Knowledge Management Essay

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Victor, a senior manager at HP, posted an insightful question concerning the current state of knowledge management in the Basex Information Overload Network on LinkedIn (if you aren’t yet a member, and over 100 people joined in the last month, click here). With his permission, I am reproducing his question and my reply with the hope that the discussion continues below. Victor: “I’ve some questions about KM. First, what is the most important function of a KM system? The content management? The collaboration based communication channel? The security control mechanism? The all-in-one portal? The fast multi-faceted based search engine? Now that we have a dedicated function for knowledge management and there are CKOs who are in charge of that, then what’s the core mission of it? To my understanding it’s not only about technologies, or just setup some document management system, or an enterprise wide SNS system… Then what is our major target? If I’m asked by the boss ‘what’s your strategic value?’ how can we answer that question? A position or team without a clear vision and goal is worthless. Say for IT department it is a business automation enabler, for sales department it’s the source of revenue. Then what is the added-value of KM? Sorry for the layman question but I’m curious to get the answer.” Jonathan: Victor, to me KM is more of a discipline than a specific system. In order for companies to remain competitive, they have to ensure knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer, and collaboration. One of the greatest problems in this area is that individual problems are looked at in isolation, without an understanding or regard for the “big picture” so to speak. Someone managing a document management project may not take into consideration what someone managing a new or existing search tool or workflow system is planning. My approach has to be more

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