440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 10:50:39 -0800

04 00067 61 00120602

OHS DKR Project
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Subject:   Raven Delayed, KM Based on LN

Dear Paul,

Thanks for the heads up on the article submitted with your letter on November 30, 2000, that reports IBM is delaying release of Raven, which is planned as a KM program based on Lotus Notes.

IBM's setback adds perspective to the challenges ahead for those planning to develop Knowledge Management (KM) capabilities. I explained the opportunities for IBM to support this work in 1994. At that time, IBM recognized SDS combines key technologies that improve handling of daily information....

IBM then paid $4B to get Lotus Notes, hoping it could match SDS, or be improved to do so. Now they know it can't. KM is not about pictures, email, XML and so on. It begins with the architecture of human thought that requires a counterintuitive design to leverage an innate process for converting information into knowledge. This core design is the foundation of any effort to move beyond traditional IT, at least it seems so to me. There is no evidence for any other conclusion.

That is why I am beating the drum to get other people to use SDS. Once you get the feel for the process, then technology experts will be ready to render the capability in a stronger form, what folks today are calling KM. Next year it will be called something else, as people tire of empty promises. This history underscores comments by Doug, you and others that SDS delivers on its promise of anytime, anywhere "intelligence."

There remains a big hurdle of getting people to use SDS, because SDS makes good management easier, so it takes less diligence, because adding intelligence to information produces knowledge. However, it seems like people want technology to make bad management successful. The allure of "feel good" management for doing whatever we want at the moment, is overwhelming. Compare for example information from November 23, 1991, with more recent comments on October 12, 2000.

It is not clear how technology can make bad management successful. Drucker points out that favorable market conditions buy off poor management for awhile, as has occurred in the IT sector. But, inevitably, the quality of management is the only lasting security for enterprise.

Over time, there is no way to make bad management successful. Just as the rewards of using SDS to accomplish good management are deferred, and so make it emotionally challenging to take up in good times, so, too, the damage of poor management can be bought off for awhile with sunshine profits from favorable market conditions. But, Andy Grove, Chairman of Intel notes that each scenario eventually creates a powerful new reality that cannot be ignored, as seen from recent trends in the market.

Thanks again for keeping us posted.



Rod Welch

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  1. Ross Armstrong