Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Delve, Collaborative Knowledge, etc.

Microsoft Delve -- it's a very interesting tool. It uses social network analysis to detemrine who is working on what and it will suggest relevant content. "Relevance", of course, is a fairly loaded word in this case because it can be difficult for machines to understand what, exactly, is relevant to a human. Microsoft's recent efforts introduce profiles that enable people to list interests, team members, and to create a blog. These additions are really just a way of establishing an appropriate vector space for individuals. What is clearly lacking in these efforts, however, is attention to consistency in the naming of activities, steps, or processes.

And what are other vendors doing?

Cisco now offers Cisco Collaborative Knowledge. What is it? So we have a lot of fancy key words and marketing copy. We have Mobile Knowledge, which seems to be a way of synchronizing and managing content across devices. Expert Discovery seems to offer internal collaboration via WebEx and Jabber... but it's unclear if there is actual expert identification or how it works. There is Knowledge Center, a place to storage and tag content assets. Social Communities gives us forums, blogs, recommendations, etc. The Learning management System provides standard course material. Okay, the LMS is important. Real-Time Collaboration tools include WebEx and Jabber... I thought they were already listed. Visual Knowledge Mapping and Analytics... which seems a bit ambiguous. Is it similar to Delve? Is that the intention?

Oracle has released Oracle Learning Cloud, part of the Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud. It apparently "focuses on curated and referral-based learning". They can share and collaborate on best practices... there's something about social recommendations and discovery... and a recommendation engine. You get some transcoding on content delivery. It also has traditional LMS features.

I strongly suspect that these types of solutions are going to be largely empty: few documents, no users. But why? Charlene Li recently wrote an HBR piece called "Why no one uses the corporate social network".  She cites Altimeter research and provides some numbers.

She blames management for the lack of popularity: "The problem was simple and obvious – because the top executives didn't see collaboration and engagement as a good use of their time, employees quickly learned that they shouldn't either."


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