With knowledge workers facing ever-increasing sources of information, there is a growing need to find solutions to manage knowledge at the personal level. But according to David Burns, CEO of desktop indexing company Copernic (which is being acquired by Mamma.com), there are several other factors at play driving the need for PKM solutions including extremely fast and powerful PCs, cheaper and broader availability of cable and DSL, and the growing variety of rich content. Burns points out that as the amount of data and information grows, so does the importance of tools for managing and using this information.
Stephen Brooks, VP of product management at Learning Management Solutions, a software vendor that has built a personal knowledge management program called KnowledgeWorkshop, says that workers need software tools to handle the vast amounts of information they encounter in today's workplace, and they need to be separate and distinct from the corporate knowledge management system, whatever that is. "The angle KnowledgeWorkshop takes is different from multi-million dollar systems that big multi-nationals use to manage digital content. While the latter is important to big companies, it doesn't address an individual's immediate need for his or her data. It addresses a corporation's needs in the macro sense of the word, but when it comes down to an individual and day-to-day jobs, knowledge workers are creating or analyzing or summarizing information and making decisions based on it," and they need tools to help them do that, according to Brooks.
He adds that, while a worker in former times might have gotten away with a few folders to organize information, today's variety of sources demands that workers are equipped with more sophisticated tools. "There is a need to come to terms with the vast amount of information coming from many different directions. To do that in today's world is different from the past, when a person could keep the information to do their jobs in a few folders on their shelf beside their desk. Information is now coming in multiple formats from all over the world, and the tools they need are going to be different," Brooks says.