It’s really just about intranets, isn’t it?

Intranet technologies can serve an important function in knowledge management, but focusing too much on technology can be dangerous.  Knowledge management is much more than IT systems and applications.

    Because knowledge lives in people’s heads, and loses value when it is written down, it can’t be treated like data or information.  Effective KM needs to address:
  • People – KM roles have to be established in the business, and specific behaviors need to be encouraged (e.g., seeking other’s knowledge, willingness to share one’s own experience).  Fundamentally, you have to make some changes to ‘the way we work around here.’
  • Process – there has to be a tried-and-tested process for capturing, distilling, validating, storing, applying and reusing knowledge, and also for innovating.
  • Technology – the people and the process need to be supported by enabling technology, which allows knowledge to be found and accessed wherever it resides (in databases, on the Intranet, in people’s heads).  IT plays an important role in KM by providing the technology to allow people to communicate.
  • Culture – without a culture that promotes and recognizes sharing and the re-use of knowledge, any attempts to introduce KM are going to be a hard struggle.