KM in whose hands? Ha! LO20608

Fred Nickols (
Mon, 08 Feb 1999 05:40:23 -0500

Replying to Stephen Wehrenberg in LO20589 --

Steve observes that knowledge management (KM) appears to have disappeared
into the gaping maw of information technology (IT). He cites a web site
ostensibly devoted to KM but seems to be little more than a technology

Frankly, it looks that way to me, too.

A similar thing happened with reengineering. It, too, got swallowed by
IT. A shame, actually, because the power of reengineering is now masked
by the cost of IT.

The underlying problem as I see it is the rapid commercialization of
innovation. As fast as a good idea (e.g., reengineering or knowledge
management) comes along, there are droves of folks who immediately attempt
to convert what is still an art form into standard practice.

Speaking personally, I have never met a piece of software that could
identify or map an existing process, let alone conceive of a different
one. Worse, I've met far too many process improvement consultants who had
absolutely no idea how to bound a process for the purpose of studying it.
Nor have I encountered a software package that knows a darn thing -- and I
certainly don't expect one to manage it for me.

More disconcerting than either of those two factors is this one: I've met
two CEOs who firmly believed that one day they would be able to run their
businesses by sitting in a room at a computer console.

If they're correct, then I'm a Luddite. If I'm correct, their thinking is
definitely out of kilter. What's so scary about that isn't the
particulars of the issue but that such flawed thinking winds up running
the show.

Just a few thoughts as the work week gets underway...



Fred Nickols Distance Consulting (609) 490-0095

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