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Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Hello and welcome. This is actually my first blog. Have known about the concept for while, and seen some from others, so I thought I should give it a try, and see how it can be useful. The topic I want to blog about is one, that I usually talk a lot about as well (ask my friends). It happens to be the field that I work in as well, but it is so wide that it does not get boring to talk about it with people outside of my own organization.



What I am talking about is Knowledge Management (KM). I will actually refer to it as KM from here on to save a little on typing. The question since when I am working in the field of KM is hard to answer, it depends on the definition. One could say, I was very much working in that field during 4 years as a liason manager between a very large company in Germany, and a fairly small company in Silicon Valley, manage processes such that this partnership could work, had to do a lot with managing knowledge. This was not about documents so much as it was to get the knowhow of the small company (the experts) to those in need within the large company.



When I joined another US company, it took a few years until I ended up in a spot actually called KM. I think the term KM as such is not that old, the principles behind it are partly very old, but I think in combination with companies it has become increased attention within the last 7-8 years. And of course, attention can always be dangerous as well. In this case the term Knowledge Management was hijacked by many companies, that used it for their purpose to market technology. Some of the gurus are already moving away from the term, because the understanding that is created by some companies (be it SW vendors or Consultancy) is not what was meant originally.



In my eyes if the emphasis is on technology, then it is not KM, then it might be KM-support technology, which in my mind is not the same thing. Many have written, that KM is 80%people and 20% technology, I would refine that to 70% people, 20% process and 10% technology. Which does not mean, that once a KM initiative is fully up to speed and running, technology can play a significant role, but if you start with technology you are doomed. I have seen it often enough to be 100% convinced on that one. If you start with technology and do not put at last 5x effort, money, people on the soft parts (the people issues, the marketing, the ongoing support ....) you will some great technology and if you are lucky some will use it for a while, but you will not get a successful KM Initiative...



So much for now... more thoughts later....