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Taking the enterprise of the future to the next level

This article appears in the issue March 2014 (100 Companies) [Vol 23, Issue 3]
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Trend 4: smart everything

Pillar—technology
Attribute—key components across the enterprise woven together into a system of systems, and local systems seamlessly connected into an integrated whole.

If there ever were a place KM'ers could make a significant impact, it's in the burgeoning field of smart everything, from phones to cars, farms to hospitals, to entire cities. We hear a lot of hype regarding those developments, but nobody seems to be asking, "Where do the ‘smarts' come from, and how are they implemented and maintained?" Keeping traffic lights in synch and managing traffic flow on toll roads is one thing. Responding in near real time to disasters, where one disconnect can unleash an unplanned catastrophic sequence of events, is another. That's the "smart" we need to be focusing on in the coming years.

Bonus trend: discipline convergence

In hindsight you might be thinking, "What trends did we get wrong or miss entirely?" One of the predictions we were strongly endorsing in 2006 came right out of the technology pillar attribute: the convergence of information management and knowledge management. Heisenberg has really been taking his good old time on that one.

Here's a new and even better one: the convergence of knowledge management, knowledge engineering and the knowledge sciences. Those have been operating in isolation much too long. The four trends listed here provide a clue that all this is changing. Knowledge engineering will continue to stretch the boundaries of shared ontologies. Knowledge science will break open latent research in brain science and human consciousness. And knowledge management, with technology as the enabler, will serve as the funnel that migrates science and engineering into practice. Now that's a trend we can really get excited about.

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