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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Perfecting Data Management in the Cloud with Louis Tetu, Coveo

October 19, 2012 No Comments

Along with the benefits that Cloud Computing brings to modern organizations, come challenges as well.

In the below interview, Louis Têtu from Coveo offers expert advice as to how cloud computing and data management tools can work to maximize information management and productivity within today’s organizations.

  • Q. How do you see data management as having evolved over the last 20 years?

A. Since the 90s we’ve obviously seen data management systems emerge (that was the decade of the database shake-out and emergence of large, complex and expensive databases) and, at the same time, an unprecedented increase in data.  While databases were good for handling the structured information, the tremendous explosion of unstructured data, from social media and the internet, requires different handling, and it’s this that many companies struggle with today. In the past decade, while companies have tried to move towards systems of record, they’ve not succeeded.  Innovative, cloud-based point systems have been sold into lines of business without the need for IT, and today, we’re seeing the consumerization of IT, where even employees can activate and use new cloud-based systems seamlessly – such as dropbox,, Basecamp, Jira, and even Coveo can be tried and purchased this way. This has meant an increase of at least two-fold the number of systems companies had a decade ago, and with the consumerization of IT it will grow even faster.  So now we have more data in many different systems in the cloud, activated by individual employees and departments, and we have IT systems of record, it’s completely fragmented and beyond the control of IT, and although we have more data than ever before, and more systems to handle it, it is more siloed – down to even the individual level.  This creates a huge challenge for companies to make sense of their data, to gain insight from it. In effect, it is a corporate asset that is locked away from use, due to fragmentation and siloization.

  • Q. Valuable business information often gets fragmented and spread out while working in the cloud. What tools do you recommend to help companies quickly and efficiently organize this information?

A. As one of our clients, from CA Technologies, says, it’s time to “embrace the chaos.”  Rather than trying to control data and move it into a single system of record (which we have established just doesn’t work), or spend significant resources integrating disparate systems (which can take years and, frankly, IT teams just can’t keep up with the demand), new, powerful unified indexing technologies can bring all of this data together, virtually, and present it in ways that make sense of the data for the user.

In this model, information is assembled on demand and served up to operational users.  Advanced indexing technology securely reaches into both cloud and on-premise systems, unifies it, and presents only information that is relevant to the user.   This means companies no longer have to move information, either into the cloud or a single cloud system, in order to get a unified view. Users no longer need to perform multiple searches across multiple cloud systems, and then do this again for on-premise systems, in order to access such important corporate assets—knowledge and expertise.

Think of a world in which every piece of information an executive needs in any system, is instantly organized, indexed and searchable just as consumers search the Web.  That sounds good. But, even beyond this, new technologies such as Coveo have the power to instantly relate this “virtually consolidated” information to what the user is working on, this instant.

  • Q. How can services such as Coveo for Salesforce help customer centric businesses get correct and up to date information in real time?

A. Just as we discussed bringing information from any system into a unified index, that “virtual information integration,” Coveo also presents this information (from anywhere) directly within any system. In this case, directly into the Salesforce UI. As a contact center agent is working on a case, Coveo automatically presents information to help the agent solve that case, regardless of where the information is located. Similarly, on the Sales Cloud side, Coveo presents information that will give the sales person a complete, 360° view of their customer or prospect, plus recommend content to help win the deal.  The information can come from the CRM, from the services sytems, product management, financial systems, etc. Coveo will even recommend experts who can help, based on the expert’s work in relation to the customer or the case; because Coveo indexes communications as well as content, the system knows who does what and knows whom, and can relate that to the information at hand.

Moreover,  the index is always running, so the information is always the latest and most accurate.

Many Salesforce users are looking for what they call “federated search.”  What we’re talking about here is much higher value than federated search, but Coveo includes that ability to search across the Salesforce platform as well as other corporate systems and social media, all at the same time. To us, this is a given.   We think the exciting part is automatically showing users what they didn’t even think about looking for, but which they need to solve a case or win a deal.

  • Q. How can data management tools, such as personalization and expertise finding, work to maximize information management and productivity within today’s organizations?

A. The expertise finding I mentioned previously is very different from the expertise finding tools generally available today, which rely on static profiles or resumes.  Coveo helps employees better understand current expertise as the system identifies experts based on both their current work and communications, and any profiles that exist. This creates a dynamic, global map of expertise available to employees.  Understanding who knows what helps in many areas. First, new employees get up to speed faster and are more productive.  Even long-time employees will only know a couple of hundred people within a large organization. Think about an engineer who may be working on something that another engineer, perhaps across the world, has already completed or has particular expertise. This will speed innovation. Personalization means that employees (and customers, on the website) get the information they need, based on their work or their history with the company, and in the manner in which they prefer. Employees discover knowledge that they did not know existed previously, giving them broader insight into their business, making them more effective and productive.


Louis TetuLouis Têtu is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coveo. Prior to Coveo, Louis co-founded Taleo Corporation, the leading international provider of on-demand Internet software for talent and human capital management, acquired by Oracle for $1.9B in February 2012. Louis held the position of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors from the company’s inception in 1999 through 2007. In 2004, Taleo was recognized as the 11th fastest growing technology company in the United States within the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, and in 2005 it was the only software company among the Inc. 500 winners to have an Initial Public Offering.

Prior to Taleo, Louis was President of Baan SCS, the supply-chain management solutions group of Baan, a global enterprise software company with more than 5,000 employees. This followed Baan’s acquisition of Berclain Group inc., which he co-founded in 1989 and where he served as president until 1996. Louis is an Engineering graduate from Laval University of Canada in 1985 and in 1997 was honored by Laval for his outstanding social contributions and business achievements. He also received the 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year award in the Technology and Communication category.

Louis is also Chairman of the Board of PetalMD, a developer of social platforms for the medical sector. Outside of his professional career, Louis is a private equity investor involved in technology and infrastructure projects within emerging countries, as well as a commercially licensed helicopter pilot.

Louis is also actively involved and on the Board of Educaide in Quebec, a foundation devoted to high school reinsertion for children from financially challenged families across Quebec. Louis lives in Quebec with his wife and their three children.

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