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Adaptive Knowledge Architectures


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Theory and an example of defining an adaptive knowledge architecture. Originally presented to the SI KM group May 2009.

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Adaptive Knowledge Architectures

  1. 1. Adaptive Knowledge Architectures Andrew Gent May 2009 Copyright 2009 by Andrew Gent
  2. 2. Disclaimer The following presentation discusses a combination of theory and practice. The theories and scenarios presented are based on work done at Hewlett- Packard between the years 2002-2008. However, the ideas and opinions presented here are solely those of the author and in no way represent the views of, or an endorsement by, HP. 2
  3. 3. Agenda • Scenario: − Business problem − Original solution − Real-world outcome • Adaptive Knowledge Architecture: − Rethinking the solution − Requirements & responsibilities for adaptive architecture • Conclusion: − Final outcome 3
  4. 4. Business Scenario • Provide KM support to a global organization of SI consultants − 12,000 employees − 800-1,000 projects a year • Employees managed by region • Strategic direction set by HQ “practices” (manufacturing, financial, infrastructure, etc.) 4
  5. 5. Original Architecture • “3-Tier Architecture” simplified to address operational & strategic needs. HP Intranet Managed Content HP Services SI … Communities Open, Globally of Practice Shared Content Secure, Operational Teams Content 5
  6. 6. Communities of Practice • This presentation focuses on the middle layer. Security CIM . Mission Etc. Critical • The CoPs combined both actual communities of people and the technology to support them. • Specifically, SharePoint sites for capturing/sharing examples, reports, papers, best practices, etc. 6
  7. 7. Architecture Theory • The intent was for subject matter experts to lead the communities, delegate & manage the associated spaces. • Both global and local search (augmented by metadata) made content accessible and reusable at multiple levels. 7
  8. 8. Business Realities • Mgt liked the strategy – so much they claimed responsibility (and ownership) over them: − Mgt selected CoP leaders as a business role − They “managed” the content: • Focus on driving business strategies • Insisted on “qualifying” content • Removed “non-strategic” content • Locked down content to specific audiences − Mapped CoPs to operational practices 1-for-1 8
  9. 9. The Conflict • However… the content comes from the field (i.e. the regions). • Regions wanted to manage their own content. • CoPs as managed portals discouraged contributions. 9
  10. 10. The Outcome • CoPs became islands of (unused) content. • Regions created their own repositories, disconnected from larger framework. • “Balkanization” of knowledge. Security CIM Mission Critical UK Italy US Asia 10
  11. 11. Rethinking the Architecture 11
  12. 12. Rethinking the Architecture • Original KM architecture defined according to strict principles: • Global not local • Single infrastructure for reduced cost, simplification • Communities of Practice as collection point of refined knowledge • The architecture is under attack, constantly fighting to keep up with competing requests: − local vs. global − closed vs. open • Inherent problems for architecture: − Conflicting requirements with no principles to resolve differences − “Missing” requirements – no matter how complete the list, new requirements or new priorities keep coming up. − Unclear any architecture can meet all of the requirements. 12
  13. 13. Rethinking Architecture (contd.) • Constraints: − Management insists on controlling how information is seen (i.e. the view) − Different views for different groups − Control of the content (ownership) is critical • Solution: − Separate storage/ownership from presentation 13
  14. 14. Adaptive Knowledge Architecture: Basic Principles • Architecture is a loose, dynamic collection of rich content • Don’t care where people store documents (as long as they meet minimum criteria) • Can add and remove content sources from the “pool” dynamically or systemically. • Focus of KM is on “enabling”: − Maintaining minimum criteria standards − Providing compliant infrastructure − Design and construction of useful functions using the total pool of content (think Project Finder, community directory, and more…) 14
  15. 15. KM “Laws of inclusion” Minimum Criteria: • Content is reachable (& crawlable) • Content is owned (& managed) • Content is semantically rich (i.e. metadata) • There is a common semantic vocabulary 15
  16. 16. What Adaptive Architecture Looks like Portal Content Global Scope Management Domain Practice Region Blogs? 16
  17. 17. Adaptive Architecture Requirements • Must have clear, complete, common metadata. • Management of content delegated to content “owners” (practice, region, etc.) • Focus of global KM shifts from managing to using content to enable business operations. • Architecture encourages/adapts to localized innovation 17
  18. 18. Adaptive Architecture Consequences • No single point for contributions (submitted where the content is managed). • There will be overlap and possible competition (region vs. practice, etc.) 18
  19. 19. Risks • Revolutionary: − Given freedom of control, groups may rebel and try to separate entirely. − Answer: Use management goals and measurability as “stick” (to enforce minimum criteria) to the self- management “carrot” • Reactionary: − Groups may complain about having to take responsibility for their own content, will demand more hands-on from global KM. − Answer: Provide compliant infrastructure, guidelines, and consulting to enable local KM teams. 19
  20. 20. Final Outcome • Architecture proposed twice: − 1st time the global practices rejected the architecture, refusing to accept alternate views. − 2nd time accepted, but then rescinded (by practices) before implementation. • Alternative: − CoPs left in hands of the practices − Project Document Library created to capture reusable documents, organized (and managed) by region. Global Search Practices Regions 20
  21. 21. Hindsight • Beware of success But you cannot stop it • Stick to your principles They define what you do • You cannot fix dysfunctional behavior with KM But avoiding reproducing it 21
  22. 22. Foresight • You cannot fix dysfunctional behavior with web 2.0 • Beware of: − Security on wikis − Permissions on blogging − Scoped or segregated search 22
  23. 23. Questions? Contact Info: Email: Blog: Website: Twitter: 23