Last week I shared a slide deck from an introduction to Knowledge Management. If you didn't have a chance to look at it, I will wait until you have a quick look now.
The slide I heard most about was slide 14 (below) which charts the functionality of various types of enterprise technology against one another. Unfortunately visual presentations do not include a lot of explanation, so I thought it would be of interest to pull out this specific graph and discuss it a little further. Click for a larger image:
This graphic was put together by fellow presenter Stephanie Barnes, adapted from work by Despres and Chuval published in 1999. You can see that she has added eDiscovery and Social Media technologies for our benefit.
My quick interpretation: the various types of software we use cover a range of functionality and often overlap. It is complicated and confusing, meaning that we really need to know what outcomes are desired and therefore requirements before we spend thousands of dollars–or even millions of dollars–on new technologies. Sometimes the tech we already have on hand will fulfill the organizations' needs, but we just don't know it until we look.
I asked Stephanie why she sees this graphic as important. She tells me this is always the slide that garners the most attention when she uses it. Stephanie deftly expands on my comments:
I like this slide because it illustrates the complexity of the technology environment when it comes to knowledge management and helps people understand why there is so much confusion about which technology supports what kind of activities. Ultimately, it should also help people understand how to pick the right technology for the desired business or organizational application.
Organizations need to understand what types of activities are going to be performed using the technology: is it for scanning or mapping i.e. understanding what knowledge exists; is it for capturing or creating; is it for packaging or storing; sharing and applying; or transforming and innovating? All of these things are criteria that will influence the selection of the technology. Everything from search to social media to business intelligence and data warehouse technology can be determined using the answers to these questions; the questions need to be asked in order to pick the appropriate technology and so that the budget of time and money is spent wisely.
I would love to know–what else do you see in this graph?