A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Infrastructures, Processes, Capabilities, and Cultures   © SCUP 2003
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Tomorrow’s User-Centric, Interoperable Infrastructures



Chapter 5

Infrastructures, Processes, Capabilities, and Cultures

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To achieve order-of-magnitude leaps in their capacity to share and use knowledge, enterprises must transform their technology, infrastructures, processes, and cultures. These changes will be shaped by attitudinal differences between individuals who find Internet culture congenial versus those who are uncomfortable with it.

The story of the creation and development of the Internet is one of an extraordinary human adventure. It highlights people’s capacity to transcend institutional goals, overcome bureaucratic barriers, and subvert established values in the process of ushering in a new world. It also lends support to the view that cooperation and freedom of information may be more conducive to innovation than competition and proprietary rights.

Manuel Castells, The Internet Galaxy

This transformation should begin with an appraisal of the ways in which new and old knowledge competes in an organization; and with an assessment of the processes and participants (individuals and groups) that sustain knowledge flow and knowledge use in that organization. Such appraisals are guided by a powerful metaphor: each organization is a knowledge ecosystem supported by technology infrastructures, business processes, formal organizational structures, communities of practice, the beliefs and practices that define the organization’s knowledge culture, and the capabilities and perspectives of staff, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. To prepare for success in the Knowledge Age, enterprises of all kinds must ensure that they make it easy for useful knowledge to be recognized and utilized constructively.


Critically examining every aspect of their knowledge ecosystems as part of every planning process is essential to achieving that goal.

Tinkering Rather than Transforming

Over the past decade, enterprises have been tinkering with technical aspects of their knowledge ecosystem. They have not yet focused on making it easier to handle knowledge. They have been using their ICT infrastructures to enhance productivity and to change some of the processes through which they have conducted their businesses. This has enabled some leading-edge users to experience the first generation of Web-based applications, processes for sharing digital knowledge, and technology-enabled reinvention of organizational processes. Even these proof-of-concept applications have generated excitement about the future. Farsighted users have sensed the potential for creating genuinely user-centric experiences, sharing all kinds of knowledge and engaging the products and services offered by colleges and universities, corporations, associations, and other non-profit organizations.

On the Verge of Major Infrastructure Advances. Over the next few years, many enterprises continue to develop their infrastructures but with some significant differences. Advances in technologies and standards are facilitating the revolutionizing of organizational infrastructures. Proprietary applications software products
— enterprise portals, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Learning Management Systems (LMS), community software, and Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) — are being succeeded by open system architectures and protocols, albeit at a judicious pace.


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  Disruptive technologies and world-wide competition are driving a global business transformation. The very nature of work for many people in hi-tech and knowledge-based organizations has already fundamentally changed.
David Gurteen