Knowledge Management (KM) has a long history behind it, but with the increased use of technology in the late 20th century, has given it a more formalized picture. We all know that knowledge has always been classified into implicit and explicit, and that there are three major dimensions to KM: Process, Technology & People. All that theory is fine; but what is the end objective that any organization expects from a KM practice? IMO the bottom line is: does the organization (and its people) get the right information at the right time with minimum efforts? If they do, then it really shouldn’t matter the means by which they are able to get it.
Unfortunately over years we have seen organizations trying to capture the so called “implicit” content, codify it, make it explicit and store it in large repositories which need access depending totally on search. This has led to an approach that has made KM sound similar to Content Management and companies in an attempt to achieve KM have ended up doing only content management. And the general feeling has been that KM is a failure, because content management will not get you the same results as with knowledge management. The focus with content management was too much on the side of the technology and IMHO it should be more on the lines of awareness, understanding and adoption of KM as a practice.
Today, with the emergence of new technologies based on web2.0 (call them social media or enterprise2.0 or anything else), we are seeing the shift in the way content is captured, managed and accessed. As one of the simplest definitions go, Enterprise2.0 is the use of web2.0 technologies inside an enterprise. If you carefully note, enterprise2.0 has touched upon THAT aspect of KM which otherwise was a little ignored: the people dimension. With social media, the emphasis has been on the people-to-people connections, which in addition to the strong process framework and technology base, brings in that delta that was missing earlier. Enterprise2.0 has come across, more of a complete solution for KM. To me, Enterprise2.0 is the new face of Knowledge Management!
I came across this set of presentations prepared by a group of enthusiasts at the site Besser2.0 (Better2.0) on the topic of “Enterprise 2.0 Knowledge Management”. They have done a great job and trust me, it’s a must see! Part3 of the set covers the thoughts I have expressed in my previous blog Social Media League and Part2 has thoughts on the same lines as the ones above. The important point to note here is that Enterprise2.0 is bringing back the good old Knowledge Management by focusing on facilitating the right information at the right time to the right people with minimum efforts and with no explicit requirement from the user to do anything in addition to his core role. I am more than certain, Enterprise2.0 will change the way people/organizations address KM and it will surely help in achieving the larger organizational objectives for which it has been setup. Enterprise2.0 is not just the new KM, but it is the real KM.
P.S.: If you or your company wants to understand, plan and strategize in the enterprise2.0 arena, then I will be more than happy to share my thoughts around it. 🙂
Nikhil Nulkar is a knowledge management consultant within Capgemini and is passionate about web2.0 and social media. Want to know what he is up to? Follow him on Twitter