As we embrace the digital era, what new challenges does Knowledge management (KM) face? We can honestly argue that over the past decades things have changed a lot. Just thinking about Millennials, I believe it’s fair to say that old school KM does not consider shifts in the 3 Cs which govern social behavior (Connectivity, Collaboration and Co-creation) in the digital age. Also, If we look deeper at some of the problems companies are currently facing and the rise of new business models introduced by startups, it becomes essential to revise KM in order to carefully plan out its sustainability and evolution.
Challenge #1: Retaining Critical Knowledge vs Talent Retention
It’s no surprise that Millennials, in comparison to baby boomers, are not looking to stay a long time in organizations. In fact the term “job-hopping” has become very popular in the past year since Millennials are most likely to shift from one job to another in shorter periods of time. For organizations this means that there is a larger risk of not only losing talent, but more importantly, losing critical knowledge. For KM this means that it must act faster and provide the methods necessary in order to make sure that critical knowledge stays within the organization. Of course a prior, and very important step is to identify critical knowledge.
Challenge #2: Startups also need KM
Small businesses and startups are a common choice for young entrepreneurs. The first years of operation are the most critical and where mistakes usually tend to happen. Due to budget restrictions certain processes and technologies are pushed aside. KM definitely takes the blow. However, KM is vital in order to achieve sustainability and leveraging best practices. Also promoting a knowledge culture from the very beginning of an organization´s life is essential in order to assure that it becomes rooted in culture. Not many entrepreneurs are aware of this since KM education is missing in most business schools and they believe that it exists only for “big” organizations. Maybe they are right in the sense that we haven’t thought of a simpler and less complex model for small business and startups.
Challenge #3: Leveraging Technology without making KM tech driven
Last year was by all means the “Sharepoint year” for KM. Not only did more KM software solutions come out in the market (some of the most popular being Oracle, SAP, Sharepoint), but google also registered an increase of KM related searches focused on IT solutions. This isn’t a bad thing. It turns bad only when we focus our entire efforts implementing portals or software without taking into consideration essential elements such as critical knowledge and culture.
Challenge #4: Leveraging KM with Big Data
Millennials as opposed to other generations are leaving a larger digital footprint since the amount of interactions they generate increases on a daily basis. For organizations this means that if we are able to develop sustainable KM portals which enhance social collaboration there will be plenty of data left to explore and which can lead us to take smarter decisions. For example, early this year I examined data generated from our KM portal in 2014. From this, I was able to spot common problems among various business unit, knowledge needs among various professional groups and I was also able to identify various subject matter expects based on the quality and amount of interactions they developed and the number of positive reviews they received from the rest. Considering the growing importance in developing this type of KM portals (in order to match Millennials social behavior) larger organizations may need to consider incorporating a Community Manager in order to collect data and supervise peer interaction.
Challenge #5: Understanding business needs. I mean, really understanding them.
This could have easily been challenge #1 on this list. However, it’s not a new challenge since it goes back to old school KM (and it is still giving Knowledge Managers a terrible headache!). In order for KM to be successful it needs to closely understand the business needs and jargon. It needs to become an important ally and one easy way of measuring success is by analyzing if KM teams are called up in order to assist in important decisions. For example, when new project are developed and critical knowledge needs to be identified, or when larger organizations are considering mergers, knowledge teams are summoned to analyze the value of intellectual capital.
Given the above challenges, It´s important to note that Millellianals are currenty shifting the future development of KM. In fact, we need to clearly understand the importance of the 3 C´s governing milleanial social behavior: Connectivity, collaboration and co-creation. For me, this is clearly the new age of KM: the C-Generation.
The above blog, seemed to be interesting to me and thought people in my group also may like it... hence posted it. The original version is available at http://globalknowledgemanagement.org/2015/05/02/5-new-challenges-for-knowledge-management/?fb_ref=0d844452db914d24b9ddd85690e3c86a-Linkedin