Example of E 2.0, Would You Say?

There was an interesting article in the ToI yesterday … about Infosys putting “policies on probation”. This is being looked at in the form of employee participation, though i feel there is another aspect we could look at it from. Would you think this is an example of the form E2.0 could take in an organization?

Please post your thoughts on the poll. Any thoughts, please post a comment.

Training Ratio

This is a question i am trying to find an answer to. When in an organization there is emphasis on e-learning, there is also the understanding that e-learning is not a total substitute for in-class learning. If this is the scenario, then the question is, what is the right mix of e-learning and in-class training. This is the poll i am posting here:

Do post your thoughts on the poll.

Position of KM in the Organization

I had posted a poll some time back (ok, a few months back) about what you think should be the relation between the KM function and the business functions or processes of the organization. Actually, i had thought i had written about the findings of the poll, but then, i think it quite didnt. So here i am, writing about them.

Now, what was the poll about? The poll asked what should be the relation between KM team and the business functions in the organization. You can find the poll here. The options in the poll are around whether KM should be a separate function, or whether it should be an integral part of the business function, or whether there should be a consultant-client kind of relation between KM and the business functions. The basic question was about whethere KM should be something external to the business function. As you can see, there are not many people who believe that there should be an arms length consultant-client type of relation between the two.

What we can see from the poll is that there is large support for the mixed model. The mixed model is essentially that there is one part of the KM team which is external to the business function, and one part which is part of the business function. The idea here is that the central component of the KM team can focus on the developments in the field of KM, and how these can be leveraged to solving business problems in the organizations. In other words, this team builds the toolkit which can be brought to bear upon the requirements of the organization. The component of the team which is part of the business function is the link between the business and KM, which needs to understand business  requirements, translate them into KM needs, and bring the KM toolkit to play to meet these requirements. Or at least this is the thinking today. Or is it that because this is the way most organizations are doing it today, thats why most people believe this is the best way of doing it?

I dont think thats the reason. There needs to be KM which is seen to be a part of the business, and not something which comes from outside. This is important because this is required to build the business connect for the KM team, because this will lead to greater understanding of requirements, leading to better development of solutions to meet those requirements. And yet, another component a little removed, more like research, keeping track of the new additions to the KM toolkit. Please do post your thoughts about the findings and the analysis.

Hockey in South Asia?

Yesterday, there were two matches … Pakistan were playing Australia and India were playing South Africa. No, this is not cricket, but the poor cousin (at least as far as South Asia goes), hockey. Pity hockey is only the national sport on India. We have been told that the 7-1 loss to Pakistan at the Asian Games in Delhi was the factor which sealed the fate of Indian hockey. I dont quite agree. If this be the scene, then what sealed the fate of Pakistan hockey? Pakistan doesnt seem to be doing much better than India at hockey in the world cup, at least. On the other hand, they actually lost to India 4-1, two misses from Sohail Abbas notwithstanding.

Be that as it may, thats not really the question i am looking at here. Somehow, hockey in South Asia has not been able to evolve with the changes in the playing conditions. There is astro-turf, but then, thats been around for two decades now, i think, and one would think by now we would be able to adapt to it. After all, with our skill and technique in hockey, we should be able to adapt to conditions. I am talking here about both India and Pakistan. Now i am not an expert on this, but maybe some of the rules are also not conducive to our brand of hockey? Even if they are not, we have to live by them, and adapt our hockey to them. From the way both Indian and Pakistani teams seem to be going in the world cup, seems the problems for both are the same (sometimes i think the only problem India and Pakistan dont share is the performance of the cricket teams, and that too is only a periodic phenomenon).

This is where the idea came to me, would it be helpful if India and Pakistan were to collaborate to develop hockey? Maybe create a place where the hockey talent of both the nations can be nurtured and brought to a level of global excellence? See, as it is, the only thing we do is fight with each other. And while there is a school of thought that cricket could help heal the divide between the two countries, fact is that the fight between India and Pakistan becomes more pronounced when the two teams are playing each other. So probably more than cricket, hockey has a chance? And this is the question i am asking you today. Looking from two perspectives, one of creating excellence in hockey in South Asia (remember the time when Pakistan won the cricket world cup down under and people in India were happy that at least the world cup came to South Asia?), and another for fostering greater sporting ties of a collaborative nature between the two countries? Maybe India-Pakistan hockey league? Or similar ideas? Please do post your opinions on the poll.

Please do post your opinion. Who knows we may make something out of it? Do post your comments too.

KM and Business

A question which has been there for a lot of people for some time now. What should be the model for relationship between the KM function and the business teams. The approaches could vary from KM being a different function, to KM being a part of the business teams, and not being a separate function. And a lot of opinions which are somewhere between these. All of these viewpoints have their flip sides. So while KM being a separate function ensures that KM as a specialized field develops, while KM being a part of the business team ensures that the connect between operations and KM is maintained, and KM is seen as a part of the team, not something which comes from outside the team.

This is why i had run a poll some time back asking the question about what model you think is the appropriate one. You can access the results of the poll here. While one would expect that most people would believe that either KM should be a separate function, or KM should be a complete part of the business functions, the poll gives a different picture. Large number of the people who participated in the poll believe that KM as a function must be a mix of the standalone function model and the integral part of business team model. The interesting part about this is that this addresses both the things i pointed out.

Let me explain. One part of the KM team should be a standalone function. This ensures that KM specialization is maintained, and there is an endeavour to constantly keep in touch with the best practices, and the latest thought emerging from the world of KM, in addition to the KM team creating some form of thought leadership as a way to build value for the organization. This becomes a bit tricky if KM is an integral part of the business team. On the other hand, a standalone function is seen by business teams as something which comes from outside, and is treated the same way. This inhibits the engagement that KM can build with the business teams. The model that you have voted for says that one part of the KM team should actually be a part of the business team, so that they are considered a part of the business and not something which is pushed from the outside. This way, with a mixed mode, we can ensure both the KM function which can incorporate best practice into business processes in the organization, and KM being accepted easily by business teams because it is considered a part of business processes.

Top KM Areas Poll

There was a poll i had posted here recently. What i was trying to do was to find out which are the things you think are important as initiatives for KM going forward. What came out of the poll is not actually very surprising, though there are some thoughts which i feel we need to look at.

To begin with, the most important areas of KM seem to be communities and social networking. Social networking got 14% of the votes, while communities got 12% of the votes. What this means is that knowledge managers are coming around to understanding the utility of connecting people, whether it be through communities or through social computing. That there is value which can be unearthed through connections that people develop. This can actually be seen by the way knowledge flows in social networks like facebook, linkedin or twitter. Another thing here seems to be though that blogging seems to be something which is not as high on the priority list as one would have thought. Each form of blogging got 8% of the votes, but then, the finding that blogging doesnt to be so popular could also be because i had divided blogging into different forms, more or less for different audiences. If we look at blogging as an aggregate, on the whole blogging (including micro-blogging) 40% of the votes. What this means is that experience sharing, informally writing, tweeting is something which people feel is a very important part of knowledge-sharing, but that going forward, there is the need to have discovery of knowledge, including blogs, easier than the way it is today, and one of the ways for this is through people connections.

What is surprising (actually, at first glance, not so surprising, but let me explain) is that search enhancements dont seem to be high on the priority list. This is probably based on the fact that most organizations already have some form of search implemented. Having said this, a number of organizations also find that search the way it is implemented today doesnt necessarily meet the requirements of users. What this means is that while search is there, users need a better search experience to be able to easily locate more relevant content on corporate repositories. But knowledge managers dont seem to be thinking about this as a priority. Maybe because we arent thinking from the users perspective?

What about wikis? Why i have segregated them into team wikis and enterprise wikis is because from what i have found, a number of organizations have found larger success in adoption with team wikis than enterprise wikis. I have written about this before.

In a nutshell, blogs 40, social networking 14, and communities 12, seem to be the top priority parts which seem to be on top of the priority list. Does this come as a surprise to you?

The Buzz About Buzz

Theres a lot of buss about buzz … thats google buzz. I havent really tried it. Yes, have seen what its about, but not really used it. You know, using a social networking tool is about the network. So unless you have a network, and are able to have conversations with the network, you cant really tell. Which is why i posted the question to my network on facebook. Would they use buzz? The answer was overwhelmingly nay! Interesting … Not usual that any product gets such responses one way or the other.

Which is why i thought the question would be something which probably needs to be answered by a larger audience. Which is why i created this poll.

Do take a moment to post your opinions. It would probably go some way in helping us find whether scale matters for social networks, or whether the depth of the network is a concern when you want to move platforms … no, thats not just a rhetorical question, but rather, a question which i am trying to understand. What do people care for more … the user experience, or the network.

Imperatives Next Year

Its that time of the year … The question topmost on peoples minds is about how the quarter will close, and then about what we need to do next year. And this is where i seek opinions … More so from trying to understand what you think is the direction KM as an initiative should take. Of course, the specifics would emerge in specific scenarios, but in terms of the general direction is what i am talking about.

Somehow, the focus seems to be towards social media, as you can see. Maybe this is a reflection of the way we are looking at knowledge, and how it is leveraged in organizations, or maybe its because there is already a lot of investment done on content management, so thats probably already a given. Either way, theres an Other option, so please feel free to add your own thoughts. And yes, you can choose multiple options.