Tacit knowledge, rules and automation
Nice little post on What do we mean by tacit knowledge? over on the anecdote site. This reminded me of a couple of points I made when I reviewed Carl Frappaolo's book on Knowledge Management. Firstly, as technology and our understanding of it has advanced, more and more decisions can be automated. Some of this comes from better understanding of how to use business rules and some comes from understanding how to build predictive models, such as neural nets, for predicting likelihood in complex situations. The second point was one Carl made in the book:
"In some cases, knowledge believed to be tacit is only so labeled because no-one has ever taken the time or energy to codify the knowledge"
Which meshes nicely with the anecdote post.
I am also reminded of a great post by Rolando Hernandez about Knowledge Management is Key to Preventing Brain Drain. BP found out the hard way - he uses some nice contrasting stories about BP's problems with its oil pipeline, caused in part by a failure to manage expert knowledge when someone left, and another oil company's use of knowledge management to avoid a similar problem in another area. This is a common problem, especially as the baby boom retire, and a survey by Barb von Halle's KPI found it to be one of the top reasons for adopting a business rules management approach. Not only would a business rules approach be a great way to capture the knowledge, the use of a business rules management system to manage and deliver that knowledge would let you automate, or at least support, those expert decisions so that customers, front-line staff, other information systems could leverage it. You can buy Carl's book here.