Saturday, February 23, 2013

Interview with ININ Product Manager Geoff Calhoun

I had a chance to sit down recently for a little Q&A with ININ's Geoff Calhoun. Geoff is the Product Manager for IPA and Interaction Content Manager (ICM) at Interactive Intelligence.

Now keep in mind I'm no journalist and I'm biased as hell when it comes to ININ and IPA in particular. Some of the questions are blatant setups and I won't apologize for that. Enjoy.

Q: So Geoff, How did you first come to know about ININ?  
Calhoun: About six years ago at the previous company where I worked we were looking to replace our PBX system. We brought in CIC just for dialer at first and then when we got a demo. After that we decided to deploy CIC 2.4 to the whole enterprise. J

Q: What drew you to the company and the product manager position?  
Calhoun: I love the innovative atmosphere and all of the nice people at Interactive. I have thought about working for Interactive for years now. Having been in application development and support for a long time, I wanted to get out in front of the development processes, to get to guide where a product went in the Market.

Q: Anything about your background you'd like to share?  
Calhoun: I have been in IT for almost 15 years. I actually started at my last job as data entry clerk and after 14 years was the director of development and reporting. Went through all areas of IT from desktop and server support, to infrastructure installation and maintenance, and then on to database and application development.

Q: What's your vision for Interaction Process Automation longer term: go viral within the existing customer base, expand into IPA-only customers to compete with the variety of solutions, or something else?  
Calhoun: All of the above and more. My overall vision is to create a BPA product that everyone wants in their companies. IPA needs to continue to evolve its ability to bridge the gap between the ability to have complex integrations and being simple enough for a Business Analyst to develop process flows.  As to the specifics, well I am still working on that part.

Q: It's great to have someone helping drive the product who has used it as a customer. Is it a fair statement that every ININ customer could benefit from IPA in some way?
Calhoun: Absolutely. EVERY company has processes that can be automated.  From simple time sheet processes all the way up to something like a complex order management process.

Q: Where should customers start with IPA for their best chances at success? 
Calhoun: Start with a small process. Not because IPA is a complex product or hard to use, but because process optimization is very complicated and most companies don’t have subject matter experts in that area.  Don’t be afraid to bring a consultant if needed.  Be sure to do an as-is process map along with your to-be process map.  You will learn an enormous amount of useful information and probably be very surprised with what you find.

Q: Any new IPA features you can share that are particularly exciting to you?  
Calhoun: We are working on a web client for IPA that will be fantastic for users who don’t need our full features .Net client.  Also, we are working diligently on getting IPA into our cloud environment so that those customers can take advantage of all that IPA has to offer.

Q: Any plans to engage customers/developers of IPA outside of the Interactions Conferences?  
Calhoun: Absolutely.  I will be reaching out to many of our customers to understand how they are using IPA and how it can be improved.  Also, I will be hosting events for developers to help them share their best practices and learnings related to IPA.

Thanks to Geoff Calhoun of ININ for being a good sport and spilling the beans on IPA! He and I will be co-presenting an IPA Best Practices session called "Looking to automate business processes? Start here!" at ININ's upcoming Interactions 2013 in May in good old Indianapolis, IN, USA!

Until then...

Happy Processing!

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