KM, Technology

This is a question on my mind for some time. I asked this question of a few KM folks, but i didnt quite get something to work upon. The question is, does KM necessarily have to rely on technology to enable knowledge-sharing? After all, isnt knowledge-sharing essentially people-centric? So, is technology only an enabler, or is it much more than that? Corollary to this … is there a way to take technology out of the KM processes, have KM being driven without technology? Or whether i am just being a bit too simplistic?

The interesting part is that i didnt get many responses. One response i got was from my friend Varun Sharma. What was nice was that he seemed to be thinking on lines similar to what i was thinking about. What i have been thinking is simply this: knowledge-sharing is essentially a human process. If we agree with this idea, then knowledge-sharing can be enabled even without the use of technology. So, where does technology come into the picture? Scale, i believe.

Let me explain. While knowledge-sharing can happen quite effectively without technology (or maybe with minimum technology), this is possible only at a local level. If this needs to be scaled to a global level, especially in organizations which are multi-location, then technology must play an important role. Even here, we could look at KM at two levels … a local level, where knowledge-sharing can be facilitated in more face-to-face, physical ways, and one at the global level, where it can be facilitated with technology.

Are there any case studies you are aware of, of organizations who have developed KM practices with minimum reliance on technology? Do post links, would appreciate.


2 Comments on “KM, Technology”

  1. I agree with your point about technology only being an enabler for faster and wider (network) knowledge sharing and knowledge sharing can be equally effective in a minimum technology environment too. Technology has always been considered the ‘silver bullet’ when it comes KM implementation in organizations. Implement a technology and KM starts working in a organization. Technology companies in a way helped in the propogation of this so called ‘quick solution’ to an organizations KM requirements and the same applies to the knowledge sharing part too. Of course one can’t be surprised now that KM in these organizations have failed. But even in these organizations there are certain regions or pockets where knowledge sharing is thriving – As you rightly said at local level with face to face interactions, etc…helped in a way by the culture, people, leadership, business environment in that region or unit.

  2. thoughtsandme2004 says:

    Agree vijeesh. Maybe we need to look at a different way for creating more knowledge-sharing culture … start at local level, because comfort at that level may be little more, and then move to knowledge-sharing at broader scale. Your thoughts?

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