In its basic form, knowledge management is about converting available raw data into understandable information. The information is then placed in a reusable repository for the benefit of any future need based on similar kinds of experiences. Knowledge management contributes towards streamlining the ideas problems, projects and deployment driving towards productivity.
But, it’s more than just knowing everything your organization knows, it’s creating a synthesis between the people and the information to the point that the whole is more than the sum of the parts.
- Security. Providing the right level of security for knowledge management is key. Sensitive information should be shielded from most users, while allowing easy access to those with the proper credentials.
- Getting people motivated. Overcoming organizational culture challenges and developing a culture that embraces learning, sharing, changing, improving can’t be done with technology. There is no use in launching a tool if there is no drive to share the knowledge.
- Keeping up with technology. Determining how knowledge should be dispensed and transferring it quickly and effectively is a huge challenge. Constantly changing structures mean learning how to be smart, quick, agile and responsive – all things a KM tool must be able to accomplish.
- Measuring knowledge. Knowledge is not something that can be easily quantified, and is far more complex because it is derived out of human relationships and experience. The focus should be on shared purpose rather than results or efforts.
- Overcoming shared leadership. KM tools allow others to emerge as voices of power within an organization. Workers are given a “voice”, which can sometimes cause internal conflict.
- Keeping data accurate. Valuable data generated by a group within an organization may need to be validated before being harvested and distributed. Keeping information current by eliminating wrong or old ideas is a constant battle.
- Interpreting data effectively. Information derived by one group may need to be mapped or standardized in order to be meaningful to someone else in the organization.
- Making sure information is relevant. Data must support and truly answer questions being asked by the user, and requires the appropriate meta-data to be able to find and reference. Data relevancy means avoiding overloading users with unnecessary data.
- Determining where in the organization KM should reside. Does KM fall under HR, IT, communications? This decision will determine what drives your knowledge sharing initiative and who will be responsible for maintaining the community.
- Rewarding active users. Recognizing the users who actively participate and contribute to a knowledge database will not only encourage them to continue contributing, but will also encourage other users to join.
Knowledge, learning and sharing come from people and their relationships with one another, not necessarily from the tools, databases and technological aids used. However, with the proper technology in place you can facilitate better communication and overcome these challenges to have an up-to-date, secure and organized knowledge base.
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