It sometimes seems that knowledge management professionals can disagree with the basic meaning of ‘knowledge management’. Even though the term has been bounced around since the early 1990’s it doesn’t seem that there is one size that fits all. And, that’s ok with me.
What I have been thinking about is with the continual rise of baby boomers retiring what happens to corporate memory as it applies to knowledge acquisition? Even without the boomer impact, the escalation of unstructured content poses the problem of how can content be enriched and transformed to knowledge which can then be shared?
We would like to assume that our chiefs are making the right business decisions which consist of tacit as well as explicit knowledge. But unfortunately as we all know, decision makers do not always make good decisions. This takes us down to the practical aspect that although they are using their knowledge, the decisions must be substantiated by facts and information stored in corporate memory. There lies the rub. I would argue that many, if not most decisions are not necessarily made on the most accurate and trusted information. (I think we’ve all been there at some point). Simply because it can’t be found, either at the time it is needed or perhaps buried so deeply down in the abyss of unstructured content it can never be found. We also sometimes have cement heads as decision makers who will make a decision based on their own opinion. At that point the organization must rely on the consensus of the decision makers, cross their fingers, and hope for the best.
But the typical answer, mostly from decision makers, is that’s what their enterprise search and/or content management systems are supposed to do. Many, if not most, do not do it well. To transform content so it can be used by the organization as a knowledge asset, the unambiguous meaning and the unidentified relationships between similar and also dis-similar content must be exposed. Which leads us back to the age old problem of the tagging of content. Bottom line – I say potato, you say patattah. When the enriching of content and knowledge management are coupled together, it is only then that trusted decisions can be made and productivity increased so the entire organization can benefit in knowledge acquisition.
What are your thoughts?