A model for KM technology selection

An example from Schlumberger shows us how selecting KM technology should be done.

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At the KMUK conference a few years ago, Alan Boulter introduced us to the Schlumberger approach to selecting Knowledge Management technology. This is a very straightforward contracts to the common “gadget-store pick and mix” approach, and worth repeating.

Firstly, Schlumberger defined exactly what the business needed from their Knowledge Management technology. They divided these needs into 4 groups;

  • Connecting people to solutions
  • Connecting people to information
  • Connecting people to communities of practice
  • Connecting people to people
Secondly, they bought technology which does each required job, and only that job, and does it well.  If no technology was available that did the job well enough, they built it in-house.
Thirdly, they stuck with that technology over time, provided it still did the job well. People were familiar with it, so they stuck with it.
Finally (and this seems so rare nowadays, that I want to emphasise it), if they bought new technology which had optional functionality that duplicated an existing tool, they disabled that functionality. As an example, they brought in SharePoint as an ECM tool, and SharePoint comes with the “MySite” functionality, which can be used to build a people-finder system. Schlumberger had a people-finder system already, and to introduce a second one would be crazy (if you have two systems, how do you know which one to look in?). So they disabled MySite.
Schlumberger have ended up with a suite of ten tools, each perfect for the job, and with no duplicates. Staff know how to find what they need, and which tool to use. Schlumberger are long-term winners of the MAKE awards, and deliver hundreds of million dollars annually through KM.  Their technology selection forms part of their success.

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