Meet our Speaker: Joe Lamantia

25 March 2013

Joe LamantiaA seasoned designer, manager, and consultant, Joe
has fourteen years of experience leading clients and teams in the design of innovative solutions at the forefront of emerging media, digital business, and Internet technologies. Here he talks about what he will be speaking about at Enterprise Search Europe (15-16 May, London).

Tell us a little about you, your background and your current role

My focus at the moment is driving the evolution of discovery products and services for Oracle, following Oracle's acquisition of Endeca, where I built the experience design team for the discovery product line.  My background is primarily in user experience, technology and media, where I've been active in design, consulting, management, and strategy - mostly at early stages of the lifecycle. 

In the most fundamental sense, I've spent the past 17 years working at the intersection of human interaction and technology in emerging engagement spaces: the Web in all its great diversity, complex applications, social environments, games, mobile and other form factors, applications, commerce, and so on.

What will you be talking about at Enterprise Search Europe? Why have you chosen this subject?

I'll be sharing recent work around what we call 'the Language of Discovery' – it’s a simple research-based vocabulary that describes how people make sense of information in service to goals like searching, comparing, and analysing complex situations. 

It turns out that you can use a very simple vocabulary to spot and describe complex patterns in searching and sense making behaviour, patterns that transcend typical boundaries like domain of use.  You can also design solutions using the vocabulary; from the interaction design of workspaces, to the various data models and information structures that underlie your system.  This combination of analytical and generative uses is unusual, and I wanted to share it.

What do you see as major trends in the Enterprise Search field?

Much of the innovation has come from the open source community.  I'd expect to see a wave of the emerging Big Data inspired methods, tools, and perspectives being applied to the ongoing challenges of enterprise search. 

Also, as with many areas of technology, the problems people encounter in enterprise search are harbingers of the problems they have at home in the consumer space.  We know consumer problem spaces are often more amenable to rapid innovation than the enterprise.  I'd expect there will be some transposition of emerging consumer-origin technologies to the 'old friend' enterprise search space. 

Name some key challenges faced by you or your clients and how are they being overcome?

Probably the single most significant challenge our clients face is with what we refer to as Discovery Maturity.  This is a new environment, and we don't yet have stable and effective terms and concepts for talking about the overall sense making capabilities of an organisation yet (the Language of Discovery helps with that).  Having an informed conversation about discovery needs and solutions is difficult in such a period of flux - you can end up talking about horseless carriages, when what's really needed is a multi-modal transport network. 

You can overcome that by comparing and contrasting concepts from a familiar frame of reference - traditional Business Intelligence, or analytic reporting in our domain - to the core notions of a newer perspective such as the ability to do effective sense-making across a spectrum of problems from the well-known to unknown, while working with large and diverse amounts of information. There's often an 'ah-ha' moment that follows this perspective shift, when people realise they have a different type of problem at hand, and thus need one or more different solutions.

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