SMS wows University of Sydney students with guest lecture on knowledge management strategy

SMS was recently invited to speak at the University of Sydney, at a Masters Degree course on ‘Knowledge Management Systems’. The course covers a whole host of topics, like data integration, OLAP, and BI. The request we received was for some insights on CRM and real-time customer insights, as well as data provisioning and business analytics practice. SMSers Michael Diamond and Prabhjot Sodhi were up for the challenge!

The course on Knowledge Management Systems is offered as part of a Masters Degree at the University of Sydney and covers the need to track and facilitate the sharing of the core knowledge resources in contemporary organisations. It also provides a comprehensive introduction to the area of Knowledge Management (KM) from both technological and organisational perspectives. Students also get practical experience, getting hands-on experience using the BI tools like COGNOS.


Rather than be theoretical, we wanted to make sure to educate the group on real world projects and the consulting skills required to ensure projects are successful, as well as the importance of driving value for clients and customers.

We covered how to use concepts like design thinking, to drive some of this success through stakeholder engagement and considering change management throughout any process, ensuring that the customer and users are in the center of everything.

We wanted to share the entire customer journey from looking at process driven industry trends such as Salesforce to capturing data across multiple processes and generating insights using Business Intelligence and Analytics.

Michael started the session by discussing an end-to-end approach to design and implement COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) solutions; enabling rapid value delivery. We shared our real-world consulting approach to deliver iterative Salesforce projects, working closely with stakeholders right from Strategy and Design Thinking through to Implementation and delivery of business outcomes. We talked to the students about the importance collaboration to deliver different outputs for each phase of the project. Michael then continued to talk about different Salesforce accelerators and tools that make it easier to deliver business outcomes in a timely and consistent manner. The key take away was that consulting and business are moving from a Business Centric Approach to a Customer Centric Approach.

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Prabhjot then talked about the different aspects of Information Management, IM Strategy, Information Architecture, Data Management Solutions and Advanced Business Analytics. Vitally, he overlaid all of these concepts with real-life scenarios, from social sentiment analytics to generating patient insights in the health sector. The key message was that all processes now generate data, but by itself that data has no value – the true value comes from understanding the correlations, patterns and principles in this data, extracting knowledge and eventually wisdom from it.

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We used a relatable example for the students to explain the difference between information management and knowledge management, using a university room booking system scenario. Prabhjot also talked in detail about data warehousing concepts from extraction, load, transform to data insights including data mining.

Prabhjot also stressed a lot of focus and value on Data Migration, Data Quality and Governance Approaches to ensure quality of reports after successful implementation of the project.

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We discussed how everything is moving to the cloud and services including BI are increasing becoming self-service. This was all explained using some strong success stories in educational sector and public sector. This generated a lot of conversation regarding consulting approach to handling requirements to tough stakeholders to business value and outcomes. We spent a lot of time to address each student clarification with practical scenarios and real-life outcomes.

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We then also covered Traditional Vs Cloud architectures in the context of providing a Flexible Architecture that supports Business Self-Service in BI organisation as well as exploring some of the principals that drive various approaches to Data Migration, integration and knowledge management.

Pulling all of this back to the real world we walked through a number of case studies and went into some detail on an end to end delivery emphasizing data and system architecture, integration and various tool sets, data migration and driving insights from unstructured data.

We closed off by highlight the immediate and future need for Salesforce skills across all roles (from BAs and Project Managers through to Developers and Data Scientists) and encouraged them all to jump on to Trailhead and following the recommended certification tracks below.

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