Project Management

Getting With the (KM) System -- Infomediaries Are Key

George Ball

Okay, I know that in my last article I promised to next write about WORMs, and how worm turns are one of the holy grails of knowledge management (KM). But I’ve just finished reading (for the third time) David Costello’s article on "Infomediaries" in this month’s issue of Knowledge Management magazine (Infomediaries: For Knowledge, Look Within, September 2000), and I just had to write a coda*. So here I go.

*coda (kO-da)  – something that serves to round out, conclude or summarize, yet has its own interest.(Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). 

(At least I hope this has some interest of its own.)

First, a recap of Costello’s key point. Disintermediation – the trend to use new technologies such as intranets, collaboration groupware, workflow management and advanced search tools to provide workers direct access to all of an organization’s knowledge sources (bypassing traditional conduits and intermediate layers) – has in many ways set KM back. Costello argues that in fact you may need more intermediation – via people he calls infomediaries – to help workers find the right information along with the context that they need to use it. "What users need is a knowledge infomediary; someone who knows what the company is doing, where knowledge …

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"Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true."

- Francis Bacon