What counts as Knowledge Management software?

Running a workshop last Thursday on Practical Knowledge Management for Information Professionals reminded me that perceptions of Knowledge Management are changing where it matters – the coalface/workplace. And this is at least partly under the pressure of sales-driven talk about the KM capabilities of just about every piece of business software.

So what counts as KM technology?

The point shared by all Knowledge Management theoreticians (and every practitioner that I know of), is that KM recognises there are more intellectual resources than data and information involved in decision making, and KM tries to make those resources available in useful ways. Those extra resources can include the expertise, experience and the sheer “nous” of the decision maker, and of those people he or she consults.
Knowledge can even wonderfully include what is discovered and used collaboratively before it has time to be documented!

So when I see a platform, or piece of software, claiming to deliver KM benefits, here are 3 things I look for. If it has any of these I (as MD of Real Knowledge Management) tentatively add it to my list of KM products and promise myself I’ll investigate further

1. Does it enable decision makers to access the tacit knowledge of the organisation so they can apply it to the context in which they are working?
2. Does it provide people working together on a particular problem, opportunity, invention or whatever, with the ability to discover more than the data and information already publicly available in the organisation?
3. Does it help the individual, or the team, apply the intellectual resources they’ve gathered, to the particular context they’re working on so that they make better decisions?

In a post in the near future I will be listing some KM products and explaining why they qualify!

Dion Lindsay
Managing Director
Real Knowledge Management (DLC Ltd)
07540 659255/01604 686797

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