Solutions Forum 2004

Epistemics hosted a Solutions Forum on 23rd September with our partner Solass. The theme of the day was "Knowledge Retention: How to unlock the benefits hidden in your organisation". Many leading organisations attended the forum and found it to be informative and thought-provoking.


Keynote speech by Professor Nigel Shadbolt:

Professor Shadbolt is Director of the EPSRC funded Advanced Knowledge Technologies (AKT) project; Vice President of the British Computer Society (BCS); Chair of the BCS Knowledge Services Board; Editor in Chief of IEEE Intelligent Systems and is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies and Knowledge Engineering Review.

Professor Shadbolt presented work on knowledge technologies - past, present and future.


The Position:

All organisations have made major investments in applications, from office tools like word processing to complex solutions such as accounting, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and product lifecycle management systems. These applications now generate vast quantities of information and data.

Although we generate all this information, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to access and use more than a limited subset. This is because the information is concealed by the systems that maintain it, by the processes that are used to access it, or in the heads of the experts that have the keys to interpreting it. The result is that individuals and organisations are living in a world of ever increasing info-smog.


The Challenge:

In order to dissipate the info-smog, knowledge needs to be associated with the information so that it can be made more usable. Once information is in such a usable state, it can be brought to bear upon the problems you are trying to address, and just as importantly, it can be reused to address future problems.

To turn information into useable knowledge, it is necessary to understand the connections between information and business processes, what information to use when, how to find it, and how to present it to the relevant people.


What is being done?

Many organisations have recognised that knowledge is a key asset, but have found that the challenge is how to capture it. There are numerous solutions that attempt to do this, but all of them only partially address the issue:

  • Monolithic enterprise applications are positioned as capturing company processes. But what happens if data needs to be shared with partners, originates in end user tools or the enterprise application has to be replaced?
  • Data Warehouses are used to capture the "Company" data. However, what happens to the data that is not, or cannot, be incorporated into the Warehouse?
  • International Standards are positioned as providing an agreed language to communicate between systems. Are the standards able to support the transfer of the required data? Are the standards unambiguous or is knowledge needed to be able to interpret the standard data? How are new and emerging standards adopted?
  • The World Wide Web and Groupware applications allow information to be shared, but users often cannot find or understand the information that is available.

The Solutions Forum:

The Solutions Forum discussed all of these issues from a practical point of view, including presentations from companies who are actually working on these challenges today.

The objectives of the forum were to understand:

  • How knowledge can be captured from systems, processes and individuals, and once captured, how it can be reused
  • How knowledge can be used to extract more value from information and establish current best practices
  • How emerging technologies will provide new solutions

Presentations included:

  • Companies who have already deployed knowledge-based applications
  • Consultants who have successfully implemented knowledge-based solutions
  • Research from a leading university that is using new technologies, such as the semantic web, to rigorously capture and apply knowledge.

If you wish to receive information concerning the forum, please send an email to: events@solass.com.




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Last modified: 24 Sept 2004