Criticizing Knowledge Management is about as challenging as shooting ducks in a bathtub. Nonetheless, it's fun to look at the extremes, and Darwin magazine has a humorous take on why KM isn't K or M.
When Bad Things Happen to Good Ideas BY ERIC BERKMAN begins with this apt description of the KM show in Santa Clara:
By 1997, those in the know realized that this was because knowledge management wasn't about technology; it was about people and human behavior. By this point, however, it was too late. "Working with many customers who have struggled with this concept, I can tell you that [the vendors] have confused a lot of people," says Dan Schimmel, CEO of OneSource Information Services, a content provider in Concord, Mass. According to Schimmel, vendors have made a lot of customers think of KM in terms of working forward from a tool rather than looking at their knowledge needs, figuring out how to solve them and then finding the right tool.
Another vendor warns, "It's mostly techie snake oil. They tell you, 'Enter a keyword and something will happen.' And that something is one of two things. Either they'll find a document for you or they'll go find a human with some sort of profile matching the keyword. But who cares? The information could be out-of-date."
Generic Corporation could use this paragraph to describe eLearning or Quality Management or the study McKinsey did for us or the Atkins Diet : "I don't know of a vendor out there willing to say, 'This is the business value you'll get, and I'm willing to be compensated based on how much value you'll receive,'" he says. "That's not how the industry works. It's, 'Buy my software and good luck.'"
Let's close with a few more truisms for Generic Corporation:
Don't forget: Buy low and sell high. Collect early and pay late. Start with the end in mind.
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