It’s not what you know…

Knowledge Management is a tricky subject and having an aligned Organisational and IT approach is seldom achieved or for that matter profitably implemented. Yet knowledge centric organisations like Software developers (Google, Apple, …), Universities, Consultancies (Accenture), Law enforcement and Intelligence but also banks, pharmaceuticals, in short everyone relies on these KM processes working like clockwork.  Yet very few organisations have successfully tackled this area. My interest in this area has been growing over the last 15 years, and was recently re-challenged by my daughter:

“Can you learn what you want to learn, and how you want to learn it?”

IT up the stove pipe

RANT:

This is just a quick rant. I cannot understand why we are making it so difficult to share. IT people should know better. Things that should be available in general are service based access to master data from any company, serviced based access to any computer service provided and above all service based identity management (including rights distribution and so on). More than that I believe that this is a citizen ship element that should be covered by government capability and services.

Upsetting the Apple card

My son has for a while now been at the stage where cars, planes and rockets (ie everything shiny) is cool. The association with it makes him cool, and knowing everything about car manufacturers and the configuration of their cars engines seems to have taken the place previously occupied by dinosaurs. In fact some people don’t seem to grow out of this stage. However my son is starting to move on from this. The main reason I noticed this is his lack of use the I-pod-touch is getting for anything but music. He used to be glued to this thing, playing pointless games, chatting to friends, and so on.

Doing IT properly is impossible…

We often sit , maybe waiting for a train, and, short of a good book, we ponder why something isn’t better. Why is my daughter more interested in playing on her new phone then doing her piano practice? Why do mobile phones hang up on you even though the signal is displayed as strong? Why is one train platform tasked with receiving three trains in the next three minutes when the platform next to it is idle for the next 30 minutes?

When you visit organisations that run these infrastructures (lets exclude my daughter’s piano issues for now) we often find that challenges like the above are often attributed to IT. quotes like “The windows mobile operating system was just not designed to do this with so little hardware resources available” or “The damned system sets the priority like that, we have no control over it.”  ie the fault usually ends up at the door step of those that can not defend themselves and IT comes up a lot. But how can this be?

Architecting the dream information castle

Resources are in short supply, people are afaraid to make the wrong decision and that can only mean one thing for IT. Information provisioning is key. I remember back in 1988 we were wondering about EIS (II), the second version of executive information systems that would bring internal and external collected information together to enable executives to make better decisions. Has anything changed?

maths for data

I always felt an affinity with maths. That shouldn’t really be possible, but it is i can assure you. It is not a comfortable relationship, mainly due to the fact that I am poor at grasping math. So affinity might not be the most obvious word, but it is correct non the less. The affinity is due to the concept of math. For one thing math is not a constant. In it 1+1 can equal 2 or 10 simply depending on the number system you choose. Infinity can be massive in maths or very small (think of the largest number and you can always add 1, but you can also slice the differences between 1 and 0 by repeatedly and indefinitely multiply the higher number by 0.5. And the final straw for me was that there is proof in mathematics. It is one of the few disciplines where self reliance and consistency is more important than the subject itself. Wow! So when I come across abstracts like (a+b) to the power of 2 equals A^2 + 2AB + b^2 you have to stand in wonder not only be the facts, but also that it links you to the Greeks, who found these truths. Connecting to others in consistent language over time is the greatest gift of maths in my view.

networking at conferences

(c) Luca Longo

Berlin is cold in October. I never knew it was so close to the Russian low temperature zone. So only having a thin code wasn’t a great idea when I rolled up to SAP Teched 2010. The world of SAP has been my home for 17 years now, and there is very little I thought I didn’t know. Conferences are all about Networking.

Do as I say…

Do as I say, not as I do is an old proverb, that got put in front of me, like a mirror by my daughter last week. We were on holidays at the Amalfi coast near Naples. Anyone who has ever driven there knows what I am talking about when mentioning that only parking is worse than driving along “that” road. Having looked for two hours solid for a parking spot after driving for four hours and loosing the right hand side mirror to a life threatening situation with a bus I lost it. It was completely unreasonable for anyone to expect of me any kind of language constraint in such a exasperating situation. But having finished the rant of bad language my daughter simply stated:

Simply not true (or why IT doesn’t help)

Things can get really complex in life. When I was modifying my guitar last week I was trying to create a wiring diagram to keep track of things (as is and to be views). Now a computer would be a great help in this, using things like visio or the like, right? Well it wasn’t and in the end it was simpler to draw the thing by hand. My incompetence combined with prohibitive costs and the poor tool capabilities illustrated yet again that IT has tools for intelligent people, plasters for not so intelligent people and games for the rest. But real help with daily complexities seem to be thin on the ground. (Anyone who knows of a wire diagram creation software that is free and has all components in it that guitars may house (including ghost pickups) should leave me a message, please!)

Let me upscale this to the business world using my pet-subject Master Data Management. We know that Master Data Management is a worthwhile exercise. We know that having complete and accurate product information (for example) helps consumers pick the right product for them, establishing in the process a reference model. In practice the issue is more complex. Poorly manufactured products like to hide behind a wall of missinformation and hearsay to hide the lesser quality and the apparent lack of features. But the market is even more complex than that. Lifestyle and budget availability may drive people to a cheaper product under certain circumstances even or especially because of the lack of features (think older citizens or handicapped people).o where does that lead to?

Significantly misunderstood

The American Football season is restarting, and I must admit that I am a fan. I love the combination of tactics, strength and sports and although one of my best friends calls it “rugby for wimps with mattresses on” my son and I are hooked. There is just one gripe: The misuse of statistics. Great examples are:

” A team from New-England has never one one a Monday night while playing in Beige Socks”

“Quarterback Elway has only once been able to defeat a left-handed Quarterback”

“Chicago is more often defeated on uneven dates than Even numbered dates”

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