I just read an article, The State of Knowledge Management in 2020, that has some interesting perceptions about the intersection between digital collaboration and knowledge management. It brought to mind a video article, which a colleague published a few years ago in which he listed five reasons why Why Knowledge Management Matters More Than Ever. In light of the current changes many are facing now in work practices, those five reasons are more prescient than ever. So it seems worth repeating them with a few updates.
In the early 2000s, everyone was talking about “knowledge management”. Over the years, it has attracted less and less attention, until perhaps now as more people work at home and need to rely on better digital methods to find the information or expertise they need, instead of asking someone at the next desk, in the next meeting, or at the coffee machine.
It is odd that there was such a decline in interest about knowledge management, since for some time now, arguably it has mattered more rather than less. And as we move forward, with the expectation that for many people, the “new normal” will be working from home, it will even more significant.
So here are the five reasons why knowledge management matters, written just as my colleague expressed them (in italics) and with my additional cooments where that is appropriate. The original points (italics) still matter very much, but of course the context is now just a little different:
Business is Digital
The last decade has seen more and more of our communication, information and transactions moved online. Now, many organisations are embarking on major digital transformation projects to accelerate that. With the physical filing cabinet becoming increasingly obsolete, the need for better management of digital knowledge is obvious.
Business has become even more Digital, out of necessity. At this very moment in time, there are suddenly many more people that are learning that they can get their work done at home, and to do so they rely more and more on digital means.
Business is Mobile
The mobile revolution has meant that more and more people are working away from the office. But they still need access to the collective intelligence of the company, wherever they are, and whatever device they’re using.
At this time, certainly in those countries and regions experiencing lock-down, business is actually temporarily (hopefully) less mobile. But it is more dispersed, as people find ways to continue their work from home. The expectation is that, having learned those ways, and firms having found that it is perfectly feasible for much work to be done out of the office, that new habits of working at a distance will continue. In both mobile and home working, people still need better access to the “collective intelligence” of their company and colleagues.
Business is Global
Whether it is co-workers, customers, business partners or suppliers, more and more organisations work with people distributed around the world. Waiting 8 hours for someone on the other side of the world to start their working day and answer your question is inefficient and frustrating, so global companies need to organize their knowledge to make it available, whichever time zone you’re in.
There is a lot of discussion currently about the downsides of globalisation, particularly where we have seen how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted global supply chains, or where sudden global surges in demand for product has created localised shortages for critical products such as personal protective equipment. Certainly, as the Economist noted recently, “robotics and other new approaches to manufacturing make the case for moving factories closer to home more compelling”, but despite that, it is hard to imagine that business communication across the globe will be any the less than before the crisis.
Business is Continuous
Employee turnover is fact of life, but far too many organisations lose valuable knowledge when the employee leaves. Capturing that knowledge as it’s created enables seamless transition for new employees and prevents corporate amnesia.
Business is Regulated
For companies in some industries, this retention of knowledge and communication isn’t just a nice-to-have – it’s a legal necessity. It’s essential to report accurately who said what to whom, when, and see this in the context of steps leading to key decisions or transactions.
Vmoso preserves knowledge by capturing it at source. Every message you send, and every file you attach immediately form part of the ever-growing collective knowledge base, and is connected to all other referenced information. So when you, your co-worker or your successor needs to go back and find the information later, Vmoso has it ready and waiting.