-José Carlos Tenorio Favero
Processes, measures and information analytics are important for strategic alignment and to obtain business results. Interaction within Communities of Practice provides companies with more information surrounding critical knowledge and problems which arise during day to day activities.
The explosion in the availability of this information provides opportunities for improved decision making. Thus it´s important to implement tools in order to analyze trends and determine what interactions can be translated into key business actions.
I have often discussed that in larger organizations it’s important that Knowledge Management considers a full time employee in order to carry out this function.
More than just the execution of analytic procedures we need to count with an effective framework and clearly defined governance in order to analyze and understand what information can actually be used to improve business results.
For example, in my company knowledge sharing is promoted through diverse tools such as a Virtual Library, Lessons Learned, Knowledge Cafes, Wikis, Forums, etc. All these tools form part of a larger Knowledge Management model which seeks to create a culture of continuous learning, innovation and knowledge sharing.
In the case of Forums, some of the questions and answers posted by community members have turned into key innovations applied in diverse projects company wide. Query trend analysis helps us to understand what content communities members are looking for. For example our virtual library not only helps us to provide access to key content, but also to understand search patterns within each community, project and key positions within the company. We can understand what type of information is being required during the various project stages, such as formats, norms or procedures or even information which is more analytical and responds to specific problems or job type situations. This type of activity may actually be considered as a “branch” of Business Intelligence or Data Mining, but in this case we are building analysis based on community interaction.
Social Media has developed certain tools, metrics and analytics which may also be applied within Knowledge Management. For example let’s take a look at the following page: http://whatdoyousuggest.net. It uses suggestions from google and analyses connections surrounding an specific term:
if we type knowledge management we obtain the following:
This basically allows us to understand what people are actually looking for when they search for “knowledge management”. The results can also be filtered by location. In this sense, let´s see what happens when we filter the results by region (Australia):
As explained before we need to become more aware of the application of this type of tools which may allow Knowledge Managers to gain additional insight. However, a high level measure is not particular helpful if it does not account with the approval and analysis of a subject matter expert. Thus, governance and roles need to be clearly specified.
Effective use of analytics can turn challenges and “regular information” into key opportunities. This is just another way of enhancing knowledge management and understanding “impact” and not just “participation”. Remember: Knowledge without action is only a potential power.