7 days journey in an open boat in search of the sun. Or why I think KM systems can be built.

Orders: Boil the Ocean

Process: Place large furnace under ocean and turn up the heat.

End Game: Let’s not rush things we are still working on the boiling project.

I have had the conversation 100 plus times in my career. In the end people listened but didn’t hear. The objection in the end to a KM system became money and time. Its why in my book Transitional Services there is an entire section devoted to building a simple and easy KM system. I called it the DLM© or Document Lifecycle Management©. Given a small amount of money, the process simply involved spending that money on SME’s and having them slowly build your solid library.

People go to knowledge systems to solve problems. Whatever problem they are facing they are looking for help. The KM system provides one way for them to solve the problem. I can find information here that will fix what isn’t working. With the DLM© system the SME starts at the napkin level. I can’t tell you how many great napkin conversations I’ve had in my life. In the end many more than I can remember. Effectively most of those conversations were lost due to well the absorption of water by the napkin resulting in the displacement of ink.

The goal of the system is to create an ecosystem of information. I was introduced to a training concept at one point in my career that I have since incorporated into the DLM© system. The resultant system is capable of supporting people as they explore and ask questions, and educate them once they realize they want to know more.

My next goal, the next time I build this system (I’ve now been part of building this 4 times so I am getting better at this) is to push it to a mobile application format. The big goal of Transitional Services was to share and define the reality of a changing IT environment. The system DLM© results in a smaller footprint for KM in the enterprise. Adding on the training system makes it even more effective.

Why today? First off I’ve been thinking about the corporate issue of information hoarders. People who have built their careers on knowing and doling out information when asked. The reality is that cultures tend towards codification over time. IE things are the way they are because well in the end that is the way they are. KM systems would have been easier to build 10 years ago. Now culture is decidedly set against not only the concept but the actual system. The Internet is a massive KM system that people rely on and frankly in the end it works better than any corporate system has to date.

But the problem is going back to the concept, when you search the Internet to find answers in the end you are lighting the flame of the boiling engine. Corporations have specific things they need to build on. Information and systems that they leverage today that have specific information associated with them. A KM system using the DLM© model actually allows the company or agency to capture and make available the critical information relevant to their organization.

Combining that with training now adds even more value. First off I have a SME whose job it is to surface and share information. I would love to say that can be anyone and that you can walk down the street and find people with those skills in every company in every cubicle. But there are information hoarders in every company. People whose power is the knowledge they have not the knowledge they share.

Getting around the social problem becomes the SME’s job.

In the end the system has to be easy to submit information into. It has to have a mechanism for rewarding people without paying for placeholder IP. (This file represents my quarterly IP submission I will add content to it next quarter). KM systems failed and continue to struggle because of the social issues in an organization. Getting past the social issue is the hardest job the SME will have.

The training solution then rides on top of the DLM©. It can leverage your KM searches and return on the right hand side of the search window a training pane. Did you know you’ve searched for XYC 12 times in the past week? Here is a one hour introductory training course focused on helping you understand XYC better.

I guess in the end I am just waiting to build this again.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.