Business Information Management Trends

Shiv Sing posted an article on Line56.com regarding the Intranet Trends to Watch. Many of the trends Shiv lists are not surprising. Like for example, the corporate telephone directory is not the killer app on the intranet.

However, sadly with all the emphasis over the years on knowledge management, the recent hype around personal search tools and of course the web search power houses, Information Retrieval is still an unsolved problem on the intranet.

Shiv cites a recent IDC report and also provides a glimmer of hope with respect to how employee blogs can turn the problem inside-out:

“IDC recently reported that 40 percent of an intranet’s users cannot find the information they need to do their jobs on their corporate intranet. IDC also mentioned that searchers are successful in finding what they seek just 50 percent of the time or less. It is obvious that even with a plethora of enterprise search solutions in the marketplace; the information retrieval problem still hasn’t been solved. There is good news though, employee weblogs are transforming how organizations perceive, interact, value and share information. The emphasis is moving away from searching for specific pieces of information occasionally to scanning information across a variety of sources (primarily weblogs) on a daily basis. This weblog phenomenon reduces the importance of information retrieval while raising knowledge levels across the whole organization.”

For the most part I tend to agree that blogs in a corporate setting will transform the way organizations disseminate and manage information.

However, I believe what Jon Udell has been saying for a long time will have a broader impact. Specifically with more programmable email clients that embody extensible metadata.

Jon Udell: Meta-mail: “Most business processes mediated by email have both formal aspects (you ask me to perform a task by a certain date) and informal aspects (we negotiate, and realize something else we hadn’t thought of should take precedence). The conversational nature of email is its irreplaceable strength. That’s why we keep on re-inventing email within special-purpose applications. And it’s why I’ve long argued that our general-purpose email software has to be more programmable, and has to have robust support for extensible metadata.”

To me the perfect match would be a marriage of Outlook and InfoPath with an open standards base extensible metadata framework such as XForms.