E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez


Discover What You Know – Will Knowledge Management Ever Change That Much? Does It Really Need To?

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One of the latest Knowledge Management weblogs that I have discovered has recently become one of my daily reads, and in case you may not have it yet, when you get to add it I am sure it would become a daily read for you, too! It is actually a weblog nicely put together by Nimmy and it is called Aa..ha! [Thinking Inside The Blog]. Goodness, did I say how much I like that title, too? It reminds me of all of those different ah…ha! moments that we keep bumping into every now and then and which makes things quite interesting. Don’t they?

Like many of the different weblog posts Nimmy has been sharing already. Lots of great stuff to read over there. Go and check it out because it surely is going to keep you entertained for a while.

Take, for instance, one of the latest entries that Nimmy has been sharing and which Jack Vinson also noticed as an interesting read (Referencing stuff as well that Alan Lepofsky has been sharing over at his YouTube account). In Lotus … Located on YouTube you would actually be able to watch a video clip put together by IBM Lotus, Ken Porter, that shows how IBM has been seeing Knowledge Management for quite some time now. Yes, you may say that there are lot of buzzwords over there and everything and I would agree with that statement, but you cannot deny the fact that even though there may be plenty of buzzwords over there it still delivers a very strong and solid message of what KM should be all about all along.

If you notice it is a video clip that shows very clearly some of the stuff that I have been talking about in the past myself, where I have been mentioning how KM is no longer about sharing and reusing explicit knowledge (i.e. Intellectual Capital) but more about capturing as well tacit knowledge, i.e. the know-how, and being able to find a balance between the two so that we can all take the most out of both worlds.

Yes, I think we would all agree that is where the main challenge is nowadays and perhaps there may not be a final solution for it, but the way I see it there is something that the video tries to put together and which I would agree with: a successful KM strategy for whatever the business is something that hasn’t got to do anything with the tools nor the process, but more with the people themselves. Yes, indeed, that people thing again ! But this time around with a little twist. Not people disconnected and distributed all over the place, but more knowledge workers gathering together and building communities they could become part of and with which they would be willing to share knowledge and information with others at the same time they would manage their own knowledge while collaborating with others.

That is right, that is the challenge. That is where social computing is going to define if Knowledge Management will come back or not, or if we will be looking at something else. If you watch the video, and despite the fact that was shared several months ago, it looks like the original KM was not far off from where we may be heading nowadays. You may be wondering now, while the weekend is just around the corner, what happened in between? Where did it go wrong? Could we be making the same mistakes again? Gosh, I hope not, because otherwise I doubt there would be another chance to bring back KM from where it has been in the last few years. Something that I would not want, for sure. I guess that is some food for thought for us KMers for over there weekend. I know. Have a good one !

(And now, here is the embedded video, in case you may want to watch it right away:)

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Wikipatterns – Getting the Most out of Your Own Wiki Experience by Learning from Others

(Previously, on elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog at ITtoolbox)

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Over the last few days I have actually been reading off my RSS feeds on a new offering put together by the folks over at Atlassian, the same guys behind the fine Confluence wiki engine, that I wish it would have been made available some time ago. Yes, that is right. I am talking about Wikipatterns that Stewart Mader has put together with his team and which he announced over at Introducing Wikipatterns.com a couple of days ago. What fantastic resource, indeed !

Reason why I mentioned above that I wish Wikipatterns would have been made available some time ago is because it would have been a really nice and handy resource that I would have been able to reuse for the several podcasting episodes I have been doing lately with my colleagues from ibm.com over at IBM Shortcuts around the subject of wikis and getting the most out of them.

Yes, that is right. I have mentioned this in the past, although over at my other Internet weblog. For the last couple of months I have been participating in the IBM ShortCuts podcast sharing a number of different tips on making the most out of social computing tools, and lately, have been talking a bit about wikis and how different teams and communities can make the most out of the whole experience.

And this is exactly why I would have loved Wikipatterns would have become available sooner so that I could leverage with some of the great stuff that has been shared over there. But what exactly is Wikipatterns you may be wondering, right? Well, it is, of course, a wiki page where a number of different patterns have been put together that detail how you can get the most out of wikis with the least effort possible. That is, with this particular offering you can read all about the dos and don’ts of participating in a wiki. What is good for the team or the community and, much more interesting, what is not that good for your team or your community when making use of a wiki.

However, what I really like about this particular Web site is the fact that for the first time there are a number of different roles identified from different wiki users. So by observing pretty close how the rest of your team is collaborating in such a shared space as a wiki you have got the opportunity to identify those "people patterns" or "people anti-patterns" and be able act upon them if you may need to. Not only from the perspective of helping find the most active and participative wiki collaborators, but also those other folks you would need to watch out and perhaps act upon them at some point in time.

Impressive, eh? You bet! I think that Wikipatterns is going to be one of those services that will prove incredibly useful for all of those businesses that are still struggling with the adoption of social computing within the enterprise as it would allow them to get the most out of the already existing collective knowledge and experiences put together by other knowledge workers who have been making use of wikis for quite some time already.

So Wikipatterns is the perfect Web site to point people to, who may be a bit skeptic about the whole thing of sharing knowledge and collaborating in an open environment where everyone is at the same level and encouraged to add content on top of each other’s content. Like I said, I wish this offering would have been made available several months ago because I would have been able to make use of it to convinced a few on why they may need a wiki, or not, instead of having to do it the hard way. Either way I am hoping that Wikipatterns continues to grow further showing, and demonstrating successfully, to people how wikis could become one of the most powerful collaborative and knowledge sharing environments to date.

And all of that, not to worry, without you having to worry about anything. Just leveraging on the already existing experiences from different knowledge workers. Way cool, eh? I now just wish I can find some time to help out and add some further content to it, because there more there is to it, the much better it would be for everyone else to learn how you can improve your own wiki experience. I already signed up (Only takes a couple of minutes!) and I am surely looking forward to find some spare time to add further up into it… How about you? Are you ready to share your best, or not so best, wiki experiences?

Let’s do it!

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Teasing the Audience – IBM Lotus Connections and IBM Lotus Sametime Videos Now on YouTube

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One of the key challenges ahead for any particular social computing offering out there trying to enter the realm of the enterprise is actually going to be how they will be showing, and demonstrating successfully, the actual business value not only to knowledge workers but to the corporation(s) as well. We all know it is not going to be easy, specially in an environment where most enterprises are already making use of an extensive set of knowledge sharing and collaboration tools for their BAU activities.

Thus with that particular business environment in place, here we go with IBM, now trying to change that and bringing in forward a new set of social software tools that would, hopefully, at least, get some discussions going as to where they can prove their own business value to knowledge workers or not. And to give you a couple of teasers it looks like the marketing folks at IBM have been busy already putting together a couple of interesting videos that will try to help you get a glimpse of what lies ahead, if not already.

Both video clips have been shared, of course, in YouTube and you would be able to find them over here and here. At the same time, you may have noticed how Ed Brill, Adam Gartenberg, Jerry Glover and Ted Stanton have already been commenting on it.

The first video is just that, a tease. A short video clip that tries to summarise some of the business value of IBM Lotus Connections, the upcoming social computing offering from IBM for the enterprise. Yes, I know, it doesn’t provide much more information on how it will work or what it will do (I will be sharing some of that myself as time goes go by. Not to worry), but, at least, it is a good initial try to show what lies ahead around the world of social computing for the enterprise. Here you have got the embedded video link from YouTube:

The second video clip has been out there already for some time, but since I keep getting asked about it, I thought I would go ahead and add it over here as well. It is actually a video that features some of the business benefits of using Instant Messaging (i.e. in this case IBM’s Lotus Sametime) within the enterprise. You may be wondering what is so special about just another Instant Messaging tool, right? Well, over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you some stuff that actually makes Lotus Sametime special and very close to other social computing offerings, except that this one, this time around is coming from the real-time space. Thus stay tuned for some more to come.

For the time being, here you have got the second teaser video clip so that you can get an idea of where IBM is heading in the space of social computing / social networking for real-time interactions:

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Needed: Enterprise Strategies for Innovation, Content Management, and Social Media Infrastructure – Through the Usage of Communities

(Previously, on elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog at ITtoolbox)

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Goodness ! I cannot believe it has been over a week since last time I created a weblog post over here. Has it been that long? WOW! I guess that between work and a whole bunch of other things happening at the same time days have gone by without me noticing much about them. I suppose that time flies when you are having fun, eh?

I have actually been following up on a number of different topics most of them related to Knowledge Management, Collaboration, Communities and Social Computing and they have kept me busy during all this time. The immediate consequence, of course, is the fact that I now have got a whole bunch of interesting stuff to share with you all, which I suppose would be a good thing as it would keep you busy reading for a while at the same time that it will give you a chance to chime in as well because some of those topics are actually quite engaging. But let’s just start with one step at a time.

Check out the recent weblog post that Dennis McDonald shared over at ALL KIND FOOD where he is actually pondering a number of interesting, and thought provoking, ideas around the subject of innovation and how social media and collaboration tools may actually influence how knowledge workers get to innovate without perhaps focusing too much on location (Like Jeffrey Phillips seems to suggest over at Innovation Location). It surely makes for an interesting read. You can find it over here: Needed: Enterprise Strategies for Innovation, Content Management, and Social Media Infrastructure.

While I was actually reading though both weblog posts, I just couldn’t help thinking about a recent featured article that IBM has published over at ibm.com around this very same subject: how innovation is actually shaping up, changing our daily lives over the course of the next few years and without focusing too much on location. And over there, in that particular article (Five innovations that could change your life over the next five years) you would actually be able to see how such an incredible event as InnovationJam, a worldwide event conducted by IBM last year with customers and business partners, managed to prove successfully how innovation is no longer very much based on location, but rather on something much more interesting and engaging. Read on

That is right, if you get to read Dennis weblog entry you would be able to read some of that with really good gems, such as this one:

"[…] the more it reinforce my strong belief that social networking and social media tools within an organization need to be thought of as part of the overall communication and information management infrastructure. That is, such tools should be universally available to all so that, when new groups and projects form there are no artificial barriers raised to interconnection and integration"

Or this other one:

"[…] corporate management needs to understand both how innovative practices spread throughout an organization at the same time it plans for an enterprise content management and communication infrastructure that provides the needed tools to workers where and when they need them."

I must say that I certainly agree with Dennis on this one. Not only because he approaches boosting innovation following two different options, bottom-up and top-down, but also because he strongly believes that social media and collaboration tools have got a great deal to do with the fact that they can help increase innovation big time and regardless where you are, specially nowadays that we are all working in such a distributed environment.

Oh, yes, that is just so right. But I am actually going to venture and take things further into one step higher and that is to mention that social computing, along with collaboration, tools break the location barriers because of this particularly interesting aspect: knowledge workers gather together around a particular topic, have got a common tools suite within the social software and collaborative spaces and they are more than willing to share their knowledge, collaborate and innovate.

That is correct. To me, everyone is, or can be, an innovator, whether you have got the right attitude for it, or whether you have got a good team, or, even better, a community you are a member of, that keeps you motivated to keep it going that is another matter. But certainly location is no longer a restriction to innovate. That is something from the past, from the last century. Nowadays knowledge workers are starting to realise how important and crucial it is to go out there and share what they know and collaborate with others as part of a larger group (A community) in order to keep innovating, not only because of how exciting the whole exercise can be, but also because there is a new generation of emerging technologies that makes all that collaboration a lot easier to happen since you no longer focus on the fuss about learning how to use tools, you just use social software for that and focus on what you need to focus: innovate by collaborating with others regardless where they may well be.

Yes, I can certainly understand how some folks are actually going to say that this is perhaps a bottom-up approach towards fostering innovation within the enterprise, but I must say that you would actually be surprised to find out how many corporations are realising lately that innovation can take place much more efficiently and effectively as part of a community program. That is right, more and more businesses are starting to realise that by having a robust and lasting community building program they are actually allowing knowledge workers be part of those communities and help them innovate, no matter where they may well be.

That is why, like Dennis mentioned over at his weblog post, IBM is also going very strong in this area by launching different social computing offerings like Lotus Connections, Lotus Quickr, Lotus Sametime 7.5.1 or Lotus Notes 8, amongst others, so that the different community building programs currently available inside (and outside of) IBM would empower knowledge workers to forget about the different complexities of the tools and just focus on what really matters: sharing knowledge, collaborate and, of course, innovate (Both internally with their peers and with customers)!

Perhaps, over the next few weeks, I will be expanding some more on this particular topic as well as I feel that it makes a nice connection with some of the different topics that I get to discussed over here. Thus stay tuned ! More to come …

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Social Media Collective – Where the Enterprise 2.0 Action Is Taking Place!

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If you are actually reading this particular weblog post through the RSS feed you may not have noticed it, but I have just done another update to the weblog template where I have added a new badge or logo from a group of folks that I have recently joined thanks to the kind invitation from Jerry Bowles, the always entertaining and enlightening weblogger behind Enterprise Web 2.

Yes, that is right, folks, the badge I have just added into this weblog template is the one from the Social Media Collective. As you would be able to see, it is a group that has got a defined purpose around the world of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0. Here you have got a quick excerpt of who we are and what we are up to:

"Social Media Today is a collection of the best writing from the Social Media Collective, a diverse group of bloggers, consultants, investors, journalists, and analysts who represent the web’s best thinking on social media, marketing and Web 2.0. For information, contact Jerry Bowles."

We have got a Web site set up already using the fine service of Blogtronix (Perhaps I will get to write a follow up weblog post on the different capabilities from this Enterprise 2.0 offering), where you would be able to see all of the content related to social computing for the Enterprise that have been sharing thus far.

At the same time, Maggie Fox has actually created a podcasting service where every week there will be an episode with an interview from each of the members from the Social Media Collective. You can check it out and have a listen on the main homepage or you can subscribe to it over here (First episode with Jerry Bowles is up and running already!). There are also a number of conference call events hosted on different social software tools, thus stay tuned for upcoming weblog posts where I would be sharing some thoughts on the ones I have been able to attend thus far.

As you would also be able to see in the Social Media Collective site, you would be able to subscribe to a number of different sections of the Web site, including all of the different weblog posts, comments, news items, events and wiki. And at the same time you would be able to see the list of members of the group who are actually weblogging away and engaging in the different conversations. So if you are thinking about building up on your Enterprise 2.0 feeds index I would strongly encourage you to have a look at that list of contributors because you would be able to find some really good stuff already shared and ready to digest. And, of course, build up your own OPML file of Enterprise 2.0 webloggers. Yes, I know there are plenty more, but this particular group can certainly be a good start to get things going, don’t you think?

And, of course, so much more, but I will actually be detailing some of them as time goes by. For the time being, just a heads up to encourage all those folks interested in Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and Social Computing to check out Social Media Collective, because there is a great chance you may find what you were looking for over there! Stay tuned for some more to come !

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Lotus Connections – What Is It? – Some Initial Thoughts

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As you may recall, I mentioned in the past a couple of times that over the course of the next few months I will actually be sharing some information details about one of the latest IBM offerings on the space of Social Computing: IBM Lotus Connections. There have been lots of different conversations around this very same during the course of Lotusphere 2007 and beyond, and while I am getting to digest some of those I am thinking as well about sharing with you folks those weblog entries that I have found particularly interesting.

Like, for instance, the one that one of my fellow IBM colleagues, Rob Boccadoro, shared not long ago over at Yellow is the new black: Lotus Connections – What is it? In that particular weblog post you would be able to get some further details on what Lotus Connections is actually going to be based on. Five different components: Profiles, Communities, Blogs, Dogear (Social Bookmarking) and Activities:

I am sure that by now you may have heard about the different components themselves. Perhaps even checked out some of the screen shots of what they would look like (Rob shared some of them over there as well) during the course of 2007. However, I thought I would share a couple of quick comments on why I feel that each of the different components would eventually be making plenty of sense as part of the overall offering, because if there is anything really interesting about this particular Enterprise 2.0 application is the fact that we find a whole bunch of social computing areas put together under a single focal point of entry to make the final product: Lotus Connections.

Profiles –  This particular component puts together the best of both worlds: the enterprise employee directory data from every single knowledge worker picked up from the system itself plus some nifty social software features like tagging. So people would have the opportunity to tag themselves and associate themselves with the different annotations that would probably help others find and identify those different subject matter experts. In short, both a fixed taxonomy in combination with a powerful folksonomy.

Communities This is actually going to be one of the components that I am actually going to find myself very interesting and enlightening, because in the era of the Me First (I am not sure I would agree with that particular concept, actually, but more on that at a later time) this particular component is actually going to show how to get the most of social networks from a community perspective, instead of just being Me First.

Blogs – I don’t think I would need to speak much more on this one, since all along I have been talking about how IBM has been embracing blogging, both internally and externally since as early as 2003, and some other folks like Elias Torres or James Snell, two other IBM colleagues who have been working really hard on this particular component, have given some further details indicating how this particular component would be running Roller Weblogger. Thus if you are interested in checking out how things develop from there I would suggest you keep an eye on their weblogs, too!

Dogear – This is actually one other component that I have mentioned in the past and, perhaps, one of my favourites: social bookmarking within the enterprise. As you may already know, I am actually a big fan of BlinkList as my default social bookmarking tool for Internet Web sites, but for those Web sites where content may be a bit too sensitive to share it with wider audiences I am actually making heavy use of Dogear: a protected and secured environment where I can share with other colleagues my favourite social bookmarks knowing that it is a safe place to share whatever I feel I need to bookmark behind the firewall.

I know there are other different social bookmarking tools available out there and, perhaps, one of these days I will detail why I am sticking with BlinkList and Dogear, despite some other really powerful offerings. We shall see.

Activities – And, finally, one of the most unknown new components that Lotus Connections will put together: Activities. I could tell a whole bunch of different things about this really cool social computing initiative within Lotus Connections, but I think that for the time being I am just going to point out to you a paper, that Rob also mentioned in his weblog post: Activity Explorer: Activity-centric collaboration from research to product. And from there I am going to venture that this is potentially one of those social software components that will make you walk away from e-mail and just collaborate and share knowledge much closer with your colleagues, as opposed to just exchanging e-mail messages. Yes, that is right. Activities will take you away from e-mail and will help you collaborate with others in exactly the same way as collaboration was conceived in the first place: sharing information and knowledge with others in an open environment where everyone has got the same level of visibility and involvement.

Thus, as you can see, a good bunch of different components from the social computing space put together under the same single focal point of entry, something that not many other social software tools are currently providing. As time goes forward, and as I get to digest some other interesting weblog posts from Lotusphere 2007, I will actually be creating different weblog entries regarding each of the different components so that you have got the opportunity to discover much more as we come closer to the availability of the offering some time soon! Thus stay tuned for some more to come!

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