I'm intrigued by Andrew Pollack's recent blog about the ultimate VMWARE ESXi server that he built for development and testing. It would certainly be valuable for me to be able to run test domino servers each in their own VM. Andrew has done a great job of documenting his setup from a hardware perspective and it's well worth a read. Before I venture into this myself, I have a few questions for any Domino/VMWARE experts out there...

Continue Reading "Best practices for Domino in a VMWARE Virtual Machine" »
Our world is getting smaller.

Allan just pinged me on Skype. That's not unusual, we use Skype to stay connected. However, today, he Skyped me from somewhere over California. He's flying on Southwest Airline and using their new in-flight WiFi. A few minutes later my Skype phone rang and it was him.

This reminded me of a story from about 13 years ago. I used to commute to San Francisco from Burbank and I would call the house from the plane to tell my children to waive at the aircraft as it flew over (at 20,000'). One day, my twins wanted to talk to me, but Kathy told them that they would have to wait because I was on an airplane. They said something like, "No problem, Mommy, just call the airplane and tell the stewardess to put Daddy on the phone".

Now, they would not have to bother the stewardess; they could simply Skype me themselves.

Perhaps next time, Allan's in-flight, we'll have to try an in-Flight OneNote session.
As a child, I remember going door to door on Halloween with my UNICEF Box to collect money to help children around the world. I've been following with great interest this  Inner City Press news report of an apparent  whistleblower report claiming that UNICEF has apparently decided to migrate from Lotus Domino to Microsoft Exchange at a cost of approximately 6 million dollars. I must admit that I find this alarming when I do not see a financial or operational benefit to UNICEF for the cost of switching platforms, (I would say the same if they were an Exchange shop and were thinking of switching to Domino.)

There's been a lot of discussion in the Notes community about what people think is going on and the logic of the decision-making. An interesting summary also appears here. I won't try to second-guess the reasons -- I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Two things are clear to me:
1) I do not have any facts about the matter
2) There's probably more to this decision than is readily apparent.

How can UNICEF get greater value from their current investment in IBM Lotus Notes/Domino?

At the end of the day, migration decisions are about value. Someone, somewhere at UNICEF, must believe that the UNICEF will get greater value from migrating to a new platform than from staying with the present platform. In talking with some colleagues at ICA, we got to thinking about how  UNICEF might obtain greater value from their current infrastructure - value that would more than justify any investment.  Since UNICEF has already upgraded their Domino infrastructure to Notes 8, they already have in place a proven system to messaging, collaboration, and distributed applications. And, with version 8.51,  things are going to get even better. Domino 8 already offers the IT side of the house many features that will lower operating costs, save disk space and admin time, etc.. So what could UNICEF DO to get greater value from their current investment in Lotus Notes/Domino? To me, the answer is simple: equip their people with the skills and tools to use the power of Lotus Notes  (the system they already have in place) to help end users - the people on the front lines - to become more productive, to get more done with less, and to reclaim time spent each day.

People around the world are achieving extraordinary things using David Allen's “Getting Things Done®” (“GTD®”) methodology - it's a way of thinking about your work that clarifies the outcome and the steps to get there. It's the smartest investment I think of to help people become more productive. Best of all, GTD is a thought process - that means it can be implemented using any tools, from paper to web, to Lotus Notes, to Microsoft Outlook. And, there are thriving communities of GTD enthusiasts for each.

For people that use Lotus Notes, eProductivity™ is a proven application that makes implementing GTD in IBM Lotus Notes, easy. People around the world are reclaiming up to 30 minutes each day simply by using eProductivity and Lotus Notes to get things done. That's a half day a week of reclaimed productivity - per Lotus Notes user. What could you do with 1/2 a day of found time each week? Now, consider that you are UNICEF and you have 30,000 employees and that you have the potential to recover 30,000 half-days of time each week? What would that be worth?

The advantages I see are many: Small investment. No new servers to buy and license, and no rip-and-replace of the infrastructure. No admin training.

GTD can be implemented using the tools (e.g. Notes) that the end-users are already familiar with using the built-in features of the Notes Client that's already on the desktop. If they want to go further and deploy eProductivity, that's easy to do.

Thanks to the Lotus Notes template and replication architecture - unmatched by any other platform I'm aware of, applications like eProductivity can be deployed to 30 people or 30,000 people with a single command at the Domino Server console. Or, end-users can deploy it themselves. Either way, it's a quick process, thanks to the power of Notes & Domino.

I have no idea if the ideas in this post will ever get past the 8 readers of this blog, but I feel compelled to blog anyway. At a time when organizations are looking to cut costs to save money and are trying to do more with less, it is surprising to me that any organization would spend 6 million dollars to migrate to another platform unless they had a very compelling business-case for the switch - one that would assure them of extraordinary value. For organizations that use Notes (and for those that are contemplating migrating to something else) a small investment in people and process will go a very long way.
Eric Mack, MKM. Master of Information and Knowledge Management.I've just completed all of the requirements to earn my Master of Information and Knowledge Management Degree, with honors. Just over three years ago I closed the first chapter of this journey.  Today, I close the second chapter. Before I begin the next chapter, I want to pause and reflect on my experience and thank the many people that helped me get to this point.

After working for two decades as a consultant in the areas of technology, information management, collaboration, and productivity, I realized that while these were all good things to do, the next opportunity was in the area of how we manage what we know and what we do with what we know. That realization led me to pursue the field of knowledge management and the management of intellectual capital. Unlike many people in the 1990's and early 2000's, I decided not to focus on the organizational level but rather to direct my attention to the individual or personal aspect of knowledge management. My work as an eProductivity specialist  taught me that it's much easier to bring about a lasting impact working with individuals - from the bottom-up - than to try and create a system to be imposed on the organization top-down. Thus, my interest in knowledge management, and specifically my interest in what is frequently referred to as personal knowledge management, began.

Continue Reading "Completion. What a wonderful feeling! Chapter 2" »
I submitted another idea today to the Lotus Knows IdeaJam. Please have a look and vote:
Lotus Knows that a Year-Round IdeaJam is the Best Way to Stay Connected

Kudos to Ed Brill and his team for opening up the conversation in this way. I would like to see Lotus keep this IdeaJam going year-round. I think it would be a valuable resource and, provided that they remain engaged, will help change people's perceptions about Lotus products and brand. In just 24 hours, It's had already profound impact already in the way that I think and talk about IBM/Lotus.

Memorable Wedding Vows

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

I'm glad they have a sense of humor...

ObamaCare Is All About Rationing

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting OpEd piece on the proposed health care overhaul, by Martin Feldstein

IBM Lotus Knows How to Be Productive

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
IBM has invited people around to world to share their ideas and stories around Lotus solutions and how to get the word out. This is a bold step for big blue and one I applaud. I think it's also great that they tapped Elguji Software to operate the ideajam. I guess Lotus Knows that Elguji Knows how to drive Innovation!

I've posted my contribution to the "Lotus Knows" jam:
Lotus Knows That Productive People Use Notes to Get Things Done

When the recognized world expert on productivity talks passionately about a product he’s used and recommended for the past 15 years – Lotus Notes – I think that’s significant. We’re not talking about an IBM-hired spokesperson that’s possibly never used (or perhaps never heard of) Lotus Notes or the Lotus brand. David’s a passionate end-user that has been accomplishing extraordinary things with Notes. And, he does not hesitate to share how he uses Lotus Notes in his books and seminars.

Since the purpose of the Lotus Knows IdeaJam is to explore ideas to help Lotus reach the unreached, I suggest that increasing awareness of how ordinary – and extraordinary – people are using Lotus Notes to get things done would be a very good thing to attract folks who might otherwise have not considered a Lotus product as a potential solution. I know this to be true: every time David mentions Lotus Notes or our product at a seminar, our phones ring and downloads increase.

Continue Reading "IBM Lotus Knows How to Be Productive" »
I took off the last few weeks to complete my graduate research and writing for my final project for my Master of Information and Knowledge Management degree. It feels great to mark that item as "Complete." Other than a few blog posts about the National KM Conference, I've been off-line. No email, No Internet. No Twitter.

A few people have asked how what my office setup looked like as I worked to complete this assignment:
This is my workstation. I use 3 monitors and optionally, two projectors to work.Here's my workstation set up for studying: 24" 1200x1900 Portrait monitor on the left, Hi Res 1680x1050 Laptop in the middle and a 30" 2560x1600 display for MindManager on the right. From time to time, I will also use the two projection screens in the background. All are controlled by my laptop.

Continue Reading "Graduate paper done, thanks to Notes/MindManager/Brain" »
Notes from National KM Conference at Pepperdine University
Dr. Jay Leibowitz
Next up is Dr. Jay Leibowitz, presenting research Cross-Generational Knowledge Flows In Edge Organizations.

Notes in progress....

Next up is Vijay Koduri, Google Sr Project Manager

Been at Google for two years….works in the Google Enterprise organization, which focuses on use of Google Apps within an enterprise. Products include Search, Maps and Earth, Applications…

Key customers – Universities + small and mid size businesses.

One of the most interesting things at Google is the culture of openness and transparency.

Google is over 20,000 employees world wide.


  • Resource allocation. Google has the 70-20-10 rule. 70% of the time spend working on core apps, 20% on something that has strong potential and 10% on wild and crazy.
  • Challenge – how to leverage people across the entire organization – to get help on the 20% and 10% projects. Developed Google intranet tools to help find the right people. The idea bulletin board lets you send out an e-mail with an embedded survey that allows people to vote on the idea. Scale ranges from 1 to 7. 7 – would incredible if implemented to 1 – would be harmful if implemented.
  • When a document is created by someone in Google it is automatically available to everyone in the company – unless you restrict access.
Approach to collaboration

Google docs allows people to share and collaborate on a single document. This eliminates the needs to have multiple versions of a document – or to merge comments on a document.

Value of keeping data in “the cloud.” From a security perspective – loss of laptop is not a big deal. 10% of laptops will be lost in the 1st 12 months of ownership. The biggest risk of data loss is at the point of the end user… Note—as several people have noted there is a lot of debate about this topic. This is the Google perspective.

[Eric's Note: I refrained from raising my hand. I felt that he did not defend his position. He kept saying trust me… I don’t. He said that no end-user data is collected and then 10 min later said that they collect end user data in order to deliver user-specific ads… Hmmm]

KM in NASA’s Exploration Directorate

Thursday, August 6th, 2009
Steve Newman, ARES Corporation is sharing his experience with KM in NASA’s Exploration Directorate.

Steve works for NASA Exploration directorate as a contractor in KM area. ARES is responsible for developing NASA’s Process Based Mission Assurance (PBMA) site – which is one of the knowledge repositories that I have seen. http://pbma.nasa.gov/

Steve’s current work is with the Exploration directorate, which is responsible for the Orion Program, which is designed to take men back to the moon and ultimately to Mars.

Steve’s Lessons learned from NASA regarding KM

  • At NASA never say “I’m here to help you with KM” instead – it’s “I’m here to accomplish work” Work is the central theme – technology is just an enabler.
  • KM initiatives that have succeeded are those that have been sponsored by a business leader
  • There has to be a personal return on investment. It has to help me do my work more effectively.

Continue Reading "KM in NASA’s Exploration Directorate" »
...get it right and everything flows smoothly.

Perhaps I should change my business card:

Eric Mack, MKM

"Knowledge Plumber"

Some potential tag lines:
Knowledge not flowing?
Have a knowledge sharing problem?
Plagued by knowledge silos?
Call the knowledge plumber!

What the Air Force is doing in KM

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
Notes from National KM Conference.

What the Air Force is doing in KM
Presenter: Doug Brook – Senior Partner, Triune Group

“Technology is not the answer…. It is the easy thing to set up…and the easy thing to talk about. It’s also were many of the failures have been.”

New Imperatives for the Air Force where KM plays a major role

  • Need to capture aging expertise, amidst expandin sue of web 2.0 tech
  • Need to connect for knowledge sharing with minimal investment
  • Gov 2.0=transparency, accessibility, accountability
  • Need to work within secure confines for privacy and OPSEC
Air Force Knowledge Now – this is the AF’s management center of excellence. Started as a lessons learned system, has morphed to more of a Community of Practice center. Have 16,000 virtual communities,12 million page hits per month.

Continue Reading "What the Air Force is doing in KM" »

KM challenges in the DoD

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
Notes from the National KM Conference
Rick Brennen, who works extensively with the DoD on KM talked about the changing nature of warfare and the resulting changing nature of the military. Key to his discussion was what this has meant for sharing knowledge – and in particular sharing knowledge on the battlefield.

Rick has an interesting background in that he was a navy fighter pilot, worked for Sun in the 80’s, worked for Jack Welch in acquisitions – and now consults for the DoD and works as a Venture Capitalist. He is someone that has great insights…..

Notes from Rick’s talk.

We are struggling with how to effectively share knowledge real time on the battle field. And these are related to several of the same issues that corporations face

  • culture
  • business model
  • organizational structure
  • security policy
  • systems inertia
The cultural divide Our war fighters are digital natives – our leaders are immigrants. Today’s leaders don’t recognize that these technologies are built into the fabric of today’s lives. May leaders still say “we don’t trust this technology—we need to go back to the basics.” Thus it is difficult to get our leaders to say “we need to study this to understand how to effectively get more info to the warfighter – that they can quickly understand and act on.

Business model DoD is struggling with the open systems concept. Systems are built by large contractors – and their products frequently don’t talk to each other. This makes communication, coordination and knowledge sharing between military personal very difficult.

Organizational Structure and tie to KM: Organizational structures are not good or bad – but they need to be designed to meet what you are trying to do. In an organization where you are looking for repeatable performance a hierarchical org with strong rule-based structure works. But they are very poor when things are changing rapidly. Here you need flexibility & innovation. This is where flat structure and strong influence works… Organizations flatten to adapt to rapid rates of change… The knowledge management structures in these organizations are horizontal… In the past military organizations were hierarchical – missions were pre planned at least a day in advance. Today – when an airplane is launched the mission is designed after the aircraft in the air. In this case – knowledge flow has to be horizontal. Need to communicate with the army guys, the marines, the tanks and the civilians.

Security policy: How do you build a KM system that can tap into multiple secure systems and release it to people that need it. People don’t have the time to decide who can see what data when. In particular when dealing with things that need to happen within minutes to be successful. We don’t know how to do this yet.

Systems inertia: Most DoD systems are designed – not to be refreshed. Moore’s law says processing capability will double every 18 months – but military systems are not designed to be refreshed. Thus – they don’t take advantage of rapidly evolving technology

Summary / Recommendations

KM is critical to the future of the military – on the battle field. It is a critical component of the DoD’s ability to respond appropriately to a rapidly changing world

Adopt open systems: Break the ppopreietatry strangle hold of large prime contractors have on key systems.

Org structure: deign systems to support flattened, COCOM structure crossing serviced, agency and nation state boundaries

Systems inertial: take open systems and scalability concepts seriously and design them in approximate at the platform and Enterprise level

Security policy: build multi-level security infrastructure for real battlefield KM systems

Succeeding with knowledge Management

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
Next up, Dr. Steven Newman, Vice President, Technology Application at ARES Corporation is sharing his experience about "Succeeding with knowledge Management." Dr. Newman manages programs related to the Space Exploration Mission Directorate, integrated knowledge management, and risk management.

Notes from: Succeeding with Knowledge Management

First rule: don't call it a Knowledge Management System; we call it the Knowledge Management Program.

Don't walk into the room and say "I'm here to talk about knowledge management."

Instead, say, "I'm here to talk about helping you do work, efficiently and effectively."

For KM to succeed, it has to have a personal return on investment. Then there has to be ROI for the team, and then for the organization.

Continue Reading "Succeeding with knowledge Management" »
Doug Brook, President and CEO of Triune Group is up now, talking about knowledge retention and transfer in the Air Force.

New imperatives of KM
Need to capture aging expertise, amidst expanding use of Web 2.0 tech.

Need to connect for knowledge sharing with minimal investment

Gov 2.0 = transparency, accessibility, and accountability.

Challenge with Air Force is to work within secure confines for privacy and Opsec.

Technology is not the answer. Tech is the easy part. It's the knowledge side that is difficult.

Air Force Knowledge Now
(See last year's note from Randy Atkins presentation)
16,000 Virtual communities, 225K registered users
12 Million page hits a month
2 Million documents
325,000 registered uses and 100K non-registered cruisers.

(Note we are talking about the business side of KM in the Air Force, not Battlefield. That's why we can be more open about certain elements.)

Talking about collecting KM success stories - typically something that is hard to do - by acknowledging these submissions with CoP of the quarter or CoP of the year. Getting 30-50 submissions each quarter. Very little cost to provide recognition.

What does it take to make KM successful for the Air Force?
  • Leadership: Focus, Resources, Commitment
  • Process: What, When, How
  • Community: Culture of sharing, openness, service

Continue Reading "Knowledge Retention & Transfer: Air Force Knowledge Now" »

Knowledge Management on the Battlefield

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
Rick Brennan, Senior Managing Partner, Brennan and Associates, is up next, sharing considerations for the expanding role of KM in the Department of Defense.

Many challenges and opportunities for KM in an organization that looks ahead a few years, say 5, but has a typical cycle-time of 10 years to deploy systems. This requires a change in thinking. KM is the lever that is helping.

General trends:
Conflicts are smaller and of shorter duration
Resources are more constrained
Effects are global, and felt more rapidly
Stability is the goal

What happens when the bad guys, using social networks, etc., know stuff that happens on the battlefield before the good guys do?

War is different. It's no longer about killing people and blowing things up, but about bringing about change in a nation.

Katrina was a disaster.

So, how can we be  better prepared?

Continue Reading "Knowledge Management on the Battlefield" »

Fortune or Privacy

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
George Gibbs, Northrup Gurmman
Brief observations from Nat. KM Conf.

"Those that treasure privacy may have their treasure stolen by pirates"

What's your fear?
Corporate greed?
Government surveillance

The issue is trust.

Required response Trust but verify.

Interesting story about scenarios for fraud & abuse.

"Crime does pay"
Talking about how globalization can mask failures (several stories) and how the cycle can take up to 10-years to discover. (An opportunity for social networking to reduce this.)

Solution is to collect data on a population - not to control. Doing so, allows you to look at aggregate and make decisions,

It's the lack of independent oversight that gets us into trouble.

We need trusted impartial mechanism of oversight.

I had trouble with some of this presentation. I'll go back and listen to the recording. Meanwhile, it seems like an opportunity for sense making. Would like to hear Snowden's take on this.

The Case for Open Government

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
First speaker is Melodie Mayberry-Stewart. Melodie is the CIO of New York talking about the case for Open Government.

The case for Open Government

Government should be:
  • Transparent
  • Participatory
  • Collaborative

Continue Reading "The Case for Open Government" »
I'm attending the National Knowledge Management Conference at Pepperdine University, California. This year's theme is "The Intersection of Ethics and Knowledge Management." I don't plan to blog as intensely as usual, but I'll post my thoughts from time to time. Perhaps I'll tweet a little, too.