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Info Pro-file: CM consultant Chris Brown talks content, context, and collaboration

Inmagic is welcoming independent consultant Chris Brown to the team, and we wanted to introduce you to him and give you an early look into his perspectives and strategies surrounding CM and KM. Janelle and Chris caught up last week for an Info Pro-file podcast, and hit the basics, as well as the nitty gritty industry questions.

Listen in to learn about Chris's professional background in content management and the technology surrounding it. He'll be providing his industry viewpoints and drawing from his consulting experience to help shape the future of Presto.

Chris and Janelle talk about employee turnover and knowledge retention in the industry -- something many employers should be concerned about now that the economy is showing signs of turning the corner and companies are coming off their hiring freezes. Chris believes there's a big play for new knowledge management technologies, which have a major advantage over portals. He talks about how portals are primarily gateways to information, and fall short of helping retain knowledge in an organization.

But more important, however, is how these KM technologies are used. Pretty interfaces might look nice, but the key to unlocking their potential is to use them in ways that provide context to content.

"Having one storage area that people can access doesn't solve the problem," Chris says. "Because their problem is contextualized access to this information."

He shares some signature pieces of advice he provides to organizations, including not to focus on the KM technology as much as the human factor. That is, thinking about how knowledge assets will actually be used, and how they can help employees collaborate and be more efficient and productive.

The conversation also turns personal, and Janelle learns what Chris likes to read, who his favorite old Hollywood stars are, and why he loves to travel.


Graham Beastall said...

I found your comments interesting especially your experience about portals delivering less for the individual, especially a new consumer in a business, than is often expected. I have never yet found a company where an IT led portal has been that successful in helping users without the involvement of librarians and their tools. I think that teh whole issue of context is missed in many portals. As good as they are technically, the magic of connecting a user to the right content is so often missing without an intermediary. Welcome to the Inmagic community.

Chris Brown said...

Graham, thank you for your comments and for welcoming me to the Inmagic community.

I think portals and the associated ‘federated search’ is often touted as a way to find anything, anywhere, anytime, and has really missed the mark. In fact, reliance on search has compounded the problem of information access as users now get many more results than they can deal with. They are still searching for the needle in the haystack, but now the haystack is a lot bigger!

In my experience, people still rely on knowing the ‘people in the know’ and e-mail more than anything else. Organization is key, and contextualized organization is even better. This is a prime example of how a few individuals (with domain expertise) can truly affect the productivity of hundreds of others. As you say, connecting the user to the right content (and doing it efficiently) is not only missing, but virtually impossible without an intermediary.

Thanks again for your comment.


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