The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Knowledge management, attention management and the aging workforce

I recently spoke at a transportation industry conference and during the meeting I talked with the CIO of an influential airline. He asked me what EDS was doing around knowledge management. (KM). I could think of a number of examples where we have developed expert systems and attention management solutions but was having trouble thinking of any recent projects.


To me the concept of knowledge management is much more than just managing deliverables and commodity solutions. Where it needs to be headed may more aptly be described as "attention management using context and knowledge." Jeff Wacker and I have had a number of discussions about the relationship between e-learning, the aging workforce and information overload.


One of the people who responded to my query of current activities around knowledge management stated that what they were working on was more of a Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) solution than a KM solution. Wouldn't a truly effective BAM solution have a component within it that directs the attention of the user based on their role (context) and some degree of process knowledge about what is important. After all, human attention is one of our most limited resources.


Many companies (or even countries) having large quantities of personnel retiring in the near future - the aging workforce problem. I doubt that corporate leadership expects that productivity will go down, as this experience base is replaced. Yet, there does not seem to be the level of awareness of the problem that the knowledge management and transfer requirements justify.


This is probably an opportunity for EDS to dust off many of the solutions we have done in this space and really focus on codifying experience into an enabling technology for our clients.

Anonymous | ‎03-20-2008 06:21 AM

Knowledge management is a critical component of a successful outsourcing relationship. For the transitioned personnel, they need to be plugged into what the corporation is working on. For the client team they need to have a better understanding of the possibilities for change. After all if the same folks sit in the same desk and do the same thing, there is no value.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s I worked in the artificial intelligence group in Detroit and had a job code of Senior Knowledge Engineer and that's what we focused on.

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