Archive for ‘knowledge management’

August 26, 2010

Visualization is the Key to Information Overload


Visualization is indeed the key to information overload….and it’s not just powerpoint, pareto charts, or histograms….

Advertisements
August 19, 2010

Is it Knowledge Management or Business Intelligence?


I was recently speaking with someone whose background was all in business intelligence and data.   They had years of experience building data warehouses and datamarts.  They knew how to create cubes of data and slice and dice and store and manage all the financial and customer data you could imagine.  Because this person was from the “structured data” world, they just couldn’t wrap their arms around the concept of knowledge management.  And we began a lengthy conversation about this abstract concept of knowledge management (KM).

Knowledge management — the buzzword of decades past that might be synonymous with other buzzwords like collective intelligence or intellectual capital.  Or maybe you’ve heard of tacit and explicit knowledge — differentiating between what is in our heads vs what’s written down.  From a technology perspective, KM represents the mounds of documents, information, conversations, blogs, wikis, emails, social networks, knowhow, and expertise …. it’s all the “stuff” that continues to overload us daily and continues to present challenges for individuals and organizations in filtering out what is important vs. what is just noise.   KM is also about the way we create, collect, manage, consume, share, and leverage the unstructured information combined with the structured data my colleague was so familiar with.  It’s about learning, learning curves, and reuse – be it structured or social or organizational.   And KM can be also be about talent, innovation, revenue and costs as well…

Ultimately, KM is about individual, group, and business performance and providing a competitive advantage.  KM is also about adapting to change and managing it as the more you or an organization knows, the better decisions it can make and quickly recognize the need to change, adapt, and drive innovation.

As I explained and defined KM to my colleague and what this abstract buzzword KM is really about…he then said to me:   “Rich, it sounds exactly like what I’ve been doing for the last 2 decades with business intelligence… figuring out ways to collect, organize, structure, and mine data to help businesses make better decisions”.    And the reality is my colleague was right.   BI has many parallels to KM… and at the end of the day it’s all about being able to filter out the noise, identify all the variables in the equation, and make the right decisions based on what you know and assume to be true — be it structured or unstructured.

Follow me on Twitter…

August 4, 2010

What is Knowledge Management 2.0?


The following post was also featured as a “Featured Blog” on AIIM E2.0 Community during August, 2010:

Knowledge Management seems to be making a come back.  Like E2.0 or Web 2.0, KM 2.0 seems to be more about aggregating unstructured information with structured data (perhaps in a community, portal, team space, etc…).

Perhaps the explosion of applications like SharePoint have once again made organizations think about how to manage knowledge more effectively and invest time and money into related projects.   While there is a promise that platforms like SharePoint will “do it all”, organizations have to move beyond simple document sharing and leverage these all-inclusive technology platforms as a collaboration system before it can be considered a system of knowledge.  Users need to make the application part of their day-to-day as much as they live in their email inbox.  And administrators and managers of Knowledge/Information Management systems must ensure they provide the right balance of governance, tweaking/development, care/feeding, and obtain the right consulting guidance to optimize the ROI and ensure users view the technology as a productivity tool that enables them to get their jobs done better, faster, and cheaper…..  Then complete eco-systems (e.g. from IBM, Oracle, or Microsoft) can work very very well for communications, collaboration, community, and knowledge in large organization (both inside and outside the firewall).  However, for traditional ECM/RM or larger knowledge management efforts like digital libraries or e-Commerce driven websites, these all-in-one platforms just may not be the best fit (esp. in larger organizations).

The challenges most organizations face with Knowledge Management are the cost of ownership, too many repositories, different taxonomies, and too many places to search.  What we see today is really not any different than back in the 80s/early 90s with companies having 3,4, or 5 different email systems….and they realized they needed to standardize on 1 email system (novell, exchange, or notes generally).

While it seems most organizations finally have a solid handle on email systems some 10-15 years later, they need to now focus on information & knowledge management.  These systems are not well governed and users inside the organization expect a Google-like experience in spite of all these challenges.  Organizations have simply created an “information mess” in a rush to the web over the last decade.   As a result, collaboration remains difficult and KM becomes even more challenging.  No doubt KM 2.0 initiatives will fail today just like in KM 1.0 unless these same organizations think more holistically in their approach.

There is a tremendous economic benefit attempting to cleanup and consolidate different ECM systems into a single vendor platform (for the 80%) with a consistent and enterprise information architecture that organizes collaboration, information, and knowledge.  While I don’t think 1 system will do everything required by the business, 80% is pretty good … while the remaining 20% might require a more unique/tailored technology solution (be it open source or a more pricey ECM solution).


August 3, 2010

Just featured as member of the week on AIIM Communities…


I’ve shared some of my blog posts on AIIM and was featured as member of the week on AIIM Communities:

http://aiimcommunities.org/users/sharepointpmp

Tags:
July 31, 2010

Is Social Media Making Us Dumb?


This post was also a featured story on SocialMediaToday.com:

http://socialmediatoday.com/richblank/154394/social-media-making-us-dumb

The explosion of social media has been nothing but a phenomenon. Communities, twitter, facebook, linkedin and other networks allow us all to instantly share articles, thought leadership, books, tweets, PPTs, news, events, and more. And the more we engage in social media, the more I’m starting to wonder if social media is actually making us smarter and more enlightened OR if we are simply becoming dumber by the day.

While I see tremendous value in the online links and information and articles that are shared into and throughout my social networks, social media seems to be influencing the world with “NBC Today Show”-like headlines and content containing lightweight, high level fodder and sound-bytes from whatever happens to be your knowledge domain of choice. While blogs provide fantastic ways to share insights into communities of interest, more and more the posts I see are generally less than 400 words, conversational in tone, and read like “Top 5 Ways…” or “Top Reasons Why” to promote sharability.

I also see social media trending towards the 60 minute webinars and 10 minute videos and tweets of less than 140 characters to capture people’s attention, promote your services or product like an online infommercial to capture sales leads and create brand awareness. I see individuals simply updating their LinkedIn profile with so-called books from their Amazon reading list just for the sake of sounding intelligent and creating a perception that they actually stay current on the latest trends and buzzwords like Tipping Points or Flat Worlds or Synergistic Change. Of course we are all soooo busy that there is no way we have read or even will attempt to read these books.   I also see the latest tweets from the Harvard Business Review being shared around and emailed throughout our social networks as if we are some enlightened thinker of strategy and management with some inspirational message of change.  And then there’s Ted.com…an addicting site of speeches & lectures from REAL thought leaders and experts throughout the world…and who doesn’t “heart” Ted?  Of course social media now allows Ted.com junkies to share online lectures and speeches like a drug dealer handing out free samples on the street.

Let’s face the fact that because of social media, everything is starting to look and sound like Cosmopolitan Magazine and USA Today headlines. Now I will admit I too am guilty of proliferating this trend to simply keep up with the “Jones” as the experiment of social media evolves and becomes “mainstream”.   The reality is… because of social media, today anyone, at any level, from anywhere has access to the same sound bytes of information as you. Maybe your niche is technology or six sigma or project management or talent management or even information management!!! … Social media allows anyone to act like an expert, pretend to be an expert, and promote themselves as an expert. Because of social media….we just might be proliferating the Dilbert principles we all know and love so well. We are possibly becoming dumber and allowing the mediocre to gain a competitive advantage or at least sound like they actually know what they’re doing or are an expert in their respective domain.

What say you? Are you jaded in your thinking like this? OR are you enlightened and encouraged by all that social media has to offer?


Share/Bookmark

 

July 28, 2010

Top 5 Reasons Why Strategic Initiatives Fail and a Way to Make Success Visible


Great article by a colleague of mine….published in Greater Charlotte Biz.   SharePoint provides the enabling capabilities to implement Executive Dashboards.

Share/Bookmark

http://www.greatercharlottebiz.com/article.asp?id=1069

We have all found ourselves, at one time or another, lamenting the “what ifs” after a great new strategic initiative comes charging out of the gates only to lose momentum and eventually fall into a ditch dying a slow quiet death. It happens in every company. The interesting part is it happens less frequently in some companies than in others. Do they avoid or minimize the pursuit of new initiatives? Do they take some magical approach to driving initiatives?     In these increasingly tough economic times, companies are not afforded the luxury of avoiding new initiatives. They are either getting better or they are falling behind, so the answer is obviously the approach they’re taking. Let’s take a quick look at the top 5 reasons why strategic initiatives fail and what companies can do to help keep initiatives out of the ditch. According to a recent study performed by Industry Week, the top 5 factors that are common elements of a failed initiative are:1. Strategy is not clearly communicated to the stakeholders 

2. Lack of support by key leaders in the organization

3. Decision-makers do not understand the relevance or are unable to measure progress

4. Lack of impact on employee compensation

5. Technology needed for implementation is not available

It comes as no surprise that these items will spell doom for most any initiative. It doesn’t have to be all of the items together either. A single setback in any one of these areas can knock an initiative right off of its tracks. If you are going through the efforts of researching, funding and implementing a new initiative, you certainly want to put a system in place to help ensure its success.

An excellent tool to use is called Dashboarding. Dashboarding is taking key metrics associated with your strategic initiative and displaying them in easily digested information. With Dashboarding you are taken through the process of identifying metrics that quantify success.

If you had to narrow down the Key Operating Indicators around the initiative to a handful, what would they be?  Now let’s put them in an easy to read and understand format that will be visible to everyone. As this dashboard is updated and distributed on a regular basis it keeps the initiative fresh and allows you to measure your success on an ongoing basis. In a word, it is POWERFUL!

In summary, continue to roll out great new initiatives as they are needed to insure your companies continued growth and success. Just remember, using Dashboarding as a tool to avoid the common elements of “initiative failure” will keep you out of the ditch and headed straight to the bank.


July 25, 2010

Seven Tips for Managing Projects on SharePoint


Download the full presentation on slideshare…. And please feel free to comment and share your own tips for managing projects using SharePoint.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 


Share/Bookmark

July 21, 2010

My recent presentation on Managing Projects on SharePoint is available…


Includes PM 101, Tips for Project Managers, Project Management Dashboards, and Enterprise Portfolio/Project Mgt with SharePoint 2010

View more presentations from Rich Blank.

 


Share/Bookmark

July 14, 2010

Does SharePoint Cause Information Management Problems?


Does-SharePoint-Cause-Information-Management-Problems?   Interesting blog post and discussion….my thoughts are below….

SharePoint as an application should provide better capabilities around administration AND information governance. 2010 is better but more out of the box functionality is needed.  As a result, organizations need to spend the additional money on 3rd party solutions for admin/security/governance — which, in my opinion, is a necessity, not a “nice-to-have”. However, tight times and tight budgets haven’t helped the situation. As a result we see alot of out of the box vanilla SharePoint deployments whose main use is a glorified fileshare. While that hasn’t been a bad thing — the simple fact that users can easily share documents (vs emailing them) has created a “Shareplosion” in many organizations — which further adds to the problem. Combine all that with a lack of information architecture, lack of internal marketing and little if any end user education— you have an “information mess”.

Perhaps AIIM might consider rethinking the term “information management” and rebrand it as “Information Governance”.  Maybe IT will spend more time and/or money on planning SharePoint with the right governance.  Good governance will empower users, make them more productive, help them find information better, and allow the business to create solutions that actually improve project management, collaboration, & business processes — way beyond simple sharing of documents.  Governance is all about — user adoption and empowerment being a direct correlation to IT’s ability to administer, govern, deploy, and support a stable application.  Governance is about BALANCE — balancing IT control against user empowerment to ensure security and foster adoption. And it’s not just “governance of the application” — it’s also about governance of the information.

The unfortunate thing is that governance often gets pushed aside in favor of other priorities….and I do understand why the subject is often ignored at many organizations.   It’s been several weeks since I started to post my formula for successful governance of SharePoint — and I’ve gotten sidetracked again with my own priorities….time to continue my discussion on governance..

 


Share/Bookmark

July 10, 2010

Good article/discussion on Knowledge Management 2.0, Strategy, SharePoint, ECM, and more…


http://www.cmswire.com/cms/enterprise-cms/knowledge-management-where-does-the-enterprise-cms-fit-in–007986.php?awt_l=BXLod&awt_m=1a2FZF0ZKqn0sm

KM 2.0 seems to be more about aggregating unstructured information with structured data (perhaps in a community, portal, team space, etc…).

And there is a hope and promise that SharePoint will “do it all” — but I think you have to leverage the platform as a collaboration system first and not just a place to store documents. SharePoint can work very very well for communications, collaboration, and community in large organization (both inside and outside the firewall). However, for traditional ECM/RM or e-Commerce driven websites, it may not be the best fit (esp. in larger organizations).

And SharePoint (like any of the vendors/systems you mentioned) requires good governance, some tweaking/development, and care/feeding and the right consulting guidance to optimize the ROI and ensure users view the technology as a productivity tool that enables them to get their jobs done better, faster, and cheaper…..

The challenge most organizations have is too many repositories, different taxonomies, too many places to search, too costly, not well governed, etc, etc… And of course, users inside a company expect a google-like experience in spite of all that. Organizations have created an “information mess” and as a result KM becomes difficult and can fail today just like in KM 1.0.

It’s really not any different than back in the 80s/early 90s with companies having 3,4, or 5 different email systems….and they realized they needed to standardize on 1 email system (novell, exchange, or notesmail generally).

And there is a tremendous economic benefit attempting to cleanup and consolidate different ECM systems into a single vendor platform (for the 80%) with a consistent and enterprise information architecture. No I don’t think 1 system will “do it all” but 80% is good enough …while the remaining 20% might require a more unique/tailored technology/solution (be it open source or a more pricey ECM solution).

 

Share/Bookmark