Consulting and K-Logs
- Consulting and K-Logs
One thing I have been tracking is the interest of consultants in K-Logging. I was a consultant/analyst when I was at Forrester (they charged me out by the hour at $1,250). If I had known about K-Logs, it would have been very easy for me to offer clients a company-specific knowledge stream (for $10 k a month as a retainer). There would have been at least 4-10 clients that would have opted for this, and it would have made my job a lot easier (it also would have added 10-20% to the revenue of my research practice while keeping me in touch with client's needs).
One consultant I know is already doing something like this right now. He has retainer relationships with clients for whom he analyzes recent industry developments. He uses his K-Log tool to get RSS headline streams from 30 industry periodicals. He analyzes the articles he receives and posts the article with a company-specific annotation to a K-Log on their Intranet. He does this for 3-4 clients. His clients have the option of either reading his K-Log directly or subscribing to it using RSS feeds aggregated by their K-Logs (which in turn lets them post questions and annotations to his thoughts to their K-Logs -- a nice feedback loop!). This allows him to keep the relationship alive, generate a continuous stream of income, and unearth new consulting opportunities as clients react to his analysis. Nice. He is even thinking of adding machine generated RSS feeds (from networking equipment and servers) that he can analyze for his clients.
(Note: I could even see a situation where Web service-enabled applications generate data streams to K-Log subscribers. This would enable a consultant to remotely analyze sales or supply chain data, annotated it with analysis, and post it to their K-Log. This would be very easy to set-up with a Web service enabled K-Log tool.)
This approach would only work in conjunction with a desktop K-Logging tool, because the consultant in question is working for multiple clients and is working 'outside' the confines of the corporation's facilities. The use of categorization lets the consultant build client-specific Weblogs (with their own templates) that are routed to a password-protected Intranet server in the companies DMZ or through a VPN. As companies continue to move towards the employment of part-time or loosely affiliated domain experts (Drucker), this type of solution becomes a critical feature of a successful engagement.
In terms of security (which is always an issue), the best approach I have seen is to host a consultant's K-Log on a password protected Intranet server in the company's DMZ. Another good approach would be to offer limited VPN (virtual private network) access to the consultant so they can access only the Intranet server they will post to. This is much better than a P2P solution that drills holes through a firewall to interact directly with company owned desktops (Groove). Bad idea.
My prediction is that the P2P approach will lead to all sorts of abuse such as private MP3 or MPG video networks are set up that quickly sink corporate LANs (note: my last company shut down Napster after it gobbled up 15% of LAN bandwidth). A network "flood" scenario for P2P collaboration software is easy to develop: I set-up a P2P workgroup with external friends to share MP3s and MPG videos. One morning I get 200 Mb of new music and videos from this group. I then copy this content to my internal "friends" network which then autoreplicates my posted content to all 32 people subscribed to the group. They in turn copy it to their friends etc. until the network is saturated. It gets worse as hard-drives and content get bigger.
Generally, if I am ever in a position to hire consultants again, I will require them to document their work on a Intranet hosted K-Log. This would allow me to track their work while it is in progress and provide me with a detailed archive of what they did after they left.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- I've been thinking about employee turnover. For our European friends,
this means the arrival and departure of workers from a company. What
happens to a klog when someone leaves? What happens to productive
conversations about ongoing issues? Knowledge management seeks to
preserve not only the record of an individual's knowledge but the
momentum of their ideas. The "community" features of a klog are part of
this. But there is more.
Dave Winer is one of the all-time great bloggers. In addition to
writing, he has a knack for defining subject-specific spaces. In the
beginning was Scripting.com. Then there was DaveNet, and UserLand
discuss, XML-RPC, Soapware, and dozens of others. Most have an
organizing theme or focus.
Check me on this if I'm wrong, but a sense of place in cyberspace, of
locale, provides an anchor for visitors and a magnet for content.
For example, after Dave closed the UserLand Discuss forum, attention and
activity in ancillary forums rose. Product suggestions and comments now
flow into a Radio UserLand weblog/list or a Manila Newbies blog/list.
While Dave may share a highlight about XML-RPC implementation or
milestones on Scripting News, detailed exploration of the protocol finds
its way to the XML-RPC site/list. Interested in XML-RPC? Join the site,
subscribe to the feed, get your solid pure fix of XML-RPC. Want to brag
about an implementation, get testers for your XML-RPC build? Post to
Do "categories" fill this need? Only a little. Departments on Phil's
site are like Phil's Blue Shirt and Phil's Yellow Shirt, vs. the Blue
Shirt Site and the Yellow Shirt Site. They organize within my body of
work vs. becoming their own body of work. Gravitic potential is small
unless that category has a distinct place in the universe.
Blogging has been a solitary pursuit, ego/personality driven. Some of
the multi-author sites show another path; klogging has the potential to
open up places to multiple people, to survive the absence of a founder.
Corporate klogging doesn't have to be limited this way. Klogs around
Project X, Process Y, Team Z, System 1, Event 2, Product 3 should be
part of klogspace.
- let users create multiuser klogspaces
- community features matter