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Collaboration and Knowledge History Creation in BI – The Twin Pyramid Model October 2, 2007

Posted by Cyril Brookes in General, Issues in building BI reporting systems, Taxonomies, Tags, Corporate Vocabularies.
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Pyramids and BI deficiencies are a popular blog topic. Rising to the challenge of Andy Bailey in his “Where has BI fallen short” paper, I have some comments on the Collaboration and Knowledge/History categories of shortcomings. Other examples include, for example, James Taylor’s observation here and Neil Raden’s paper of a few months ago.

First the Collaboration bit. Regular readers will know that this is a big issue with me. I believe most businesses do it badly, for the reasons I’ve already given. But to explain how it needs to be “operationalized” we need to look at pyramids, one regular and one inverted. They’re different from Neil Raden’s but are pyramids nonetheless.

The basic problem of managing knowledge creation, collecting history and making valuable stuff rise to the top of the “action” pyramid stems from abundance.

Herbert Simon got it right when he said “The impact of information is obvious. It consumes the attention of its readers. Therefore, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” The totality of information available, both internally and externally, is overwhelming. It follows that filtering and other controls on information delivery are necessary if benefits from information resources are to be achieved.

Hence the pyramid pair as depicted below. Most documents are of interest to only a few, perhaps only one person, in a business. They can be said to have an importance at Level 1. But a few documents are of Level 4 import, and are of interest to many people. Obviously, it needs to be the function of any Collaboration and Knowledge Creation function to cause the important items to rise to the top of the pyramid.
The Collaboration Pyramids

Knowing his makes the specification of the application relatively straightforward. It needs a web-crawler, document trawling feature, categorization capability, a subject expert and escalation of importance sub-system and the usual alerting, search, browse features. Simple; just like the picture below!


Note: Click on the diagram and it may be clearer.


Collaboration Process

If you, Dear Reader, are going to overcome shortcomings in your BI context, this is a great place to start.