A KM postcard from Perth

I’ve spent most of this week in Perth, presenting at a forum for CSC clients, helping out with our client innovation program and also assisting with some other information management projects. With a bit of help I did manage to squeeze in a quick chat late this afternoon with some locals who have an interest in knowledge management (KM). Over a couple of drinks we talked about wikis, metaverses and the state of KM in Western Australia. Unfortunately there isn’t a knowledge management forum in Western Australia, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t a wealth of experience and I certainly got to talk to some innovative thinkers who are busy exploring the possibilities of social media and Enterprise 2.0 to compliment existing KM approaches. Also, as we’ve been discovering this year, I’m continuing to find that there is no shortage of companies across Australia that are experimenting with wikis in one way or another and here in the West the situation is no different (although I do wonder how long we can keep using “[insert company name or business unit here]pedia” to name them).

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Coverage of yesterday’s Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum

I attended yesterday’s Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum – while I still haven’t had a chance to write up my observations, the event did attract some media coverage:

Also, visit the E2EF blog or check out what else the blogosphere has to say about it – like:

Managing a multi-generational IT workforce

Hot off the press, CSC’s Leading Edge Forum has just published a new report on managing a multi-generational IT workforce*, which was based on the analysis of themes from structured surveys and one-to-one interviews with IT executives. Just flicking through its forty-or-so pages this morning, this part stands out because this report confirms some of the assumptions many of us building our Enterprise 2.0 thinking on:

Most younger workers are heavy users of technology in their personal lives. As more enter the workforce they bring knowledge and skills about newer technology and expectations about how it should be used in their jobs to challenge the status quo. For example, young people routinely use social networking and collaborative technologies to connect with their friends and to build professional networks. As a result, they are used to far more technologically-mediated communications and want their employers to adopt more of these tools in the workplace so they can use them to link to their professional networks, keep up with peer groups and forge knowledge links while at work.

I suspect this particular point has wider ramifications beyond the IT function. What do you think?

*BTW Sorry, this report is brand new and only available to LEF subscribers.

The role of enterprise portal software and Enterprise 2.0

Jack Santos, a Burton Group analyst writing in CIO magazine picks out five Enterprise 2.0 related technology trends that CIO should be watching – I’ve listed them over on the E2EF blog – but wanted to focus a little further on his comments about Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server (MOSS):

Not unlike the early years of Lotus Notes, MOSS provides a framework for quick and easy applications that integrate data and workflow in a browser-based front end. And like Notes, it can be viewed as either a challenge to manage for IT shops or an important innovation catalyst for business processes. CIOs can’t afford to miss this tidal wave, or they’ll get swept under.

In a way this echos some of my past thoughts about both what Enterprise 2.0 can learn from the Lotus Notes experience and also more recently a concern that we might end up creating a mess of things if we don’t actually practice the collaboration patterns we’ve known about for a long time now. However, its worth noting that Santos isn’t actually talking about collaboration here either.

Now, over on my E2EF blog post I comment that “out of the box MOSS is considered to be a traditional document-centric collaboration tool” and in parallel Jive Software‘s CMO, Sam Lawrence, takes this head on with his recent post:

This election year reminds me of how unbelievably different the two collaboration software “candidates” are. What does a  vote for Clearspace or Sharepoint mean? They couldn’t be more different. The bottomline is that a vote for Sharepoint is a vote for file-centric collaboration. A vote for Clearspace is a vote for people-centric collaboration. Storing vs sharing: It’s that simple.

Lawrence goes on to list the benefits of a people-centric approach, which I agree with. However I think its important to point out what he doesn’t say about portal tools like MOSS, that while its true they are document-centric its also true that they do more than just support collaboration. As Santos hints at, they are also tools for integrating data and workflow. For MOSS specifically, Microsoft propose the following functions:

So lets not throw the baby out with bath water as we rush to implement social media technologies, as there are other business needs that existing enterprise software supports. However, lets also recognise that for people-centric collaboration traditional enterprise software hasn’t been delivering the kind of functionality we needed.

Brad’s talks about his presentation on tagging and the enterprise

Brad Hinton has written a series of posts about his Tagging and the Enterprise at a conference last week. Brad discusses search, the benefits of tagging and its perceived disadvantages, and provides some links to articles about enterprise social bookmarking and tagging.

Reminding me of the broad theme of David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous, Brad ponders:

perhaps one could say we are in a period of transition from the structure and hierarchy of giving order to physical information (like books, journal articles and celluloid film) to one where digital information allows for innumerable access points, innumerable tags and descriptors, and seemingly available from anywhere.

BTW I haven’t found Brad’s presentation on SlideShare just yet, but in the meantime you’ll find some other examples.

Bills Ives reflects on Wikipatterns and Knowledge Management

If you’ve been following my Wikipatterns posts this week, then you might be interested in what looks like a series of posts coming from Bill Ives comparing Stewart Mader‘s Wikipatterns book with Knowledge Management:

Parts of it also took me back ten years ago to promoting knowledge management best practices. I found it interesting to reflect on the differences and similarities between a top down system that required bottom up support and participation (aka KM) and a system that requires bottom up support and participation and offers a bottom up structure (aka wiki). Now you might say that a wiki is a tool and KM is an approach. However, it seems that wikis are also very much about an approach, more than just a tool, and KM relied on tools to enable its approach. I think more comparisons are valid, especially since both are about content.

You can probably guess why Bills comments caught my attention. So far he has reflected on two sections from the book:

I’m looking forward to reading further posts from Bill on this subject.