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Bringing in the Science

by Cameron Haight  |  March 25, 2015  |  Comments Off on Bringing in the Science

Recently I was made aware of a change in jobs by someone I know within the industry and have great respect for – Nicole Forsgren. Formerly a professor of MIS and Accounting at Utah State, Nicole now has a new role where she is the Director of Organizational Performance and Analytics at Chef. I first came across Nicole’s work in academia over five years ago when I was performing some research on systems administrator processes and practices (note: you can use Google Scholar to see a listing of many of her published reports). She, along with some others both within academia as well as the IT industry, have done some very interesting ethnographic studies of system administrator behavior and how this behavior, for example, might influence tool design.

I had a chance to catch up with Nicole to find out a bit more about her new role. She described it as her dream job and hence why she chose to give up her successful tenure track career at Utah State. Basically, she gets to help Chef internally become more metrics-driven in terms of their own internal product development activities while also continuing to be able to perform external research in the areas of her expertise. In essence, she is bringing “science” to Chef. Nicole expects to be pulled into many discussions – she’s already had internal chats with the UX and usability designers at Chef in terms of how to think more about how their clients use the product and potentially sees future interactions with enterprises to improve their own organizational performance.

I am blogging about this not to promote Chef or for that matter Nicole, but rather to suggest that APM and other information technology and services providers might want to consider similar moves to bring more science into their own spheres of focus. As an industry, we’re pretty good at creating new algorithms in areas such as analytics, but in terms of the science associated with how people collaborate and process (increasingly vast amounts of) data, I believe that we’re still pretty rudimentary. In any case kudos to companies like Chef for thinking out of the box with the hiring of Dr. Forsgren.

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Cameron Haight
Research VP
10 years at Gartner
30 years IT industry

Cameron Haight is a research vice president in Gartner Research. His primary research focus is on the management of server virtualization and emerging cloud computing environments. Included in this effort is… Read Full Bio

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