Friday, March 14, 2008

The Long Tail of KM?

Over a period of time, I have been thinking about one of the challenges facing "conventional KM ... the long tail. Actually, at a basic level, the long tail would be a corollary to Pareto's Law (or am I oversimplifying things here?). And, Pareto's Law would be applicable to KM as we know it. At least from the perspective of content. Lets face it ... all knowledge managers have to have a document repository with artefacts (documents?) being contributed to this repository from the business. Now, this is where the issue lies. With the long tail of KM, it can be seen that there are only a few resources which are accessed by a large number of people. This implies that there is a large number of resources which are appealing to a very small audience. The long tail ...

Corollary ... People expect KM to address all the niches in the business. And, this is where the question arises ... Can KM be all things to all people? Looking into this question at a deeper level ... Where do these documents come from. In most organizations, these documents are largely contributed by employees. Now, not too many organizations where people would be contributing documents related to the different niches of the business (by definition, most of the people in the organization probably dont even know these niches exist). The other alternative is that KM needs to invest in expertise in the different niches of the business to address the resource requirements of people in the organization addressing these niches. Question is ... How much is worth it!

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