Several people in my reading sphere have mentioned Dave Greenfield's Social Bookmarking Apps Provide a New Knowledge Management Platform in eWeek.
IBM Lotus, BEA Systems and a string of startups are aiming for corporate "power to the people" in the form of Web 2.0 software. But can any system managed by the masses be truly effective in the enterprise?
Pundits for new, enterprise-oriented social bookmarking and tagging systems claim they can provide what knowledge management systems haven't: easy and secure storage, retrieval, and sharing of valuable documentation within an organization and around the Internet.
There didn't seem to be a great focus on knowledge management within the discussion.
Greenfield provides an overview to the concept and makes the connection to the larger Web2.0. The meat of the article is a discussion of enterprise bookmarking applications: IBM Lotus Connections (Dogear), BEA Pathways AquaLogic suite, Connectbeam, and Cogenz.
And for a quick, understandable intro to social bookmarking, be sure check out the latest of Common Craft's "plain English" videos, Social bookmarking in plain English.
As it happens, I just attended a KM World webinar on the topic with Ajay Gandhi from BEA Aqualogic. Many of the topics covered in the webinar are touched upon in the eWeek article.
It was interesting to hear the perspective on "the changing nature of knowledge work." Essentially, k-work is going through the shift that KM advocates have been discussing for some time: collaborative, ad-hoc teams with a greater focus on experience, insight and context. This is running into the wall of the way things have always been done within the enterprise and the wall of "stuff" that workers generate (information overload).
I also liked this set of statistics:
- 67% believe there are colleagues who can help them
- 39% say they have difficulty locating the right people
- only 25% frequently go outside dept to seek/share
- 38% don't get asked for their help and information
I had to laugh at the last statistic. I wonder how much the last group overlaps with the others. If you aren't being asked, does that mean you also aren't offering knowledge? Do you think there are colleagues who can help?
Ajay also trotted out the tired statistic that knowledge workers spend 20-30% of their time "searching" for information. Usually it is assumed that is time that could be spent more effectively doing other stuff. I don't buy it. Isn't most of the fun of doing knowledge work the finding and discovering new or interesting materials? Sure, social search and other improvements can improve the speed / focus with which I find stuff, but I doubt the amount of time looking will reduce much.