Alvin Toffler, a sociologist and futurist, coined the term “information overload” in 1970. He predicted a time when information would be so accessible that people would have trouble processing it. Today, we seem to have reached the age of information overload, as modern computing pushes out information faster than human minds can make sense of it, and, with over a billion websites available online, the sheer quantity and varying qualities of information is overwhelming.
Processing raw data takes time. Truly important patterns aren’t immediately noticeable, and those that are immediately noticeable are frequently misleading or false. Therefore, processing data becomes a bottleneck when searching, proving/disproving patterns all occur at the same time. Information overload multiplies when reports become full of half processed data, inaccurate pattern recognition, or when raw data is distributed before it has been completely processed.
The knowledge base system has grown out of the database system in an effort to aid people in summarizing information and drawing useful conclusions from it in a timelier manner. The database stores raw data, such as personnel data or sales data. The knowledge base stores the patterns derived from the data and the methods of finding patterns.
Then, Knowledge Management systems store the pools of knowledge – the expertise, the methodologies, and the automated processes necessary to speed up future analyses.
In a recent study of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software use, it was noted that the actual process that ERP systems go through to make decisions has not been well studied. Ravi Seethamraju, a researcher in business process management at Australia’s University of Sydney Business School, used an interpretive case study to approach the subject. The results indicate that the quality of information, along with its centralization, visibility, and accessibility has improved and has had a positive influence on managerial decision-making. He notes, however, that “factors such as information overload and inadequate reporting tools in the ERP software appear to be limiting the benefits of implementing ERP systems.”
Information in its raw form is not friendly to the human mind. If you graph raw data, it’s rare to see anything but masses of points. Data summarizing techniques are used to filter out random variations and enable human beings to see patterns and to help determine which patterns are significant.
In the implementation of Knowledge Management systems, the human being is the end point. At Mantralogix, we work on the interface in between the software and the human being to make it easier on the human being. Contact us for more information.