We’ve Moved!!!

May 26, 2007

Hi there….. i’ve decided to move to my own blog due to certain limitations i’ve experienced here.

You can get to the new blog here ( http://arjunthomas.com ). I’m still in the process of putting the finishing touches on the blog, but the posts will continue as always… Feel free to leave your comments on the new blog…

Cheers,

Arjun.


Is technology necessary for Knowledge Management?

May 21, 2007

This article has been moved here…..

A large percentage of my posts so far have touched upon technology in the KM sphere. Now, while a portion of you practicing KM out there might feel that technology has no place in KM i still feel that in this day and age creating a robust technology platform that can support a KM initiative is one of the most important milestones you can set for your company.

Let me be very clear about the meaning of my statement above, technology is not Knowledge Management. As stated in earlier posts, a warped understanding of the term “Knowledge Management” have led a large number of companies to re-christen their information system initiatives under this umbrella. This aside, i do feel very strongly that unless you have a strong technology framework your KM initiative will not be as widespread as it should.

A prime example would be in the area of communications. The single biggest challenge to sharing knowledge in any organization are its barriers to communication. Once you’ve opened those up knowledge automatically starts flowing. Environment management, that’s what KM is all about.

Technology helps overcome personal limitations as well. A considerably large number of people are not very outspoken in the corporate world. These people are just as smart, if not more, than the outspoken ones. Creating a communications framework to allow them to contribute should be an organization wide goal. A technology solution, something as simple as a discussion board, would solve this problem almost instantaneously.

One thing that you need to keep in mind when creating a technology framework is, do NOT over-engineer. While you might build the most advanced KM system, at the end of the day what determines the application’s success is how well its received by the end-users. Engineer the system around their requirements and there is a good chance you’ll walk away from an application that truly helps with knowledge management.


Is the term “Knowledge Management” misleading?

May 10, 2007

This article has been moved here…..

The term “Knowledge Management” can be misleading at times. When i first got into this field a couple of years ago i was a little wary of what i was supposed to accomplish. The very idea of Managing Knowledge was something i just couldn’t wrap my head around.

Today, after having practiced KM in the real world and studied it, i’ve come to understand that true KM is more environment management than actual managing of knowledge.

So what is environment management? Well, simply put, it’s creating an enviroment that fosters knowledge sharing. Attempting to actually manage knowledge is a hopeless task. This is because the very nature of KM frowns upon the use of strict guidelines and processes that most other functions require.

I’ve seen and heard the way KM is practiced in a large number of organizations, from both the private and public sectors, small, medium and large companies and the one principle that has ensured the success of KM is the fact that its been driven by a change in the cultural and perception of its employees.

Another common mistake that a surprisingly large number of corporates make is “re-defining” their existing information management processes by calling them Knowledge Management processes. While content management and information management do constitute part of the KM initiative they do not define it. This only serves to further confuse end users to the meaning of knowledge management.

The situation has gotten so bad in some instances that employees associate KM with the process of uploading a couple of documents every year to fulfill their “KM” contribution quota. It is practices like these that give Knowledge Management a bad name.

In a previous post i’ve tried to address the issue of why knowledge sharing is so different in the corporate world. However, there have been many instances where these hurdles have been overcome. This is only when there is solid support from the management and when the initiative is viewed as a means to improve the way employees work and not just a way of increasing margins.

Tying all of this together is a framework that includes a rewards and recognition program, branding and a very robust communication strategy. Communication is a large part of knowledge management and i have a few thoughts on this subject that i shall put down in my next post.

So, for the rest of you out there…… Does the term Knowledge Management acurately convey what you actually accomplish?