The tendency when dealing with many knowledge management issues is often to jump right into the solution phase, when really it makes more sense to determine the strengths and weaknesses of what you’re currently doing, and how your current practices could be improved.
Similarly, most knowledge management can be broken down into several sub-issues. Depending on the specific problem at hand, most issues can be broken down into the following sub-issues:
1. People: Who needs access to what? Does everybody have the same needs? Are there sub-groups that are readily identifiable within your primary group (this usually works only if you have a large enough primary group)? 2. Processes: How is information/knowledge going to be transmitted/shared between people and groups? What oversight is going to be in place to make sure that processes get followed? 3. Technology: What is the best technology platform to enable our people? What technology do we currently have that we don’t need any more? How are people going to learn how to use new technology tools?
Apparently I was not the only one who was confused by Microsoft’s Gates and Seinfeld team-up — Microsoft has decided to pull the ads due to the fact that they were “poorly received“. According to Mich Matthews, a Microsoft senior vice president of marketing:
“We wanted to be sure that when we do come out with our (new) major message, ‘Life Without Walls,’ more people would be paying attention than they would otherwise,” contends Mathews. “My goodness, did we do that.”
While I can’t argue that the latter approach is an innovative way to market their new operating system, why not just come up with a slogan like ‘Windows Vista: really, it’s not that bad.’ Maybe Microsoft should have stuck to their guns and just kept touting Vista’s improvements?
If you’re a knowledge management professional (that is, somebody who thinks about knowledge management more than they probably should), you’ve probably encountered the formal-versus-informal debate in some capacity.
Much of the time, as knowledge management folks, we try to come up with processes — processes for how people work, processes for how organizations make decisions, processes for how technology gets put into place. Yet where there’s a place for building, there’s a place for tearing down.
We’ve all had to deal with nonsensical but well-intentioned processes. Maybe somebody thought it would be a great idea to make somebody fill out a form every time they want to be recognized for sharing knowledge — thinking that it would be easier to track who was doing a good job of sharing and who was shoveling knowledge into their own personal silo.
Yes, I know I’ve complained about BlueHost before. But I was taking a look at Web Hosting Geeks today (I often like to check that I’m getting the best deal on things that I can be, as my hosting term is coming up soon), and I noticed that BlueHost is really a much better deal for webhosting than anybody else (you can see the BlueHost review here).
I should also mention that despite the problems I had with BlueHost, they are an extremely WordPress-friendly host. While I was a bit hard on BlueHost before, they made it up to me over the past half a year — keeping up with their promise of reliable service and almost constant up time.
So while it’s good to point out when a business is doing poorly, it’s also good to point out when they’ve done right by their customers (or in this case, customer). I’m now convinced that BlueHost was going through some serious growing pains at the beginning of 2008, but has since expanded their operations to deal with the influx of new customers.
And if you do happen to be in the market for webhosting, I would seriously recommend checking out a site like Web Hosting Geeks. One of the things I like the most about Web Hosting Geeks is that they don’t just offer glowing reviews of the webhosting companies — they also provide some honest opinions about where the companies come up short.
Let me start this post by saying: I’m not a Microsoft hater. I’ve been a Windows Vista user for a while now, and Microsoft has made some serious improvements to their operating system since Windows XP, especially where things like drivers and stability are concerned.
While I agree that Microsoft has often adopted some less than competitive business practices and promoted closed technology standards, I don’t see the company as pure evil — they’re simply a software company that has created software products.
But with all the criticism that has been mounted against Windows Vista, it seems odd to respond with a set of ads that, well, don’t really talk about Windows at all. I talked about the first Jerry Seinfeld/Bill Gates team-up, so here’s the latest installment:
The shift in knowledge dominance has seen old guard Western centres (like New York, Washington and London — London dropping all the way from 46th to 102nd) losing ranking to smaller American cities such as Hartford and Bridgeport, as well as smaller European nations.
The report compares 145 regions across 19 different knowledge economy benchmarks. It’s worth noting however that the top 5 spots are still all in the U.S.: San Jose (#1), Boston (#2), Hartford (#3), Bridgeport (#4) and San Francisco (#5).
The persisent ascent of cities like Stockholm and Tokyo is also interesting to note, as well as the fact that Shanghai has now moved ahead of both Berlin and the Canadian province of British Columbia. China’s Guangdong region also comes first in the study’s Regional Knowledge Intensity index (a measure comparing the knowledge base of a region to its economic output).
So what does all this have to do with Microsoft and their Sir William of Gates’ (as Ricky Gervais called him) plan to dominate the global software market? Well, if you can figure that out from this ad, you should probably start picking lottery numbers.
I’ve been a Seinfeld fan for a long time, and while Jerry’s Seinfeld’s nihilistic and often-egocentric brand of humour works most of the time, I’d argue that this time it falls flat on its face. If you don’t believe me, you can watch the ad for yourself.
Chances are, if you’ve ever worked anywhere, you’ve stored something on a network drive. Before the days of portals and dedicated content management systems, the network drive may have been your only option for storage, besides keeping things on your own desktop computer.
As these dedicated content management systems have taken root within most organizations, the question is often asked: what do we do with all that stuff we have sitting on the network drives?
Different organizations have went to different lengths to organize the content on network drives. But really, there’s only one way you can go about organizing that content, and that’s by creating a hierarchical folder structure.
Often, that folder hierarchy is based on the departmental hierarchy — which creates a sort of folder taxonomy via which content is organized. Yet occasionally, people get the urge to start mixing in other facets of the documents into the organizational hierarchy; and this is where things start to get messy.
I think most knowledge management practitioners would agree that part of their job is to educate users and management types about the possibilities of a successful knowledge management program. But what happens when the knowledge management practitioner doesn’t agree with where the business wants to go with KM?
When I talk about users in this context, there’s a bunch of different groups I’m talking about. Knowledge management implementations usually end up with a host of technologies being put in place (content management systems, enterprise search engines, collaboration tools, etc.) — and ‘users’ usually end up being any group of people that has to interact with these systems.
When you end up asking users what they want, you usually get a few consistent answers (a search engine that looks and acts like Google usually comes up, or less time looking for templates and other often-used documents), and then a smaller proportion of very diverse answers.
The concept of ‘Web 2.0′ comes from a very real place — the idea that the internet as an entity is moving from less of a static, passive place to one that is participative and inclusive. It’s a noble vision that we should the internet will eventually realize.