How to Facilitate 21st Century Knowledge Management


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21st century knowledge management is much more than connecting people to documents. Today, knowledge management must support learning through conversation in the context of the applications, files and other assets employees frequently use. Plus, information and conversations should be searchable every step of the way.

In this white paper discover how social technology is playing a role in transferring knowledge to employees, how they’re able see conversations and information from one place, make decisions and take action.

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How to Facilitate 21st Century Knowledge Management

  1. 1. How to Facilitate 21st Century Knowledge Management
  2. 2. How to Facilitate 21st Century Knowledge Management Barely a year ago, social at work was a heated debate—could employees log into Facebook, or not? Today, enterprise social networking has become a standalone category that’s exploding in the marketplace. For early adopters, consumerization drove the business use of Facebook-like tools; now, serious players have arrived bringing real enterprise solutions to organizations large and small. But what does private social networking mean for knowledge management? How are organiza- tions across the globe translating this immensely popular framework into an actionable business model? Enterprise social networks are emerging within organizations as a place where knowledge never dies, gamification drives employee engagement and your wall is transformed into a relevant stream of contextual updates from colleagues, partners and critical business applications. Welcome to 21st Century Knowledge Management Knowledge management of the past is about connecting people to documents. But if social media has taught us anything, it’s that knowledge management, particularly the collective knowledge of your workforce, is iterative. Organizations are shifting their priorities to create a KM framework that supports knowledge moving through systems, departments and groups of people—changeable and actionable—every step of the way. Technology plays a role, but you need the right technology. Knowledge creation, transfer and discovery is probably not all happening in your intranet—and if so, that’s likely not the only place where it occurs. Can you search a conversation in your intranet? Can you find the document you are looking for, plus get all the updates from colleagues or processes right then and there? Oftentimes, the best form of knowledge transfer is still through conversation. So how can organi- zations capture and syndicate knowledge in context to individuals or groups based on roles, job functions, projects, customers and professional development goals? Enterprise social networking 1
  3. 3. creates an environment that supports the capture of every form of knowledge, preserving the con- text and making it extremely accessible. The knowledge that’s in your organization is evolving daily—why spend the time organizing and categorizing, when you could be analyzing? The value private social networks provide to organiza- tions today is the ability to surface ideas and gain insights from links and patterns that are only dis- covered when all the people, processes and content are brought together in one place—i.e. when knowledge management becomes connected. Context is the New King Not long ago, Eric Schimdt said that every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization to 2003. The result? On a given day, an average employee makes 14 phone calls, logs into nine different systems, receives hundreds of emails and shifts through thou- sands of files. This is not sustainable; it’s only more reason we need to create contextual experi- ences for employees versus making sure everyone adheres to the right file structure within the intranet. The future of knowledge management is about letting employees curate their own information con- sumption, empowering them to be in charge of their own learning and professional development. Not only do conversations need to be indexed, but so do updates from processes, customer in- teractions and news about related projects. Also, external data needs to be brought in to enhance private, internal data. People need to be able to act in real-time—not ask five different people for a file, or call the legal department for an update on a contract, or wait until tomorrow because their manager is halfway around the world. Information today needs to be indexed within context, it needs to be searchable and it needs to be accessible anytime, anywhere. Relevance is subjective, but 21st century knowledge management provides different experiences for everyone—this is the power private social networks can provide. Organizations can tag and categorize content to make it more contextual to different groups of people, but at the end of the day, employees know what they need to do their job well. With enter- prise social networking, employees can follow the people they need to follow, search for subject- 2
  4. 4. matter experts that can help, get updates from the business applications they use and be tapped into the on-going conversations happening around them, so they can spend less time in meetings, searching for files, or waiting for the answers they need to do their jobs more effectively. How Will Your Collective Knowledge Evolve? Private social networking is the first platform for knowledge management that’s multi-dimensional, imparting a spectrum of context to every piece of information your company creates and indexes. With an enterprise social network, everyone has a voice, becoming an expert is accelerated and your knowledge management goes from stale and static (20th century model) to a living, breathing stream of insights resulting in more efficient employees, greater innovation and positive business outcomes. With enterprise social networking and the collective knowledge that can be harnessed from it, knowledge management enters the 21st century, and also the executive suite. Finally, knowledge management has transcended the limitations of an intranet—and the results are so compelling, not even your CEO will deny the value. 3
  5. 5. 4 Knowledge Management Must Be Social Here’s why: Conversation is still the best form of knowledge transfer. We are inextricably bound to social: storytelling, conversation, and discourse. It is our most natural way of learning. Is the old way of managing knowledge—databases, data mining, document repositories, directories etc.—enough? Social Increases Learning. It’s not just a matter of getting the right information to people. Learning requires engage- ment. It is the social context of the scenario that generates interest, motivates informed responses and ultimately drives the best answer. Make Decisions Faster. Think about all those times you needed to ask a colleague a question or gather everyone for a meeting before you could decide the next step. Social networking facilitates decision making across all of the right stakeholders. So whether employees are in SharePoint, Box. com, their email or even on their mobile device, they should be able to weigh in and speed up business outcomes. Social Connects Employees to the Right Experts. For some decisions, we don’t need to involve everyone, but we do need to know the best person to involve. Rather than call a bunch of people, employees can simply post a ques- tion to a relevant group or topic and the right person responds. Social Harnesses Collective Knowledge Sharing. Beyond in-context knowledge sharing, private social networking provides a stream of in- sights from employees, increasing innovation and better business outcomes.
  6. 6. 5 Credits Content from “How to Facilitate 21st Century Knowledge Management” was originally published in the KMWorld White- paper: Best Practices in Knowledge Management: Content from “Knowledge Management Must Be Social” was originally published on the tibbr blog: