Last week Steven Tedjamulia created a weblog post that I feel should be a good reference to every single knowledge worker out there. Indeed, in How Knowledge Workers Would Like to Work Steven just mentions some of the details and key findings from a set of recent interviews he has done on how enterprise level employees would like to work. I must say that I found the weblog post quite an interesting read, to say the least, as it would actually help business what would be some of the main major needs that every single knowledge worker faces at some point during their professional careers. The article itself makes up for an interesting reading, and as teaser here are some of the areas that he touches base on and that I thought about sharing a couple of comments on:
A Standardized Collaboration System: “[…]Two things upset users: (1) not having the proper tools to collaborate efficiently and (2) having too many tools that do the same thing […]” While I certainly agree with that statement it is not that easy to actually find the one and only collaboration tool that will do everything. In fact, I am not even sure that would be worth while creating it in the first place. Knowledge workers have got, all of them, different needs and requirements and as such what would work for one may not work for another. Some of them would prefer to collaborate in real-time, others in offline fashion, some using one tool and others another tool and the fact that so far nobody has come out with that killer app. to help boost collaboration could probably indicate how difficult such task would become. In fact, from Steven’s set of functionality that he suggests I am missing, big time, a few items: social software, expertise location, learning, amongst others. As I said, not an easy task, for sure. However, if we would take things from the other end we could probably be much better off. Why not, instead of creating the killer app. that does it all, we actually integrate some of the most popular tools that currently a particular business is using and provide more of a collaboration tool suite? I think that the key is more on integration of existing tools than in creating new ones on top of those already existing.
Content Management Is Equally Important: Yes, indeed, I agree with this one as well. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for any successful KM strategy is to have a content management tool suite where knowledge workers would feel comfortable with sharing their Intellectual Capital that could then be reused at a later time. All along, however, this may not have been the case since lots of companies have always placed a much heavier focus on explicit knowledge exchange than tacit. On the other hand, with the recent hype about social software this may be about to change, once again. But this time for the better. Balance would be the key.
Super Users Want Full Control: Who wouldn’t, right?
Expertise Location and Content Delivery: Ah, very good, for a minute (See above comments) I thought that Steven had left out some major key areas from Knowledge Management that every knowledge workers is fully aware of. Certainly, locating experts and delivering content in a much more personalised and effective way is something that we all know would be crucial to any collaborative efforts. First people would focus on creating the content they would want to share, then they would want to find the experts, or other knowledge workers, they would want to share their information with and, finally, they would want to get notified whenever there are changes to the content that has been made available in the past. And all of this with some nice touch on that social software items that I mentioned above as well. Good stuff!
Data Integration and Personalization: Ha ! it looks like Steven was actually preparing everything for when this would come up. “[..] Users ultimately want a dashboard that they can manage whose components can be manipulated in a portal environment. Users want a portal dashboard that can be customized and can include the content, data, and collaboration tools they need to get their work done more efficiently and effectively. [..]” Yes, indeed ! But let’s make sure we are talking about people portals as opposed to information portals.
Simulating Face-to-Face Interactions and Efficiencies: As time goes by and more and more knowledge workers start working remotely and distributed there is certainly a need to substitute that particular face-to-face contact that was there before. So having some sort of web presence at their reach is always going to be a good thing. We have seen this with Instant Messaging and VoIP but also with some other interesting offerings like Meetro and Plazes.
For sure quite an interesting article that Steven put together and with which I agree a great deal. You can see that he is up to something, even by just taking a look into his conclusion statement:
“Users want a collaboration system that they can create and customize themselves; one that provides the right data, content, and tools that will make them most effective in a virtual environment, but will simulate a face-to-face team setting; and one that pushes interesting and pertinent content to the user rather than having to be located by the user”
I am in ! Who else wants to sign up for it ? I bet I am not the only one, am I ?