Saturday, August 28, 2010

Guest Post by Alexis Bonari on KM

Augmented KM Success: Just Add Collaboration

Knowledge management is an invaluable tool for any business, but it’s best when collaboration is an active contributor. Where KM meets collaboration, information shouldn’t just be managed; it should be exchanged, archived, and made available to the entire company. Because all employees have the potential to contribute to a company’s strategies, tactics, and capabilities, a communal unit of stored knowledge is an ideal concept. But how can that idea become reality?

The Benefits of Collaborative KM

Traditional management techniques assign constrained, prioritized duties to employees and leave the brainstorming to a select few. That’s starting to look like a dated and myopic strategy as collaborative KM arrives at a variety of businesses and companies. Baseline, which identifies itself as a guide dedicated to planning and implementing next-generation IT solutions in business, has conducted a recent study of collaboration’s role in KM. Out of 342 managers, 33% stated that KM strategies had helped them to achieve their original KM business goals. However, out of the managers who used collaborative KM strategies, 58% achieved their goals. The collaborative facet of KM is revolutionizing the way companies run, interact with customers and partners, and relate to employees. 

Encouraging Collaboration

The first step to pursuing a knowledge-sharing initiative is to increase knowledge productivity among employees. One strategy to achieve this goal is the implementation of collaboration tools and applications. There’s a lot of software (such as CenterStage or KnowledgeBase Manager) aimed at the idea of collaborative KM, so it’s relatively easy to choose a set of tools for a specific business. Introducing collaborative tools to employees is the hard part, but successful implementers have some strong advice for managers who want to try out the tools. Staying serious about the company-wide use of the new tools is effective, but it’s also important to manage expectations and introduce the tools with deliberate care. With a younger set of employees, it helps to choose collaborative tools that use social network-based interfaces. Not only do these tools enjoy considerable popularity, but they also encourage employees to spend less time on Facebook and more time on the constructive, work-related version during office hours. Although 58% of managers stipulated that collaborative tools and systems had to be customized to maximize their potential, they agreed that collaborative KM benefits are worth the extra cost. 

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at, researching areas of online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Photo: Public Domain

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