Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mobile Information Management

Over the last week I dropped my old cell phone for the last time. The phone had been with me for over two years and was the basic clamshell model with little or no extra features beyond being a phone. It was my first cell phone and while I am sad at it’s passing I have upgraded to an iPhone and have been enjoying the benefits that come with a smart phone. While I am enjoying the phone as a communications platform I am more intrigued with the device as a productivity/knowledge management tool.

The smartphone is the revolutionizing the economy/business landscape much as the computer did during the early 1980s. Workers carry ing smart phones* cannot only communicate easier, but with features like web surfing and fully featured applications the device has many possibilities for business applications.

The iPhone has already revamped my entire workflow; when I don’t have access to a particular person’s contact information I can look-up their information and then call/e-mail them from a single device. After the call I can alter my calendar to add meetings, change my schedule or add tasks. When I get back to the office the device has sink via the “cloud” via the Mobile Me service to my Macbook keeping me up to date.

While the above example is only applicable on an individual scale technology service companies are developing mobile applications for their clients. For instance, Sales Force, a popular CRM software application (SaS) has applications for Blackberry, iPhone and Windows Mobile devices. The world is getting mobile in terms of information demands and the information professionals need to keep pace with their clients.

*The phone industry is currently pitching cell phones as educational tools, which would make their usage even more ubiquitous.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Personal Information Management

Technology is often seen as the answer rather than a tool. (I'm as guilty of this as anyone.) Technology will solve our problems even if we are not sure how or why. Too often people think that the more shiny or fancy a technology the better it will improve our life. This is most often true in knowledge management (either organization-wide or personal). The focus is on the system rather than the results. There is no need to invest in a high technology solution when a so-called old technology solution will work.

For instance the often overlooked idea notebook. A simply spiral or perfect bound notebook where you write down ideas for work, thoughts or other notations for later. I find I often get ideas for projects going on at work at the oddest moments so I find a notebook helps me organize my thoughts and save them for later. Though this solution might not work for everyone it works pretty well for my injunction with an ongoing cycle of task management applications. The explosion in the smartphone market has given many people the perfect tool to help them stay on top of their life. And I say If you are a fan of your Blackberry or iPhone and it works then more power to you. (There are some great note-keeping applications for the iphone like Evernote). I’ve also tried different software solutions and am constantly looking for the next great productivity application, but really that is just window dressing. Knowledge management truly begins with the person or organization.