Sunday, September 20, 2009

Big KM ...

There is a rather interesting post by Patti Anklam about three forms of KM ... i am looking forward to the post about little KM, but at the moment, thought i would blog about this post. For a few reasons. First, this post is a wonderful way of introducing the subject of KM to someone who maybe has not interacted with the formal structures of KM as a practitioner. In addition, it describes well the possibilities which are available to us with a KM toolkit. Which is why i would recommend this post.

In addition to that, one aspect that Patti brings out:

Set of services provided by or through a central KM organization to business units.

This describes the scenario quite well. At the same time, one thing to see from here is that in most organizations (the ones i have interacted with), KM is seen as an external entity. This is something which someone from corporate has decided must be "done", so they ask folks to fill out some templates and upload them on portals. Are they useful? How does that matter? Does anyone use them? Again, how does that matter? While a consultative approach may be helpful (something Patti mentions), i feel that the important challenge we as a community of Knowledge Managers face is to understand that KM is a wonderful thing, but that KM is a tool which is part of the managers toolkit for solving business problems, and for meeting some requirements. Once we look at this, its easy to derive that the positioning of KM must as a solution to meet specific requirements, not as an additional activity which needs to be done. Rather, you may find that not using the term KM, but rather, terming and positioning it in terms the business users understand, and can relate to, is an important aspect of selling the ideas of KM, leading to larger adoption.

Another aspect that needs to be looked at ... what is the impact of having KM as an external entity, vis a vis having KM as a part of the business units themselves. While i dont have much experience of the latter, one way to look at this could be to position KM as a part of the business unit, for operational perspective, while at the strategy/planning level, this could be something which could be centralized (with inputs from business units), because while a KM strategy must be synchronized with corporate requirements, the implementation of this strategy must be aligned to the business requirements of business units, because at the business units is where KM is actually going to find engagement, and create value. And since in different business scenarios KM could deliver value in different ways, the implementation of the strategy could be something which could be worked out by a KM team within the business units. If you would like to share a thought, or an experience you have come across, please do comment.

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