Knowledge Beyond the Knowledge Management – The Top 5 Challenges


Knowledge Management (KM) is the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively applying the collective knowledge of the entire workforce to achieve specific organizational goals. The aim of Knowledge Management is to ensure the right knowledge, in the right place, at the right time so that it can be used effectively while making a decision.

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Unfortunately managing knowledge is not as simple as it sounds and mostly overlooked by many organizations until now. In the era of data (or rather ‘big data’), it has become crucial for the CIOs and CEOs to discover the (right) knowledge and utilize it for effective decision making. Gone are the days when decisions were made by looking at the numbers, even on information. Today organizations are making decisions based on Knowledge and that is what called wisdom!

Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. – Miles Kington

As a result, many organizations have included KM as a part of their business strategy and Information Technology. They even have resources dedicated to internal KM efforts and working towards to build a culture of Knowledge. Several consulting companies are popping up to provide strategy and advice regarding KM.

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While organizations are on their way to convert their KM strategies to ground realities, here are the top 5 challenges which are broadly experienced by many of these organizations related to Knowledge Management:

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1. ABC

Well, this is the easiest way I found to explain Attitude, Behavior and Culture!

ABC KM Challange Prashant Arora Blog

This one gets the merit among all other challenges as no matter what the intend is and how good the strategy is, implementation often becomes stressful as the people within the organization are not ready to adopt this change and adapt themselves into it.

Implementation of Knowledge Management mostly encounters two major barriers – ‘Skill & Will

People are either not ‘willing’ to contribute due to their attitude, behavior or sometimes due to fear (that they will become less valued) and sometimes due to lack of ‘skillfulness’. These are the challenges related to organization’s culture which must be addressed before hand to be successful in this journey.

The idea should be:

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it. – Margaret Fuller

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2. The Conversion

Knowledge Conversion DIKW Prashant Arora Blog

Next on the list is translating Data to Information and to Knowledge. Getting data is always the easiest thing. We all are sounded by data, facts and figures but how to convert that data to meaningful information is at times challenging. With the use of various tools available today, converting data to information is still no longer a challenge however, making sense out of that information and conversion to knowledge is still something that organizations often struggle.

As a result, some of them end up doing the ‘Information Management’ with the name of Knowledge Management!

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3. The Currency

 knowledge-currency-prashant-arora

The third comes is ‘Currency’. I am not really talking about the Pounds or Dollars but the correctness or accuracy of knowledge. Somehow if you are able to get a culture for knowledge capturing, developing, sharing and using, well, congratulations, it’s a job well done! But with that the challenge comes to keep the available knowledge current.

The accuracy and integrity of knowledge must be maintained in order to get the most value out of it. Else, your fancy knowledge repository just becomes a bare database with pile of data stored into it may be with dust all around.

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4. Technological Revolution

Technology Prashant Arora Blog

Technology is changing with full pace. Various applications are built and destroyed every day. With that unbeatable technological revolution, organizations with too much internal focus, often wish to utilize the best possible way to maintain their Knowledge Management practices (tools and processes) and in the urge to do so, sometimes it becomes too cumbersome for the users to understand and digest the changes.

At the same time it sounds necessary to cope up with the technological changes to get the utmost value and stay competitive in the market. Simple example is Big Data. As it is available all around, there must be ways to make recognizable trends and make decisions out of it. Well, it surely requires cutting edge tools and capabilities to correctly identify those trends. So it is challenging to strike the right balance.

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5. Measurement

Tape Prashant Arora Blog

Finally, it is essential to monitor and measure the knowledge utilization. While the assumption is organization is using the knowledge to make decisions, it is important to know the reality. Effectiveness and compliance metrics should be in place to gauge the overall performance of the Knowledge Management.

Identifying the right metrics (for your business) and having a way to generate that purely dependent on accurate business knowledge, great visibility on both side (business and IT) and on a mechanism to support that.

This is not really an easy thing and organizations need (or build) capabilities which is again a challenge in the effective Knowledge Management.

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So what are the other challenges you think are on the list?

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