Talking knowledge management in Boston
DCI's Knowledge Conference in Boston addressed KM issues ranging from people and culture, to management and process, to technology and implementation.
Here are some quotable notions:
About the audience of 450 attendees
"Some attendees I spoke with said they were new to the subject matter and were sent by their bosses to investigate what KM could do for their organizations. Others were in search of pragmatic solutions that they could apply to their current business," said Edward Tsang, president of Zyga (www.zyga.com) and a session speaker.
Susan Hanley, director of Knowledge Centers for American Management Systems (www.amsinc.com), said, "What I've noticed about all these knowledge management events is that the level of knowledge of the users is greatly increasing."
"They've become the choir and we need to stop preaching," she added.
John Cate, corporate marketing director for Relevance Technologies (www.relevance.com), an exhibitor that since has been acquired by Documentum (see story, page 1), said, "Participants are gaining in their sophistication. They are moving rapidly from the general ideas to specific applications."
Technology as an "enabler"
"Only when you understand that knowledge management is a business process and that technology is an enabler will it be successful," said Cate.
Larry Prusak, managing principal of IBM Consulting Group (www.ibm.com), said, "Technology has the capability to make it happen, but it can't do it alone."
On knowledge and other definitions
"The closer you can get to a face-to-face discussion, the closer it is to knowledge," said Prusak. "If that word (knowledge) means more than the knower knows, they're trying to sell you a system."
Keynoter Tom Davenport, director of the Information Management Program at the University of Texas (Austin), said, "Knowledge is easier to digest than information."
Mistakes made and moving forward
"The average customer database is outdated in a year," said Davenport, adding, "Most companies build too much in a data warehouse--it's easy to get in and difficult to get out."
But a useful KM system starts with knowing what it is that makes you a better company because, he said, "that is the stuff you need in a KM system or a data warehouse."