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Business Knowledge Representation

Aug 17, 2007
Have you ever thought about how your mind stores and organizes all of the things that you know?

Most people have not and quite frankly the majority of people could care less to think about this question. However, there are reasons why you and other business owners should care very much about this question for your business' sake.

Cognitive science seeks to understand and develop a model of how the human mind stores and processes information. The field of artificial intelligence (AI) attempts to represent knowledge in a manner that can be processed by computers and from which human-like intelligence can be replicated. Both fields of study are similar in nature. AI has taken cognitive science theories attempted to process and draw inferences from the information through the use of techniques such as expert systems, genetic algorithms, frames, and semantic nets. The underlying challenge is to develop a knowledge representation.

So what is the relation between cognitive science, AI, and your business? These fields draw an important parallel to your business; the importance of knowledge representation within your business.

As a business owner, the challenge for you is to develop a business knowledge representation. A business knowledge representation can be described as a set of pictures, words, symbols, or other shareable documentation that clearly describes your business systems and enables you to analyze and make decisions to improve your revenue and profitability.

How do you represent your business knowledge and processes?

The truth is that very few businesses have documented processes. Even those that have documented processes rarely if ever use them as part of their daily work routine. Most businesses essentially do not have a business knowledge representation.

The importance of documenting your business knowledge, specifically your business processes and systems should not be underestimated. The simple act of forcing yourself to document your business systems will lead to business improvement ideas and initiatives that you may not have otherwise identified. Writing information down is critical toward deepening your understanding (second best to teaching others). After your processes are documented, you can embark upon process improvement and other initiatives to streamline your processes, increase automation (reduce time-to-market), reduce overall work time, and ultimately increase your profits.

The big question that most business owners face is how should one document business knowledge? One often used technique is business process mapping. Business process mapping provides a business owner with the means to document business systems and essentially create a business knowledge representation. From these process maps, many related analysis techniques can be applied to increase business revenue and profits.
About the Author
Brad Semp uses his Cashmap techniques to lead entrepreneurs and business owners to higher revenues and profits. You can find related Cashmap articles and his popular Cashmap Success newsletter at http://www.CashmapProfits.com
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