Knowledge Management – What goes around comes around
Knowledge Management almost seems like a retro word from the past to me. Once, it was all the rage, and I am going back quite a while. Of course, at that time, none of us selling it had any true idea what it was, and, there were really no tools available. Today, there are highly trained specialists and experts who most certainly far exceed my level of understanding in the subject. But, regardless if knowledge management has disintegrated into a word from the past, or coming into vogue again, its value has never been greater. Unfortunately, too many organizations may not understand the term, but all find benefits in the results. Perhaps it’s time to refocus our energy once again on the outcomes of knowledge management and how to transform content into usable knowledge to achieve business objectives.
From our perspective, which is technology, the heart of knowledge management is a taxonomy. Content is growing uncontrollably, mostly useless information, but at times, useful content can be identified as an asset with value, to internal constituents or to the organization as a whole. Taxonomies, coupled with auto-classification can help separate the wheat from the chaff. Although many would argue with me, knowledge is gained when the information is internalized and then shared and re-used as a source of innovation.
Without a taxonomy, the very basic task of search becomes the weakest link in deriving knowledge because information that cannot be found, cannot be used. If it cannot be used it has no value. Content represents corporate memory, without the ability to access these content assets, the corporate memory is eroded and forgotten. With the rise, albeit slow adoption by end users, of business social applications, the opportunity exists more than ever before to capture the knowledge of an often aging workforce, to provide the intersection between content assets and knowledge assets. Collaboration, loosely tied to social, can also be transformed into knowledge. All of these functions can be tied back to the taxonomy, or taxonomies, to essentially maintain and refine corporate memory so it becomes a highly usable tool for knowledge management.
Any thoughts? I would also be interested in understanding how many of the organizations you work for have a focus, or team that focuses on knowledge management? Time to bring it back!