Where does knowledge really reside in your organization?
If managing knowledge was an easy problem to solve, it would have been solved years ago. Today, however, in this age of information, organizations continue to struggle with the notion of knowledge.
Here’s the knowledge challenge: it is not really about the creation of knowledge, but about where to put it and how to access it once you have housed it somewhere.
To date, the theory of knowledge management has been around identifying the knowledge, categorizing it so we know what it is, storing it somewhere, and having a process to retrieve it again. It all sounds simple, so why has it not been done?
Here are five key reasons why this challenge exists:
Reason #1: Not all information is used or understood by everyone – therefore how can it be accurately categorized?
Reason #2: Only certain people can create the knowledge; therefore, only those people can maintain it.
Reason #3: If the physical format of the information varies within a single organization, then it definitely does when collecting information externally.
Reason #4: Not all creators of knowledge are English or Journalism majors. This means content may vary significantly.
Reason #5: The effort to manage knowledge often outweighs the value, due primarily to the four reasons above.
Knowledge is very important to an organization, and so is finding a way to leverage this knowledge across your ecosystem. Here then, I would like to present five key mechanisms for leveraging this knowledge while returning significant ROI:
Revelation #1: Keep the knowledge close to its owners so they know where it is when they have to create or modify it. If additional processes or procedures are put on top of the creation and modification loop, it will significantly reduce the production and value of that information.
Revelation #2: Having multiple repositories that support and leverage the format of the information is vital for easy storage and retrieval.
Revelation #3: Let the knowledge itself determine for whom it is valuable. Don’t preset the categories that will surely miss candidates who could use this knowledge but did realize the information existed.
Revelation #4: Educate your staff on the value of creating knowledge and sharing it, especially when it is easy to do without overhead.
Revelation #5: Rank the information you use on a daily basis so that your organization can see what information is being used and what information is valuable.
So how can this all come together easily? There are significant benefits to having a unified view of all your disparate data from one focal point without having to move it. It allows you to create methodologies that apply to all your knowledge without having to modify or change the existing systems, and it becomes a behavioral change versus a physical change, which can be very expensive.
Another benefit is that because the information and data is staying close to the owners and within the originating systems, there tends to be more ownership/pride of the content versus shipping it off to another system that has all kinds of rules and regulations on who can and how to access the information. The third main benefit of a unified 360-degree view of your information is you can really see how your information is used, what is really important, and where you might have gaps in your knowledge or accessibility to knowledge.