Karney likes the "killer app" definition of an "application I can't do without." For him, that application is now web search. He feels hamstrung if he doesn't have access to a good web search tool. And search is a big aspect of KM for him in that the start of the knowledge building process is around finding the information he needs. (Speaking of search, there are a number of "in search of the next killer app" articles that address many different directions on the idea of a killer app, from TV to phones to automobiles to technology.)
But others in the discussion suggested that within enterprises, search isn't so critical due to the type of content, the way it is stored, and security restrictions. Karney suggested that a good candidate for an enterprise-level killer app is a well-designed yellow pages or expert directory that gives people access to the network of people within the company. Rather than people finding information that helps them build their own knowledge, people find people who have access to needed information.
What other killer apps are there related to knowledge management (internal or external to the enterprise)?
- search - there is still hope for enterprises, but the underlying technologies and perceptions about that content need to change for an "internal Google search" to work well
- yellow pages / expertise locators - but they need to be kept up-to-date, which is often the app killer for yellow pages
- portals - allow custom information to be presented to users
- dashboards - present key information to for the right people, similar to portals
- network-enabled search - some combo of yellow pages plus content search to place people in touch based on search terms rather than job titles (I've written on this here and here)
- what else?
Note: The idea of the killer application is the application (or thing) that leaves all previous applications in the dust - or creates a demand for the underlying platform on which the application runs. Spreadsheet software is credited with the rise of personal computing, giving number-crunchers new ability to analyze data and a demand for the computers that ran the software. Web browsers became the killer app for the Internet, introducing millions of people to the idea of the Internet. e-mail made the 'net even more accessible to more and more people.