1st generation KM, nicknamed the tool era, was crawling with technology solutions. Many years later we are still looking hard at technology and we seem to be heading towards a new generation nicknamed the Sharepoint era.
It seems clear that the future is likely to involve more technology, not less. The temptation therefore is to engage more with it and in terms of KM we are now presented with an array of tools which have taken up center stage in the development of the strategy. Careful consideration is now given to the social component which was missing from 1st generation KM. Developing KM meant spending money on intranets which finally ended up being used as information repositories. Today that drab outfit has been replaced by social platforms which actively engage users and are looking to become authentic knowledge creation and transfer stations.
What cannot be overlooked, however, is that technology is not the core solution. KM effectiveness won´t be measured for the quality of the platform; it will be measured by how much it has impacted in the organization´s results. You need to design the KM strategy, carried to the point of identifying and developing the organization´s critical and strategic knowledge. This goal requires creativity, deals with complex issues and requires coordination among many functions in the organization. Also, avoiding culture carries some severe penalties.
Once we have connected the dots and developed the strategy we can start to look at technology. What has changed from 1st generation Knowledge Management is that “social” technology has being integrated into the fabric of people and we didn’t have this before. Workspace collaboration is changing as we speak and we can´t turn a blind eye to Gen Y and Millennials social behavior.
So if you’re looking to start your KM journey don’t get carried away and start off with technology. Yes we live in new and exciting times, but technology is powerless unless you have a clear strategy. Don’t get hooked to the “Sharepoint Era”.
© Jose Carlos Tenorio Favero