Thursday, June 16, 2005

A great report from the annual conference

I read the article about blogs in USA Today, so from now on I only going to say nice things about the wonderful people I work with.

For the past 5 days I was in San Francisco at the AWWA annual conference. I had a chance to talk with a large number of our customers, researchers and board members. There was a lot of validation that our KM program was on track. Our ad-hoc board committee met (our new executive director also attend) and were very excited about our progress. All our activities got a thumbs up and they were impressed with the progress of our implementation. They even mentioned that they'd prefer that we do things right, even if it meant pushing back the schedule. That's always good to hear (of course I'm not going to mention this to staff). Our CMS and KM efforts were also mentioned at the full board meeting and during our subscriber breakfast. I'm not sure if I like being that visible, but at least they said good things.

Our consultants from ComTech conducted a beta-test of our keyword structure. We had 100 stakeholders spend 5-10 minutes providing feedback on our structure and proposed keywords. The exit reviews that I conducted were very favorable, with folks liking our structure and appreciated being asked. Of course the hat we gave them for taking the survey also helped. I'm looking forward to the consultant's report next week. Of course the challenge will be how our team chooses to deal with the feedback.

There's a lot of excited about knowledge management systems within water utilities. Two of our large customers are using Documentum. I've arranged to visit one and learn more about their CMS and KM initiative. One utility executive talked excitedly about linking their GIS system to document management. Even being on the other side of the country he was able to pull up a map of his distribution system, see what type and size pipe they had, and read notes about that area that had been written in the past 40 years. What I found most interesting was senior managers (typically from a water quality/ engineering background) talking about KM and CMS. This just shows how visible these activities are becoming.

I initiated a number of discussions on developing a water-XML standard. I was surprises at that the level of interest both in the US and from some of our international partners. Of course, they left it up to me to get it moving forward.

Finally I heard our program being recognized in a few technical presentations. It's really good to hear outside organizations citing our efforts as the model.


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