One Size Fits All?Posted: August 19, 2009
This is a question which i have been thinking about for some time. Mst of the organizations i interact with have KM programs which are standardized across the organization. There is one portal, there is one set of guidelines and processes which are applied across the organization when it comes to engagement of the business with KM. The assumption is that if you put all the tools out there, people across teams can find the tools which they find useful, and use them as they require.
The assumption behind this approach is that KM is not an initiative which is meant to solve specific problems. In other words, KM is seen as an initiative which is loosely linked to business processes, and as such, the adoption of KM is seen as the logical thing to do, by itself, without any other reason to do it. And this leads to the scenario where the different functions in the organization see KM as an external entity, or at least, external their line of business, leading to a scenario where KM is seen as an initiative which is running on their own with not much engagement either required or existing with the business teams. And this, in turn, leads to far lower engagement, and so, far lower adoption of KM initiatives.
A lot has been written about how KM needs to be linked to business processes. Some folks talk about baking KM into business processes (baking … not something i want to talk about … am off sweets!), and as i have written before, this relationship between KM technology and the business processes of the organization is quite important. An important part of this is to keep knowledge-sharing simple, so that it is a part of the day-to-day work of people, rather than additional work, as i have written before. The important aspect of this, however, is that instead of being trying to be one thing which can meet all the requirements of different sets of people across the organization, KM can move to a scenario where it becomes a set of tools, practices, and processes, which are tailored to solve the business requirements of different people at different parts of the organization. In other words, what this means is that different people in different parts of the organization have different requirements, and different problems, which need to be solved by KM. Came across this interesting paper about Social Computing at Intel … and this talks about something on similar lines.
Any thoughts? I am trying to refine this idea, looking forward to inputs from you.