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KMWorld 2009 Conference– Looking back ... and looking ahead

KMWorld 2009 Conference– Looking back ... and looking aheadI went to my first KMWorld conference 10 years ago. The event was held in Santa Clara, Calif., and most of the orchards that once dominated The Valley had already been paved over, replaced by the seeds and fruits of innovation.

A decade ago, knowledge management was just beginning to stretch its legs in the enterprise, and the folks in Santa Clara were among those who had a very forward-looking mindset. The overriding principle of operational efficiency was (and still is) at the heart of the matter. We heard about developing communities of practice and lessons learned. Companies were beginning to get worried about the corporate brain drain as baby boomers approached retirement, which forced organizations to look deeper into their intellectual/experience assets.

It was then, 10 years ago, that I first learned of expertise location systems, which blend taking advantage of personnel assets with operational efficiency. Lotus (lotus.com) had an elaborate (and somewhat cumbersome) solution it was touting; other, smaller firms such as Tacit Knowledge Systems (since acquired by Oracle) were doing pioneering work in the area, as well.

This year in San Jose, the conference theme was “Resetting the Enterprise: Focusing on People, Talent & Knowledge” (kmworld.com/kmw 09), so it was only natural that the buzz in the aisles, and both in and outside the conference rooms, was of social software—solutions that go well beyond a mere veneer over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. It seems to me, the people-focused tools so widely adopted in the enterprise have their roots in those earlier expertise locations systems. They’re a natural outgrowth of recognizing the value of human capital. And, with the astounding pace of organizational adoption of proven methods of harvesting talent, it’s quite exciting that we’re in the relatively early stages of this movement in the enterprise. So, carve out some time for a trip to the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., Nov. 16 to 18, 2010, for the KMWorld Conference and Exposition and the next wave of looking forward.

Looking back again to Santa Clara, we launched our KMWorld Promise and Reality Awards to recognize companies that show the promise of being able to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time, and those that have demonstrated that reality in the organization. Back in the summer, we posted the nominations, and, as they have each year since the award program’s inception, the number of annual submissions increased, this year to more than a combined 175. Our judging team, consisting of colleagues, analysts, system administrators and an elite group of users, narrowed the list to a select group of finalists.

If you recall last month’s issue, you saw our list of finalists (at least all but one). I’m embarrassed to admit that in the rush to meet our deadline, I failed to list one very important finalist: Procter & Gamble. As you’ll note below, P&G is important because, well, it was the winner of the KM Reality Award, recognized for its implementation of a companywide enterprise search solution. I apologize.  

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