Are we running before we can walk?

Are we running before we can walk?

Summary: Following on from my blog yesterday about unstructured data, I have been trying to drill slightly deeper into related subject areas. You might, I hazard a guess, be tempted to think that I would immediately start looking into traditional content management solutions and trying to uncover whether IBM, Oracle, Accenture or Microsoft (or insert techno-behemoth of your own choice) have actually brought anything truly inspirational to market over the last 18 months.

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Following on from my blog yesterday about unstructured data, I have been trying to drill slightly deeper into related subject areas. You might, I hazard a guess, be tempted to think that I would immediately start looking into traditional content management solutions and trying to uncover whether IBM, Oracle, Accenture or Microsoft (or insert techno-behemoth of your own choice) have actually brought anything truly inspirational to market over the last 18 months.

Instead, I’m going to go down the web 2.0 route and ask whether social networking tools could possibly help bring structure and form to previously unmanaged data environments. The argument here is that if you can map social networks (in a professional sense) across the corporate network, then perhaps you can make untapped expertise among your staff base more visible. Next step here – you guessed it - reuse of knowledge assets.

But is this running before we can walk?

Only yesterday I was talking about “traditional” unstructured data i.e. voicemails, scrappy documents, video or other ragged data. This argument is a direct jump to a corporate communications system that would offer a big leap in workplace productivity. The reason I’ve written this blog is that I did find a company that claims to offer this solution. Trampoline Systems says its tools incorporate the social behaviour surrounding electronic information and that this is key to productivity gains.

I suppose this is like an internal corporate version of About.com as it has ‘discovery’, ‘knowledge pool’ and ‘live profile’ functions. I would also guess that it requires a certain amount of ‘buy-in’ from all employees. But what if it’s a great tool, but misused? What if it takes up too much time for particular key employees? What if people ask too many silly questions that they should know already if they had read the corporate handbook? I’m sure you can probably set controls – but it’s a relatively unproven type of solution at this stage isn’t it? Interesting stuff though.

Topic: Software Development

Adrian Bridgwater

About Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater a freelance journalist specialising in cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects of software engineering and project management.

Adrian is a regular blogger with ZDNet.co.uk covering the application development landscape and the movers, shakers and start-ups that make the industry the vibrant place that it is.

His journalistic creed is to bring forward-thinking, impartial, technology editorial to a professional (and hobbyist) software audience around the world. His mission is to objectively inform, educate and challenge - and through this champion better coding capabilities and ultimately better software engineering.

Adrian has worked as a freelance technology journalist and public relations consultant for over fifteen years. His work has been published in various international publications including the Wall Street Journal, CNET.com, The Register, ComputerWeekly.com, BBC World Service magazines, Web Designer magazine, Silicon.com, the UAE’s Khaleej Times & ITP.net and SYS-CON’s Web Developer’s Journal. He has worked as technology editor for international travel & retail magazines and also produced annual technology industry review features for UK-based publishers ISC. Additionally, he has worked as a telecoms industry analyst for Business Monitor International.

In previous commercially focused roles, Adrian directed publicity work for clients including IBM, Microsoft, Compaq, Intel, Motorola, Computer Associates, Ascom, Infonet and RIM. Adrian has also conducted media training and consultancy programmes for companies including Sony-Ericsson, IBM, RIM and Kingston Technology.

He is also a published travel writer and has lived and worked abroad for 10 years in Tanzania, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy and the United States.

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  • Are we running before we can walk?

    It is an interesting topic and one that is moving steps closer all the time I feel.

    I think that "traditional" office/business solutions like intranets have contributed to unstructured data. Reasons for this can include lack of technical knowledge of the solution in use, and additionally resource to maintain this data (limited access).

    As an example, tools like Sharepoint that can be configured to allow users to create and maintain by those with knowledge on the topic at hand. In time, this should transform that information from a horrid mash of notes, diagrams, presentations and emails into an easily mapped and accessible solution via Web 2.0 technology.

    Having the ability to structure information in with tools like Wikis, lists and blogs can drive the basis for a more professional and maintainable knowledge platform.
    welshtroll