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Data & Intelligence

Characteristics of a Subject Matter Expert

I’ve found that an integral part of any practice will be subject matter experts (or “SME’s”) that can provide assistance and direction to engineers who are in the field.  SMEs will often be asked to review, improve, and approve technical work; to guide others; and to teach.

Where does an SME come from? SME’s will most likely already exist within a practice but may need to be identified and nurtured by the practice leaders.

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What to Look For

Look for “SME candidates” to have (or develop) the following characteristics:

  • A deep expertise in a specific market, category, business segment or discipline. These individuals will generally not be a “jack of all trades” but rather a “master” of a very specific trade
  • Shares expertise with others within the practice – happy to “spread the wealth” by teaching others what they know
  • Routinely catalogues knowledge and expertise for easy access by all members of the practice
  • Feels comfortable with (and looks forward to) opportunities to represent the practice or generally just act as the “go to” expert
  • Contributes to the development of new materials and presentations related to the area of their expertise or interest
  • Will attend relevant conferences, network with industry leaders, and possibly even seek appropriate speaking opportunities
  • Develops ways (such as practice-sponsored seminars, white papers, POV pieces, etc.) to share their “intellectual capital”
  • Will identify opportunities to publicize and market the practice by using their area of expertise
  • Actively participates in online discussions concerning their expertise, including: monitoring online discussions, reading and posting to appropriate blogs and online publications, contributing to a blog, fostering online relationships with appropriate bloggers and other online influencers and developing and maintaining appropriate profile pages on social networking sites

Where to Look

In most cases you’ll be able to find at least a few SMEs already existing within a practice but in some cases, practice leadership will need to introduce and promote these concepts to develop the available resources into the subject experts it needs.

Even when experts exist, you’ll find that your “experts” will need copious amounts of “care and feeding” but keep in mind that any investment in a practice SME is an investment in the practice as well.

“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” ― Taylor Swift

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Jim Miller

Mr. Miller is an IBM certified and accomplished Senior Project Leader and Application/System Architect-Developer with over 30 years of extensive applications and system design and development experience. His current role is National FPM Practice Leader. His experience includes BI, Web architecture & design, systems analysis, GUI design and testing, Database modeling and systems analysis, design, and development of Client/Server, Web and Mainframe applications and systems utilizing: Applix TM1 (including TM1 rules, TI, TM1Web and Planning Manager), dynaSight - ArcPlan, ASP, DHTML, XML, IIS, MS Visual Basic and VBA, Visual Studio, PERL, Websuite, MS SQL Server, ORACLE, SYBASE SQL Server, etc. His Responsibilities have included all aspects of Windows and SQL solution development and design including: analysis; GUI (and Web site) design; data modeling; table, screen/form and script development; SQL (and remote stored procedures and triggers) development and testing; test preparation and management and training of programming staff. Other experience includes development of ETL infrastructure such as data transfer automation between mainframe (DB2, Lawson, Great Plains, etc.) systems and client/server SQL server and Web based applications and integration of enterprise applications and data sources. In addition, Mr. Miller has acted as Internet Applications Development Manager responsible for the design, development, QA and delivery of multiple Web Sites including online trading applications, warehouse process control and scheduling systems and administrative and control applications. Mr. Miller also was responsible for the design, development and administration of a Web based financial reporting system for a 450 million dollar organization, reporting directly to the CFO and his executive team. Mr. Miller has also been responsible for managing and directing multiple resources in various management roles including project and team leader, lead developer and applications development director. Specialties Include: Cognos/TM1 Design and Development, Cognos Planning, IBM SPSS and Modeler, OLAP, Visual Basic, SQL Server, Forecasting and Planning; International Application Development, Business Intelligence, Project Development. IBM Certified Developer - Cognos TM1 (perfect score 100% on exam) IBM Certified Business Analyst - Cognos TM1

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