Boston KM Forum Meeting Notes

On Wednesday, July 20th, I attended the latest Boston KM Forum meeting at Bentley University. The theme was Fitting SharePoint to Knowledge Initiatives, which the content loosely followed and every presentation was valuable on some level.

There were probably about 30-40 people in attendance (crowd estimation not being my forte). It seemed that the majority of people in attendance had some exposure to SharePoint or worked with it on a regular basis. Since the KM Forum covers far more topics than just SharePoint, there were also some people who had never touched SharePoint. That made for a refreshing change in the tenor of some of the discussion.

I sat on the “Panel of Experts” by invitation, and it was great to be able to answer questions and espouse on how I feel SharePoint supports good knowledge management, as my background with knowledge management goes way back to the mid-1990s when I focused on KM and performance improvement while working at Renaissance Solutions (sadly defunct).

It’s interesting to step out of my SharePoint cocoon from time to time to see what “real” people think of it. There still seems to be a lingering distrust of SharePoint, probably more due to it being a Microsoft product  than any specific shortcomings as a technology. However, when you view SharePoint from a knowledge management perspective, there are definitely warts.

As I wrote in my last post, we need to constantly be asking ourselves if what we are building for organizations with SharePoint is really good enough. When you hold those implementations up to the core tenets of the knowledge management dream (or the collaboration dream which has followed it), they don’t usually get high marks.

This is mirrored in the results that Sadie Van Buren (@sadalit) has gathered for baseline data in her fantastic work with the SharePoint Maturity Model. While we are doing some good things with SharePoint, there’s just so much more we can do.

The full agenda (with links to presentations, where available) are below. I’ve “borrowed” this from Lynda Moulton’s blog post link above, so if you’re interested there may be more up-to-date follow up there.

What is SharePoint and When do you need a 3rd-party add-in?, Analyst Perspective (9:30 – 10:15) – Leslie Owens, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research

Break: 10:15 – 10:30

The Process for Selecting any Collaboration/Content tool, Recommendations for the Buyer (10:30 – 11:15) – Jarrod Gingras, Analyst, Real Story Group

A Case Study featuring SharePoint, User/Implementer Perspective (11:15 – 12:00) – Glynys Thomas, Senior Knowledge Manager, The Parthenon Group

Lunch: 12: – 12:45

Planning for SharePoint: SharePoint Maturity Model (12:45– 1:45) – Sadie Van Buren, Senior Software Engineer, BlueMetal Architects

Panel of Experts: Marc Anderson, Sympraxis Consulting, Mike Gilronan, KMA LLC, Michele Smith, The MITRE Corporation, Marc Solomon, PRTM

Moderator, Larry Chait, set the stagefor SharePoint preparedness, then introduced the panelists by asking each one a question to set the stage for their perspectives.

Suggested Topical Areas for the Q & A

  • Selection and justification [MS is offering many non-profits “free” SharePoint. Should you take them up on it?]
  • Implementation and integration [What is the best implementation approach after choosing SharePoint as the platform?]
  • Interface design and usability [What features in SharePoint 2010 contribute the most usability benefits in your organization?]
  • What have you learned about SharePoint that makes it valuable in a knowledge sharing environment?
  • Taxonomy and search [How is the taxonomy being developed and implemented to support better search?]
  • Security, scaling and support [Where are the bottlenecks and what are the issues that had to be confronted in your enterprise?

Wrap-up: Larry Chait, Chait & Associates

Have a thought or opinion?