March 13, 2008

Visible Knowledge LLC helps companies prevent Brain Drain

10,000 baby boomers are retiring today.

10,000 more will retire next Monday. And Tuesday. And so on. That's the way it's going to be for the next 20 years. Key personnel and subject matter experts with 20 to 30 years of experience are going to clear their desk and head down to Florida. As they walk out the door, invaluable corporate knowledge will simply disappear.

Intellectual capital, a vital corporate asset, will melt away unless companies do something to stop the brain drain and to retain critical knowledge.

Visible Knowledge LLC ( has a solution:

  • An interactive RuleMap™ that models business rules & simulates business logic
  • An interactive Expertise Blueprint™ that transforms knowledge into Visible Knowledge™
  • A Legacy Interview(sm) 

Visible Knowledge helps companies retain vital corporate knowledge before it melts away. They focus on documenting invaluable critical knowledge from your top domain experts and key personnel, before they retire. It can take companies years and millions of dollars to recover from losing this type of knowledge.

A traditional exit interview is just not enough when you're dealing with subject matter experts or super experts. So Visible Knowledge has developed a Legacy Interview(sm) process that extracts and documents critical knowledge before experts leave or retire. They use a rapid knowledge acquisition process to extract maximum amount of knowledge in a minimum amount of time. Visible Knowledge focuses on capturing critical knowledge.

If Know It All Ken just gave you two weeks notice, and he's the only one who knows how to fix the $5 million widget making machine, Visible Knowledge can help. They can spend a few days with Ken and document the crucial knowledge you need to keep the business running.  

If Super Expert Sally is retiring in a few months, Visible Knowledge can spend a few weeks with her to elicit as much vital and critical knowledge as possible before she leaves.

If your entire Dept of Super Experts is retiring next year, Visible Knowledge can work with your team over the next few months or years to document the critical knowledge you need to retain.

Later, if you need to automate the knowledge that was captured and retained, companies like BIZRULES can help you do that. BIZRULES works with leading knowledge software vendors to design and build knowledge-based and rule-based solutions.

September 29, 2006

Knowledge-Based Systems Defined (by IBM)

Here's a great article in Insurance Networking News where James Bisker, global insurance industry leader, IBM Institute for Business Value, defines knowledge-based, expert and artificial intelligence systems and provides insight into how they can benefit insurance industry operations. He says:

"The type of KBS that is often referred to as an 'expert system' is technically known as a rule-based system."
At first I didn't totally agree and said so right here. Then I felt bad saying he was wrong and I was right. So what I'd really like to say is that the article is great, and James has said some pretty wonderful things about technology that I am pretty passionate about: rules, knowledge, A.I., and expert systems. Sure, I have some thoughts that are a little different, but that doesn't mean that one of us is wrong and the other is right. Life is too short for that.

It means that we both believe the same technologies can help business improve their condition. We see a few minor details a little differently, but who cares. The key point is that IBM is telling us that AI, expert systems, and rule engines are driving the insurance industry forward. This is great stuff! Executives everywhere would do themselves a disservice if they ignore his advice.

My newly enlightened take-way from this article is that a key executive at IBM is helping to legitimize much-maligned solutions like expert systems and knowledge management. Wow!

James says that a Knowledge based system is referred to or technically known as an expert system. I agree. Then he goes on to say that a knowledge-based system is the same as a rule-based system.

I see them as two different types of applications, however, with slightly different technology behind each.

I believe the difference between knowledge-based and rule-based systems is subtle, yet criticially important. Here's why: companies spend millions of dollars buying rule-based and knowledge SW packages every year. Sometimes they buy a rule-based solution when they really need a knowledge-based solution, and vice-versa.

I wrote about the differences earlier:

James goes on to say really smart things about the value of capturing corporate knowledge and building KBSs. I agree completely:

"One of the important implications of using KBSs will center around their impact on individual employees. This is especially true as more insurance employees leave the workforce as they retire or seek other employment. In this case, using knowledge management systems to capture the knowledge of internal experts will be crucial. Being able to extract corporate knowledge and distribute it consistently will ensure steady performance and efficiency in times of transition. KBSs also allow less experienced staff to operate at higher levels with less oversight, which frees up more senior personnel for more complex activities. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the use of these systems increases consistency and compliance to internal and external policies and regulations."

I wrote recently (Knowledge Management is Key to Preventing Brain Drain. BP found out the hard way) about what happened to BP when they didn't retain knowledge, and what happened to Mobil Oil when they did.

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