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On track with KM at AIIM

AIIM attendees who want to leverage their IT infrastructure to solve more business problems will find help in Atlanta. So, too, might attendees who are trying to figure out how their information technology can help improve their management of knowledge.

The presence of KM-related sessions at AIIM'99 will certainly be a boon. AIIM has established a full-day track related to knowledge management, and several individual sessions within other tracks address the topic.

"The fact that knowledge management has a track shows that it's of significant interest to our members," said Priscilla Emery, AIIM (www.aiim.org) executive director.

Many of the technologies with which AIIM has long been associated, including document management, information access and workflow, can be reframed into a knowledge management setting, she said.

Among the sessions Emery expects to be popular is David Weinberger's "Is There Knowledge Management?" scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, April 12.

KM=Web phenomenon

Weinberger, the founder and editor of the "Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization" (JOHO, www.hyperorg.com), plans to address the confusion surrounding the KM industry. The session will describe three major types of knowledge: tacit, strategic and ideas, and "challenge the founding notions of KM, including that there is such a thing as tacit knowledge," said Weinberger. "And I will focus on a plea to 'un-manage' knowledge, i.e., not to think of knowledge as a type of super-information that needs super-management. Instead, KM is a Web phenomenon and thus inherits the strengths and weaknesses of the Web, including messiness, disorder and self-reliance."

Based on those premises, his session will address how to make organizations smarter, using some recognizable KM techniques and some not so.

Weinberger's talk opens the Knowledge Management track, a set of five opening day sessions within the management group.

Ronni Marshak, VP and senior consultant with the Patricia Seybold Group (www.psgroup.com), follows with "Selecting a Document/Knowledge Solution: A Practical Handbook."

Marshak will deliver practical guidelines for bringing in the right technology to solve document and knowledge management problems.

"Does Your Company Know What It Knows? Harnessing Enterprise Knowledge," the third in the track, will be delivered by Scott Cooper, general manager of document management and imaging products for Lotus Development (www.lotus.com).

Citing high turnover and scattered information as challenges, Cooper will focus on techniques that help organizations transform employees' tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge of value companywide.

Another speaker is Open Text (www.opentext.com) Senior VP of Customer Services and IT Kirk Roberts. His session, "Knowledge Management Across the Enterprise," will focus on both architecture and systems administration of building and managing flexible, enterprise-scalable systems.

"However, this will be presented in the context of building systems that scale in terms of business process and cultural issues," said Roberts. "In a creative, fast-paced organization, which both adapts quickly to a changing environment and exploits it (a learning organization), there is a constant need to balance a system's ability to support free creativity and collaboration (the creation of knowledge and the process of learning) with a system's ability to collect, decipher, analyze and interpret past experience (knowledge management) as tools in the creative process. The challenge is to effectively do the latter without restricting, and ideally enhance, the former."

Roberts plans to address the usabilty of that type of enterprise system, acknowledging that "user buy-in usually requires the return of a user pay-off at the end of the day."

Rounding out the KM track will be a session, entitled "Managing the Knowledge Management Enterprise," with Joseph Rubino, systems integrator for R2K (www.R2K.com).

Rubino will focus on the administration side--in particular how to manage KM systems including workflow, imaging and document management systems.

"These systems present a unique and difficult management problem. Understanding how the enterprise's network, operating systems, systems components and applications are behaving is paramount in ensuring your mission-critical applications are running and continue to run," said Rubino.

Sessions within the KM track are not the only ones with a KM focus. For instance, within the workflow track, David Yockelson, director of the Meta Group (www.metagroup.com), will address making decisions about how and when to use workflow.

"Knowledge management applications, for instance, might require interactive or transactional workflow facilities depending on the focus," said Yockelson.

In the document management track, "Linking the Information Management Value Chain: From Records Management to Knowledge Management" will also hold KM promise.

"The information management value chain model presented in this session defines a framework for integrating the disciplines, practices and technologies of records management, document management and knowledge management to create a unified information management solution," said Karen Strong, president of Clarity Document Management Institute (www.claritydmi .com). Susan Cisco of the Railroad Commission of Texas (www.rrc.state. tx.us) and Ray Edwards, president of Lighthouse Consulting Group (www.lhcg .com), will also speak during the session.

Others KM-related sessions include: "Web Commerce and Collaboration," Mark Schenecker, analyst at Doculabs (www.doculabs.com); "Get it Right the First Time," Addie Mattox, managing partner of @doc (www.atdoc.com); "The Value of Workflow in Enterprise Banking Applications: Improving the Process," Nancy Thornton, principal of the Centos Group (Pontiac, MI); and "Architecting an Advanced Document and Knowledge Management Platform," Tom Bartley, VP of strategic technology for PC DOCS/Fulcrum (www.pcdocs.com).

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