|Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 01:04:00 -0700
03 00050 61 01042601
Mr. Morris E. Jones
Business Unit Manager
Cable Network Operation
350 East Plumeria; Mail Stop CHP3-105
San Jose, CA 95124
|Market for SDS Windows to Support KM
Good question in your letter on April 25, about whether people are ready for a Windows version of SDS?
Generally, the KM thing is a big balloon that provides an opportunity for tools to fill inflated expectations, before the bubble bursts. Of course the need for technology to help people think, remember and communicate will continue regardless of marketing hype, because these are constant biological imperatives, generally framed in the market place by the need for better listening, which you cited in our discussion on August 9, 1989, and as explained in POIMS. Your analysis of the SDS Typical Day Scenario, as illustrating a utopia of information being available when needed, reflects the demand for an SDS capability.
My sense is that within the next two years would be a good time to have a Windows version of SDS on the market. After, that, without SDS or something else to support KM, the KM bubble will burst, and we will on to the next marketing buzz word.
As we have discussed, there is a lot of big ticket pawing in the ground by government types and folks at conferences calling for AI-KM solutions, but since none of it exists, folks can afford to call for stuff without having the responsibility to actually use it within the time limits of a work day, and constraints of organizational culture, discussed on May 27, 1999.
If we could provide a scaled down version of SDS that lets people create a diary and push stuff out on the web in a connected setting, this would be attractive, i.e., generate sales at Fry's. It would spur work on the "engine" that everybody is talking about to use topic maps for organizing the record, which likely will not work. But it will hype the market.
If this did come to pass, then a follow on release of SDS with subject tools and reporting features, would meet the demand that will inherently grow for a way to manage a complex organizational memory. By then people will be able to recognize they need tools to both generate the record and to manage it. If we give them everything at once, the learning curve will likely be too great. In the beginning they can manage the record with just chronology and key words, and this will seem adequate for awhile.
The key is can we give folks something simple they can use without help to do something they feel is significantly different and more powerful from what they are doing now. Landauer calls it effectance. When person b gets an SDS record from person a, they soon want to have the same power, and this grows the market exponentially, given the ability of the Internet to quickly disperse stuff.
Of course I don't know what will really happen in the market, and neither does anybody else. We are pretty sure we have something useful, and if this catches on, then it will replace wordprocessing as the mainstay of the PC world, and provide a foundation for effective enterprise management, lifting performance in every field of endeavor.
I also don't have a good feel for how much of SDS to release initially. Do we integrate accounting, contacts and doc management? This is the type of discussion that needs to take place with people like you, possibly Jack Park and others who can think carefully and constructively about serious issues of system architecture and marketing.
THE WELCH COMPANY