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KMWorld Connect 2020 opening keynotes look at how to succeed during disruptive times

Growth is always hard, and disruptive growth is exponentially harder. It requires companies to make tough decisions in the face of daunting uncertainties.

The KMWorld Connect 2020 conference kicked off Monday morning with a keynote by Charlene Li, analyst and author of "The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Businesses Transform While Others Fail."

Additional keynotes were presented by Andreas Blumauer, CEO, Semantic Web Company, and Dave Clarke, founder, Synaptica.

KMWorld Connect, November 16-19, and its co-located events, covers future-focused strategies, technologies, and tools to help organizations transform for positive outcomes

Time for disruption

Disruption is an opportunity for change and growth, emphasized Li, who pointed to many successful companies that have been formed during recessions and disruptive times. The reason for this, she noted, is that when things are going well, people tend to not want to rock the boat and innovate.

Now is the time to look for opportunity, she stressed. And if anyone thinks they can slip through without changing amidst the social, political and technological turmoil that is going on now, they should think about whether they are willing to be disrupted or want to be the disrupter—creating impact and change that result in growth.

Key lessons learned from earlier times of disruption and transformation, said Li, include the following:

  • Disruptive companies don't only focus on technology: Uber didn’t really use new technology, said Li. It used technology in new ways to address changing needs.
  • Anticipate what the future will look like: Back in 2010, Adobe realized that software delivery on CD-ROMs was on the way out and that cloud delivery would be the next new thing and moved in that direction despite short-term costs.
  • Focus on future customers: To be future-focused, you can't only focus on profitable customers, you need to fall in love with your future customers. Three ways to do this are to create empathy maps, put future customers in dashboards, and connect your customer-obsessed employees.
  • Foster leadership: Strong leadership is also important. Leaders need to constantly share their vision, and disruptive leaders bring people to the cause. In 2012, T-Mobile, was in fourth place in the mobile phone carrier market. Identifying what people hated about mobile carriers, it became the "un-carrier" and shared a manifesto internally detailing its purpose.
  • The safe zone is not really safe: People and their organizations may want to stay in their "safe zone" but that is actually where it is most dangerous, said Li. People need to go to the edge of their comfort zone.
  • Three core beliefs of disruptive organizations:

There is openness—There is information and transparency about decisions which builds trust and accountability.

Silos get broken down—Silos build expertise in functional areas, but you also need windows in the silos.

They sponsor agency in every employees—This allows employees to act like owners and take responsibility.

The knowledge enterprise

Dave Clarke, founder, Synaptica, followed with a keynote on tools and tips for becoming a knowledge enterprise. Synaptica has over 25 years' experience delivering enterprise taxonomy software and professional services to businesses and government agencies worldwide. Synaptica's tool, Graphite, is currently used by global brand businesses with applications as diverse as healthcare, life sciences, video gaming, travel and hospitality.

There are four defining characteristics of a knowledge enterprise, said Clarke. They are the following:

  • Knowledge is valued as a mission-critical asset
  • Knowlege management principles guide the curation and sharing of tacit and tangible assets
  • Knowledge organization systems (KOSs) organize and categorize documents and data
  • Knowledge graphs connect knowledge, data, and content to infermore knowledge

KoS is a generic term embracing taxonomies, thesauri, ontologies, classification schemes, name authorities, topic maps, and other structured technologies, said Clarke, who covered the steps for building a KOS with Graphite.

Synaptica’s Graphite is a powerful tool for quickly designing, building, and managing KOSs using an intuitive graphical user interface. Graphite is based on Linked Data and Semantic Web standards and utilizes native RDF concept modeling. Powered by a graph database, Graphite offers speed and flexibility in the creation and management of various types of controlled vocabularies including taxonomies and ontologies.

The steps for building a KOS outlined by Clarke include curating a library of class, property, and relationship types; designing the semantic schema for one or more KOS schemes; importing reference data and starting to develop taxonomies.  He also covered the role of knowledge graphs in relation to KOSs.

Knowledge graphs are the key to unified data access, flexible data integration, and automation, he said, explaining that Synaptica (Graphite) and Ontotext, a provider of GraphDB, have integrated their tools to do both taxonomy management and semantic search and data analytics for enterprise knowledge graphs.

Knowledge graphs and NLP

Andreas Blumauer, CEO, Semantic Web Company, concluded the keynote session with a talk about combining knowledge graphs and NLP to develop question-answering systems. The ultimate goal of question-answering systems is to give non expert users fast access to enterprise data and provide them with answers to their questions.

Knowledge and answers to all kinds of questions are often actually available in companies but the problem is that corresponding facts are hidden in various data sources, such as databases and documents, and these sources are not sufficiently linked.

Question answering systems should not only be trained on the basis of text and documents but should use all available data, said Blumauer. He emphasized that knowledge graphs are fundamental to explainable AI and showcased key features in Semantic Web Company's PoolParty 8 release.

Replays of KMWorld Connect webinars will be made available for on-demand viewing on or about November 24.

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