My article ‘Getting SharePoint right: Thinking about the ‘big picture’’ in the Journal of Digital Media Management is now available online. See Volume 4, number 1 at www.henrystewartpublications.com/jdmm/v4.
The future is all around us. We are experiencing change affecting all aspects of our lives – from the professional to the personal. Although we don’t know exactly what the future holds, we can be certain that in 5 years’ time so much will have changed. But change does not have to be negative or scary: doing things differently is not intrinsically bad, but we do have to come to terms with how the changes will affect us both personally and at work.
We believe that the information profession is facing exciting opportunities and now is the time to grab them with both hands! Yes, some roles will undoubtedly disappear, however new ones are appearing. These changes will definitely impact on how we interact with and support our business users.
To our minds one key way of coming to terms with and embracing change is to understand and actively engage with the elements of change – that way one can reconcile and adapt to change, taking advantage of the opportunities it brings.
Noeleen Schenk (Metataxis) and Sheila Moorcroft (Realising Your Future) have been doing just that. We have started a series of conversations with thought leaders in the wider information and knowledge management discipline. The aim of the discussions is to identify key trends that are already affecting (or will do so in the near future) information and knowledge management, considering what this could mean to the profession and how it will impact on how organisations create, use and manage their information assets. A summary of the discussions to date can be accessed here.
In order to facilitate our conversations, we have created a LinkedIn Group and will be holding regular (every 3-4 months) evening meetups. We would welcome as many people as possible to join both conversations.
The first meeting is on September 6th (NOTE CHANGE OF DATE) in London – details and booking via Eventbrite.
The future is uncertain – it cannot be predicted. However this does not mean we should not be identifying and analysing current developments that point to potential paradigm shifts in how we create, manage and use information and knowledge. These developments fall across the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental spectrum.
Analysing these developments by identify the driving forces will help us consider the future trends we are likely to encounter and the future we would like to create. By having structured and thoughtful speculation about the future, we can begin to prepare for whatever future may arrive. It is one of the important keys to business preparedness.
Noeleen Schenk from Metataxis and Sheila Moorcroft from Realising your Future will be holding a series of invitation-only workshops over the next two months as structured and facilitated conversations to explore the developments and identify the likely trends shaping and changing the generation and application of knowledge and information in strategy and research.
The aim of the workshops will be to:
- Identify predetermined elements (i.e. will persist in any scenario)
- Identify the driving forces (i.e. forcing the pace of change such as increased global competition)
- Decide which are current trends (i.e. current events that are variable)
The outputs of the workshop will be a series of trends which we will then survey participants to assess the impact / likelihood – possibly also an indicative timeframe or other measures for each of the trends, in terms of their relevance and implications for IKM in the next 5-10 years.
The findings will be more widely circulated next year.
Managing your information, and implementing a system to do it, is a complex task with many knots that need to be unravelled and it takes time to get it right.
All too often the focus of a project implementing such a solution is on getting it done rather than doing it right. Too much effort is spent moving the projects through various gateways rather than spending time on actually thinking through what needs to be done.
Information management systems such as SharePoint too often founder and ultimately fail to deliver the desired benefits because of this. Typically a system is rolled out successfully (i.e. on time) but it quickly degrades and information chaos ensues leaving users frustrated, information difficult to find and impossible to manage. In all likelihood you’ll end up with another project to put it right in a couple of years.
This situation can been avoided.
Proper thought must be given to understanding where you are and what you information landscape looks like. How can you build a system to manage your information if you don’t know what you’re intending to manage?
You must develop an information strategy so you know what you want to achieve and how you are going to go about it.
You must take time to design an information architecture that meets the needs of your users. This is vital to enable you to organise, describe and link information and the key to the efficient and effective use and management of your information.
And don’t forget about putting in place governance – without support, oversight and nurturing your nice new system will quickly end up a chaotic mess.
Remember that rolling out a system that meets a deadline doesn’t mean that you have a successful solution.
Think, plan, design – don’t just ‘do’.