CIO's Analyst Corner for 21 September 2004 has a piece on KM from Laurie M. Orlov of Forrester: When You Say 'KM,' What Do You Mean?
The rubric of knowledge management is as vague and hyped today as business process re-engineering was during the 1990s. Too broad to be meaningful, too encompassing for projects to be successful, and too subject to interpretation by vendors and consultants to be easily purchased, managed, or finished in anything less than a year. Instead of continuing to hold onto the term, firms should step back and examine their requirements with a set of questions that will help them focus on specific business processes and problems, forge actionable strategies, and create projects that have clear objectives and fixed scope.
She then discusses a number of business needs, where KM-like technologies show some promise: call centers, collaboration, expertise location, communities, unstructured content, information access, and business process.
This was published by CIO, so of course the focus is technologies. And actually, the groupings Ms. Orlov uses make a lot of sense. A nice expansion on the brief discussion would be to take each of these through circumstances where the question is relevant to the business and what the business would need to consider to get to the point of considering the technologies that might help.