Knowledge technologies in context
Knowledge technologies in context

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Knowledge technologies in context

1.2 Pressing questions

In the late 1990s, when this unit was first prepared, if you surveyed the field of knowledge management technology you were assailed by technology vendors offering Knowledge Management Solutions. As we write in 2005, an internet search on ‘knowledge management ICT’ will still return thousands of hits, but the ‘knowledge’ buzzword has faded in potency, the hype bandwagon has trundled on, and vendors now market the same products under business process banners which reflect greater realism about their scope: for instance, document management, workflow management, shared workspaces, virtual meetings, text mining, data integration, information visualisation.

Where does this leave us in terms of ‘knowledge technologies’? You may still be asking, or perhaps are being asked by others, how relevant these technologies are to your needs. For instance, you may have the following concerns:

  • Is my organisation really about to fall behind the competition and become a dinosaur of a rapidly passing era if it does not ‘get wired’ fast?

  • I accept that there is a difference between information and knowledge, but what implications does this have for all our current information technologies? Do we now have to ‘upgrade’ to knowledge technologies?

  • Show me some case studies where people have successfully introduced knowledge management technologies.

  • I'm already overloaded with information. I don't want to know about any new systems if they're going to aggravate this.

  • I've heard that knowledge management systems are simply the best way to generate a vast repository of out-of-date knowledge.

After working through this unit, you will have encountered, and reflected critically on, some responses to these concerns.

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