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Ulysses Systems Blog
By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Sun, 29 Jun 2008 03:00:00 GMT

Why is computer software so unintuitive? How many times will we be asked by our computer if something is OK when it is not at all OK? Why do I have to search for the memory stick I just put into the USB port. Why does my wireless connection tell me its busy trying to connect to somewhere useless when I am trying to tell it to go to the right place to connect?

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Tue, 24 Jun 2008 18:07:00 GMT

Not so long ago I was hired to speak to, and consult with, a company whose name I will not mention but whose name is well known. They are a rather recent player in the software industry but one that has done very well by the standards of Wall Street. Its founder has become quite wealthy from the one size fits all strategy. So, when I criticize this strategy for software, be assured that I am well aware that many folks have become rich because of it.

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Tue, 17 Jun 2008 19:46:00 GMT

There are two paradigms being offered in software:

a. The Microsoft/warehouse paradigm where there is a warehouse of applications and data for the user to configure and turn into something useful.
b. The service oriented approach where an assistant is configured to do something useful.

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Mon, 26 May 2008 23:21:00 GMT

Knowledge is comprised of stories. We watch television, go to movies, read books, and have conversations in which we exchange stories, because the mind is basically a database of stories. Stories have been exchanged since caveman days. Our mental apparatus is based on them. Numbers are much more recent idea. The mind is not set up for them, which is why mathematics is taught in school in every year.

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Mon, 26 May 2008 13:48:00 GMT

This is a funny question. When we ask it of people, the obvious answer is: in your head.

But what if we ask it of an enterprise? The obvious answer is still in the head, but in this case, we mean in the collective heads of the individuals who work in the enterprise.

This does indeed seem obvious. Except to many people it is not at all obvious. Who are these people?

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Fri, 21 Mar 2008 11:47:00 GMT

Any KM system must have the ability to cope with new information in a reasonable way, so that new input causes adjustments in the system. A dynamic KM system is altered in some way by every experience it processes. A KM system that does not get smarter as a result of the absorption of new information is unlikely to be very useful. In addition, any good KM system must be capable of finding what it has in it. This seems to go without saying, but the issue of what information should be found at any given moment can be quite a problem. A good KM system finds stuff you weren’t expecting to find, that you didn’t ask for, in part because you didn’t know it was there, but is nevertheless relevant.

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Tue, 26 Feb 2008 12:05:00 GMT

I can remember when I first got e-mail. It was long before any of my readers (I dare say) got e-mail, somewhere around 1971. E-mail (it wasn’t called that then) had a profound effect on my staff. Instead of walking in and chatting when they had an issue, they sent e-mail. But, in 1971 sending e-mail wasn’t quite as simple as it is today. It took a lot of time and only worked every now and then. They would sit for hours trying to make an e-mail go through instead of simply knocking on my door.

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Tue, 19 Feb 2008 10:29:00 GMT

Knowledge Management (KM) means different things to different people.

Based on its experience and on the existing large body of knowledge management literature, the team decided that knowledge management software should provide virtual “places” where users can organize information, services, and tools to support their particular needs, while at the same time maintaining and updating information in a more general context.


Or, in other words, Lotus thinks KM is the creation of a communal library. This notion of KM as the construction of a communal library is made clearer by a recent IBM publication touting something Satyam developed for the petroleum industry called Spandan, which is “a complete knowledge management (KM) portal built from several IBM Lotus and IBM WebSphere software products.”

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Wed, 13 Feb 2008 08:18:00 GMT

Why do people believe this?

All knowledge is not contained in documents, that much seems obvious.

But let’s assume that this were the case. Let’s assume that all the knowledge of the world was written down in identifiable documents. How would we find what we wanted?

Not by labeling the document well. Why not? Because documents have more than one idea in them typically.

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Wed, 30 Jan 2008 22:42:00 GMT

 If your accountant didn’t know what was important you would be very upset. If your secretary didn’t know what was important you would find another one. If your wife didn’t know what was important you would be confused. If your children didn’t know what was important you would feel the need to teach them. If your mother didn’t know what was important you would think she had gone senile. But it’s ok for computers to think all e-mails are equally important, all documents are equally important, all manuals are equally relevant, and all situations that the company is in are equally important. Does this make sense in a world where e-mail is used as the primary means of coordination in organizations?

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Wed, 30 Jan 2008 20:02:00 GMT

Human experts do not have static memories. They can change their internal classification systems when their conception of something changes, or when their needs for retrieval changes. People change their focus or their interests and the things they think about and remember change as well. For the most part, such changes are not conscious. People do not typically know the internal categorization scheme that they use. They can do this without even realizing they have done it. This is what a dynamic memory is all about – getting smarter over time without realizing it. The acquisition of new knowledge actually makes experts smarter, while it often just makes knowledge management (KM) systems slower.

By Ulysses Systems Blogspot Author on Wed, 30 Jan 2008 10:04:00 GMT

These days there is a lot of talk about knowledge management, but curiously, you don’t hear much talk about human memory.

People are natural knowledge managers. They receive new information all throughout each day and they decide what to retain and what to ignore, who to pas what on to because they would be interested, and what to consider as a problem that needs more thought. They do this effortlessly and, for the most part, unconsciously. They learn and get smarter as a result of every experience.

It is natural to wonder then, why those who worry about these same issues in knowledge management don’t simply just copy the methods that people use and build enterprise-wide knowledge management systems that mimic how people do the same tasks.