May 18, 2012
A lack of KM increases the potential for an organisation to lose its capacity to understand itself, its clients and its markets. Without a whole of organisation approach to KM workers will create their own information silos, inhibiting the flow of information and insight throughout the organisation. This results in structural inefficiencies as effort is spent 'reinventing the wheel'. Furthermore, the organisation will be unable to plan strategically for the future because it doesn't have the insights that can be gained from captured organisational knowledge.
KM is always contextual, so understanding the needs of the business and its strategic direction are fundamentally important for establishing and maintaining an effective knowledge management practice. IT systems should be integrated and malleable so they can adapt to the KM needs of the organisation, rather than the other way around in which KM is constrained by architectural limitations (e.g. technological silos). Barriers to the capturing of information (both technical and process oriented) should be low and data should be stored in such a way that it is easy to repurpose and be recontextualised in multiple environments and platforms.
I'm a knowledge consultant at international law firm King & Wood Mallesons, where I lead the development of a range of KM CMS related products. I also run internal and external training sessions on the use of social media in a corporate context.