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Can You Respond to a Lady with a Duck? Part 2

Posted by Phil Green on 3/24/2016
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In my first post on this topic, I looked at the fundamental flaw in self-driving cars – the inability to respond to the unexpected, such as suddenly encountering a lady and a duck in the middle of the road. As mentioned, this story is very applicable to the way we build our knowledge management systems and information centers.

To reiterate, as you build your information hub or knowledge center think about the following:

If a major industry, market or company event occurred tomorrow, and you were expected to help your organization understand, analyze and respond, would you be ready?

There are three areas of focus that will enable you to answer “yes!” to that question:


Does your application have rich configurability, allowing you to make changes quickly and easily? Are you able to swing into action and make immediate changes to your system (such as updating your home page, changing your newsfeeds, editing a taxonomy, etc.) or would you be waiting at the IT department deli counter where you just took number 437, and they are serving number 17?

When you’ve built a custom application, in SharePoint and other platforms, it often requires IT or others with programming expertise to make changes - which often leads to delays when you need to be responsive.

Automated Content Harvesting:

Is your KM application pulling in relevant industry and company content 24/7 in a fully automated and autonomous way? If so, then newsfeeds, blogs, tweets, etc. are working on your behalf, helping you populate your system with timely and relevant content. You can’t drink from a firehose, and you can’t cut, paste or manually catalog content fast enough to keep up with today’s ever changing information flows. You need automated content harvesting.

A first step is the automated import of content, with subsequent staging for approval, and publication only after review. As you gain understanding of the overall quality of a specific source of content, you can find ways to tune what you harvest, with the goal of eliminating the staging step.

Security and Permissions:

Sometimes emergencies change what information is top secret versus public. Making sure you have the ability to protect and secure content when it’s imported into your system may not be enough. You also need to know that permissions can be changed and updated with ease. Permissions management that requires lots of manual intervention may put you in a straitjacket, rather than enabling you to expose large amounts of (previously classified) content easily and quickly during an emergency.

In closing, can you respond to a “lady with a duck?” Make sure you build or choose KM applications that shine when the unexpected happens. Your boss and your boss’s boss will remember who was cool under fire and helped them out of a crisis.

Have you had your own “lady with a duck moment?” Please share your experience.

Topics: Knowledge Management, Information Management