25 Years in the Making: Creating the Enterprise of the Future Today
Based on previously published articles appearing in the Russian Commerce News
“…with everything changing so quickly, this was the right time”
It was May 1993. The Berlin Wall and Soviet Union were gone. New markets were opening up overnight. Businesses, even small businesses, were becoming global and virtual. To Art Murray, these were exciting times.
As a knowledge engineer, he’d spent the previous decade figuring out how to make organizations more competitive by capturing, sharing and applying their critical knowledge. The ideas worked well in the lab. But making them work in the real world had been difficult. Now, with everything changing so quickly, “This was the right time,” he thought.
“…they actually saw the billions the West was spending on information technology as a drain on capital, rather than an investment”
He had just arrived in Moscow, which was at the center of much of the turmoil. He was invited to speak on the new information economy. Surely, he thought, Russians needed to understand these ideas if they were to play a part in the new world order. But the audience’s reaction surprised him.
"What good is all this information if you don't know what to do with it?" they asked. They actually saw the billions the West was spending on information technology as a drain on capital, rather than an investment. Murray realized that his Russian hosts were confirming what he had suspected for some time — that knowledge (knowing how to act on information) was far more valuable than the information itself.
Re-energized, he returned to the U.S., and launched Telart Technologies, now Applied Knowledge Sciences, Inc. The new company would help organizations compete in the global market by managing their most valuable asset — their corporate knowledge.
“…the beginning of a worldwide economic and societal revolution”
It would take several more years of research, trial and error, and field work to finally get it right. Along the way, the explosive growth in technology made the tools Murray was experimenting with in the lab more affordable and easy to use. Jeff Lesher, a Certified Master Coach and expert in the human development side of knowledge management, joined the executive team as Chief Operating Officer. The ingredients were finally in place.
Fast forward to the present —
The rise of the global knowledge economy
Companies realize that their most valuable assets are no longer the tangible items on the balance sheet: land, facilities, equipment, inventory. Rather, it’s their intangible assets, including their corporate knowledge, that have the greatest value.
“We’re drowning ourselves with data and information, yet we’re starved for knowledge”
AKS’s core business focuses on what Murray and his colleagues do best: helping organizations boost performance by capturing, and redeploying, their hidden knowledge assets. Murray delights in using a business model which goes against the mainstream. A virtual enterprise with headquarters on Virginia’s Blue Ridge, AKS proudly considers itself an enterprise of the future. Instead of maintaining elaborate office buildings or reserved parking spaces, most of the firm's overhead is used to buy software, train employees, and fund the development of new technologies.
But he owes it all to the Russians for helping him put it all together. “We’ve squandered much of our decades-long investment in IT,” Murray laments. “We’re drowning ourselves with data and information, yet we’re starved for knowledge.”
That’s all going to change. And the changes will be more dramatic than the events which brought the twentieth century to a close.
We are at the beginning of a worldwide economic and societal revolution. By defining and becoming a model enterprise of the future, AKS has established itself as a leader in helping organizations not only survive, but thrive in this challenging yet potentially rewarding business climate.