Forman: Feds will change or leave

To benefit from knowledge management, federal officials must start changing how they do their daily business, Mark Forman said April 23, and those who are unwilling to change will end up bowing to the inevitable or losing their jobs.

Knowledge management is about decreasing the time it takes to make decisions, a key metric for e-government and homeland security information technology initiatives, said Forman, associate director for IT and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget.

But knowledge management is more about changing the business processes and workflow of an agency to allow quicker decision-making than buying or building a system that will make current processes go faster, he said at the E-Gov Knowledge Management conference in Washington, D.C.

There is no "knowledge management system," he said, so managers must figure out how technology can enable employees to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

"We need to focus on results, not the science of information management," he said.

Using knowledge management means that agency officials must examine how to support more distributed decision-making, and how to make that happen more in real time. Forman said that there is no way to do that without breaking the "rice bowls" that ensure many federal managers' power, and those managers are going to have to accept those changes because of impatience within the administration and Congress.

"Those who are resisting will be overcome by events, or they will be taken out of their jobs," he said.

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