Conference Notes

“International Update on Web 2.0 in Business” (Sarah Heal, Information Leadership)

Sarah Heal from Information Leadership is talking on the use of Web 2.0 tool in business … based on their experiences using them, what they see with clients, and from KMWorld 2008. See also

Knowledge management means: helping people doing a great job. For firms, Web 2.0 helps wrap around expert support and collaboration tools. Need to support more than just information … but also know-how, peers and experts.

Why do we do this?
– Gen Y … they are different. They just want the answer. Will take the first answer that comes along. If you can’t give it to them, they’ll move elsewhere.
– Personal web use expectations … eg, Google, Web 2.0, search … “why can’t I search inside like I do via Google?”
– Distributed business / virtual teams
– Information overload and time pressures … 250-300 emails … how do you get any work done with this much?

Today’s workhorses:
– file shares
– email
– paper
– a “crafted” intranet
– … overall, these are not delivering what we need … know-how, information, collaboration … so RIP

– 1997-2007 … fall off in effectiveness of EDRMS, email, file shares, face-to-face
– “age of now” … “EDRM services”, wikis (eg, training material in wikis, not thick training manuals) and blogs, “good enough repositories”, connection, RSS, IM, search and tagging

KMWorld paper … 4 biggest disablers of knowledge sharing:
– the intranet
– knowledge managers
– email
– shared drives

Promise … for tomorrow’s LOB systems and technologies:
– EDRM services … disaggregation of the “big system” to smaller services
– wikis
– blogs
– shared screen services, eg, WebEx
– shared workspaces
– Know-WHO … Facebook, LinkedIn

Sarah showed the 2008 Content Technology Vendor Map from CMS Watch.

Content pyramid:
– “authoritative” … controlled documents, eg, contracts, reports
– “instruments and mechanisms” … templates, workflows, approvals
– “transactional” … notes, reports, requests, correspondence
– self-help nuggets … access to short answers for short questions
– information know-how

Why are we doing all this? What’s the big deal?
– healthy information environments
– just in time NOT just in case
– power to the people
– the document links us to the people who wrote them
– feedback improves
– speed and enhanced performance

What choices do we have?
– (1) best of breed vs Swiss Army knife?
– (2) open source, Microsoft or a specialist vendor?
– (3) appliance, cloud, or software?

SharePoint … Swiss Army Knife, love-hate, massive use, default choice for many
– eg, Oslernet … law firm in Canada. Millions of documents. Success = designed and governed as though it was an EDRMS … liked and used.

Open Source … CapGemini … Drupal, phpBB, MediaWiki, Google Search Appliance
– 27000 users, 900 communities, 500 forums, 500 wikis
– organic growth … reduced the use of email
– conclusion: When you deliver the right tools, people will want to use them.
– (biggest challenge in NZ … hard to support in NZ due to lack of open source specialists, eg, for Alfresco)

If you don’t provide these, then what happens?
– end users find other / better tools
– or they leave the firm
– or they don’t join the firm

Wikis and Blogs in the Enterprise
– Web delivered
– can include approvals
– can do metadata
– very good for living documentation
– helpful in the beginning stages of a project … when things are forming (which is exactly what I show in Seamless Teamwork)
– it replaces … Word and PDF manuals, pretty / pointless intranets, email
– why it’s better … empowers people to contribute, multiple findability, online

– comments and moderation
– web delivered
– metadata and tags
– business uses … capturing insights, lessons, ideas, how to, rants and raves
– replaces … documents and memos, knowledge articles, pretty intranet, email
– why it’s better … people can contribute, creates network of trust, multiple findability, online

Blogs and Wikis together …
– become a business improvement platform … for ideas, issues and projects

Social Software
Helps see what other people are reading, thinking and doing.
Take a look at StumbleUpon or Grant’s Flickr photos (“how we plan our vacations”)

What’s the big deal?
– RSS and Alerts
– Social “connect” apps
– distance meeting apps
– collaboration apps, eg, from 37signals
– personal KM apps, eg, Sarah uses Evernote for this

The Challenge
– the content is starting to get tangled up in the technology … so for record keeping … makes the job a whole lot harder
– creates a new role and challenges for IM professionals, eg, metadata, taxonomy, folksonomy, governance, processes

The Takeaways
– the rise and fall of technologies
– large scale use already
– it’s not going away

More on the conference: see #bs7im on Twitter

Questions and Answers
Q. Is the metadata the key to all this?
A. Two ways … taxonomy and folksonomy. Some firms are allowing people to start with folksonomy, and then converting some of that to taxonomy after 2 years.

Q. A lot of the newer tools are outside of the firewall … what are the record keeping implications?
A. Record keepers should be nervous. Will probably need to bring some things inside the firm. Also — how important are these records to us?

Q. What are the negatives or risks?
A. Disturbs me that people are doing things everywhere … you need to have information design from the get-go to make this work over the longer term.

Q. What is a record and what isn’t?
A. You have to come back to the business rules. What are the activities that need to become records?