at a higher percentage, so maybe 10% is not “good”).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why we collect data . . what we need to do with it


Data is everywhere.

We collect data “for the record”, we collect data for use by predictive analytics algorithms and we collect data for use by humans and machines when making decisions.

Data, by itself, is highly important but not highly useful.

Contrary to popular opinion, unstructured data does not necessarily have to transition to structured data.

I will explain.

The usual flowgraph options for data go like this:

  1. Structured data -> data storage -> analysis/organization -> information -> knowledge -> decisions.
  2. Unstructured data \ structured data -> data storage -> analysis/organization -> information -> knowledge -> decisions.
  3. Unstructured data -> data storage -> free-form-searches -> information -> knowledge -> decisions.

All three work, providing the organization has methods, tools and platforms capable of managing the workflow. 

Except that many decision-makers short-circuit the process as follows:

Uninformed state of affairs               -> decisions

Data (structured or unstructured)   -> decisions

Information                                          -> decisions

Legacy knowledge                               -> decisions

My differentiating list for data, information and knowledge is as follows:

Data:                    Data, simply what it is – “. . all we want are the facts, ma’am”.

Information:       Processed, interpreted, or analyzed data.

Knowledge:        Increased level of confidence in Information that builds over
                              time (but can also decline over time).

Now for the explanation of how unstructured data can be as useful, at times, more
useful, than structured data.

Consider the following Strategic Planning platform (i.e. hosting multiple Entities, multiple hierarchies, thousands of data points), all accessible from one computer screen.


3D-Free-Form-Search Knowledgebase

Most corporations review/update their strategic plans at regular intervals (i.e. every 18 months, these days).  Absent ways and means for reviewing ongoing initiatives for their continuing contributions to strategy, the organization reverts to business-as-usual following publication of each strategic plan.

The problems are:

  1. Things change (e.g. changes to implementation priorities, changing customer needs, competitors leapfrogging “innovative” designs that are on the drawing board or in-progress).
  2. Information declines in value and needs periodic refreshing.
  3. Knowledge needs to be upgraded as a result of #2.

If you have experience with auditors or law enforcement investigators, you know that information virtually “leaps off the page” for some of these folks. They sense the need to drill down (e.g. when and where).

One way for non-auditors/non-LE investigators to make better use of information is to make use of 3D free-form-search Knowledgebases (3D-KBs) to launch “what-if” analyses and “connect-the-dots” exercises.

3D-KBs do not need to rely on structured data. Unlike searches across structured data, a free-form-search at a 3D-KB may be able find a phone number that was not properly entered into the “Phone Number” field at a relational database management table.

3D-KBs do not rely on invented “key words” – the search engines scan full text with the result that everything other than “the, and, and but, etc.” becomes a keyword.

Our experience with Strategic Planning Methods, Tools, Platforms

Civerex and its partners Global Initiatives and HNCT are in the business of evolving Infrastructure Protection plans for clients – our process starts with an inventory of all infrastructure/resources for each client.

From there, we assess risks/vulnerabilities, we remediate vulnerabilities, we evolve detection, avoidance, counteraction protocols. This takes each client to a state of “Readiness”.

Over time, we build on Readiness to bring a client to a state of “Resilience” (changes to Readiness as a result of daily scanning the horizon of incidents across the client industry area/geo-location, etc.).

When all of this fails, we move along to a set of protocols for “Recovery”.  The happy scenario is to train on Recovery profiles but never have to invoke them.

Moving Forward

If you want to improve decision-making at your organization, get on board with 3D-KBs. You will need a method, working tools and a platform.

Your options are to invent these out of your ‘garage’ or call us for mentoring.

Our approach to consulting engagements is arrive on site “loaded for bear” (i.e. we do our homework), and we start planning to leave from the time we arrive (i.e. our main deliverable to each client is the transfer of planning expertise and technology).

We do not push “buy-low-sell-high” and we won’t borrow your watch to tell you what time it is.


1 800 529 5355

Posted in #strategy, Corporate Infrastructure Protection, Database Technology, Decision Making, Resource Based View, Strategic Planning | 2 Comments

Success Achieving Operational Efficiency & Effectiveness (methods, tools, platforms)

With reference to my recent article called “Avoiding Transformation Program Fails”, operational efficiency and effectiveness need methods to avoid madness.

Transformation Initiatives need tools at generic workflow/workload management platforms.Success

Method: CPM for Once-Through Initiatives

CPM is the method of choice for once-through implementations, ACM/BPM is the method of choice for on-going transaction workflow/ workload management.

CPM handles what, where, who, when and why – you get to see full project/initiative detail from the start of any initiative through to the end objective (i.e. typically “ribbon cutting”, followed by a settling-in phase).

CPM puts a strong focus on predictive analytics in that ES-EF-LS-LF (Early Start, Early Finish, Late Start, Late Finish) and “float” trending will show time-spent plus projected time-to-completion and cost-to-date/projected cost-at-completion. CPM also handles resource allocation, leveling and balancing (R.A.L.B.).

Method: “Cases” for b2b, b2c, c2b Initiatives

In respect of Digital Transformation, particularly in the area of b2b, c2b and b2c, it is usually not possible to anticipate forward task timing, or costs.

What organizations do have is an inventory of process templates (linked tasks) that can be hosted at “Cases” (i.e. “Case” being nothing more than a cursor position in a relational database management system).

Cases allow Case Managers to manage Cases.

This sounds silly but it emphasizes that Managers in hierarchical organizational structure silos do not “manage” initiatives that span multiple silos.

Case allows staff to come out of their silos and perform work “at Cases”. When they are done, they go back to their silos.


Let’s pause a moment to improve our understanding of “work”.

The purpose of “work” is to convert inputs to outputs. This generally requires the expenditure of time and money.

Work ties-up or consumes infrastructure/resources. What this means is you cannot contemporaneously, in most organizations, take on all promising initiatives over any highlighted timeframe. Few organizations have unlimited infrastructure/resources.

Next, whereas there are many ways to get from “a” to “b”, analysis of work in any area of focus typically reveals a short-list of more efficient/more effective ways of performing work. These are workflow “best practices” (not necessarily industry best practices, not always a corporation’s best practices, not always an individual’s best practices).

The method of choice for representing a linked suite of tasks is BPM (Business Process Management).  My view has always been that BPM evolved from CPM (Polaris Project 1957).

Cases are capable of hosting best practice workflow templates and workload management engines.

The way to get to workflow/workload management is to map out best practices, compile the resulting workflows, roll these out as templates made up of linked tasks and use workflow/ workload management software to post the right tasks to the right people at the right time for information/data collection. The actors perform the work, record any needed/useful data and commit tasks. The workflow engine immediately, absent imposed delays, posts the next-in-line task(s) for information/action.

Cases also accommodate workload management.

We know from behavioral analysis that staff like to micro-schedule their work.  Given a task list with a one-hour window between, say, two meetings, a worker may today prefer to finish off a few small tasks OR advance the status of one large task. As for tomorrow, the same worker may prefer to do the opposite.

Best to give actors some flexibility in the performance of work for other than “production line” work.

Whilst individual workers are micro-scheduling their tasks, Case Managers frequently need to re-allocate, level and balance workload (i.e. worker “a” is on vacation; worker “b” has too many allocated tasks; a customer requires that a project be accelerated or deferred).

As with CPM, methods, tools and a platform are needed for the management of Cases.

The methods of choice for workflow management are BPM/R.A.L.B. but we need an additional method that consolidates efficiency (i.e. doing work the right way) and effectiveness (i.e. doing the right work).  The additional method is F.O.M.M. (Figure of Merit Matrices).

F.O.M.M. decreases subjective variability in the assessment of progress at Cases – i.e. given a set of best practices, Case Managers and staff will routinely deviate from these (skipping tasks, re-visiting already-completed tasks, recording data at not-yet-current tasks, inserting tasks not in any workflow template).

Now for the Platform in “methods/tools/platforms”.

Workflow/workload across Cases (most workers work on several Cases at a time) requires a Platform (i.e. an e-workspace per worker, comprising a Task InTray; ways and means of micro-scheduling tasks; facilities that enable collaboration across workers/Case Managers; easy viewing of task instructions; easy recording of needed/useful data at Cases\tasks).

When designing a Platform, make sure you involve Change Managers – these folks have direct, close experience with end-users of Platforms.  Change Managers know that if a new Platform does not make work easier than at a previous Platform, it will be difficult to onboard users and keep users on board.

Bottom line . . . .

BPM and R.A.L.B. positively impact efficiency, ACM/R.A.L.B./F.O.M.M. positively impact effectiveness.

A workflow/workload Platform allows workers and Case Managers to achieve efficiency and effectiveness.

Posted in Adaptive Case Management, BPM, Case Management, Operational Effectiveness, Operational Efficiency | Leave a comment