Chapter 4. The Role of IT in the Effective Knowledge Network

The theme of this chapter is the need for simplicity in choosing and implementing technology. It is tempting to think in terms of choosing or designing software that will do more work and thereby increase human productivity. However, there are important reasons for at least beginning with the simplest tools that will enable measurable improvement in knowledge exchange. One reason is cost. Another is in facilitating the building of a good working relationship between the IT department and the people looking to build the online knowledge network.

The overarching purpose of information technology (IT) is to increase productivity in the workplace. To that end, as we've mentioned in previous chapters, IT departments now assemble complex systems of specialized hardware and software applications to serve the varied and distinct information needs within the company. Some of these applications are designed to work together or to share standard interfaces, but many are not.

Once adopted, these applications and their software structures become indispensable to the company or business unit in direct proportion to the amount of information they hold. So in a busy business, as the information and knowledge needs of the company change, its rigid legacy systems become the weak links in the coevolutionary chain that would ideally evolve software in coordination with changing needs. Outdated and limiting features hold back the company's ability ...

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