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Making the jump to hyperdrive

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Scaling to the enterprise level and beyond

One of the major transformations cited by Gartner in the report “Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021” is the emergence of the intelligent composable business. This represents a new type of modular architecture that can be quickly assembled and reconfigured as needed to respond to changing needs. This rapid configurability is achieved in large part by software evolving “from single solutions to preassembled collections of business capabilities.”

We’ve seen this change already happening in vendor products exhibited at the KMWorld conference. In recent years, many of those products have evolved into modularized, customizable platforms built on a layered stack with APIs as the main gateway into the user organization, its functions, and processes.

As with self-driving cars, as more AI gets added, we’ll eventually witness the emergence of the self-driving organization. And it won’t stop there. Ultimately, as envisioned by the folks at the consulting firm Rethinkery Foresight, entire nations will become platforms with an underlying operating system.

The challenge and opportunity for KM

As with any complex system of systems, a systems approach must be applied. First, define the results you want to achieve. Then, define the set of basic elements. For a knowledge-based enterprise, you can start with agents, activities, and artifacts.

Next, determine how best to assemble those three elements in order to deliver the desired results. Don’t forget to record the most important part, which is why they should be assembled in a certain way. Each individual aggregation of these basic elements forms a building block for a composable organization. Knowledge flows comprise the glue that ties the many building blocks together.

It should come as no surprise that those knowledge flows are fraught with bottlenecks. As a KMer, it’s your job to identify not only what and where those bottlenecks are, but also their root causes. Only then can you get to work unclogging them.

For example, a common bottleneck in composable organizations occurs when the various components have different world views, i.e., ontologies. Mature organizations are no exception. Their rigid vocabularies often slow down their innovation processes, making such organizations brittle and unable to respond to rapid change.

This presents what might be the greatest challenge for the intelligent composable organization—the ability to continually innovate and learn as fast as or, preferably, faster than the speed of change in the market. But how do you automate innovation and learning? You don’t; that’s where good old-fashioned human knowledge work comes into play. Humans do the thinking; machines do the crunching. Together, they produce a better result than either one alone could achieve.

Are you ready to start pulling the pieces together? Ditch the things that can be automated and help to automate some of the more difficult tasks that you do. Then, go all-in sharpening those skills that machines can’t touch.

As Star Wars’ Han Solo would say just before making the jump to hyperdrive, “Punch it!”

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