I have a simple question: If a search engine can turn aggregated knowledge of my e-commerce history into a targeted ad, then why can’t my enterprise information system provide me the content I need to prepare for a meeting?
On one level, I understand why it doesn’t do that. I have experienced artificial intelligence and knowledge management from the front lines, as a practitioner and a writer. I know that what I’m asking for verges on the bastard step-child of those two disciplines. (Currently, the name of that bastard step-child is the “semantic Web,” but I’ll go down that mixed-metaphor path another day.)
I think there is a middle ground between the toolbox-wielding larger vendors focused within the enterprise on repositories and mostly manual, collaborative tagging, and the lofty aspirations of the semantic Web.
The enterprise players however, have distracted themselves from focusing on this middle ground. Instead, they are focused on search.
But today, search is but one step removed from rules written in a dialog box or terms coaxed from us in wizards. If we go into advanced searches, we suddenly require hidden knowledge of syntax, or the patience to experiment with putting variables into various boxes in hopes that the results will prove meaningful.