Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Meeting Dr Rao

One of the more pleasent things about my work is that I get to meet with lots of people - whilst speaking and moderating at the KM World Conference in San Jose recently I got to meet and share a with Dr Rao, the author of the KM Chronicles.

What struck me in sharing an inpromtue platform with him, was firstly how much I had in common with him (including musical tastes), and secondly how little I had in common with him.

For those who don't know Dr Rao's work - he rightly takes the title thought leader in the world of knowledge management and has spent years studying organizations around the world. His approach is clearly focused on the human and organizational elements of KM. Though that is my passion, my career has actually been highly technically focused.

Coming away from the conference I came to realize that things are actually far worse in the world of tech than we think. The division between tech and the business is starting to close, but the division between tech and the real needs of people is if anything growing.

This is because the gap between the business and people is growing - the passing of Peter Drucker recently has made many in the business community think (briefly) about this disjoint. As here was somebody who articulated well the value of employees, and the short sighted nature of watching the next quarter above all else.

Various themes are coming to the surface for me.......some of them I hope to discuss with him next time I am in Bangalore. But top of the agenda is just how pointless many smaller technology vendors are. They are creating solutions to problems that don't exist and are still stuck in a geek mentality that should have gone with the crash. This is so sad, as there is a huge amount of opportunity for smaller vendors to really look at the people who interface with technology, start to understand their needs and and build out genuine solutions. But for now they look at the generic 'business' and fail to see the wood from the trees.

In fairness the mega vendors (IBM, Oracle, SAP & Microsoft) also do this, but they can get away with it as they are building out the infrastructure for technology, and infrastructure that is quickly standardizing and commoditizing. The real future creativity and innovation should come from the little start up's, but where are they?

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